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Are you searching for the best natural and organic way to ensure healthy plant growth? If you are a newbie looking for alternative methods to chemical fertilizers, research will point you to either organic worm excretions or decaying organic matter. This article covers everything you need to know about humus vs. worm castings and their benefits.


Due to seasons and environmental changes, plants will drop material, such as leaves and twigs. As time passes, the debris consisting of plant and animal material will decompose. Hence, the material breaks down or decays into its essential chemical components. These components contain essential nutrients that help plants grow and can benefit fruit production.

What is left behind by these decomposing and decaying materials is known as humus and has a thick black or brown appearance. Often, earthworms will help mix the humus with the soil, making it easier to absorb nutrients and minerals while balancing the pH level.

Humus is an organic fertilizer that contains necessary nutrients, such as nitrogen, that enrich the soil. Nitrogen is an important nutrient for plants and agriculture, and agriculture is dependent on most of the nutrients that appear in the humus. Carbon, potassium, sulfur, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium are other nutrients found in humus.

Carbon makes up 60% of the soil's nutrients and is essential to maintaining soil health. Some experts see humus as a fertilizer, while others believe that it prevents diseases from forming in plants or food crops.

How It Works

Once humus is absorbed, the earth crumbles, making it easy for water retention and air to move through the mud and oxygen to reach the plant roots. Even though humus occurs naturally, people can also create it through composting. This works through collecting materials that are decaying, such as fallen leaves or twigs, and food. People will create a compost area in their garden or balconies, where they will throw their scraps of food or plants to turn into compost.

Compost refers to the material people create through leftover food or waste from their garden. In comparison, humus is where the decay occurs naturally with little human interference. Humus consists of animals or plants that decay in nature as they decompose. However, since humus does not occur naturally in your garden, you might rely on composting, where you don't necessarily know what the worms are feeding on.

Worm Castings

After moving through their digestive system, worm castings are an intricate combination of sand, soil, and mud brought up by lugworms or earthworms. Earthworm castings prevent soil from drying out as it makes it more absorbent, retaining water for your plants. In addition, the worms add nutrients like bacteria and microbes. These microorganisms are beneficial and absorb into the earth, creating healthy soil and preventing plant diseases.

Additionally, worm castings aerate the soil, which improves the overall soil structure and adds nutrients that are beneficial to plants. An added feature of worm castings is that it repels pests, such as spider mites or aphids, that will feed on your garden plants.

As mentioned previously, worm castings or vermicast is the organic waste of earthworms. Worm castings may also be referred to as worm poop. Vermicast improves the airflow and drainage of any soil. In addition, worm castings extract toxins from the earth and increase the soil's ability to retain water.

While worm castings enrich your soil, they also provide excellent nutrients for your plants. This natural fertilizer includes many essential nutrients, such as iron, that will encourage your plants to grow. Furthermore, worm castings can be combined with any potting mix for any of your plants, including flower beds. As a bonus, earthworm castings won’t harm or burn your plants, unlike chemical-based fertilizers.

How Worm Castings Are Made

First, you will have to purchase or construct a worm box or bin. These boxes come in all styles and sizes. However, if you are making the bins, it has to be shallow in depth with holes at the bottom for drainage. The depth should be between eight and twelve inches. If the bin is too deep, odors might form. In addition, if you plan to do this in your home, use smaller bins, as they fit better under your sink or someplace similar.

Once you have your bin, you can start layering it with moist newspaper strips and sand. Add in the compost and manure along with more newspaper strips. To top it off, you will need soil, worms of your choice, and the food they will eat to make the worm castings.

How to Harvest Worm Castings

There are various methods to harvest your worm castings. You can dump out the content onto a newspaper or plastic sheet and sort through the contents, carefully removing your worms. Place the worms into a new bin and use the earthworm castings leftover.

Another method is to have the worms migrate to new fresh bedding. You can do this by adding the new soil to one side of the bin while moving the older earthworm castings to the other side.  Once you have done this and added fresh food for your worms to eat, they will naturally start to migrate to the new bedding. Afterward, you can take out the worm castings and use them as desired.


While gardeners recommend both types of fertilizers, you still might be debating between humus vs. worm castings. In our opinion, worm castings are the best option. While humus is a great option, you might find that humus isn’t as naturally abundant in your garden. Additionally, fertilizing using humus consumes more of your time and patience.

Worm castings will give you the healthiest, most nutrient-rich soil for your plants while also repelling bugs that eat your plants. This organic matter enhances plant growth and provides extra nutrients for your gardens. Overall, earthworm castings are better than your traditional compost with all the added benefits.

Grow Bigger Plants with Simple Grow

Do you wish your plants would grow bigger? Was your garden less than it should've been last year?

If you're tired of growing puny vegetables and fruits, it's time for an upgrade...Simple Grow Worm Castings!

What are worm castings? Another term for worm manure. Why would you want to use it in your garden, raised beds, and house plants? Because it makes them grow bigger, faster and healthier...with no chemicals!

How do worm castings do this? It's like giving your plants a powerful multivitamin with everything they need to grow. Trace minerals, nutrients, and most importantly...worm castings are chock full of beneficial microbes. Why does that make a difference?

In recent years, we've learned the importance of gut bacteria for humans and know that it impacts so many different parts of our health. The same thing applies with worms. Gut bacteria from the worm's digestive tract gets into the soil from the worm castings and promotes plant health. Plants have a symbiotic relationship with the microbes from the worm's digestive tract. Plants respond to it and grow really big...really fast!

If you've never tried worm castings before, you owe it to yourself to give them a try. Instead of using traditional chemical fertilizers from the big box store, why not try fresh, certified organic worm castings this year? You'll be able to grow bigger, healthier plants that you actually can feel good about eating. 

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