Hemp is a fickle fellow – an accumulator and when it has had too much gets sick or can make a human sick. Over the past two years, here in North Carolina, where we are learning as we grow, there have been many costly lessons. The costly lesson of tending a hemp crop for oil extraction in tinctures only to have it ruled unsafe due to heavy metal or residual accumulation or pathogens, has been a frequent lesson. We have learned through trial and error the importance of a clean field. But there are more ways than one to grow hemp and this article covers the advantages of using vermicompost.
Boutique hemp farmers, especially those interested in a no-till operation or growing in containers, indoors or not, will benefit from vermicompost. For others, vermicompost applications at planting, during the initial budding stage, in the form of matter or in a tea, is beneficial.
A study published by Research Gate, declares, “The experiment demonstrates that the earthworms can reduce the USEPA pathogen indicators in as short a time as 144 hours.”
So, it is clear that worms destroy pathogens, but what else can they do to help soil conditions for growing safe crops?
Vermicompost provides aerobic properties necessary for oxygen which makes vermicompost ideal for a no-till garden or growing in containers.
Another benefit is humates, which are black, and are made up of highly decomposed organic matter. These humic acids help to clean soil of toxins, pesticides and heavy metals, and stimulates microorganisms.
Also, humic acid helps release potassium for use by plants. It chelates with phosphorous, zinc and calcium so they interact less with other elements and the soil by becoming water-soluble.
Potassium increases bud density, weight and volume, and it is essential in terpene production.
Here is a link to an informative article on the issues of deficiency and excess of potassium in cannabis.
Vermicompost also contains essential bacteria, fungi, protozoa, minerals and adds to the quality of air and water absorption. With the right combination of pH, vermicompost is a nutrient dense food for flower production while it decreases attacks by plant pathogens, parasitic nematodes, and insects.
It is not necessary to screen vermicompost, in fact, the screening is stressful and destroys some beneficial elements. To screen vermicompost, the matter is dried, and microbes do not survive. Microbes need moisture and oxygen to return life back into the soil. Fungi, which may grow in filaments called hyphae and are torn apart by the screening process. Vermicompost does not need to be screened to look like coffee grounds as many of us have been trained to believe. The diverse sizes of black castings and small black clumps both work with the soil.
Regarding unscreened vermicompost, Stephen Churchill of The Urban Worm Company declares, “The product is less aesthetically pleasing than a uniform pile of dark brown soil cocaine, but you retain all – or more – of the potentially immense benefits to your soil and plants.”
The soil is more enhanced because unscreened vermicompost carries all the beneficial elements plus the creators, worms and their cocoons, into the garden beds to continue enriching soil.
Have a great day!
Your CBD Watchdog
Stephen Churchill of The Urban Worm https://urbanwormcompany.com/harvesting-worm-castings-break-your-back-or-break-the-bank/
Begin your own worm farm in the kitchen https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/worms-can-recycle-your-garbage
Red Wigglers and vermicompost in Lee County, NC and surrounding is available for delivery or pick up. Gaumedup@gmail.com