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Organic Gardening: Shelf life of (bagged) worm castings.

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k2cedarcity
Dayton, NV
(Zone 5b)

April 16, 2011
9:39 PM

Post #8501021

I have 3/4 of a large bag of worm castings in my greenhouse that is 5yrs old. Haven't done any new plantings for that long
due to illness. I just discovered the bag the other day. Is it still good to use? It's gone through much heat and cold temps. I live high desert country...hot summer days,cool summer nights. And below freezing in winter. Worm casting aren't cheap.
Use it or toss it?
gardadore
Saylorsburg, PA
(Zone 6a)

April 19, 2011
10:49 AM

Post #8506575

I don't know anything about the viability of the worm castings after 5 years but it certainly should be a good soil conditioner. Don't throw it away. Just add it to your soil and see what happens. It cannot hurt anything! I use it too and keep a bag for two years. I would think any mineral content in them would still be OK but I'm no expert!
k2cedarcity
Dayton, NV
(Zone 5b)

April 19, 2011
1:25 PM

Post #8506818

Thanks for your input, gardore. I will use the worm castings. Like you said it can't hurt anything. I have an order of new plants I just got it. Two of which are viburnums. I will use the castings on one when I plant them and not on the other and see what happens. I'll let you know how it goes.

drthor

drthor
Irving, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 30, 2012
8:13 PM

Post #9063862

My worm casting supplier told me that they will be good up to three months. After that the microbial activity will just dye ..
I buy her worm wine and I have to use it in a 48 hours
gardadore
Saylorsburg, PA
(Zone 6a)

March 31, 2012
8:31 AM

Post #9064220

Wow, three months isn't very long. Maybe it's longer if the bags are not opened. The hydroponics store near me certainly has their bags more than three months. Regardless, they are still a good soil conditioner even if the microbes are dead! I just bought a new bag from the hydroponics store so am ready to go. It was very cheap $21 for 30 lbs. I can't even get it shipped anymore for that price.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

April 1, 2012
8:42 AM

Post #9065372

I agree with gardadore - mix it with your other soil. I'm sure it will be fine.
Dean_W
Central Texas, TX
(Zone 8b)

May 13, 2012
6:51 AM

Post #9121905

I wouldn't toss it.

Tammy

Tammy
Barto, PA
(Zone 6b)

June 10, 2012
9:02 AM

Post #9159147

The microbes may be dead but as long as it didn't get wet, I imagine the nutrients in it would still be there.

Tam

tapla

tapla
Bay City, MI
(Zone 6a)

June 10, 2012
10:45 AM

Post #9159244

I can't imagine that by applying worm castings you'd be introducing any microbial populations that aren't already present in a soil, so why worry about their viability? I'm sure the worms in your soil are currently pooping up a storm. All the microbial populations need to multiply is a suitable environment and plenty of food. And as long as you keep them dry, the nutrients aren't going to simply evaporate. I'd rate the shelf life of worm castings as indefinite if kept dry.

Al

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