I do lots of things with insects on my homestead. My daughter finds it more than a bit creepy. She doesn’t even like earthworms! Where did she get that gene? Earthworms are some of my best garden helpers. What’s not to love about them? Today I am adding a little tweak to my meal worm bin, so,like my daughter, if you get the creeps about crawly squirmy things this might not be the post for you. To me, every time I lay eyes on my squirmy friends, I hear the sound cha-ching. That is the beautiful sound of money falling into my piggy bank, because I have just produced gobs of free chicken food with very little effort! Who doesn’t like that, I ask you? In addition to free chicken food I also get free fertilizer, there is that sound again! Meal worm frass makes great fertilizer because it has just the right nutrients in it to make your plants BLOOM and every bloom means a veggie or fruit for you to eat.
If you want to learn how to start a meal worm bin see http://bloomwhereyourplanted.com/how-to-raise-meal-worms-to-supplement-chicken-feed/ I noticed something when I was cleaning out my meal worm tank in the Fall quite by accident and I thought I would share it with you. I was missing out on eggs, meal worm eggs that is. Let me explain; when I cleaned out my bin in Fall I poured all the tank contents through a window screen strainer. This separated all the frass(meal worm poop=fertilizer) into a large bucket. I then started my tank again with the meal worms/beetles I had sifted out adding a new supply of wheat bran for them to eat. Detailed description of how I clean my bin http://bloomwhereyourplanted.com/preparing-for-winter-moving-meal-worms-inside/ As it sometimes does, my life got a bit hectic about this time, so I threw the bucket of frass into the garage and forgot about it for a few weeks.
When I was ready to get some fertilizer(frass) to put in a newly made garden bed I unearthed my bucket and to my surprise it was crawling with little baby meal worms! Eggs had hatched, LOTS of eggs into a new batch of worms. I sure didn’t want to miss out on these. The window screen sifter was too big to catch these tiny babies so I bought a fine sifter from the grocery store.
I sifted my frass to get all those new babies out and put them back in my meal worm bin. From now on I purposely leave my frass in a bucket to let all those eggs hatch before I bag it up for fertilizer. I drop a few potato slices for moisture. This has made my meal worm bin a lot more productive. I love it when I discover something great by accident!
Here is a break down of the nutrients in meal worm frass: mealworm castings contain 4 times the available nitrogen, plus other important nutrients such as phosphorus and iron — Nitrogen-4.17% Phosphorus-2.70% Potash-1.64% Sodium-62.9mg/100gms Iron-26.5mg/100gms. PH is 7.25— perfect for your vegetable garden! You will be using only ¼ of these castings for the nitrogen value compared to regular commercial fertilizers! Extremely cost-efficient! Take one or two teaspoonful for plant or flower use, sprinkle evenly then water. For best results mix with soil. While it is hard to find a recommendation of how much to use as fertilizer I found a site selling it that advised to use 1 lb per 20 sq ft. I calculate that a raised bed of 4 x 8 ft would use about 1 1/2 lbs. I put a 1/4 a cup around each of my tomato plants when planting and they have blooms galore!
This post was shared at http://oursimplelife-sc.com/simple-homestead-blog-hop-50/