Benefits of Vermicast in point form.

Benefits of Vermicast in point form.

 The value of vermicast lies in:

The plant growth stimulants, the cationic exchange rate and the soil benevolent biota.


Biota – Micro-organisms beneficial to the soil.

Cationic Exchange Rate – Exchange rate at which trace elements (cationic = positive) are attracted to vegetative matter (anionic = negative).

Plant growth stimulants:

During the vermicomposting process when organic matter passes through the worm’s gut, it undergoes physico-chemical and biochemical changes by the combined effect of earthworm and microbial activities.

Vermicasts are coated with mucopolysaccharides and enriched with nutrients. The cellulolytic, nitrifying and nitrogen fixing microbes are found established in the worm cast.

Earthworms directly cycle the nitrogen by excretion in the casts, urine and mucoprotein and through the turnover of earthworm tissues.

Earthworms increase the amount of mineralized nitrogen from organic matter in soil. The microbial composition changes qualitatively and quantitatively during passage through the earthworm intestine (Pedersen and Hendriksen, 1993).

Vermicompost also contained Mg, Ca, Fe, B, Mo and Zn in addition to some of the plant growth promoters and beneficial microflora.

Several valuable compounds were also produced through the earthworm – microfloral interaction, which included vitamins such as B12 and plant growth hormones such as gibberellins.

Many researchers have found that vermicast stimulates further plant growth even when the plants are already receiving optimal nutrition.

Vermicomposts have consistently improved seed germination, enhanced seedling growth and development, and increased plant productivity.

Vermicompost includes plant-growth regulators which increase growth and yield.

 Cationic Exchange rate benefit:

In simple terms this means that trace elements are attracted to vermicast and readily bond to it in the same way that opposite poles of a magnet attract each other.

Plants have a stronger pull than the vermicast and can therefore draw the trace elements away from the vermicast and into their roots.

Within a year of application of vermiculture technology to the saline soil, 37% more N, 67% more P2O5 and 10% more K2O were recorded as compared to chemical fertilizer (Phule, 1993).

Atiyeh et al. (2000) found that compost was higher in ammonium, while Vermicompost tended to be higher in nitrates, which is the more plant-available form of nitrogen.

Similarly, work at NSAC by Hammermeister et al. (2004) indicated that “Vermicomposted manure has higher N availability than conventionally composted manure on a weight basis”. The latter study also showed that the supply rate of several nutrients, including P, K, S and Mg, were increased by vermicomposting as compared with conventional composting.

 Soil Benevolent Biota Benefit:

The biota introduced to the soil in vermicast (or its derivatives) can work away out of sight, releasing the minerals already there and trapping free nitrogen from the atmosphere.

Vermicasts are excellent media for harbouring N-fixing bacteria (Bhole, 1992).

Vermicompost can be as much as 1000 times as microbially active as conventional compost.

These are microbes which are much better at transforming nutrients into forms readily taken up by plants than you find in compost – because we’re talking about thermophillic microbes in compost – so that the microbial spectrum is quite different and also much more beneficial in a Vermicompost.

Vermicast acts as a disease suppressor

Edwards and Arancon (2004) report that “…we have researched the effects of relatively small applications of commercially-produced vermicomposts, on attacks by Pythium on cucumbers, Rhizoctonia on radishes in the greenhouse, and by Verticillium on strawberries and Phomopsis and Sphaerotheca fulginae on grapes in the field.

In all of these experiments, the Vermicompost applications suppressed the incidence of the disease significantly.”

Earthworms not only disperse microorganisms important in food production but also associated with mycorrhizae and other root symbionts, biocontrol agents and microbial antagonists of plant pathogens as well as microorganisms that act as pests (Edwards and Bohlen, 1996).

 Fungus Control with Worm Castings:

Four research articles were found where fungus control using worm castings was carried out under close academic protocol. Phytophthora nicotiniae3, fusarium oxysporum4, sclerotinia sclerotium5, and sclerotum cepivorum6, were able to be controlled with the use of earthworm castings.

Fungus control in inoculated soil tests was not achieved when too little of the earthworm castings were used. The 20% level (one inch layer) that the field tests showed effective was confirmed as an effective concentration in the research articles.
Improved Application and Further Tests: Several rose applications with definite fungus problems were tested with the same 20% application and showed clear improvement in less than 30 days.

 Using worm castings for insect repellence.

Chitin is a compound that makes up the main component of the exoskeleton of insects.
Chitosan is a compound that is created from the breakdown of chitin.

Chitinase is the naturally occurring enzyme that breaks chitin down into chitosan.

These worm castings contain enzymes known as various forms of chitinase of which insects have a strong aversion.

The worm castings also have the ability to activate multiplication of the chitinase-producing bacteria found naturally in plants.

Testing has shown that the natural level of chitinase found in most plants is not sufficient to repel insects. The level of chitinase is multiplied to a repulsion level with the use of worm castings.

The level of the chitinase enzyme for effective repellence is in the range of 1 million cfu/gdw (Colony Forming Units/ gram dry weight). Worm castings were submitted for tests to determine the level of the chitinase enzyme production. The tests showed concentrations of chitinase in the range of 54 million CFU/gdw. This is concentration is over 50 times the estimated level for repellence.

It was observed that ants refuse to cross a layer of worm castings.

It has been found that worm castings can be used effectively to repel insects that feed on the internal liquid or nectar of various plants.

These include a large array of insect pests including white fly, aphids, spider mites, fruit flies, and other nectar-sucking insects.

When worm castings are put into the soil of the plant feeding area (stem to drip line), the evidence indicates that the worm castings activate an increase in the internal concentration of chitinase.

The level of chitinase in the nectar of leaves before treatment with worm castings is low.

When the chitinase concentration is low, insects are not repelled.

The increase in the chitinase level on small plants to a level sufficient to repel small insects occurs in a few weeks. The increase in the level of chitinase in large plants sufficient to repel the insects takes longer.

The time to increase the level of chitinase in a large plant such as a full grown hibiscus can take several months and trees will take longer.

The pollination nectar and pollen do not appear to get an increased level of chitinase producing organisms with the use of worm castings.

White fly infested hibiscus plants were treated with worm castings.

Worm castings were applied in a ½ inch layer from the stems to the drip line.

In about two months all white fly residue and cocoons were gone.

White flies from neighbouring plants, which had not been treated, would fly around the treated leaves but not land on these leaves.

 Some important revelations by farmers: (Study in India)

  • Reduced use of ‘water for irrigation’ as application of Vermicompost over successive years improved the ‘moisture holding capacity’ of the soil.

· Reduced ‘pest attack’ (by at least 75%) in crops applied with Vermicompost. Cauliflowers grown on Vermicompost remain 95% ‘disease free’. Late Blight (fungal disease) in banana was almost reduced by over 95%.

· Reduced ‘termite attack’ in farm soil especially where worms were in good population.

· Reduced ‘weed growth’.

· Faster rate of ‘seed germination’ and rapid seedlings growth and development.

· Greater numbers of fruits per plant (in vegetable crops) and greater numbers of seeds per ear (in cereal crops), heavier in weight-better in both, quantity and quality as compared to those grown on chemicals.

· Fruits and vegetables had ‘better taste’ and texture and could be safely stored up to 6-7 days, while those grown on chemicals could be kept at the most for 2-3 days.

· Flower production (commercial floriculture) was increased by 30-50% @ 15-20 quintal/hectare.      Flower blooms were more colorful and bigger in size.

Case study of a South African Apple Farmer using Vermiculture:

Points made by Mike Leslie – Commercial apple farmer in the Free State using vermiculture.

 By incorporating vermicomposting and worm-casting tea in its apple production system, Clan Leslie Estate has improved its fruit quality, reduced input costs and improved the soil and tree health in its orchards.

Mike points to the contrast between mineral soil and the rich organic matter resulting from earthworm activity. “The earthworms manage the environment for me,” he says. “The soil is moving towards a natural state of balance (homeostasis) without chemical fertiliser.”

He estimates that this production system needs one-third less irrigation water. “The savings are significant.”

Mike was astonished when he first saw the increase in root growth as a result of the mulch and soil feed. “This increased nutrient uptake has resulted in healthier, stronger apple trees.”

Incorporating earthworms has increased yields from 50t/ha to 75t/ha in Pink Lady apples, and by 15t/ha in other varieties.


The Davley Organics Garden & Flower Fair – Sept 2013

The Davley Organics Garden & Flower Fair this Spring


2-8 September 2013

The second annual Davley Organics Garden and Flower Fair showcases, once again, all there is in landscaping, garden trends, garden accessories, services specialised plants / flowers, floral design and more.

The 2012 fair was a great success and this year, hosted again at Riverside Mall, is sure to be an even bigger and grander event.

The Fair is not just about flowers and plants, but a floral extravaganza! Numerous activities are planned which tie in with the whole theme.

So come on down, bring the kids, there will be a little something for everyone.

Retailers, landscapers, designers, nurseries are encouraged to join the event, an interactive fair which will prove a fun and exciting opportunity to interact with your customers.

We would like our exhibitors to let their creative sides go wild.

Those interested in displaying at this years annual Davley Organics Garden and Flower Fair can contact lesley

or give her a call on 082 494 4279

Davley Organics at Uplands Festival 2013

Davley Organics was pleased to attend the 2013 Uplands Festival on the Uplands Schools campus in White River, Mpumalanga.

Run by the Parents & Teachers Association the annual festival raises funds for both the Uplands Preparatory founded in 1928, Uplands College founded in 2000 and its Outreach Institute.
With an emphasis on having fun and coming together as a community, attendance has swelled year on year. What started as a “mini-festival” is now a huge annual event, well supported by local and national business, and boasting attendance in excess of 10 000 people each year. The Uplands Festival is managed by a team of volunteer parents and teachers.
This year offered a banquet of events including shows, workshops, live music, equestrian and charity events and mountain biking and trail running for the sports enthusiasts.

Davley Organics was pleased to join the Enviro Stall and give a talk on vermiculture.
Dave and Nic where warmly received and pleased to see the eagerness in people to introduce more natural and organic techniques in there gardens.
With many great discussions and questions we where once again pleased to assist people in creating healthy and sustainable environments around them and look forward to future events.

For more information on the Uplands Festival, please visit there webpage here.

Lowveld Clivia Club visits Davley Organics

Davley Organics was pleased to welcome the Lowveld Clivia Club over the weekend.

The day included a talk by David from Davley Organics, covering the processes involved on the farm, the infrastructure and Davley Organics’s products, Vermicast the dark rich organic fertilizer produced by the wriggly workforce and Worm Tea, the nutrient rich fertilizer leachate.
David’s talk was followed by a Question and Answer session with many very interesting questions raised. We hope to include some of these in one of our future Q&A articles.

For further information on the Lowveld Clivia Club, please see their Facebook page for more info and their contact details.

Many thanks to Paul Kloeck and the Clivia Club.

All the best

The Davley Organics Team.

A few snaps of the Budget Plants Pretoria instillation.


This gallery contains 2 photos.

  It was fantastic to meet everyone at Budget Plants in Pretoria yesterday. A few snaps of the instillation. All the best The Davley Organics Team.

Budget Plants, Pretoria. Welcome to the Davley Organics Family.

Budget Plants R3R5 Nursery, Lynwood Road, Pretoria, recieve their first order of vermicast and vermileachate today.
Welcome to the Davley Organics family.
Pop down today for the chance to get your hands on a bit of “the good stuff”.
Vermicast organic fertilizer is available in small bags at 20dm and big bags of 40dm.
Worm tea, perfect for your potted plants and hydroponics will be available by the 2l bottle.

For more info on Worm Tea, check out this Article.

For more info about Davley Organics and our products, check out our webpage

Click here to view our stockist list and for maps and directions to Budget plants, see our stockist map here or contact them directly via there Facebook page here.

All the best

The Davley Organics Team

The new bags have arrived.


Davley Organics is please to announce the arrival of our lovely new bags.
Bag sizes remain the same in 20 and 40 decimetres, with the added advantage of being a lot more durable.
Sparkly white and elegantly printed in an eye catching black and green with our logo and all the details you need to get planting.

We are very excited to restock our retailers with our lovely new bags, so rush out there and empty those shelves.
Don’t forget to ask for us by name, its Davley Organics, The Good Stuff!

Davley Organics on 5FM

5Fm Davley Organics is please to be featured today on 5FM’s “MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS” – THURSDAY 21/02/13 with DJ Fresh

David gave a quick one minute promotion of Davley Organics, explaining the miracle that is Vermicast and giving people a heads up on our plans for 2013.

For those who missed it, Take a listen here, then hop over the the 5FM webpage to vote for us here.


All the best

Team Davley Organics

Get-It Lowveld Sept 2012

Just in time for Spring, Davley Organics is pleased to be featured in the September Issue of the Get-It Lowveld Magazine.

Pick up your free copy today or view their online edition at here –> Link

Alternatively, read the full article below.

Many thanks to the guys at Get-It Magazine.

Q&A – Your questions answered by David of Davley Organics.

So, what is vermicast?

Vermicast is the product of decomposed organic material going through the gut of an earthworm. Earthworms process compost and release the nutrient within it in a format that is more accessible to plants to be effectively absorbed.
The largest amount of Nitrogen in vermicast is available in plant available formats, Nitrate (NO3) and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), whereas the largest amount of Nitrogen in compost and manure is in its Ammonium (NH4) format.
NPK (Nitrogen,Phosphorus,Potassium) concentrations will depend on the concentrations of these elements in the worm feed. The important key here being that the worms process it into a format that plants can absorb quicker, more effectively and in greater volumes.


Why is Davley Organics Vermicast better than your standard garden store compost or fertiliser?

Compost is simply decomposed organic material, whereas, Vermicast is the excretion produced by earthworms, it is a compound that is a fertiliser rather than a compost.
In addition to this, Vermicast enhances and re-conditions soil structure, in other words it will improve the water retention properties of a sandy soil and improve the drainage properties of a clay soil.
Its third and most important feature, is that vermicast is not just a fertiliser, but a living fertiliser containing microbes, these organisms have multiple positive effects for the plant. One being to aid in the absorption of nutrients. Microbes attaching themselves to the root hairs of a plant, absorb water and nutrients, then pass it on to the plant. Secondly, these organisms provide the NPK nutrients that plants require, in a format that is easily absorbed.

Is vermicast more expensive or the same as chemical fertilisers?

When looking at cost it is always important to compare apples with apples so to speak. Gram for gram vermicast is not expensive when compared with chemical fertilisers, but the comparison in itself is not fair. The following must be understood when looking at vermicast as opposed to a chemical fertiliser.
1. Chemical fertilisers provide nutrients for the plants and the plants only, they do nothing for the soil in terms of improving the soils quality or improving its ability to retain or drain moisture. Even slow release chemicals will eventually leach away in the soil over time.

2.Vermicast acts as a soil conditioner and has rehabilitative properties as well as providing the plants with nutrients which aid and improve growth and health.

3.Chemical fertilisers work well to boost certain nutrient levels for a plant but cannot provide sustained nutrition and soil rehabilitation the way vermicast can. We are not opposed to combining certain chemical fertilisers in the feeding regime of certain crops with vermicast, but it must be understood that vermicast provides far more long term positive effects than being a mere fertiliser.

4.Our product specifically contains earthworm eggs and baby worms. This means that our vermicast is a living fertiliser that will replicate itself in the biome of its final destination if the correct conditions are put in place. i.e enough moisture and compost for the worms to process.
What this means on a cost level is that you will have fertiliser ongoingly being produced in the area that you apply it. Worms reproduce quickly, so given the right conditions they can quickly populate your flower bed or veggie garden, thereby radically improving its soil quality and nutrient base. (How can you compare a self replicating fertiliser system to a chemical alternative?)
Vermicast is a natural fertiliser, and because it is the way nature intended, it works 100% with the natural balance and functions of the ecosystem. We believe it to be the most efficient thing to use.

How about bugs, does vermicast reduce the instances of pests on the plants?

Vermicast acts as an immune system booster in plants, they are more resistant to attacks from bugs, fungi and other plant diseases. Even when they are attacked by bugs they recover a lot quicker and show less signs of long term distress.Bugs tend to attack plants that are in a weakened state as the cell walls are softer and more easily digested. Plants being fed vermicast are thus less appetising for bugs.

What is the benefit of  Worm Tea?

Worm tea has 2 specific benefits:
1. It works well as a foliar feed and is an excellent additive to boost the plants in Spring or to nurture them in Winter. The microbes that filter down to the roots will provide the same benefits as those in vermicast.

2. Worm tea works well in hydroponics as a liquid fertiliser and also in potted plants where you do not want worm colonies breeding out and causing the plant to become too root bound because of the restrictive growth area.

Can you use just one or the other?

My recommendation is the following: Vermicast is your primary option for planting in a flower bed or veggie garden etc. Worm tea can be added to these plants in these settings as a booster but will be less effective if applied on its own. Remember you want to create a fertiliser generating colony in your garden, orchard or plantation.

Tea is very effective in instances like hydroponics or potted plants where it is applied as a  liquid fertiliser instead of vermicast and as an added booster to plants already being fed vermicast.
Worm Tea is like rocket fuel for plants in a similar way that fertiliser is, the difference being that Worm Tea has the added benefit of the microbes that support the plants development.