Long have we extolled the virtue of vermicast, the high Humus content, the soluble nutrients and the beneficial micro-organisms. All these posts can be found by using the search bar on the bottom of our page, but today we’re delving into the world of hormones. You know how powerful these chemicals are, just spend time with a teenager. What you may not know is how they work in plants. The most important plant hormone is called Auxin, there are many different combinations of Auxin chemicals governed by 4 main groups. They dictate growth patterns like sprouting leaves at the right time or concentrating on root production. Indeed when used in concentration Auxin is a powerful herbicide, telling Dandelions not to produce leaves for example. It controls plant growth and behavior, without a nervous system, Auxin allows a plant to adapt to its environment. Think of tree rings, a tree will limit its growth in a dry spell allowing it to survive. Auxin moves from cell to cell in plants and it’s this distribution that facilitates plant growth, the amount of Auxin in relation to other hormonal components like cytokinin tells a plant to bud or develop roots. Naturally occurring Auxin is found in worm castings and a huge benefit to plant growth, plants don’t have glands to make hormones, each cell must individually combine molecules to create them. Ready made Auxin when available is quickly utilized by plants, speeding growth and lessening stress. Man made Auxin is the main component in the defoliant Agent Orange, which tells you just how powerful these hormones are.
Where does the Auxin in castings come from, we’ve discussed how the bacteria that worms (and us for that matter) use to digest food can break the Nitrogen bond and how Potassium and Phosphorus are transformed into usable fertilizer through vermicomposting. Auxin comes from the worms themselves, more specifically in the mucus produced by glands along the worms body. This adds a new dimension to the wonder of vermicast and is another reason why it truly is…Nature’s Perfect Plant Food.
We’re not scientists here but think it’s important to learn more and more about our product and our “livestock”, if you’re an expert and spot some glaring flaw in this or any other post please don’t hesitate to contact us. Inquiring minds want to know.