As I was harvesting worm castings the other night I remembered something I read recently in Teaming with Microbes (awesome book) about the immense colonies of beneficial microorganisms that can be found in worm castings and how they can be used in the fall to get a jump start for Spring planting.
It seems that many people wait until Spring has already sprung to begin fortifying their soil but we tend to overlook the fact that Autumn is a great time of year to get things started. Spreading worm castings around your garden as finish cutting down the remnants of summer crops can help develop a thriving population of microorganisms that can go to work immediately devouring dead plant matter especially, if like some of us, you mulch your beds with leaves for the winter. Mulching with chopped leaves gives the bacteria extra food which in turn is spread by worms as they eat the bacteria and spread their nutrients throughout the soil. These bacteria are a food source for many beneficial organisms from protozoa to micro arthropods to worms. They also help to deter harmful microorganisms and pests that attack our plants every year.
So remember the next time you're outside this fall to "cast" a little love around the garden and your plants will thank you for it this spring.