Earthworm Farming in South Africa

Earthworm farming is now more common than ever in South Africa. The popularity of this unique recycling system began in earnest in 2004 and has spread to almost every street and suburb and by all indications, is set to become even more popular. In Australia, eight out of every 10 households have one, and we will surely follow suit. If you haven’t yet discovered the benefits of earthworms, read on and you will be amazed at what this humble little creature can do.

The burrowing earthworm is Nature’s own plough, her chemist, her cultivator, her fertilizer and her distributor of food. Many farmers and gardeners have realised that in soil in which earthworms lived, plant and vegetable life prospered. This fact has long been known and has attracted the keen interest of many of our top scientists. Chief among them was Charles Darwin, who published his book “The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms, with Observations on their Habits.” It was his last scientific book, and was published shortly before his death. Darwin was fascinated by their behaviour, from enjoying “the pleasure of eating” (based on their eagerness for certain foods) to their sexual passions, “strong enough to overcome… their dread of light”, even to their social feelings (“crawling over each other’s bodies”). Their foraging was especially intriguing to him: “they dragged leaves into their burrows, pulling them in the most efficient way.” Darwin felt we “ought to be grateful” to these little recyclers. This work was praised by the leading geologists, describing it as “a new & important theory to explain phenomena of universal occurrence on the surface of the Earth-in fact, the discovery of a new Geological Super Power.”

Earthworms indeed can be described as a “geological super power”. It is their ability to transform sand and organic deposits in soil to their highest form, “humus” that has the world in awe. This fact is even more astounding when one compares this ability to nature’s own forces, which takes over 300 years to perform the same feat. Humus, often described as “the life force” in soil is what binds and holds our soils together. It also contains the largest amount of beneficial micro-organisms, which is critical to the health of our soils. Without humus our soils would simply be a mixture of sterile, life-less particles of sand. If one considers the fact that every creature and plant on this planet, depends on soil in one way or other, one can appreciate the importance of the earthworm to our own continued existence. In a general sense one could say, “If you have earthworms in your garden, you have healthy soil and if you have none, you have very unhealthy soil.”

An earthworm farm works very simply. The earthworms will basically feed on all your kitchen cuttings and peels and transform them into fine rich organic castings or ‘humus’. The castings look very similar to ground filter coffee. Earthworm castings are regarded as the best organic fertilizer known to man. The farm uses a stack system to work by allowing your worms to move from the lower tray to the upper tray through the holes in their bases. The regular home owner will feed the worms until the trays become near full. At that point the owner will starve out the worms in the lower tray by only feeding the upper tray. The worms move instinctively to where the food is, leaving behind their rich organic castings in the lower tray. This process allows you to tip out the castings into your garden, before returning the empty tray back to the system where the same starving out approach is applied to the other tray. Once a system reaches maturity the owner can produce 20l of earthworm castings every 8 weeks, using this rotation system. The earthworm farm has an extra tray called the collection tray (the bottom tray) which is fitted with a tap and is used to collect all the liquids in the system called worm tea. This is an excellent liquid fertilizer and is used by competition vegetable growers to super size their produce.

An earthworm farm is simple to use and is inexpensive. A complete system with a thousand worms can pay itself off within the first few months. Your garden will be transformed into your own paradise as plants grown in earthworm castings thrive and prosper. To encourage the natural earthworms in your soil, apply a small handful of castings from your farm, or purchased from your leading nurseries, per square meter throughout your garden. The added castings, increases the microbiological activity in your soil which attracts the worms to the top surface. Once you can maintain a population of earthworms in excess of 300 per square meter your soil will be as fertile as you could possibly want it. This natural and organic approach to gardening is the true reason why earthworm farming is becoming so popular in South Africa. No gardener or farmer can do their best without them. Buy your earthworm farm today and join the every increasing number of suburban organic gardeners. Apart from feeding organisms in the soil, earthworm castings improves the soil structure and fertility and provides plants with all the nutrients they need to grow and stay healthy. Earthworm castings are also an effective pest repellent and allows you to be completely organic and will save you money on expensive fertilizers. Plants that are grown in castings and natural organic fertilizers have many benefits. In general, the foliage is thicker, a richer green, even at the top where others of its age show thin foliage and bare twigs. Trees are well filled with fruit and records show they produce crops just as outstanding as their appearance. But the truly remarkable thing about plants grown in worm castings is that they need less labour, less water and less fertilizer than is used by any other method of gardening. All roots thrive in castings and it is not possible to over fertilize.

The locally manufactured farm produced by Suburban Earthworms is stronger than the imported units and still remains the most popular system. The system is larger in volume than most and is the easiest system to use on the market. Buy Proudly South African.

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