worms, composting, organic gardening, and nature

Archive for January, 2013

Richer, More Moral and Happier–want to sign up?


“Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.” ~Letter from Thomas Jefferson to George Washington (1787)

Texas Worm Ranch has new adventures in store in 2013.  We have new seeds to sow and new garden canvases to paint our hopes on. 

 Our first news is that the worm ranch is expanding into a building almost twice as large.  This will allow us to increase our ability to help our large scale organic farmers and ranchers with bulk worm casting orders to improve their pastures and crop lands.  The best news, for us, is that the new building also has growing space in front of the building, and the possibility to begin a roof garden in the future.

 The other news to share with you is that we will work in conjunction with White Rock Local Market to begin a working garden and teaching lab for organic and sustainable gardening.  White Rock Local Market has gained access to an urban garden space.  Texas Worm Ranch will provide day to day management and expertise.

 I’m very excited to expand our ability to provide more access to fresh, local, and naturally grown food right here in the city!  To be honest, selling produce isn’t the modern way to financial success.  Most consumers don’t understand the true cost and risk of growing food.  As a small, urban and organic farmer, we don’t apply for government subsidies or insurance like the big agribusiness conglomerates.  I’m perfectly fine with that, since I prefer my conscience to be at peace.  That makes it harder for us to make a financial profit off of growing food than a large scale, conventional farmer that is subsidized in their growing.  However, if we can accomplish two things, I think we will feel like the richest people in Texas:

 1) Teach others the joy, benefits and expertise to accomplish sustainable gardening—reducing water use and eliminating toxic chemicals, welcoming beneficial insects and pollinators. We will promote the building of healthy soil ecosystems which result in nutrient dense and safe (and delicious) food.

 2)  Increase our local Metroplex food security.  There is very little food grown directly in our city.  There are a few community gardens, but not everybody can garden in their backyard or in a community garden.  These people still want access to healthier food choices, but may have time, disability or expertise concerns that prevent them from gardening on their own. Our naturally grown food will be free from GMOs, free from chemicals, and will be safe and nutrient dense.  Instead of traveling hundreds or thousands of miles, it will go straight from field to farmer’s market.  In the event of local or national disturbances (frozen roads, terror events, salmonella scares, hurricanes, etc.), we will not be barred from eating, because we will be growing right here in the City, and not dependent on transportation from other regions.  Furthermore, White Rock Local Market (where we sell the bulk of our produce) accepts SNAP benefits, so that families who need a hand up can feed their children fresh and healthful food also.

If you believe in Thomas Jefferson’s missive to our first President—that you would be richer, more moral, and happier from getting a little dirt under your nails—we have plenty of volunteer/learning opportunities coming up.  Send us an email at:  rancher@txwormranch.com, and we will see what interests you have and where you might like to unplug from the trappings of modern life, travel back in time, and become a gentleman or gentlewoman farmer.

 Thanks for your support as we grow!

 

 

 

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Therapy Worms?


Our modern world is full of constant multi-tasking and information overload.  Texts, emails, phone calls, etc., never give your brain a chance to just have a little reload.  Personally, the demands of family and business feel both exciting and overwhelming, with rarely a 2 minute break from one function to the other.  Actually, it all pretty much melds together.  I’ll find time for that phone call while cooking dinner, bring the kids to the Worm Ranch to do homework while I work, or any number of times I have tried to squeeze it all in to be the best Mom and business owner I can be.

That constant demand usually has my wits and nerves sauteed to a brown crisp.  Trying to figure out sales tax and finalize two science fair projects in the same day just might throw an Einstein-minded Zen Master into orbit.  What seems to help?  A little unmindful task called worm harvesting.

Harvesting worms is something that takes time and concentration, but there is not a whole lot of brain power needed.  Truly it is the “wax-on, wax-off” of mind clearing.  My business partner and former employees might like to rock out while harvesting, but I prefer solitude and silence.  Since I haven’t been able to use the bathroom uninterrupted by myself for the last 10 years, I hold a lot of respect for solitude and silence.  My minds is hungry for it, and my entire central nervous system is desperate to be turned on low volume.

The worms don’t talk back.  They don’t fight with their sister.  They don’t lovingly start sentences with, “What you really should do is…”.  They don’t even have a brain (just a couple of neurons up there).  Harvesting them is just a simple, mindless, repetitive task that allows your mind and nerves to relax.  After 20 minutes of that, you would be amazed at the things your mind can come up with.  Sometimes, you just need a break from the constant noise in your life to stay calm and carry on.

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The Tao of the Worm?

When I hand over a local box of worms, or tuck them in to ship…I think to myself, here they are–they’ll eat your scraps and bring you peace of mind.  My favorite thing to say is, “yes, I can give you worms.”  Little do my customers know that they are getting so much more.

 

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New Year Offerings


New Year Offerings

 

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Why You Should Add Worm Composting to Your New Year’s Resolutions.


How much food waste does your family throw away?  Down the drain and in the trash, food is truly wasted.  Put in a worm bin and decomposed in an aerobic matter, it is a totally different story.  Start worm composting today, and you’ll never waste food again.

I started worm composting nearly 5 years ago.  As an organic gardener, I was researching ways to reduce my nursery amendment costs.  Worm composting seemed too good to be true, but I decided to give it a shot.  It was much easier than I imagined.  The worms became the easiest members of my household.  I could simply feed them a handful of food scraps every few days and they were happy.  After approximately 8 weeks, I was ready for my first harvest of worm castings.  It took quite a while, but I harvested about 2 gallons of castings.  This wasn’t going to be enough to help all my vegetable gardens, so I decided to make an aerated worm casting tea and apply that to my beds.

The results were phenomenal; my plants blew me away with their health and productivity.  Other members of our community garden took notice too, and asked me to make some of the tea too.  We had a spot of brown patch fungal disease in our lawn, and after one application, the fungal disease was in remission and healthy grass came back into the dead zone.

A cycle of health and wellness came from plants and people, and it improved our budget as well.  My family ate, we fed our scraps to the worms, the worm ate, and we fed their “waste” to our gardens, which we ate!  A full circle with little waste, and lots of wholesome food for our family could not be beat.

Now, you shouldn’t expect to be able to give all your food waste to one bin of worms.  It would simply overpower the system.  That’s ok.  We hot compost too, and use that to fill our garden beds with good planting material.  The worm castings are much, much more nutrient and biologically rich.  That is what we use in small amounts to add to our seed starter mix, amend our soil, make worm teas from, and boost unhealthy plants back to vigorous growth.

Here are a few other reasons to add worm composting to your 2013 resolutions:

Fact:  The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that each U.S. resident throws away 7.2 ounces of food waste each day. Dallas County had an estimated 2008 Census Population of 2,412,827 people. That population would produce 1,085,772 lbs. of food waste a day! Families or individuals that vermicompost remove that waste stream from the landfill.

Fact:  A typical cubic yard of residential waste weighs 225 lbs/cubic yard.  A typical garbage truck can hold 25 cubic yards of waste.  If all food waste was vermicomposted on site, 193 garbage truck trips could be reduced every day in Dallas County.

Fact:  In a healthy worm bin, the worms and beneficial microbes work together to neutralize odors.  Worm bins are suitable indoor composting systems.

Fact:  Vermicomposting is not only important as a space benefit, but it also removes the danger of harmful methane gas being produced by the food and leaf waste in the landfills, which is then released into our air for decades to come. Worm composting does not produce methane.

Let us know how we can help you get started vermicomposting…give us an email at:  rancher@txwormranch.com or order from our website and we will help you get started.

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