worms, composting, organic gardening, and nature


New Year Offerings

 

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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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Our mission at Texas Worm Ranch is to:

  • Reduce the local waste stream
  • Create beautiful and safe landscapes and gardens
  • Promote the use and enjoyment of local, sustainable, organic agriculture

The TOFGA conference is right around the corner, and we look forward to seeing all of our friends there.  We would love to schedule a time to talk about your program and see if our worm castings or aerated worm casting teas might benefit your production.  Please let us know if you would like to schedule a time to meet with us in Austin.

Worm castings and aerobically aerated worm casting teas have been a key ingredient in the success of organic and natural programs from vegetable gardens to grass fed beef operations.  We can help you increase the yield of your pastures, fields, and gardens. 

 Now is the time to think ahead about applying worm castings or an aerobically aerated worm casting tea to your property in timing with the last expected freeze date for your area.

 

Want more info?  Contact:  Heather Rinaldi or Steve Clary at info@txwormranch.com

Texas Worm Ranch is now taking bulk orders for premium worm castings.   In an effort to make it more affordable for our organic…Image partners, we will offer reduced pricing for bulk pre-orders placed a minimum of 10 weeks in advance of needing castings. A 50% deposit is required.  Pre-orders help ensure you will have the castings for application when you need them, and get an affordable price to inoculate your soil with the gold standard of beneficial soil microbiology.

This opportunity allows us to partner with our Texas farmers and ranchers in a way that helps us meet your demand, while helping you determine the best way to use our product to your farm’s health and bottom line benefit.

 ***We can also help you partner with Texas’ best applicators of soil biology inoculate field spraying***

Here is information about our product and what we hope to help you accomplish.

Feed your soil, naturally, with Texas Worm Ranch Premium Worm Castings and experience the profit and performance benefit from improving your soil ecosystem through our high quality worm castings or worm casting tea applications.

Test results:  “Above expected levels of bacteria and fungi, great diversity (of protozoa) – good for soil functioning in all conditions, good inoculums of both bacteria and fungi.  Nitrogen Cycling Potential:  300 lbs/acre”– Earthfort Labs

 Want more info?  Contact:  info@txwormranch.com

 Why buy Texas Worm Ranch Premium Worm Castings?

Our Goal is to ensure that our castings are the premium standard for the industry, in both nutrient value and soil biology.  Texas Worm Ranch is committed to a quality product that will greatly improve your soil health and production, increasing your profit potential.

  • Unlike other casting producers, our worms are never fed peat moss (an unsustainable and antimicrobial food source) or just one food source of any kind. 
  • We custom feed a diverse mix of natural vegetative waste to produce a premium standard of abundant biomass of beneficial soil organisms and nutrients.
  • Our castings are tested by a SoilFoodWeb and Dr. Elaine Ingram approved laboratory for diversity and mass of soil biology and nutrient cycling potential.
  • We use our castings in our own organic yard and tree treatments and vegetable production.  We require the highest quality for our purposes and pass that quality on for our customers’ success.
  • Our castings are harvested weekly and kept moist and alive to ensure you get the highest quality and diversity of biological life when applied to your property or clients’ property.
  • We also partner with two other TOFGA members who are widely regarded as the state’s best applicators of organic treatments.  If you are within their service regions, we will be able to connect you with them to apply Texas Worm Ranch casting product on your property.

Most regions in Texas will experience their last freeze date in Mid-March.  If you would like to benefit most from our early order discount, the time to order is before January 10th!  Email us today and we will get you started for success in 2013.

Info @txwormranch.com

 

 

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Season Greetings from Texas Worm Ranch!
It’s the Holiday Season, and Texas Worm Ranch sends our warmest wishes to our friends! If you are thinking local, sustainable or organic–with a twist of fun, we can help you fill your holiday needs.  Whether you order online or email us to meet your local DFW shopping needs, we are here to help!
Here are a couple events we will be at and some items we are offering that can fill that stocking of your organically minded friend or family member.
  • White Rock Local Market:  Dec 8th,  9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.  
  • Coppell Farmer’s Market:  Dec 8th, 8:00 a.m – Noon 
Local Offer:  Email us by December 6th to pick up a pre-made Working Worm Bin at either of these markets or our worm warehouse and receive a FREE! 2 lb bag of Texas Worm Ranch Worm Castings!
What is a pre-made Worm Bin you ask?    

   

Our Worm Bins are the perfect size for the home vermicomposter.  We set up a “working” worm bin with already established microbial activity and a habitat the worms enjoy and are adapted to.  The bin is a pre-drilled and properly ventilated 10 gallon container with compost, newspaper bedding and 1/2 lb of red wiggler worms.  Within 2 months (just in time for early spring planting!) you will be producing worm castings for your garden and worm cocoons to increase your herd. 

Cost: 40.00 per bin.

Just want the poop?  Here are a couple options for the black gold of organic gardening – 100% Premium Texas Worm Ranch Worm Castings!

2 lb Gift Bag of Texas Worm Ranch Premium Worm Castings:  $5.00
-OR-

Buy two of our 10lb bags ($20.00 each) and get a 2lb gift bag for FREE!

Worm Castings Large & Small

Freshly harvested, biologically rich and nutrient dense worm castings.  Perfect for potted plants, seed starting, veggie and flower gardens.  $5 for local pickup or free with Pre-ordered Working Worm Bin!
Yes, we can ship!  For an extra $6.75, we’ll gladly ship your order anywhere in the continental US!

To order, email us at:  rancher@txwormranch.com and we will send you a secure Paypal Invoice.

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook!  Like us on Facebook

Texas Worm Ranch | 10137 Shorview | Suite A | Dallas | TX | 75238

Planting Seeds of Change


Worm Rancher, Organic Gardener, Ecopreneur, Environmentalist, Educator, Wife, Mom…just a few of the roles I play.  Educator is one of my favorite hats…every Wednesday, I teach a group of great middle school kids about organic gardening, food systems, and healthy eating.  We’ve built and planted a garden, tended it, and watched as things suspiciously disappeared.  Finally, we pulled our first harvest yesterday!

ImageThe Boys Are Excited to See the Season’s First Radish from Their Plot!

 

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While the boys were proudly posing, the girls found a bigger radish in their plot!

 

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We judged that they probably weighed about the same, so everybody was a winner.

These kids love making wholesome snacks–we’ve made everything from Whole Grain Elvis Sandwiches to Free-Range, Breakfast Egg Casserole.  They’ve explored different dips:  hummus, tzaziki and pumpkin.  They got to play with pullets and learned the entire egg and poultry business food cycle from a local urban chicken keeper. 

Yesterday, we started with harvesting our class worm bin, looked at the worm casting microbes under the microscope (identified nematodes!), ate a healthy, organic snack, discussed food labels a bit and harvested and sliced the radishes for everybody to have a bite.  That’s a lot, but these kids are hungry for more…learning and good, healthy food.

Now, if I can just resist my urge to take a sledge hammer to the gross vending machine in the hallway!  That’s the Mom in me, that can’t stand to see the preservative filled, HFCS, high trans fat, and processed Frankenfood that lures these kids every day.

I’ll keep on teaching and growing and hope some of this sinks in for these kids to make better choices.  Our county (Dallas) has a crisis task force on childhood obesity.  I humbly present a couple of starting points for reducing the problem–remove the vending machine, add more after school nutrition and garden education, give them seeds and watch them grow. 

 

 

 


There’s no need to call the leaf blower!

Your daily food for thought: Do forests need chemical fertilization?

No.

Why? Because the trees shed leaves or pine needles for self-fertilization. Just like in your yard–see those bags on your curb? You just threw your free fertilizer away. Mulch mow that in or compost it. If you have excess, you can take it to a local farmer or community garden.  Sending ti to the landfill just takes up landfill space and creates methane air pollution when it decomposes there.

That noisy leaf blower…not only does it irritate your neighbors and make you deaf, but it creates the same amount of toxic air pollution as 17 cars used the same amount of time.

Our planet’s soil used to be an ecosystem with microscopic organisms that ate and returned nutrients to trees and grass  from decomposing leaves, grass, and other organic debris while keeping disease and pests in balance (funny how Nature provides that and we didn’t need chemicals until post WW2, right?).  Most Americans have spent thousands of dollars on chemical fertilizers, weed killers, pesticides and fungicides that kill off this healthy ecosystem.  It’s about the same as deciding your body doesn’t need skin to protect it anymore, lets just kill it!  So now, many of our urban yards and vast acres of conventional croplands are sterile soil ecosystems–ripe for pests, ripe for disease, and needing more and more chemical fertilizers to look like golf course paradises.

Those chemicals, the ones with millions of dollars of advertising?  Started with petro-chemical companies wanting to get rid of excess munitions after WWII  Today, they kill off our natural soil organisms that should be working for us, are hazardous to our families with constant exposure as we play in our yards, and runoff and pollute our waterways.  Midwest cropland chemical pollution travels all the way down the Mississippi River and destroys prime coastal habitats in the Gulf of Mexico.

How do we restore our soil ecosystem and put those wonderful micro-organisms back into our soil and stop the cycle of pollution?  First, use those leaves!  Second, Worm castings and worm casting teas are one of the most complete and rich sources of these natural microbes.  Caveat–maybe not the bags of worm castings you buy at the retail nursery.  They are dried and sealed tightly in an airtight plastic bag.  No oxygen or moisture=no life.–  Texas Worm Ranch  harvests and sells our worm castings the same week, puts them in breathable bags and strives to have the highest number of beneficial microbes, backed up by microscope and laboratory testing.  We can ship small amounts or arrange for large amounts.  We can spray your property locally in the Dallas Ft. Worth area or help you make your own worm casting tea anywhere in the country.  We are here to help you have a safe, natural, and healthy ecosytem–from your yard, your family and our mutual planet.  E-mail us at rancher@txwormranch.com and let us know your needs.


I often have customers tell me they have bought worm castings from a retail nursery and not really noticed any improvement from the application.  There is a good reason or two for that.  1)  If castings are dried and sealed in a clear, airtight container–there is no chance for beneficial soil microbes to be alive.  2)  Often, the retail castings are produced from straight peat moss.  Peat moss harvesting is destructive to the habitats they come from. Peat is also known to be antimicrobial, which defeats the soil microbe building purpose of worm castings.  The reason the producers use Peat Moss?  It looks a lot like worm castings, so that when screened, the customer doesn’t know the difference and just believes it is all a uniform product.  I call it the McDonald’s effect–the urge for consistency, even if it is an inferior product.

Our castings may not look entirely uniform.  We do screen at a 1/8 inch size screening, so the vast majority of the material will be straight castings.  Any other material is great food for the living microbes in the castings to continue feeding on and activating your soil with.  I love picking up and holding our freshly harvested castings.  It almost feels like a high dollar spa treatment in your hands–cool, earthy, moist and smelling of forest floor.  We harvest weekly to get our customers the freshest castings possible.  Our castings are packaged in breathable bags to maintain microbe life.  We also sell in bulk, and maintain that same level of quality whether you buy 2 lbs or 2,000.

Why buy Texas Worm Ranch Castings?

  • Unlike other casting producers, our worms are never fed peat moss (an unsustainable and antimicrobial food source) or just one food source of any kind. 
  • We custom feed a diverse mix of natural vegetative waste to produce a premium standard of abundant biomass of beneficial soil organisms and nutrients.
  • We use our castings in our own organic yard and tree treatments and vegetable production.  We require the highest quality for our purposes, and pass that quality on for our customers’ success.
  • Our castings are harvested weekly and kept moist and alive to ensure you get the highest quality and mass of biological life when applied to your property.
  • We monitor by microscope for diverse and abundant beneficial microbes and will soon have test results from a SoilFoodWeb and Dr. Elaine Ingram approved laboratory for diversity and mass of soil biology and nutrient cycling potential.

Our Goal is to ensure that our castings are the premium standard for the industry, in both nutrient value and soil biology.  Texas Worm Ranch commits to quality and our mission is to:

Reduce the local waste stream

Create beautiful and safe landscapes, gardens, and farms

Promote the use and enjoyment of local, sustainable and organic agriculture

We appreciate your support of this mission and sincerely appreciate your business.

Happy Growing!

 

Happy Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving time, one of our favorite holidays.  Where nothing is expected but good food, good football and minor family drama.  It is a time of harvest abundance and a time to give thanks.  At Texas Worm Ranch, we would like to express our thanks to our customers who have offered friendship, encouragement, and support throughout this year.  We truly appreciate your business!

This Saturday is our last farmer’s market opportunity at White Rock Local Market before your glorious Thanksgiving meal.  Many farmers will be bringing their best Fall produce to help you with your menu.  Please consider supporting these local farmers, as the market season is about to wind down.  I know they would be thankful for your kind support of their families and farms.

At Texas Worm Ranch, we grow everything naturally.  No chemicals are ever used, but our plants are given lots of natural tender loving care to ensure they are delicious, fresh, safe and nutrient dense.  Did you know we grow our produce less than 2 miles from White Rock Local Market?  That is almost as fresh as growing it yourself!  

What I have found can transport my Thanksgiving meals from pedestrian to gourmet, is the use of fresh herbs.  This Saturday, at White Rock Local Market, we will have fresh sage to add to your Turkey or Dressing.  Fresh chives can make your potato dish pop, and fresh mint will be available to add an extra element to tea or dessert.  Yes, we will bring kale and Swiss Chard and arugula too. We look forward to being a small part of your family’s Happy Thanksgiving.

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Just a Little Patience


It’s that transitional time of the year…school is starting, football is coming, and the temperatures (much to our dismay) are fighting to stick to summer.  This puts a kibosh on best laid plans, but you gotta roll with the punches.

1)  Shipping Worms:  100 degrees and high humidity is not a great opportunity to ship worms.  Best case, the worms would get to your house in less than 24 hours, in air-conditioning all the way, and be handed to you early morning by a cute Postal Employee.  More likely scenario:  Worms get shuffled and squashed under heavy boxes in the un-air-conditioned postal van and forgotten until last drop of the day.  At this point, they would no longer be worms.  Dripping from the box would be a disgusting soup that looks just like the dead vampire goo on True Blood and smells like it comes from the 9th level of Hell.  Unfortunately, for me and a box of worms that got returned (address unknown) to us, I know this personally.  I don’t want to do that to you, your postman, or the worms.  It’s bad, really bad.  Please understand and don’t be mad when we suggest that it would be better to wait a few weeks before shipping.

Worm Orders:

Until it cools down a bit, we are actually in a state of suspended animation at the Worm Ranch.  In an effort to conserve on the electric bill, we have the thermostat at 85 degrees.  Worms can survive at this temperature.  However, it doesn’t matter how much Barry White we play on the stereo…these worms just aren’t in the mood for procreation.  As I overheard one worm say to another, “Hermie, don’t even think about touching me in this heat!”.  So, until it cools a bit, we have enough worms to keep us at a good number for producing castings, but they aren’t laying cocoons so we can sell them to you.  As soon as the temps dip just a little bit, we should have a population explosion and have plenty of worms.  Until then, hope you can understand they just aren’t in the mood.

Gardens:  100 degree heat is great for Okra, Southern Peas and Basil.  When I come home from the gardens, beaming at our bounty, I’m met with the welcome, “Really, more okra!?”.  It’s just too hot to plant those broccoli and other Fall crops and expect them to survive.  I can hardly handle the heat and humidity to manage basic garden chores, myself.  Not sure if the gardens or I are soaked more after I water them.

Soon, we’ll be enjoying cooler temps, pumpkin pie and wishing for Spring…until then, please have a little patience.  Fall Gardening and Worm Keeping is really great (they love pumpkins!) and worth the wait.Image


Wow!  It’s been a crazy couple of years as an Urban Organic “Farmer”.  Last year we saw heat and drought that took me back in time to our Oklahoma farm and the the awful summer of 1980.  Just like then, the earth was scorched, the heat was unbearable and crops sizzled under the Sun.  This year, August is proving a much milder fellow, but our nemesis is falling like rain from the sky.  Our County is dumping toxic pesticide from airplanes in an inane attempt to combat West Nile Virus carrying mosquitoes.  So, we have beautiful crops that we can’t eat or sell, because we don’t want to sell anything we won’t feed our families!

Despite all this, I feel hope.  It’s nearly a new season.  I’ve placed my faith in seeds nestled in flats. I’ve given them love and tender care by placing them in sunny spots during the cooler parts of the day and bringing them into the shade during the heat of the day.  I have brought them in to avoid the overnight pesticide spraying.  I pray for sense and reason to come to our local government and awareness and education to enlighten our citizens.

In this vein, Texas Worm Ranch has an educational opportunity to help enlighten people who want to tread a lighter footprint, our Urban Sustainable Ecosystem workshops.  We have brought in a team of experts to help you turn your backyard into an organic and sustainable oasis.  I’m really worried about the bees and other pollinators that have been devastated by this spraying.  North Texas’s best bee educators, Brandon and Susan Pollard, from Texas Honeybee Guild, will teach us how to create a backyard pollinator habitat.

I’ll be teaching you how to create a Fall Garden, which is a big passion of mine.  I’m not sure people realize just how productive a Fall and Winter Garden can be.  Year round food crops are possible here in North Texas, and winter greens and daily salads are a wonderful way to eat healthy at a lower cost.  Also, it is much easier to garden when it isn’t 110 degrees and all the pests are out!

John Krause, from Living Natural First Radio, is a longtime organic gardener and radio host on Natural Living.  He will start off our day by outlining why and how you can become organic and sustainable in your yard.  We’ll give detailed compost education, so you will be successful with saving money by converting your yard and food waste.  Carrie Dubberly of Dubberly Landscaping info on saving water costs by using a Rain Garden.  Finally, Roger Sanderson, Director of Horticulture at Texas Discovery Gardens will be teaching us how we can help our native creatures and save money by using more drought tolerant and native plants (Fall is the best time to install all plants, bushes and trees in our area!).

This is just the first of 2 workshops.  Our educators aim to help our natural ecosystem heal from the effects of heat, drought, and toxic chemicals.  We need to help get the word out on how to accomplish this.  After attending, we hope that you will have a safer and more affordable landscape.  More importantly, we hope you will come and learn how to become an ambassador in spreading these messages of stewardship and sustainability throughout your neighborhoods.  Please consider joining us, learning more, and “beeing” the bridge to saner, more natural living.  Our bees and other creatures, our children and grandchildren, and our communities will be better for it.

Here is the link to sign up for one or both workshops:

Urban Sustainable Ecosystems

Happy Gardening!

Heather Rinaldi

Texas Worm Ranch