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Dr. Monique Mazza’s Vermiculture Mini-Workshop. Part 2. At Earthaven Ecovillage

Dr. Monique Mazza: Hey y’all! This is Dr. Monique Mazza from Earthaven Ecovillage with part two of our vermiculture video. In the first part we already went over how to feed our worms and set them up so they’re going to be happy critters and producing worm castings for you in the first two levels.

Today I’m going to show you the finished layered level three, as all the castings have been processed through the worms body, and what to do with the castings.

So here we go…We’re going to take off these first two layers and be careful with your back because it’s pretty heavy and voila!

Usually this finished layer has no visible worms in it. There’s probably going to be some down below, it kind of looks like a dehydrated version. There should be no leaf matter or no real visible evidence of food and if we just start going through here we could see it’s a real fluffy kind of material. Usually little circular, little pebbles looking. So we’re just gonna scratch it a bit and the best way there are likely to be worms down at the bottom of this. But really because you’ve been feeding the two upper trays there’s perforations in the trays when the food is gone from this level they will naturally start to crawl up into the layers where there’s active feeding happening.

So, typically to harvest this we create a pyramid because there’s likely to be worms in here that we don’t want to get stuck in our casting buckets.  See, here’s one that’s still eating something. So we create a bit of a pyramid and as natural nature has it bugs the worms do not like to be in the sun. So what we do is by creating this pyramid we make them a little bit uncomfortable and then the worms will dive down to the bottom of this. Then leaving this for about 10 minutes like that and then we can come back as the worms will now dive down.

They’ll have evicted this top layer and then we can take this and put this in a bucket and it’s ready to be applied to the plants. There are some egg shells in here because I think that that just helps aerate it but that’s fine if they’re part of it.

Storing this is best in a bucket with a closed lid. This is alive with lots of probiotics and so using this as soon as possible is best. If you have to store it, store it with a lid so it retains its moisture.

Basically what I do is take one handful of this per plant. If I’ve just transplanted some seedlings, some small plants, I would just take a handful of this and scratch it around the base of the plant. Then let nature do the rest.

These are our worm castings one of nature’s free best composting that I could find and help our plants be more medicinal for us. So use your worms, use your kitchen compost, and enjoy!

Thanks for watching the video!

Courtney Brooke: What’s going on with that spout down?

Dr. Monique Mazza: There? Oh, the spout is basically the leachate. This is the water that comes down and this is not really supposed to be used.

It’s keeping drainage happening. So this is always open. If it gets too wet it’s a problem. So we want to have it the right level of moisture. So we wet our leaves before we put them in there but we don’t put them in dripping. We actually squeeze the water out before we make the bedding.

Then this leachate typical it said not to put this directly on plants. What I do with this is I dilute it and then I put this in my main compost pile. So I think there’s benefits to it but I think that it’s too strong. It could burn the plants. So diluting it and then I throw it in my big compost pile for further breakdown.

That’s it. It’s really fun and it’s so rewarding. Your worms will love you. So enjoy the worm castings and have vibrant plants!

 

Castings, Compost, Dr. Monique Mazza, Vermiculture, Worm


Courtney Brooke

Courtney Brooke (she/her) is a Social Ecologist, Regenerative Designer, and educator whose work aims to reconnect people with a sense of belonging to place. Her work in the world aims to address the root cause of today’s overwhelming ecological challenges – that humans are starved of a sense of belonging to the places they live. Courtney Brooke was raised on a small farm in North Georgia, and has been guided by a lifetime of living close to the land. Her greatest teachers have been the Appalachian Mountains, the land of Aotearoa, and Selu, the Corn Mother. She holds a degree in Ecology from the Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, and has 10 years of experience facilitating earth-based education, ecological landscape design, women’s rites of passage, and cultural healing. Courtney Brooke has taught and facilitated environmental education curriculum, Deep Ecology, Permaculture Design Courses, hands-on craft and farming workshops, and Holistic Management to a wide range of audiences in nine countries from toddlers to adults and everyone in between. Deeply committed to spreading the healing that comes from belonging to the places we live, Courtney Brooke is passionate about designing learning opportunities that celebrate life. She lives at Earthaven Ecovillage where she tends the land, raises food, participates in communal ritual agriculture, swims in wild water, enjoys the mysterious blessing of being alive, and tends her own wild Hearth. She loves cooking home-grown and wild foraged foods, playing her flute to the sunrise, running on mountain trails, making compost piles, crafting from natural materials, and bringing people together to create beauty that feeds the holy.

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