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Dr. Monique Mazza’s Vermiculture Mini-Workshop. Part 1. At Earthaven Ecovillage

(transcript from video)

Hi! This is Monique Mazza. I’m a Naturopathic physician and I live at Earthaven Ecovillage.

I’m going to show y’all today working with my friends the worms to help us make really nutritious fertilizer for the soil which helps us have more medicinal foods. Part of my passion is helping people understand how foods can be medicinal and my worms are a big part of that.

Introduction and Benefits

So we’re working with a worm vermiculture system that I inherited and it’s a three-stage system that uses our common kitchen scraps which are mostly vegetables. Here I have some chopped up carrots brussels sprouts and a little bit of leftover tofu that we’re going to feed them.

This is a three-stage system that will first show you how to feed the worms so that they proliferate, they will ingest the food, and then basically process it into what are called castings. Those are one of the most nutritious things that I found that helped boost my little baby plants. So they create a casting which is a fertilizer that’s filled with nutrition that’s readily available for the plants.

I’ll show that at the end but in my history of working with gardening I haven’t found anything that gives a small seedling a rapid boost of growth and green compared to the worm casting. So I’m really passionate about it. It also helps us keep our kitchen waste out of the landfill.

And it’s a really doesn’t have any smell so we keep it in a warm place in our home during the winter and then in the summer we put it usually in a shady spot on the north side of our house.

Another benefit of worm castings besides nourishing our plants is it’s actually can be made a foliar spray. So you can take the castings…I won’t demonstrate this but maybe in another video… taking the castings soaking it in water and using that water as a foliar spray diluted. It’s the actual pesticide so it helps give the plants defense, sort of like a microbiotic a probiotic boost so they defend themselves from the bugs that are around.

So many benefits, but let’s open this up and see our worms how they’re doing today.


So we create a bedding for the worms out of simple soil and some shredded leaves you can also do this with any other clean material like newspaper.

I like to keep it as natural as possible so I like to use shredded leaves that are wet and we create about a two inch thickness of that. Then we have some soil and we’ll find our veggies in here and then normally we’ll find a spot where our worms are working and… Excuse me, little guys and gals here…

We have our nice blob of worms eating eating and producing their poop which are their castings.

So they’re busy at work here. I pretty much always keep them covered. Some people feed on the surface. I found that putting the food the scraps a little bit below definitely below this layer of leaves, because that’ll keep the bugs away. I just find a little hole and I try to work in a clockwise position but really it’s so simple there aren’t many rules to this. The simpler the better.

I don’t have a weight ratio that I feed the worms I just kind of keep an eye on it. If you’re feeding them too much, the food’s going to be sitting there and it’ll cause lots of fly so that’ll be your signal that it’s too much. Just wait a few days let them eat that down come back.

I’m creating a hole. I’m burying the scraps that are chopped up in small pieces and then I’m just gonna cover it with the soil first and then go back and cover it with the leaves.

Again moisture is really important because without that the worms will dry up and they won’t be happy. They’ll actually start crawling out of this. So giving them a little bit of darkness we put the lid back on.

I’m feeding this first tray; this is my working tray and it has holes at the bottom.

So there’s another tray here. I’ll show you that they’ve been working on that tray for a little bit so if we lift this one off see this is our intermediate tray, you can see that there’s still some worms in here working and this is not yet processed. This is still unprocessed, this is not yet castings. It’s on its way but you can see there’s still large leaf material, there’s pieces of root here.

Continued in Part 2…

Castings, Compost, Dr. Monique Mazza, fertilizer, Foliar Spray, 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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