FINDING THE BALANCE

Posted by admin in Environment, red wiggler composting worms, vermicomposting | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s happening to organic waste in your household?  Is it going to a landfill or are you employing environmentally safe waste management in house?  These are questions for every home owner and renter, urban or rural, every person really.  We are responsible for our garbage; we are holding the future of our planet and the future of our children in our hands.  We know the impact of Global Climate Change, we all know directly or indirectly a climate refugee, we now all feel in our lives the effect of climate change.  It can weigh heavily on the mind.  It can feel overwhelming and finding a balance that lets you live with yourself has never been more important.

We’ve written many times about the things you can do as an individual to help our environment and maybe as importantly provide your life with a little self-love secure in the knowledge that you’re doing your part.  You cannot be all things to all people however so finding a balance is paramount.  It’s time for a refresher in what you can do in your life and your house to make our world a better place.  Number one on our list is plastic.

Plastic is the scourge of material existence, it’s everywhere, micro fibers are found globally in water and that’s about as far as it will ever breakdown, it’s here to stay.  Stay the hell away from plastic!  If you can buy anything packaged without plastic make the change even if it costs you a few extra dollars.  Take your own bag to the store even if it makes you look like an old Granny your pride can take the hit.

Number two, compost, compost and compost, there are no excuses for not having compost bin now.  The old “I live in an apartment” just doesn’t wash anymore.  With a worm bin your organic waste can be turned into beautiful vermicast in a matter of weeks.  No smell, no muss, no fuss.  It’s easy, low maintenance and you can still travel for up to two weeks without getting a bin sitter.  It’s all about the balance.  Figure out how much food waste you’re generating a week and contact us for a consult.  We can help you design a system that works for you and your family.  The worm colony will grow; you can help your friends and neighbours, your community and the world.  Now if that doesn’t boost your piece of mind and make you feel better we don’t know a nicer way to achieve some self-love.

Best wishes for a happy Autumn Equinox today.

NPK IN VERMICAST

Posted by admin in gardening, red wiggler composting worms, slow release organic fertilizer, vermicomposting, worm castings | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We’ve been exploring NPK in organic and chemical fertilizers; a quick look at today’s diagram shows a simple view of the Nitrogen cycle that makes the whole deal work.  The question for you is whether or not to support chemical companies and the destruction of our soil web or go organic and build that web of life.  For us it’s a no brainer.  Many organic fertilizers are out there in many different forms.  It’s quite understandable that you might want firm control of the NPK your plants receive and some people like the surety of processed fertilizer, they can measure each dose.  When you look at plant growth in a holistic manner you can’t escape its place in the Nitrogen cycle or soil web, it’s crucial.

The NPK in vermicast runs at a minimum of 0.50/0.70/0.40, when compared to chemical fertilizer it seems quite low.  Part of this reading is due to regulations on labeling; only the immediately available nutrients are listed leaving out the slow release aspect of vermicast.  There are several methods you can use to manipulate the percentages in your vermicast generated fertilizer that are also not taken into account in the NPK measurements.  Brewing worm tea for example can greatly increase the amount of usable Nitrogen for your plants.

Keep in mind that the Nitrogen in in castings is going to keep on working, as will all the NPK components but they don’t do it alone.  As with all of us they are a strand in the web of life.  It’s the microbial action that dictates the efficiency of the continued slow release of nutrients.  So if your soil microbes have been killed off by chemicals all that great action will be washed down the river.  Not all bad news of course, with time and continued use the microbes will comeback.  Your soil and fertilizer will work in harmony forever.

Worm tea is an ideal delivery method for vermicast; because the bacteria associated with vermicomposting are aerobic any tea should be freshly brewed.  You want to keep these air dependent microorganisms alive, aerating tanks and containers of tea along with a food source will brew up a powerful organic fertilizer.

On a side note, our web page is now fixed, just like the Nitrogen, thanks for your support.

NPK ANSWERS PART 2

Posted by admin in gardening, red wiggler composting worms, vermicomposting, worm castings | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In our last post we explored the difference in NPK and how it works in organic and chemical fertilizers.  We’ll continue to look into those differences today.  Chemical fertilizers are pretty strait forward; they are premixed with water or dry for you to dilute at home.  The NPK percentages are clearly marked and you can choose when and how to use products with more or less nitrogen as you see fit.  On the down side your plants have no choice and will be dependent on the rush of nutrients that may or may not be the most beneficial concentration for that particular growth point in a plants life.  This is when you may find Nitrogen burn is happening in your garden or home.

Nitrogen burn is what occurs when a plant gets too much or too strong a concentration of N at once.  Keep in mind that plants use Nitrogen at varying amounts for changing purposes during their lifetime. Some pre-fab organic fertilizers can also contain enough Nitrogen to create a burn scenario so it’s important to make sure you know your NPK ratios before application.  One sure fire way to avoid this occurrence is to use Vermicast, it will never burn.

Vermicast or worm cast will not and cannot create Nitrogen burn in your plants.  It will never happen.  In our last post we explained how the bacteria worms rely on to help digest the organic material they eat also naturally breaks the Nitrogen bond creating soluble Nitrogen.  This is a failsafe that dictates the nature of the soluble N in our slow release organic fertilizer making it safe for plants always.

When we think of slow release fertilizer try to imagine a process as opposed to a one time meal.  Chemical fertilizers are like junk food, a quick form of sustenance that passes through the plant and growing medium to head down the drain within hours.  Slow release organic fertilizer does so much more.  It continues to work in your soil building new Nitrogen bonds to free up soluble N for months at a time. Our Vermicast does this because of the microbial components it contains.

Worm Castings are created by the bacterial action inherent in the Nitrogen cycle of life itself.  The very same time worn cycle described through the millennia in our Peoples origin stories, no matter if you ride the turtles back or spring from the tree of life, the cycle is observed universally and that’s a good thing.

Visit us next week for an exploration into the biological cycle of bacterial vermicomposting and as always feel free to drop us a line to question or discus our products and posts.

NPK ANSWERS FOR YOU

Posted by admin in Environment, gardening, red wiggler composting worms, worm castings | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium are the macro nutrients that are essential to plant growth.  They are represented by their periodic signs N P K.  These letters appear on any type of fertilizer you may come across whether organic or not and they always represent the three macro nutrients in the above order.  They are used universally so when you see an NPK of 5%-5%-5% it will mean that 5% of the content in that product is Nitrogen, 5% Phosphorus and 5% Potassium, the rest of the material is acting as filler or a part of the delivery system, water for example.

Now things get tricky, plants can’t just slurp this stuff up, the nutrients must be in a form that plants can chemically bond with.  Nitrogen in its natural form is N2, two little N atoms that are absolutely in love with each other, it’s one of the hardest bonds to break in in the chemical kingdom, and it’s a form of Nitrogen that’s useless to plants.  Plants use a more complex form of N, most commonly N3 or N4, this allows the N to join with good old H2O making it….soluble.  There are only two things in our world strong enough to break the N2 bond, petrochemicals and bacteria, this explains the difference between organic and chemical fertilizer.

Chemical fertilizers come ready made with the N2 bond broken making for a quick nutrient supply.  The convenience of this however is hiding a much deeper problem.  Chemical fertilizer basically turns your plants into binge drinking addicts.  Bacteria on the other hand work continuously to break the bond and as a result slowly release Nitrogen providing a slow release food source.  We’re sure you can guess which method is used in vermicomposting, wink, wink.

NPK works in differing amounts and has a distinctive effect on plant growth.  The chemicals act on various aspects of growth at different points in development.  Foliage and new growth are reliant on Nitrogen whereas Phosphorus is more involved with root development and the timing and health of flowers and seeds.  Potassium acts to regulate metabolic development including immune responses to threats.  In nature the plant will use organic slow released chemicals at its own pace and if those chemicals are found in abundance the plant thrives.

Worm castings are an example of organic fertilizer in its purest form.  Each cast has a balanced NPK content because of the bacterial action the worm uses to digest the composted organic material it feeds on. The castings will slow release the nutrients for months and months plus they will attract and retain soil microorganisms like bacteria to continue the process.  The humus in vermicast makes up about 40% of its mass and acts like a tiny sponge that keeps water actively working to deliver the Nitrogen that the plants use. When we call it nature’s perfect plant food we are not in jest.

Over the next few weeks we’ll continue to look into all the fertilizing qualities of castings so make sure to keep posted and as always contact us through our web page or FaceBook with questions, observations and of course, order inquiries, we look forward to hearing from you.

STAY CALM AND GROW ON

Posted by admin in Environment, gardening, vermicomposting | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It has been a hell of a week!  Unless you’ve understandably decided to go right ahead and hide under a rock, you are most likely a bit more stressed than usual.  It’s not often we run into the threat of nuclear war and race war in the span of ten days.  Whew, once you catch your breath if you’re like us you’ll probably want to do something to make the world better or at the very least make yourself feel better, and you can do both at the same time.  We’re talking about the simplest and most direct coping mechanism, eating, more specifically; food security.

It’s not really the political threat that’ll get you, it’s the fallout from reckless decisions and behavior at the top that, when combined with Global Climate Change will lead to you not being able to access affordable, healthy food.  That my friend is food insecurity.  Now is the time to ensure food security for you, your family and your community.  While not everyone is green thumbed one change you can make is to get to know some farmers.  We are a decent bunch.

Organic cultivators come in many shapes and sizes, modern social media makes them easy to find.  Do some googling and you’ll soon see your local producers.  Many communities have food share programs that you can join up with.

If you are the gardening sort you’ll know the most important factor in any plant growth is the soil.  If you’re reading this post you’ll know exactly how to get your hands on that, wink, wink.

GROWING HEALTHY SOIL

Posted by admin in Environment, gardening, red wiggler composting worms, vermicomposting, worm castings | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Healthy productive soil doesn’t just magically pop out of thin air it’s a valuable resource that’s sadly unappreciated by most in our modern world.  http://www.naturesperfectplantfood.com/2011/11/08/stop-treating-our-soil-like-dirt/  In order to maintain and grow new soil you have to treat it well.  Of course the simplest method of soil production is using worms, indeed worms are the only creatures that produce balanced soil or as it known, vermicast.  The first step in the process is composting or to be more accurate, the action of decomposition. What is it that makes organic material break down into soil components?  Without getting too technical, microbial, in this case bacterial agents begin the process of decay.  If they are aerobic they off gas carbon dioxide, the anaerobic bacteria off gas methane and all organic decomposition produces a GHG.  The trick is to make it CO2, much less harmful in our atmosphere than methane.

Once decomposition by micro-organisms has begun to break down the material larger life forms can start to feed, it’s their waste products that are the base of soil.  The most obvious of these builders is the worm; composting vegetation goes in one end and a tiny cast (poo) of balanced soil comes out the other. How simple is that!

There are many ways to attract worms to your garden but front and centre is food, worms have to eat.  The worms we sell are composting worms and live most successfully in active compost; indigenous earthworm would not thrive in such a volatile environment with higher temperatures and unpredictable acid levels.  Your garden soil is a more stable less active habitat.  That said it can also be a food desert for soil growers like worms.

In nature a layer of decomposing organic material will form in areas that allow for it, on the prairie for example the dead growth of plants from the year’s past forms a mat at the soil surface.  What happens under that mat is the key to worm survival. Think of a pile a dead leaves, if you ignore it for a week when you flip it over you will find a thin layer of “rotting” mulch, it’s already started to compost.  This is what and where worms eat and a hint for attracting them to your garden.

The very best way to encourage worms to begin growing soil for you is to bribe them with food and the best food for them is mulch.  We suggest using leaves or for a “cleaner” look, straw.  Not only will you find this effective for encouraging soil growth the mulch itself has a myriad of benefits for plant growth and for you. http://www.naturesperfectplantfood.com/2012/05/26/the-power-of-mulch/

RETHINK YOUR LAWN

Posted by admin in Environment, gardening | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Grass lawns are on their way out of favour, they hurt biodiversity; require more water, weeding and fertilizer than alternatives.

Lawns of grass are needless and quite frankly a little selfish in this day and age.  The concepts of lawns (not to be confused with grazed pasture areas) are thought to have begun in Europe in the 1600’s as a sign of wealth, power and station.  Maintained around castles, their practical purpose of clearing growth for enemies to hide in has long passed.  The original lawns were often comprised of more useful plants like chamomile and thyme. The industrial revolution and the invention of the lawnmower made the lawn more popular and accessible to lower classes.

Now we find vast landscapes of grass lawns covering cities and towns all over North America and really, what good do they do?  Cities and municipalities have actually passed punitive laws governing the upkeep and quality of these useless expanses.  They are of no purpose, when was the last time you saw anything grazing on the lawn or an enemy sneaking up to your castle, geesh, it’s ridiculous.

Let’s discard this relic of the past; you can make your lawn both beautiful and useful.  One alternative to grass include the very popular clover.  It’s grows slower requiring less mowing, about a fifth of the watering and because clover is a nitrogen fixing plant you need not fertilize. Another advantage to a nice thick clover covering is the ability to choke out other plants sometimes referred to as weeds.

Best of all in this win, win scenario is….. Clover FEEDS BEES!

IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO LET WORMS INTO YOUR LIFE

Posted by admin in gardening, vermicomposting | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Here we are in the heart of summer, lazy days and hot, hot nights bring on thoughts of lakeside picnics and fireside celebrations.  Maybe you’ve finished all the hard work of putting a garden in or perhaps your perennials are tidied up and blooming for the year, whatever your passion the middle of summer tends to be a slow time in the growing season.  In a month or so you could be up to your eyeballs in zucchini, who knows what harvest will bring.  But for now, the peaceful warm weather break at the top of our summer mountain is the perfect time to introduce vermiculture into home and garden.

You can add some Red Wigglers into your outdoor composter.  This is a great way to balance and enrich your compost along with faster production.  Composting worms simply thrive in warm temperatures so you’ll be building a healthy colony along the way, one that you may want to continue inside through the winter.  Incorporating worms into your composting scheme will pay dividends in the long run.

Anyone can try having a worm bin; they are perfect for apartment dwellers.  There’s no reason to miss out on the satisfaction of growing worms and soil just because you have no yard, worm bins fit anywhere.   http://www.naturesperfectplantfood.com/2011/10/27/indoor-worm-bins-qa-2/

Give worms some thought then contact us, your worms are waiting.

WHERE ARE ALL THE WORMS?

Posted by admin in Environment, gardening, vermicomposting, worm castings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We use cattle manure to grow our worms and produce worm castings, thousands and thousands of Liters per day.  It’s hard to imagine what this looks like in the real world.  The first photo in this post shows our starting point, raw manure.  Once the worms have moved or been moved into the material the composting rows are covered with a thick layer of straw mulch, you can see this in the second photo.  Finally with careful management the straw can be removed to harvest castings from the outer layer of the original manure pile.  This process is repeated almost daily and the finished castings are screened before being packed for you to use.  Our third photo depicts the finished product.  By the time this has happened, (it only takes a few months), the worms have moved into fresher manure placed next to the completed compost, easy peasy right.

 

Now that we’ve walked you through the program where have the worms gone?  Keep in mind that the little wonders have been getting busy making baby worms the whole time and the colony will have tripled in size.  It’s an amazing bit of work from Mother Nature, but, the worms need to eat, we need more manure.  This is truly a self-propelled business you can’t have one without the other if you get the drift.  Worms need manure to eat and castings always come next.  So, what’s a worm farmer to do?  We chose to expand.

This is where our manure management program had its beginnings.  http://www.naturesperfectplantfood.com/about-us-2/manure-management/  In co-operation with many local (and by local we mean Southern Manitoba, it’s a big place) cattle and livestock farmers we have created satellite worm depots that act as alternate vermicast and worm producing sites.  It’s the best of both worlds; the farmers can incorporate composting worms into their manure management scheme to reduce their carbon footprint by composting aerobically and harvest some castings for their fertilizing potential.  We can harvest worms when needed or bump up our casting supplies at the height of the season, plus it ensures that we never run out of stock!

If you’re like us and want more transparency and honesty in our world, don’t look to the politicians or big companies, look to a worm farmer.  Better yet, talk to one, message us here on the web page or through our Face book page.  https://www.facebook.com/NATURESPERFECTPLANTFOOD/

 

 

WHY WE VERMICOMPOST

Posted by admin in Environment, gardening, vermicomposting, worm castings | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vermicomposting, composting with red worms, can be as complex or simple as you choose to make it, the point being that it’s a personal decision.  Whether you’re already an avid composter or just a part timer, red composting worms (Eisenia fetida) will enhance your composting experience greatly.  Not only do they allow apartment dwellers to be able to compost indoors they also improve any outdoor composting situation.

People compost for any number of reasons, some to do their part to fight Green House Gas others to improve their gardening experience.  People have different end goals in mind when starting a vermicomposting operation.  We always ask people who contact us to acquire worms what their ultimate outcome is, that way we can help them design a system that will work for them to achieve the end result they are looking for.

If your main goal is to keep food scraps out of the landfill and reduce GHG’s then you will need to manage your vermicompost differently than if your objective is to create the maximum amount of vermicast for your plants.  Obviously you can’t have one without the other of course, worms will create castings, but, if you’re in an apartment you may want to manage your bin to minimize casting growth and maximize organic waste conversion.  Likewise, if your plan is to create beautiful, fluffy castings for your home and garden, you can enhance that aspect of your operation.

We’re here to help!  If you’re composting now, you’re half way there, contact us to take the next step.  Visit our Face Book page or use the handy, dandy contact form at the bottom of each of our web page tabs, we look forward to hearing from you.

https://www.facebook.com/NATURESPERFECTPLANTFOOD/