It’s The New Worm Order

How many of you did THIS over the last week?  I drove out to Boulder to go to my favorite construction site recycling warehouse and yard (You think Habitat’s Restore outlets have a lot of stuff – this place is a goldmine of rich Boulderite discards).  I picked up two steel 55 gallon barrels in order to make a couple of Biochar furnaces.  This is a process that creates charcoal via gasified wood that is turned into carbon.  The end product is then inoculated with compost and worm “tea”.  This gets buried in the garden beds and can increase overall yields by up to 40%.  Biochar gets beneficial microbes into the soil to help make nutrients available to the plant’s roots.  I’ve hit a snag though.  I need a smaller barrel to go inside the 55’s as a part of the retort.  These have proven difficult to find.  Soooo, I’m brainstorming.

In order to inoculate the biochar with worm tea, one of course, must have worms.  We have a worm bin for our kitchen but it can’t possibly make enough vermicompost for a couple of acres of gardens.  So on my quest, I also scrounged up a used bathtub to make a ginormous bin to raise thousands of worms who will, in turn, provide me with righteous compost, second only to composted chicken poop.  This combination of worm castings, composted animal manure and biochar, will virtually eliminate my need for garden inputs.  It will also be helpful in building the soil for the Permaculture Food Forest I’m going to be embarking on.

Here is the almost finished Worm Hilton:


You can see the barrels on either side that will be turned into the furnaces.  I am heading back out to Ecocycle tomorrow to scrounge an old door for a cover.  This location is right by our clothesline so it will double as a table for the laundry basket when we are hanging clothes out to dry (We don’t own a dryer – the sun is just as fast here in our arid climate).

I will be ordering about 5 pounds of worms here shortly (Yes, you heard right. You order red wrigglers from folks who are obsessed with this kind of thing, because they are about the best worms for this task).  Never received worms in the mail before?  It’s a head turner to be sure.  Usually comes at the same time as the Victoria’s Secret catalog.  Win, win.  After you finish looking at bras and thongs, the worms will eat the catalog.  Junk mail turned fertilizer.

After having my little junkie putter around town car crap out a quarter of a mile from the farm on Tuesday and having to go get my truck and tow it the rest of the way, this was the highlight event of the week for me.  Does one count worms as livestock?  If so, do you have to count them?  5 lbs. is a lot of worms.

3 comments on “It’s The New Worm Order

  1. tonytomeo says:

    Goodness! Again, the infrastructure is impressive. Some of the furniture ‘inside’ my home is not so squarely built. I probably asked this already, but what sort of wood is used where it will be exposed to the weather? It looks like redwood,, but I just do not know what is available there.

    • aghippie says:

      It’s treated decking pine. Should last until I’m worm food. Squaring things is a challenge. Straight cuts and a level. Some tugging and grunting to pull it into place. Then…….. fingers crossed. I’m no finish carpenter. I can just make things that stand up to abuse.

      • tonytomeo says:

        How interesting. I am not familiar with it; although we use pressure treated fir. The fir is useful for applications near or in the soil, but there is nothing pretty about it, and it is rather toxic for garden use. That is where we use redwood. There is a bit of ponderosa pine here, but it is not harvested anymore. Some of the old buildings have pine ceilings.
        In my former garden, I used sandstone (that I needed to get rid of anyway) for low retaining walls. Redwood logs from minor trunks that I thinned out also worked nicely. I can build a house from a few trees if I need to, but have never been good at getting things square.

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