protects our water is one answer.
helps farmers maximize their resources is another.
the Walkabout Farm Vermicompost Project
The farm’s horse manure pile was reduced by converting barn waste to a resource, minimizing nutrient runoff and improving water quality in Middle Creek in the Neuse River Basin.
How it happened:
The District was working with Walk About Farm planning ways to control erosion caused by horses and to restore the land. The farmers were already composting there horse stall waste (manure and straw) and producing a biologically rich soil amendment which can replace commercial fertilizer and build the structure of the soil.
The District introduced the idea of using earthworms to further decrease the amount of horse stall waste. Using a special composting red wiggler, (genus and species: Eisenia fetida), these worm can further enhance the biological value of the compost, by digesting it at a rate of one half their weight per day. The castings (digested and excreted former horse manure) now became a super-charged biologically active enhancer for plant growth. Studies have shown that worm castings and compost mixed together can increase plant growth and fruit by 20%.
Walkabout Farm is experimenting with a compost and worm castings ‘tea’ used to spray on pastures to improve the grass growth for their grazing horses.
Want to vermicompost at home? check this out: worms.ncsu/edu