Harnessing the mighty worm!
One of the most amazing creatures on the planet is the earthworm: worms break down organic material, leaving a nutrient rich, aerated trail.
As permaculturealists we are always looking for ways to harness natural systems to give us higher yields and reduce our over all footprint (and give us more hammock time).
One design that meets those criteria is the vermawash system designed by Cliff, our Garden Magician. Cliff wanted to create a system that could meet the nutrient needs of our garden as well as create a micro enterprise to help the Ecovillage Training Center earn funds for futre research.
The design he decided to use came from the Eco-Science, a leading research organization focusing on vermaculture (worm based soil and agriculture systems). The design Cliff found came from their database of vermaculture designs at http://erfindia.org/local.asp. This vermawash design can produce 20 liters of worm juice per day, more than enough for the needs of an average garden. A vermawash mimics soil systems by creating habitat for worms and other beneficial mirco-organisms to decompose manure and household organic waste. The micro nutrients are then washed through the system and can be bottled and used for organic folier spray or fertilizer. In fact, you can buy worm juice at your local home and garden center for 10-20 dollars per liter, opening up the possibility for local micro-enterprise supplying people with homegrown, organic fertilizer made with worms and micro organisms indigenous to the local area.