The original article is reproduced under the update.
The use of animal manure and human manure from composting toilets as a feed stock for the worm farms is beneficial in many ways and can be considered an essential part of a permanent agriculture system such as permaculture. During the amount of time human manure resides within the compost toilet it is subject to being used by organism such as bacteria as a food, energy source. This recycling process transforms the potentially hazardous matter human manure, to human health into new forms of organic matter which becomes an energy source for soil organisms with in the soil. Plants are grown in these healthy and productive soils for human and animal food. Hence the natural order or cycle of organic matter transformation, reuse and recycling is completed and this cycle can be repeated for a very long time.
The rise of industrial agriculture and its use of organism killers such as pesticides, acid based fertilisers is relatively recent. Up to this time agriculture was organic, although not all the material and practises use where of a benign nature. The use of lead arsenate, a very poisonous organic substance for pest control is but one example. And fertile fields where reduce to deserts by removing whole forests ecosystems for single annual crops and the use of salt affecting, flawed irrigation systems.
However this occurred in relatively localised sites in great contrast to the current vastness of the globalised industrial and its very small annual crop species, agriculture system. A very interesting and informative read, among many on this subject, are the Farmer’s for Forty Centuries King and An Agricultural Testament by A, Howard
The worm juice from the worm farm bath tubs is collected and used as soon as possible. The worm juice is mixed with water after passing through cloth sieve and the edition of fish extract at a rate of 100 millilitres to a nine litre watering can. The use of fish extract adds any missing nutrient material lacking in the composted human manure and worm casts/ juice. The water is applied though a pressurised system; pressurised water is injected via a tap into the worm juiced at a fifty percent mixture of worm juice and water in the watering can. This mixing produces a bubble like froth, containing air/oxygen and is applied by a watering can to plants in the paddock and the plant nursery.
There are a number of very complex alternatives to current industrialized agricultural system in existence I keep in mind the KISS principle, keep it simple sunshine. I look to nature within the forest and garden as the teacher with the most experience and knowledge. Simply being there is enough. And after a busy and productive day in the garden, reclining in a comfortable hummock, under shady tree, with a bowl of fruit from the food forest and some cool water to drink, is an earthly paradise.
Worms are an essential part of a permanent agricultural system. At Zaytuna Farm worm farming has been developed into a very productive system. The feed stock we use is the contents of composting toilets and animal manures. The worm farm product is included in the potting mix for the plants grown in the plant nursery of the farm, producing very healthy and productive plants.
The origins of this method of worm farming comes from my experience as a Permaculture advisor and trainer in Lesotho, 2012-2014 (Miles Durand’s author profile).
A number of bath tubs are placed in a reticulated shade house and used as worm farm containers forming a worm farm train. Each tub in the farm train is an independent worm farm. A length of agriculture drainage pipe is place on the bottom of the bath with one end exposed to the air. Weed matt is placed over the agricultural drainage pipe to prevent the drainage holes being blocked by the worm bed material. This enables the essential worms need of air/oxygen to move from the bottom to the top of the worm bed and the feed stock. The feed stock of animal manure and old compost toilet material is filled to the top of the bath. Manure worms are added to the bedding material and feed stock then covered with a cardboard blanket and hessian bed spread cover. Water is applied to the worm farm and the resulting worm juice is collected in the container placed under the drain hole of the bath tub. The worm farm juice is mixed with water and fish concentrate and applied to seedlings in the plant nursery as a natural fertiliser and soil conditioner.
When the feed stock has been consumed by the worms the covers are removed. The worms dig down into the casting to avoid the light. The worm castings are scrapped off in thin layers to be used in potting mixes and garden beds. Then the bath tub is refilled with manure, aged compost and toilet material. And this harvest process takes place on the next bath tub worm farm.
In this method of worm farming, no kitchen scraps or garden waste are added to the worm farm as feed stock. High nutritional materials such as kitchen scraps are feed directly to the poultry, producing high nutritional products such as eggs and meat.
This worm farming system meets the requirements to be considered part of a permaculture design system. It reuses bath tubs, recycles waste organic matter and reduces energy input. The inclusion of small animals , such as worms into cultivated eco systems is part of the philosophy of permaculture design, working with nature. Small is indeed beautiful and very productive.
Is worm farming at Zaytuna farm a worthy endeavour, do hens lay eggs?
- Everything You Need to Know About Composting With Worms
- How to Make a Worm Mansion
- Rob’s DIY Vermipod
- A Worm Farm in Your Duck Coop!