Cathy Nesbitt of Ontario, Canada (Cathy’s Crawly Composters) and Maria Rodriguez of Guatemala City (Byoearth), have been working together on a project of Vermiculture with a group of women in the Central Dump of Guatemala City. When I heard about the work they were doing, I asked them if they would be willing to extend their knowledge and worm-wisdom to the gardeners of our area. They agreed and arrived with a bin full of worms to spend time teaching us this valuable soil-enrichment technique.
Vermiculture is the cultivation of annelid worms, especially for the use of bait or in composting. We have discovered that one of our biggest gardening challenges here in the jungle is maintaining soil with sufficient nutrients to keep plants alive throughout their cycle. We are composting, but it hasn’t been enough … so we believe that the addition of worm castings to our soil will help immeasurably.
Maria and Cathy set up a series of boxes to show the group how to make a worm bin to begin their process of worm farming.
The group had lots of questions and took careful notes of the process.
Cathy demonstrated the combining of paper and cardboard pieces with manure and vegetable scraps to create the ideal home for raising worms.
Soon, the entire group was able to mix up their own container of scraps so they could each take some worms home with them.
One of the ways that the women could benefit from Vermiculture, is in the preparation and sales of these small balls of worm castings that Cathy calls PooBalls. These clumps of castings have a clay-like consistency and can be stored dry until needed as a fertilizer. Drop balls into watering can of water and as it dissolves, use the water to water the garden.
Doña Juana has been raising worms for quite some time, and gave a short talk on the advantages she has experienced.
Heartfelt thanks to Maria and Cathy for volunteering to impart this valuable knowledge. We all felt that we learned a lot from the workshop and are now more prepared to meet the challenges of jungle gardening.