Newsletter – October 2006





Worm Tea Schedule

Plant Pathology – Barefoot Soil Earthworm Castings are Plant Pathogen free!

Now is the time to landscape, plant, and transplant in the Pacific Northwest

Biosolids report:  What goes around comes around

Washington Department of  Transportation (WA DOT) will begin using worm teasWorm Tea Testimonial

Worm Castings Don’t Stink

Quick Facts




Our harvest is in, and we have plenty of Certified Organic Lorz Red Italian Seed Garlic available.  If you are considering planting, you need to get it in the ground by the end of November although now is the ideal time.  Lorz Red Italian is a spicy hot garlic that is ideal for garlic lovers.


Worm Tea Schedule


During this season, we are suspending our worm tea brewing schedule.  We will make it for you in quantities with two days advance notice.  Alternatively, we brew large batches onsite for our own uses, and that is available when it is here, so call ahead to make sure before you stop on by.


Plant Pathology – Barefoot Soil Earthworm Castings are Plant Pathogen free!


We had a high end plant pathology lab test for pathogens this month on our Barefoot Soil Earthworm Castings.  We had been advised that these pathogens are everywhere, so do not expect 0 numbers, instead hope to get in under some allowable limit.  To our surprise, our product showed 0 detectable pathogens.  The lab was surprised to see this too, because these test results are rarely seen!


Plants – especially trees – are susceptible to four plant funguses:  Phytophthora, Pythium, Fusarium, and Rhizoctonia.  These fungi exist in soils, in composts, and in wood byproducts such as wood chips and beauty bark.  In the latter case, wood products, these pathogens can be particularly concentrated because these products are often derived from diseased trees.  Wood chips and beauty bark always contain the cambium layer of the tree where the disease lives.  Only the large size bark which does not contain the cambium layer may be disease free.


So, if you are using beauty bark or wood chips to mulch your trees, you are essentially infecting them with fungal pathogens.  You accelerate the process when you mulch to the tree’s trunk.


The good news is that you can mulch with our Barefoot Soil Earthworm Castings or any of our composted products without infecting your trees and shrubs!


Finally, be careful of any product you use that is using wood products as a filler, as sawdust and bark are common ingredients in many bagged products.




Now is the time to landscape, plant, and transplant in the Pacific Northwest


If you are living near the Puget Sound with its mild winters, now is the time to landscape, plant, and transplant.  With all biology, water is the elixir, and successful landscapers have learned that winter rains cut hot weather and drought losses throughout the summer.  All trees and shrubs work on their rhizospheres throughout the winter here storing energy and working the soil microbiology in preparation for the upcoming spring.  All of this work requires water as the elixir to allow it to happen.  Take advantage of the winter rains!  (And take advantage of nursery’s and garden center’s year end sales as they clear out for new stock.)


When planting or transplanting trees and shrubs, be sure to dig the largest diameter hole possible with most of the hole no more than 18” deep as 90% of tree roots grow in this depth.  Remember that roots are opportunists and will move in the easiest direction.  So as you are amending your fill soil with BFS Earthworm Castings, the roots may stay only in the amended area causing your plant to be drought intolerant if the hole is too small.  WSU extension recommends no more than 5-10% organic matter by weight as you are refilling your hole.  (Topsoil is much heavier than organic matter such as compost, so this translates to 10-20% by volume BFS Earthworm Castings.)




Biosolids report:  What goes around comes around


According to a recent study supported by the national research council:


“Antidepressants and antihistamines, disinfectants and plasticizers, fire retardants and fragrances. Those are just some of the chemicals you might be applying to your lawn.”


In what should not be astonishing news, a study says that pretty much all the chemicals humans ingest end up in your urine and feces, and these feces are distributed in commercial and retail products as fertilizers used in lawns, landscapes, and gardens.  Remember, these are water soluble substances, so it stands to reason that they are in the meat, fish, and poultry that you eat as well as your vegetables you ingest.  For those adherents of homeopathy, the study suggests that trace amounts in water act as larger doses of the original chemicals.  So the dosage you may take to take care of insomnia, hypertension, joint pain, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, etc. certainly affects the wildlife around you which also has endocrine and nervous systems and it may well affect your neighbor and you again eventually!  What goes around definitely comes around.


The City of Yelm uses biosolids in all of their landscaping projects and recycled sewer water is used in park irrigation as well as irrigation of the golf course.


Washington Department of  Transportation (WA DOT) will begin using worm teas


After a visit to our farm by the Olympic Region WA DOT, the DOT will begin to use Barefoot Soil Earthworm Castings and worm tea in their highway projects.  You may know that the DOT is mandated by state law to protect wetlands in their highway projects.  You may not know that these people led by their landscape architect Bob Barnes have an intense concern about the state of our environment and are personally motivated in using environmentally friendly alternatives. 


So soon the Northwest of Washington State will begin to be beautified by the worms at the Yelm Earrthworm and Castings Farm.


In response to their visit, we received the following from Bob:


Teach your children

What we have taught our children

That the earth is our mother.


Whatever befalls the earth

Befalls the sons and daughters of the earth

If men spit upon the ground

They spit upon themselves.


This we know

The earth does not belong to us,

We belong to the earth.


This we know.

All things are connected

Like the blood which unites one family.

All things are connected.


Whatever befalls the earth

Befalls the sons and daughters of the earth.

We did not weave the web of life,

We are merely a strand in it.


Whatever we do to the web,

We do to ourselves.


Chief Seattle, 1786-1866


You can read from Luther Standing Bear similar sentiments.  Barefoot Soil Earthworm Castings were named after his writings which you can review here.




Worm Tea Testimonial


To All @Yelm Earth Worm & Castings Farm,


“I just wanted to let you know about the wonders that your Worm Tea has worked on my plants. I originally tried some  Worm Tea to naturally fertilize my indoor plants. I noticed that they perked up and started developing new growth. Due to my success indoors, I decided to try some in my herb garden outside. Once again, everything became very lively. I discovered that a bay leaf tree of mine had a bad case of "scale" so I decided to spray it and feed it with Worm Tea. I really thought that I was going to lose the tree. Not only did the tree live, a new one has sprouted up beside it. I am so amazed and happy with the results I've gotten from your Worm Tea.



Heather Layden, Yelm, WA




Worm Castings Don’t Stink


In reviewing various soil amendment products on the market, it is amazing to see that worm castings are the ingredient in many, and we have been told by the WSDA that they will be included in even more new products coming to market.


One characteristic of worm castings is that they are odor free or have an earthy smell.  Some products I have opened that have claimed worm castings as an ingredient stink.  I would say that either it has a poor quality castings or has little to no castings in it!


If a castings product that you purchase stinks – either a worm tea or a soil amendment – most likely it is not a genuine worm castings product!




  • Despite a number of inaccurate media reports, the recent spinach E.Coli outbreak has not been linked to any organic products. As expected,the outbreak has now been directly linked to a factory farm feedlot located adjacent to conventional spinach fields in California.
  • This was the 25th E.coli outbreak in the California Salinas Valley in 11 years, demonstrating, once again, that industrial farms and feedlots and their toxic runoff are inherently dangerous.
  • Studies show that factory-farmed cattle have 300 times more pathogenic bacteria in their digestive tracts than cattle that are allowed to openly graze in pastures.
  • If you are concerned about E.coli, organic food is the way to go. The USDA national organic standards require organic farmers to carefully compost their fertilizer--made up of animal manure and plant matter--up to 160 degrees, so as to kill any harmful bacteria.
  • Organic farmers can only apply this composted manure four months prior to planting.
  • Conventional farms have no regulations specifying when they can and can't apply manure and are not required to destroy the harmful bacteria in the manure prior to spreading. In addition, it is perfectly legal to spread highly toxic sewage sludge on conventional farms, while this practice in banned on organic farms.

    Learn more:


Organic consumers across North America are saving money by organizing local buying clubs. Buying clubs are groups of people who get together and purchase a wide variety of organic foods, grains, and herbs in bulk from a wholesale distributor. According to Kathy MacDonald, a member of a buying club in Cheyenne, Wyoming, she is able to buy organic foods she normally wouldn't have access to in her area, while saving an average of 20% on what those same items would cost in stores. Members of buying clubs also say it's a great way to build community. For more information, and to find a buying club near you, go to:

Note:  The Yelm Food Co-op is a local buying club.  You can find out more at



Most Americans are only familiar with milk that has been pasteurized and homogenized. That's because, in most states, it's illegal to sell raw milk, based upon government concerns about food safety. But there's a growing and vocal segment of health-minded consumers who passionately believe that raw bovine milk is practically the perfect food. In fact, one common question we get from our supporters is, "Why do the national organic standards allow organic milk to be pasteurized?" In a nutshell, laws banning raw milk were passed in the early 1900s, when shipping and handling of dairy was problematic, leading to mass spoilage and food poisoning. But today's raw-milk advocates note that modern day production and shipping alleviates these problems. Advocates note that pasteurizing milk kills beneficial enzymes while reducing nutritional value, leaving conventional milk difficult to digest and less healthy. But the FDA literally equates drinking raw milk to playing Russian roulette. Because raw milk is still illegal in most states and frowned on by the FDA, the writers of the USDA national organic standards realized that if they didn't allow certified organic milk to be pasteurized, there simply wouldn't be any such thing as "organic" milk available on the market.
Learn more:



MEXICO BANS GE CORN: Mexico has, once again, passed a law banning genetically engineered corn from being planted in the country. The law is designed to protect native varieties of corn from being contaminated by biotech varieties. The Monsanto corporation, the biggest global seller of genetically engineered corn vows it will reverse this law when president-elect Felipe Calderon takes office. Monsanto claims Mexico's 59 varieties of corn, many of which have been grown for thousands of years, will not be at risk of contamination if genetically engineered varieties are approved.
Learn more:

MORE GE FOOD CONTAMINATION IN US AND EU: Yet another strain of experimental genetically engineered (GE) rice has been detected in U.S. food shipments to Europe. This is the third GE rice contamination scandal in less than two months. The rice (LL62) was designed by Bayer but is not approved for human consumption in the EU. US rice farmers have suffered millions of dollars of losses from GE contamination just in the last few months.
Learn more:



SLEEPLESS KIDS BECOME OVERWEIGHT ADULTS: A new peer-reviewed study from Bristol University highlights an important factor in the current childhood obesity epidemic. Researchers found that children who stay up too late at night are more prone to pack on pounds throughout their lives. The study noted that sleep deprivation leads to a disruption of hormones that control the desire for calorie-rich foods, hunger and energy expenditure. One in four children aged 11-15 years is now so obese, their weight threatens their health. Researchers in the study indicate weak parental oversight of children's use of television, computers and mobile phones is a prominent cause of children sleeping less.
Learn more:

YOUR HAIR REFLECTS YOUR DIET: Researchers at Brigham Young University have discovered that eating disorders can be detected by analyzing hair samples. Scientists were able to pinpoint the problem in 80% of the samples taken. The lead author, Kent Hatch, says hair acts like a "tape recorder" and is working to develop an affordable testing system for use in clinics. The hair test would be able to indicate problems where a patient may be secretive, such as problems with diet, alcohol or drugs.
Learn more:



14741 Lawrence Lake Road SE

Yelm, WA  98597


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