NEWSLETTER , APRIL 2006
It is Spring again, and we are back with wonderful news! Our Barefoot Soil Earthworm Castings and Deluxe Potting Mix are now in 37 nurseries and garden centers here in Washington, and are being used by a growing number of organic landscapers in the Puget Sound area. Our soils are also available at the Olympia Co-ops, Whole Foods Markets, and at Marlene’s Markets in Tacoma and Federal Way. Territorial Seed Co. also bought 4 cubic yards of worm castings for their planting mixes and seed starts. As well, certified organic farmers are finding amazing results using it for their crops. We are very pleased to see great products become available to more and more people, their soils, and their plants. Yelm Earth has been out and about doing booths at co-ops and fairs, talks to garden clubs, and presentations on soils and worm composting at garden centers. It is exciting to see how many people are dedicated to organic gardens and home composting.
BEGINNING ON APRIL 23, YELM EARTH WILL BE OPEN ON SUNDAYS FROM 10am to 4pm.
BUILDING A LIVING SOIL
Many of us who have gardened with Barefoot Soil Earthworm Castings have seen wonderful results, but it is also helpful to begin to understand the action behind those wonderful results. Here is a synopsis of how it works.
Soil biologists measure the health and fertility of soils by counting the number and species of micro-organisms present in that soil. In a teaspoon full of healthy soil, there will be millions of micro-organisms.
This soil food web under our feet is a whole complex civilization of microbial life containing different species of bacteria, fungi, nematodes, ciliates, amoeba, flagellates, etc. We don’t have to know all of their names or functions, but it is important to know that each has a job to perform, and each is important in creating and maintaining a healthy soil food web.
Some important functions of microbial life include improving soil structure, responding to plant needs, creation of a competitive environment for disease causing microbes, and creating usable nutrients. It is this microbial life that creates soil structure that allows air and water to reach plant roots and allows roots space to grow. This improved structure also allows for aerobic activity of the microbes themselves. Longer root structure provided by additional soil porosity means less stress for plants in warm weather. Plant roots also exude a liquid that creates a chemical environment that attracts the microbes it needs to thrive and repel the microbes that cause disease. Some microbes consume disease-causing microbes. Additionally, many soils contain nutrients, but in a form that is unavailable to plants. Microbes break down organic materials and transform inorganic materials to usable plant nutrients. It is the addition and action of microbes that make these nutrients available to plants. These microbes function in harmony and all are necessary to a healthy, productive soil
Microbes in the soil require humus (e.g., composted organic material) to live in the soil. If humus is not present in soils, soil structure and ecology fall apart. Humus is the host environment for the living soil food web of micro-organisms. Back yard gardens, especially vegetable gardens, represent an intense consumption of the humus and nutrients in soil, so that it is important to replace the humus and mineral nutrients.
Worm castings are one of the finest sources of high species diversity microbial life (that means many microbes of many different kinds). Scientific studies have shown that worm compost has out performed other forms of compost. (Subler, Edwards & Metzger, BioCycle, July 1998) Dr. Clive Edwards at Ohio State University has found that a 10% to 20% application of castings has resulted in dramatic improvements in germination, plant growth, and in disease resistance. He has studied castings for over 25 years.
Yelm Earth’s Barefoot Soil Earthworm Castings are a blend of 40% composted humus and 60% vermicompost or worm castings. This is designed and blended to provide gardens with humus and with the microbial life necessary to maintain a healthy living soil. With the use of vermicompost, less fertilizer is necessary because the microbes cause a more efficient use of nutrients and help to hold them in the soil longer.
Even at 5%, vermicompost has an impact on the health and disease resistance of plants, and Dr. Edwards found a residual effect in soils for up to 4 years.
Waking Up The Micro-Organisms In Your Soil & Feeding Plants
With Deluxe Foliar Spray
1 Gallon of well water or other untreated water For opening new ground, starting new plot, feeding your soil, or to recover from tilling, use on bare soil to feed microbial life. Or use as a spray
˝ to 1 level teaspoon of Acadian Seaweed Powder during the first 40 – 50 days of the life of an annual fruit or vegetables
1 – 2 tablespoons Mermaid Fish Powder for increased growth and immediate uptake of nutrients.
1 tablespoon Unsulfured, Blackstrap Molasses Spray only before 10 am or after 5 pm when the sun’s rays are weaker.
Spray can be used every two weeks during the first 40 – 50 days during new growth. Spraying when plants are half grown helps
the plant determine the future health and growth of mature fruit and leaves. ( Be sure that your sprayer has a filter on it.)
Deluxe Foliar Spray Can Also Be Used For Fruit Trees:
When buds are forming out of dormancy
When fruitlet is small and young, (˝ grown)
When leaves are ˝ grown out.
4 or 5 days before harvest to improve storage.
In late Sept. as a soil drench before hibernation.
Notes On Soil Amendments
We are well stocked with minerals and amendments for your garden. There was a fire at the lignite plant, but at present, we have 75 bags available. Lonfosco rock phosphate & colodial clay is no longer available (the mine is closed), but we do have granulated rock phosphate. Lignite (Leonardite), lime, gypsum, glacial rock dust and the other commonly used minerals are readily available. BioGro has gone out of business, but we have replaced it with a new product, Nature’s Intent, an all-purpose granulated fertilizer. It has an NPK of 9-3-4 and was recommended to us by a certified organic crop grower of 30 years. These are all available in 50 lb. bags. We also have our special fertilizer mixes: supergrow, acid mix, junior & senior fruit tree, pea & bean, rose, blueberry, potato, and others. These are available by the pound.
Organic Vegetable Starts
Since we are not offering veggie starts this year we have found several places locally where they can be purchased. They are not certified organic, but have been grown free of chemicals.
*Nature’s Garden – Hwy. 507 in McKenna, (Across form Walt’s) open 7 days a week, 9-7pm.
*Garden Creations – 13115 Moes Road, Rainier, open Friday & Saturday, 10-4, Take Center St., left on 133rd,
right on Moes Road to sign. Or call Gail Cozens for appointment, 446-0077.
*Rainier Greenhouse – 12714 Millstream Ct. S.E. Rainier, open Mon-Sat. 10-5:30, Sun 11-4,. 446-2615. Off
Hwy. 507 btwn. Yelm & Rainier, take Koeppen (either one) and follow signs to Rainier Greenhouse.
*Gordon’s Garden Center – 308 Yelm Ave., Yelm, open 7 days a week, 9-6, 458-2481. We all know where
Gordon’s is located in "down town" Yelm.
OUR VISION IS HEALTHY PEOPLE, ANIMALS AND PLANTS LIVING WITH A HEALTHY EARTH.
Please visit our Soil Depot and let us help you build beautiful soils for your plants.
In addition to our Barefoot Soil Earthworm Castings and Deluxe Potting Mix we have our
Deluxe Garden Blend already mixed for your use in gardens, raised beds, or containers.
(Worm castings blended with composted mulch and topsoil.)
We also have ˝ inch Composted Mulch for flowerbeds and trees.
And NEW this year is Mulch and Grow Mix, a blend of composted mulch and worm castings, which allows you to feed your soil when you water, prevent weeds, and retain moisture while providing a great environment for your microbial life.
As a final note:
As you watch oil and gasoline prices soar, consider this as another reason to grow your own produce in your own back yard:
GAS GUZZLING FOOD: HOW TO CREATE AN ENERGY EFFICIENT DIET
YELM EARTHWORM AND CASTINGS FARM
14741 Lawrence Lake Road S.E.
Yelm, WA 98597
(360) 894-0707 www.yelmworms.com
Open Mon.-Fri. 9am-5pm, Sat.& Sun. 10-4pm
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