So I have pasture acres and hay acres that need to have their soils improved. Turning the soil with amendments over via a harrow device would help in the short term, but turning the soil over can kill beneficial insects and critters and expose the soil to wind and water erosion. No till drilling will work to place new seed in amongst the existing foliage, but how do I improve the soil without turning it over?
A Berkley graduate came up with the answer, worms. Of course this answer is what was used by many generations past to turn their undesirable soil into productive farmlands. In fact New York State’s entire worm population is not indigenous to New York, they were brought here by farmers and fishermen in years past. Why no worms? The glaciers forced them out of the area. (for those Creationists reading this: God corralled the worms and sent them to Ireland where St. Patrick thought they were little snakes)
There are two schools of thought when it comes to Worm Ranching, Free Range or Captive. Free Range generally happens outside in a selected spot that stays moist and is easy to access. Captive, uses a set number of worms in a small box where food scraps are added, the end result is wonderful mulch for your garden.
A good garden soil can hold as many as 100 worms per cubic foot. The worms can be placed directly into existing compost piles, as long as they are added after the pile has reached it’s 150 degree temperature mark and cooled off. The little ones multiply quickly and can be added to any spot on your property that needs better soil.
I plan on using the Free Range Method and adding them to each field throughout the summer. I’ll take photos of the fields before and after and fill you in on any tricks I learn along the way. Red Wrigglers and Super Jumpin’ Reds are most often used for this purpose.
Interested? Check out http://www.unclejimswormfarm.com/
I spread the manure clumps by hand that had accumulated over the winter, it was easy to do and will fertilize the first field nicely. For the back fields I am looking into a small tow-behind manure spreader.
Moved two large gates into position by the barn and will be digging the holes for their posts this week.
Trimmed up the apple trees.
Set up a wireless pet fence system for Jasper, he’s a quick learner and is already understanding that the area around the house is now his space.
Picked up some hay hooks and a log lifter to make chores a little easier.
Sharpened the chain saw and did some more work on the dead trees.
Took down a bunch of things that could cause harm to the horses, exposed nails, screws, etc.
Started charging up the solar electric fence, will be switching to solar power tomorrow on the fence.
Talked with the solar home builder, he’ll be coming out to locate the new house in the next week or two!
That’s about it from my end…peace.