Outdoor Living

Helping gardeners one worm at a time

We are in the midst of gardening season, tending and cultivating our plants.

Would you like your plants to grow stronger and healthier, producing a higher yield? A Goshen family, Bob and Annette Webb, harvests worm castings for a perfect soil supplement. Bob adds 11 pounds of a proprietary grain supplement to peat moss with about 250 African Nightcrawlers in a special bucket. About 2½ weeks later, he is able to harvest the worm castings (affectionately called worm poo). It is separated and bagged for consumers. They have about 30,000 worms carefully contained to supply local businesses and gardeners. Find it at many area garden supply stores, such as Varns and Hoover Hardware in Middlebury.

The worm castings can be used in a variety of ways – throwing a handful in before a new plant is put in the hole, mixing potting soil with the worm castings, or use it as a top dressing. Each method provides stronger, healthier plants. The visual difference between the plants is astounding. Worm castings provide 100 percent organic compost, is easily absorbed by plants, host beneficial microorganisms, helps plants grow, improves water retention in the soil, and allows for slow nutrition release.

Annette started their journey into worm farming as she worked on her organic garden. She found this local product, “My Garden’s Best Friend,” which dramatically enhanced her plants. As the former owner needed to move on from the company, Annette pitched the idea to her husband. With a little convincing, they decided this would be a perfect fit for their family as Bob is approaching retirement. Annette handles the marketing and her mom, Marsha Evans, is the CEO. They all work together to provide good quality product to local gardens and gardeners, including Wellfield Botanic Garden in Elkhart.

Annette has always been connected to the outdoors. She is concerned with the environment, saving items from the landfill through her volunteer work at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, other venues, and local scavenging. She has her own chickens and grows a large garden each year. She helps soil health one plant at a time by providing a local amendment. Find her as RAW Sustainable Living on Facebook.

Dr. Carla Gull blogs at www.insideoutsidemichiana.com. She is often seen with her four tag-along explorers in the greater Michiana area.