Terracycle Challenge

Happy Friday, everyone! Hope you are enjoying similar (gorgeous) weather as us! As the name of the post implies, I’ve decided to put Terracycle liquid fertilizer to the test, in a semi-informal (but full o’ FUN!) challenge!

One of the things that’s helped maintain my levels of enthusiasm for worm composting over the years is my firsthand experience with using vermicompost as a fertilizer. I’ve been blown away by the positive effect even small amounts can have on plants.

There is plenty of academic evidence to indicate that worm compost has a little something extra that helps boost plant growth significantly!

Here are just a few examples of the studies, in case you are curious:

Atiyeh, R.M., N.Q. Arancon, C.A. Edwards, and J.D. Metzger. 2002. The influence of earthworm-processed pig manure on the growth and productivity of marigolds. Bioresource Technology, 81, 103-108.

Atiyeh, R.M., S. Lee, C.A. Edwards N.Q. Arancon, and J.D. Metzger. 2002. The influence of humic acids derived from earthworm-processed organic wastes on plant growth. Bioresource Technology, 84, 7-14.

Atiyeh, R.M., C.A. Edwards, S. Subler, and J.D. Metzger. 2001. Pig manure vermicompost as a component of a horticultural bedding plant medium: effects on physiochemical properties and plant growth. Bioresource Technology, 78, 11-20.

Atiyeh, R.M., Subler, S., Edwards, C.A., Bachman, G., Metzger, J.D. and Shuster, W. 2000. Effects of vermicomposts and composts on plant growth in horticulture container media and soil. Pedobiologia 44, 579-590.

As I’m sure most of you know by now – Terracycle is essentially ‘liquid worm poop” (or vermicompost tea if you prefer). I haven’t yet experimented with worm tea myself, but I’m definitely curious to see how well it works!

OK – so back to the challenge!
While I’ll be the first to admit that I won’t be conducting a rigorous scientific investigation, and therefore the results are really only for entertainment purposes (my lawyer made me say that – LoL!), but I thinks its going to be a lot of fun nevertheless!

I included a pack of green bean seeds in the above photo. Truth be told I am still not 100% sure what plants I am going to use, but rest assured I will be providing you with all the details next week!

As far as treatments go, here is a rough idea (all post will contain potting soil and seeds):

Pot 1 – water
Pot 2 – worm compost + water
Pot 3 – worm compost + fertilizer stick + water
Pot 4 – Terracycle only
Pot 5 – Terracycle + fertilizer stick
Pot 6 – Terracycle + fertlizer stick + worm compost
Pot 7 – Terracycle + worm compost

Should be fun!
Again – all the details coming at ya next week!

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    • Alison
    • August 11, 2007

    Hi Bentley, did you do this experiment? If yes how is it going? How are the naturaly grown tomatoes going? The ones growing out of your bin? I am just about to start my seeds for this years vegetable garden and I am going to use some of my vermicompost mixed with something.I don’t know if I should use some store bought seed raising mix or not.I would rather not because they put cemicals in it but I have tested my garden soil for microbes and it is pretty lacking but maybe that is because while we were away they had a severe run of very hard frosts down here and maybe it takes a while to get cranked up, another more likely possibility is that I have killed the microbes with store bought fertilizer. ( I won’t be doing that again) I am becoming much more aware of the dangers of that) I have used old manure and sawdust (full of worms )on my vegetable garden with fantastic results but the following season it wouldn’t do as well and the worms would be gone. I would blame that on various things like ” ran out of food, soil got to dry etc ” and I am probably right but the microbes should still have been there busy living,working and keeping the soil healthy.I have also started my two worm bin today.How is yours doing? I didn’t put any vermicasts with them in case I put some eggs in with them.

    • Bentley
    • August 12, 2007

    Hi Alison,
    Thanks for reminding me that I totally forgot to keep everyone here up to date with the Terracyle Challenge. I DID do it, but I provided coverage on my EcoSherpa blog (http://www.ecosherpa.com).
    I will write a post here at RWC about it soon.

    The composter tomatoes are growing very well – almost a challenge to get in at the composter now with the jungle of tomato plants surrounding it.

    Re: adding red worms to soil, you will definitely need to add a LOT of organic matter to the soil as well (and continue adding it if you expect them to survive) – they are not adapted to live in regular soil.

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