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WORM CASTINGS

add enzymes to the soil

By KK Fowlkes

Plants cannot be strong without the soil medium in which they grow. I was made aware of this some years ago when I worked for about a year at a sprouting company. While there we sprouted some sunflower seeds. The sprouts grew tall and pretty and we tried to market them to restaurants that had salad bars. As it turned out, the sprouts would go bad and become slimy in the refrigerator in a 3 or 4 days. At the same time, I was traveling back and forth to a large city and noticed sunflower greens in a local health food store. They were white stemmed, had dark green leaves amd were much healthier than the sprouts I had grown. I found that they were grown in soil rather than in a hydroponics solution. I was amazed to take them home and find that they lasted as much as 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Later when I studied with Ann Wigmore, I learned her method of growing in soil. She had a worm bin and let her worms compost all of the used wheatgrass, sunflower, and buckwheat mats. In all her simplicity, Ann Wigmore had great knowledge about nature and soil and its importance in supplying plants with the correct 'food' for them to build enzyme rich substances that would sustain their life as a healthy plant.

Last fall, a vermicomposter from Louisiana was trying to get me to introduce castings and worms to our customers who grow wheatgrass. He sent me samples to try and told me to use 1 cup of castings mixed in with my growing soil, which I did. [I was amazed to find that I got about 20 to 25 percent more grass from the same tray.] I was growing barley and had been getting 36 ounces of grass per flat. After using the worm castings, I harvested 44 ounces of grass and the same amount of soil, sprinkled with azomite, and 3 cups barley seed). Actually, I did this same experiment about 3 times and got the same result each time. We are excited to finally be able to introduce these products to our website.

I went back to my stand-by, Edward Howell, to find out what he had to say about enzymes in the soil and how they relate to enzymes in the plant. I am quoting him directly here as he says it so much better that I ever could: (Enzyme Nutrition, by Edward Howell pp.157-159.

Scientists are now measuring the value of a soil by the amount of enzymes it contains. These enzyme values have a direct relationship to the quality of our nutrition and health. It is known that the operation of microorganisms in the soil is very important to the growth of plants. The world is commencing to awaken to the importance of enzymes in the life of the soil, that is to say, the biological activity of the soil. A plant, like an animal, needs enzymes to prosper.

In connection with the enrichment of the soil, the enzyme contributions of earthworms should not be ignored. Charles Darwin realized the part worms have played in building soil and wrote a treatise on the subject. In the act of burrowing through the earth, worms engulf the soil, and extract usable materials as food. After passing through the length of the worm, the remainder is expelled in the form of casts which contain a valuable contribution of worm enzyme excretions. The earthworms, like all other animals, continually take in enzymes and eliminate them in their excretions, giving the soil an endowment of free enzymes. Soil rich in worm casts is sought after by some horticulturists for the cultivation of favored plants. It makes high-grade plant food.
Worms not only add enzymes to the soil but also loosen it, permitting water and air deeper access.

We must consume the best quality foods grown from healthy soils. As pointed out, use of castings increased yield up to 25 percent. Dr. Howell points out that the nutritional value of the entire crop is improved if grown in soil where there is significant worm activity.

Remember, worm castings are biologically safe and contain no pathogens. Answers about earthworms from the New Farm Answer Team:

1. Does the "manure" from earthworms have to meet the same criteria as other
manures?

No. According to the NOSB Compost Task Force, earthworm castings are 'finely divided organic material produced non-thermophilically due to interactions between aerobic microorganisms and earthworms, as organic material passes through the earthworm gut.' It makes no sense that earthworm castings would have to meet the same requirements as manure.

LETTERS FROM READERS:

Hi,
Recently looking at your site for information about wheatgrass and we went to the "medical references" page. It struck us that none of the articles cited are more recent than 1959!!! In medical terms these articles are outdated and virtually irrelevant. Can you direct us to more recent research?


(An answer from one of our contributing authors:)
Thank you for your e-mail. We are glad you visited the site, and took the time to contact us. You make an interesting and provocative observation about the timeliness of the articles posted. In reply to your comments, there is a short answer, and a long one.

The long one is food for an article or even book, and we will pass your question along to one of our contributing authors, as the story about chlorophyll is closely tied with big business, the pharmaceutical, and the medical establishment.

For the short, first of all, we do not claim that the list provided on the site is exhaustive, but it does give quite a bit of background material of importance. In fact, a great deal of that work is still quite relevant in our opinion, and becoming more so by the day.

Second, as you well know, in this day and age research dollars are provided usually with the motive to find ways to make more money. Large pharmaceutical or medical companies, and often the universities or laboratories associated with them, are funded based on the evaluation of the applicability of the work to make new products for new markets.  Generally now, the direction is ever more towards the 'genetic manipulation' model, huge budgets, expensive technology, and other accoutrements of big business. Chlorophyll, wheatgrass, raw foods, etc. are not 'big ticket' items, and people are not dependent on an outside entity to supply them.  Not much of a market in that.

As you noted by the dates of the research articles, they cluster in the 1930's to 1950's. During those years there was a tremendous push, accelerated by the advent of world war two, to find a suitable, inexpensive, effective antibiotic. Molds, sulphas, and in fact chlorophylls were widely researched via formal funding streams as the motive then was more basic to the problems of infection since penicillin was not yet developed, or in its very early stages.  Once penicillin showed such remarkable properties, other research fell off.

I think now there is a resurgence of real, formal investigation in the area of chlorophyll and enzymes, and we only have to go to the works of Pines, or Hagiwara, or Howell. However, giving people MORE control over their lives and health at minimal expense and dependency is not really in the interest of most of the large pharmaceutical or medical entities.  as you know, the 'Terminator' grain seed (does not reproduce) is the direction large seed companies are going, not really the reverse.

For us, there is optimism that somehow people are becoming researchers themselves, and our site gives people tools and information they need to participate actively in this.  For example, Optimum West Health Center has had many thousands of people pass through their doors who have taken an active role in research and put themselves on the line to do it. This is very exciting, humbling, and can give us hope that we ourselves can participate in this life adventure as effectively and productively as a scientist doing 'research'.

Results of efforts made by participants at Optimum, for example, are at the least edifying, and in many cases extraordinary.  The formal medical establishment, however, views many of these results as incompatible with modern medicine, and sometimes goes to no small effort to quash certain findings.

Given the above, each person studying in an area such as enzyme nutrition or use of chlorophyllins can in fact become a 'researcher of one' and add to a small, but growing body of knowledge.

The book 'One Straw Revolution' by Matsunobu Fukuoka is highly recommended as a viewpoint that, like 'Be Your Own Doctor' by Ann Wigmore, puts the responsibility on each of us to pursue and investigate life in the ways that intrigue us, not necessarily look to others.

We hope you continue your investigations and research in this area, and hope you will share with us findings you would like others to know about.

Kind regards,
Chuck Juhn

Instructions for Making a Worm Bin  |  Worm Bin Parts Diagram


Copyright © 2012 by Living Whole Foods, Inc. All rights reserved. Permission granted up to 100 words in a review when proper credit is given. Proper Credit = website reference: www.wheatgrasskits.com and article citation.

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