How to Grow Red Worms and Make the Best Fertilizer
How to Grow Red Worms and Make the Best Fertilizer
I am here in Chicago, Illinois and I’m at a cool place and no, it’s not a farm you can see behind me. They are not like really growing stuff here. Well actually, they are growing something in here. They are growing worms and making worm castings, an essential element for you guys’ farm or home garden.
So, I’m here today to share with you guys what they are doing and they are doing something amazing that every municipality, every city, every state, everywhere in the country should be doing what they are doing here, in this yard, I don’t know, West 48th Street here in Chicago and they are turning food scraps and things from the waste stream that will normally get put into the landfill. Rot, create methane, gas and which really do not serve the purpose of feeding the earth back. It just rots, it’s just a waste when things have to go to the landfills. So I’m really glad that they are diverting food waste here and what they get delivered here in big sacks that are all delivered actually by bicycles. The sacks have things like coffee, beans, residuals after they press out the coffee and then they also have things like food scraps in some of the plastic bags there that they get from different farms, grocery stores and restaurants.
Over on this side, they got a bunch of five-gallon buckets. The five-gallon buckets, they collect from different people. Well, they don’t actually collect them, they have haulers that collect them and then they drop them off here and people basically put their food waste in there and then they come here and get composted. The worms eat them…the worms don’t even eat them. Well you will learn more about that in a minute. They basically give that…they feed it to the worms and then they make the worms have babies because they are nice and happy. Then, the worms also make the worm castings which is one of the best nutrients that you guys should be adding to your gardens. You guys should definitely be having your own worms in the garden to make castings right there in your garden beds. You don’t need to keep adding the castings, I mean, garden beds, you just actually add a few worms in the beginning and provided you have a good system and you are not putting chemical fertilizers and all this crap to kill your worms and if you give them enough water and food source, which is like compost, worms love to eat compost or food scraps, they are going to multiply. Then at some point, like, you are going to dig in your soil like, “I knew it” and you are going to feel bad, “Oh My God!I just cut a worm up in half when I’m planting my [?]transplants” because they are so many worms in there, right.
That’s a good problem to have, to have overabundance of worms and worm eggs, you know, this kind of stuff. But I know a lot of you guys are new gardeners so you guys got to start somewhere so the place you should start, maybe even order some worms from Nature’s Little Recyclers and we are going to go ahead and go into the yard today and show you guys the process that it goes through from food to worms to how they grow them indoors year round, here in Chicago even when there is snow on the ground outside, in the winter time and how they grow even in the summer time. They grow indoors and also outside. In the summer, they convert, you know, because it can get too hot in the building for the worms, they get up for the right temperature, they grow outside. So yeah, let’s go ahead and take you on this journey of how they actually grow worms and worm castings here at Nature’s Little Recyclers. Alright, so they got this big huge fence and let’s see if I can open this up. I got to pull. Alright, come on inside. So, the first thing I have learnt about having a worm farm, that is really cool, is that all your feed stock you are feeding your worms are free or can be free because it is unfortunate that some worm farms use Purina worm chow to feed their worms. Such thing is a travesty, is a waste. That stuff should not even be sold because they are so many things going to the landfill that they are rescuing and you can feed your worms for free without having to buy worm chow to feed your worms and make Purina a rich company.
Anyways, I don’t advocate you guys eating any kind of processed foods, whether that’s for your worms for your pets, Purina dog foods or processed foods for you. I want you guys to eat real foods like they are feeding the worms. Now, I don’t know that I necessarily, you know, eat this stuff right here, the coffee grounds maybe if I was starving. It’s priceless nutrients in there, it actually smells quite good but they get things like coffee grounds and, you know, in these bags here. I don’t know what they got, let’s see. All they use are these bio-degradable plastics bags. Oh, they got some egg shells in here and they got all these shreds and these little sticks here and whatever, these stems. These look like stems of like collard greens or kale. Maybe, there is a kale chip factory that’s stripping these and then use them to cook with and they strip these off and then they come here to feed the worms. So, you know, the feed stock is free and they don’t have to keep buying this. So this is super-intelligent. Actually, one of the owners here started selling worms when I think when he was a teenager. He picked up a book, “Start a worm farm and make money” or something like that, right. And you guys can do this too, start one of these up, if you guys-, wherever you guys live in the world except in Chicago because they are doing it here. No wait! If you are in Chicago, do it too because, guess what, there are so much extra trash and waste going to the landfill. These are needed like multiple companies like these in every single city around the country so that we can take things like coffee grounds and food scraps out of the whole landfill system. And you get free inputs to feed the worms and then you get to grow the worms, sell the worms. You can sell the worm eggs. You can also sell their castings. Or better yet, use them for your own garden or farm and you can set this up as a side business, right. So yeah, really cool. So this is just one of the feed sources they get from more industrial suppliers like coffee by the big huge bag, the grounds and all the food scraps but they also, you know, work with some local delivery companies that actual pick up the compost from people and they deliver that here. So let me go ahead and show you guys some of that food stock they get for the worms in the five-gallon buckets over yonder.
Alright, so now I’m sitting among all these five-gallon buckets. Five-gallon buckets are great resource and unfortunately also go to the landfill, you know. Check with local delis or bakeries, they get a lot of goods shipped in these buckets to the delis whether that’s pickles or olives or to the bakeries, whether that’s like some kind of crazy, nasty whipped cream and all these frostings that I don’t recommend you guys to eat, or fruit compote, fillings with like all kind of artificial stuff in there. And I’ll tell you, I got some buckets from the bakery and had to wash them out.That stuff didn’t wash out and it’s like people eat this stuff and I could barely get it washed out just in my shower like with just water like it just wouldn’t dissolve. What happens when you eat that stuff?I don’t even want to know. But anyways, they got a lot of buckets here and in the buckets, basically once again they got the bio-degradable bags and they just collect these from households and people. They got all kind of different stuff in here. I should open this up. It smells kind of like it’s been fermented a little bit and inside here we got a piece of carrot. . . Hey man!These are good pieces of carrots. They should have juiced these. I don’t know what they had thought about feeding them to the worms and it looks like they got pieces of onions in there. I mean, every one is a little bit different. They might have lemons in some. Let’s see what’s in this side. Oh look at this, they got cilantro in there. Oh, they shouldn’t have this little tag on there. No, this is Italian parsley, sorry. That’s pretty much well used. Oh, they got celery in here. They got some celery. This might have been good celery but right now, this is good worm food, right.
Check it out, in nature there is no such thing as waste. I challenge you to challenge me on that. Find some waste in nature. If it is not made by man, if it is not made out of plastic, right, everything is bio-degradable and is returned to the earth. Even us, right. And I want you guys to think about this and do more to return things you use on your farm or in your garden and return it to the earth or feed it to the worms and check this out,you know, even man-made polystyrene or whatever that stuff is, the foam-packing material,right, they found out that mealworms can even digest that stuff, right. Nature is incredible, it’s only when we get involved and start, like you know, making plastics and do all these things that are not necessarily directly at the nature, do we create waste. So I want you guys to focus on using more natural products in your lives,whether it is in your garden or especially in your home and try to shy away from plastics. I know we can’t get away from plastics completely because plastics make it possible but they can serve us in a useful way where we are reusing buckets, you know, and reusing and reusing. I use them to collect compost in my personal kitchen that I take out to my compost tumblers,right, and I collect, you know, harvest things into the bucket, right and I cut down my plants and I put those in the bucket to take to my composters. There are so many uses of the five-gallon buckets and I want to encourage you guys to get some, you know, and divert them from the landfills and use them and reuse them in your garden until they burst up in the UV sun after a couple of years, right. I really did a video actually, one of my favorite videos I made, believe it or not, I made it like five, six years ago that made me use a five-gallon bucket.
I’ll put a link down below if I remember that. Check that out, I definitely had a fun time making it and even this day, I remember that video. It’s one of my all-time favorites, so check it out. Anyway, as you guys can see, they got so much food to feed the worms. They got some like backlog here so anyways let’s go ahead in next and show you guys how they grow the worms or actually, how they used to grow the worms, how they grow the worms now and I have got the whole process. Let’s go ahead and share with you inside the worm farm inside the building. So now we are inside the building of Nature’s Little Recyclers and in the winter, spring, fall, this is the perfect environment to be growing worms. They are not growing food; they are growing worms. Well, it might be food for some different fish and creatures that like to eat worms. Birds, they love worms. But they are growing the worms in here and, you know, you got to have the right temperature,the right moisture level and there are experts in knowing all this stuff because they have been doing this for a long time. And how it is, is that it’s not even that expensive to keep worms. Well, they are using these plastic totes.
These have definitely been around the block or two a few times. And they have put some holes in there for some aeration and some drainage so that it’s not too moist in there for the worms and they just basically put all the different inputs that you guys saw into these bins and then they put worms in there and the worms eat the garbage or the food scraps and all the input materials that they are getting for free. Now, here is the thing that you probably never heard before, right. The worms don’t really eat the food. “What John? How does that work? You put the food in there, the worms eat it, it comes out their rear end and make some worm castings. That’s not exactly it. I mean, we might eat food and you might think we digest it and it comes out of our other end. But, believe it or not, inside us, we have beneficial microbes or our microbiomes. Things like lactobacillus and other beneficial bacteria and they help us digest our food, right. Much like the worms. The worms don’t really digest. They got no teeth to even break up stuff. They eat the food particles…they don’t even eat the food particles. The bacteria break down the food particles and then the worms eat all that stuff, right and in the worm’s gut, they could actually digest… the bacteria digest the food particles and the worm absorbs that. So yeah, the worms don’t directly eat it. They have a whole host of microbiome that help them do that. Check this out, just like in our poop, when we poop, right, our poop when we poop it out,it’s mostly bacteria and when the worms make the worm castings, it’s also mostly bacteria and other beneficial organisms. These are the very organisms that are going to help, you know, bring in and create more fertility to your soil by adding a whole host of different organisms that are going to go into your soil and actually break down the organic matter in your soils and make that available for the plants. That’s the reason why worm castings are so important. Now, this is the first way they were doing this and one time they have like five hundred of these bins and you guys can get one of these bins at Home Depot or Walmart and keep your own worms. It’s super simple, super easy. I’m not going to get into how to do that specifically. There are plenty YouTube videos on doing that but you guys can easily do that. But they had some challenges with it, you know, doing it this way in a large commercial system so they got to something even better than this. So let me go ahead and show you guys that next.
So the new container they are using to grow their worms are these guys, they are actually called max crates or something like that and basically, if you ever go to, you know, buy apples at the grocery store, you might see one of these guys with all the apples or almonds in there. They buy these brand new and they also get some that are being reused from the recycling industry when these no longer have a good purpose or life in whatever they are used for in the beginning. They just simply take these and because they are a lot larger, they don’t need to have as many plus these are stackable. They can stack these up to ten how they usually stack them and be like three high and they modified this and made it even better than just what it is. Basically what they did, they took a drill and they drilled some holes on here, they drilled some dredge in here and they put some holes on the side and put some PVC that run all the way through the crate and what it does is they perforated it, they put holes in the PVC tubes. So this adds extra aeration into the bin there so the worms can have a little bit more aeration but is also important for the first step of feeding the worms. So they don’t just instantly take one of these guys with all the tubes and stuff and put all the food scraps in there and they put the worms in. No, no, no… they have to go through a thermophilic step first, you know, for it to be, I guess,the law and also it prevents pathogens and also the other thing it does is that it breaks down some of the matter and start composting it and it creates more bacteria and breaks up the cell walls for the worms so that it actually makes a better worm food right for them.
So next they fill this up with their mixtures that they are getting outside including this stuff in this bag here which is actually called coffee bean chaff and they mix up appropriate mixture including some cardboard and what not and so they have like a really very food source. They mix it up and basically they let this thermophilic composter to compost for a few days or a couple weeks or whatever and they hook about here, blowers to these pipes and then they blow air through there. So this encourages the compost to happen faster. Once they got it up to a hot temperature and it cools down, then and only then, will they actually put the worms in there. So now, the compost is broken down a little bit and the worms really go to town and like it a lot more than just raw food scraps, right. Then, they feed the worms and after that, they harvest it, right. That’s how simple this system is to make and then, you know, if you have appropriate levels of water which they only maybe water once a month. Depending if they have wet food scraps, they don’t even need to add water to this system. They have a mixture of different things and it’s just super sustainable when they are getting free feed stock to feed the worms, right. Most gardens or whatever, maybe you are making your own compost and stuff and all people may bring in input from the outside, right. This is super-intelligent because it diverts waste that will normally go into the landfills.
I guess the next step that I want to show you guys is once they got all this, they sift these stuff out to make the worm castings that they sell to gardeners all over the country and also people can pick up in the local area and yeah, so let’s go ahead and show you guys how they sift out this stuff after it has been in there for a good long time and the worms have digested. So the next thing I want to share with you guys, actually how they stacked those bins. You guys can see they got these bins stacked up three tall. The top two bins actually have the worms and the bottom bin collects all the leachate, or that is, the liquid that runs off and out of these bins. So some people might call that worm tea but that’s not worm tea, let’s not get these,you know, um, terminologies confused. That is basically the leachate or the worm pee, alright. Worm pee, worm tea, they rhyme but they are not the same thing. You know, this is different than the aerated worm compost tea that I will show you guys in a minute. This stuff it may be good for your garden. Some gardeners say it’s not good for your garden. My personal opinion on the leachate is you want to take the leachate you want to dilute it down. Yes. Adding it back to the soil is just yet another way to get organic matter and further nutrients back into the soil. That’s one of the best ways you guys could use the leachate. But whatever you do, don’t call it a compost tea, because of my opinion, it’s not.
So once the worms eat the food, you know, and go through the whole bedding material, they take the bedding material and they put it into this device right here, which is a sifter or sorter and I’m going to actually demonstrate it right here. They are going to make me put this stuff like right here and throw it in there. Oh! There are worms, I see worms crawling around. Then what happens is that they press this button on the back and what’s happening now is that this thing shakes and there are two sets of this. This first section has small holes. So this catches all the worm castings and then they ship out to people around the country. And next, as they go, as they go down. Then over on this area, what happens is that they have larger holes. So this area is designed to catch all the worm eggs which they use in how they keep their breeding stock up so that they can have more babies to sell to you guys. And then the final section, the big chunks just fall of the front which then they rotate them back in and re-feed the worms. That’s pretty much how simple what is, you know, sort out all the worm castings in specially designed screens that does this all for them. Let me go ahead and turn this guy off. I think I need one of this guys to sift all my compost, maybe I’ll have like a little bit bigger holes than what they got here but this thing is really cool. Next, we are going to show you guys after they sift this stuff out, they have the castings,they have the big stuff that they throw back in. Then what they are going to do is pick out and select the worms they get to ship out to you guys.
So let’s go to the area they have setup where they actually select out and ship worms. So after they sift out the worm and the castings that you guys saw, they are left with a few things, right. They are left with this right here, which is a hundred percent, mostly pure worm castings which is basically the worm poop. This stuff is rich and biologically active and the main reason why I like these worm castings compared to many other ones is because of what they are feeding their worms, right. We are only as healthy as the food we eat. Your dog is only as healthy as the food he eats and the worms are only as healthy and the castings are only as good as the food they are eating. So, I don’t necessarily like worms that are been fed Purina worm chow or manure or GMO corn or any kind of these things. I like what they are using here. They are using a wide variety of fruits and vegetable scraps and cardboard, coffee grounds and actually, you know, they get egg shells in and even, like, you know, bones and all these crazy things, mixed diverse food source. This is what we want for us. When you hear diversity, as good as kale is, don’t just eat kale all day. You want to eat kale, collard, spinach, lettuce, arugula, you know, radicchio,lovages, spinach. You want to eat all the different things and have a diverse diet. That’s what they are really doing to the worms here and that’s why I like these castings. These are really nice castings and when you get a casting, you should be able to smell it and it shouldn’t smell bad.
If your casting smells bad, then you have some big problems. They should have a neutral smell and they should look nice, rich dark and black just like these ones right here. So you know, uh, they are left with the castings like one bucket of these guys which are worth the weight in gold for your garden and then there have left a bunch more of the larger material that, you know, they feed in and feed back into the worms. So once they get the finished worm castings, they can actually ship out the worm castings to you or they can create a value added product with the worm castings and I also encourage you guys to do what you want with your worm castings. What they do is that they got this big huge vortex brewery here and then they compost tea out of it or, you know what, casting tea, right. This is not the same as the leachate or the liquid that comes out of the worm dens, right. This is totally different because this is aerobic. They bubble this up and they brew it up and the bacteria multiply then sell this in the local area and use it on the farms that they work with to help, you know, re-establish bacterial and fungal colonies in the soil so that the soil can be more productive. You guys can do this too but the problem with compost tea is that you got to use it or lose it. So you bubble it for about twenty-four hours and then you want to spread it out immediately,you don’t want to let it sit because the colony count will actually go down if you don’t bubble it enough or if you bubble it too long. Be sure to click a link down below if I remember to put the link in the video down below to an open-source compost tea recipe that uses, you know, predominantly worm castings as one of the sources to increase the biological activity of your garden.
So now what I want to do is I want to share with you guys actually how they screen out the worms and select them to ship to you. It is a very intelligent process. You know, a lot of worm sellers may just use a rotating tumbler that sorts out the worms and when you do that, you might get damaged worms. And, you know, when you get the box, you open it up, it kind of smells funky that’s because some of the worms didn’t make it and their bodies are decomposing. It’s like…it’s gross, right. So I’m glad they actually hand select and ship out the worms to you and check out how they do this. This is super-smart. They are using nature, you know, or worms’ natural tendencies to their advantage so that they can harvest them. In these, we got these heat lamps. It’s actually quite hot. I’m glad I don’t work in here eight hours a day sorting worms. But what they do is heat up the top of the soil. So what’s this like?This is like the sun coming down and heating the earth and when that happens, the worms don’t want to be out in the sun. They don’t like sun-bathing like all these ladies in Hawaii and stuff, right. They want to be under the ground where it’s like nice and cool and they are collected,you know, and chill out underneath the ground. They don’t want to be in the sun because they will dry up, right. Yeah, we have all seen those shoveled-up worms. It’s sad when you see those shoveled-up worms, right.
So what happens is that the worms have a natural tendency when it’s hot on the surface of the soil, they are going to burrow down. So then all the worms burrow to the bottom and then they basically scoop out the stuff from the top, scoop it to the side and then they harvest the stuff on the bottom and…Wow! Look at this.This is where the worms are. Look at that, they are like tons of worms here. I don’t know if you guys can see them in the bottom there. This is what then they put in the bags to ship to you guys and how they pack it is really cool because, you know, unlike a lot of places where they use a lot of plastic, you know,they are trying to do things as sustainable and renewable as possible. And everything they ship you except for the plastic tape that’s covering on the box,you can compost or you can feed back to your worms including the cardboard that should be shredded. Actually, inside the box they use newspaper from the local area. They are using that as a packing material. Inside here, they have a paper bag that helps keep some of the moisture in for the worms and as a second barrier in case some of the worms get out of what’s inside here and they basically ship it in this little cloak bag that they have tied it off. All this is made out of cotton. This is all compostable and so the worms can breathe.
Now another thing that they do which is super-intelligent, they actually add some peat moss in here so it keeps a more stable environment for the worms. So you are assured you are going to get live worms and they only ship a few times a week you know, to ensure you are going to get the freshest, most alive worms, without ones that are not alive, that have croaked during the shipment. So this is really cool they are shipping it in this way. Yeah, Oh!The other thing I wanted to show you guys, actually they showed me a worm egg. Let me see if I can find it over here. Oh yeah right, the worm egg. Here’s the worm egg right here. It’s so small and tiny. It’s fallen down, I’m losing it. Alright, here’s the worm egg. I don’t know if you guys will be able to see that but I got a HD camera now. Here’s the little worm egg. I don’t know if you guys can see that there. So small and tiny, it kind of like, uh, you know, looks like a little seed, it’s kind of clear and this will hatch a bunch of the worms. So, you know, some places they sell worm eggs. They keep them here to use and sell locally. They don’t ship them out and then they use that to repopulate their stores of worms so that they could have even a larger army to break down all the food scraps so that they can make more worms to sell and, you know, more worm castings to give out to you guys. So yeah, really cool.
You know, worms work in nature naturally so you don’t have to grow worms in these big bins, you don’t have to sort out your worms, right. You could avoid all this by just putting live worms in your garden. If you have like twenty garden beds, you want to order like a pound of worms and divide it into twenty portions and put a few worms in each garden bed, right. If you provide the worms a good home, a good environment, you have a nice moisture level,you have good organic matter in there, they are going to be happy. They are going to eat all the food scraps and all the compost, degraded stuff in there and create more fertility and add fertility to your soil and you are not even doing any work to add this fertility. The worms are doing all the work. It’s how nature works. You guys got to get some worms if you have never added worms to your garden. I mean, one of the things I do is that I put worm eggs into my garden, I have added worms to my garden. When I see one of my raised beds may have like a lot of worms and some beds don’t have worms, I will like move them to different beds and when I dig up to plant the plants and when I find a worm, I’m like “Oh! Where am I going to put you? I’m going to put you over here because I don’t see many worms in that bed, right” So we want to get an even distribution of worms in all our different raised beds so that they can start working for us. They are free labor and free labor is the labor that I like the most, right, when I have workers working for me including the bacteria, the fungi, the worms that help cultivate these things for your garden.
Alright, so what we are going to do next is actually we are going to talk to Dale Hubbard,the CEO here and he is going to share with you guys a lot more about worms that you and I actually never heard of. So now I’m here with Dale, the CEO of Nature’s Little Recyclers and you will never guess by looking at this guy with his dirty hands that he is the CEO but he keeps this whole business running and I’m glad that he is just a guy like one of us, right. He is not some big huffy business-suit sitting in some office doing crap and getting paid a lot of money. He actually probably works hard for his money –Dale Hubbard: I do. John: – by the looks of it. But anyways, we are here to ask him a few questions today on why it’s important that this business is here operating and why they even got started and whole bunch of other things about worms that you guys probably never heard anywhere else. So Dale, the first question I have for you is “Why did you guys start this business because it’s you and your partner, Ed, right?” Dale: Yup. So the number one reason why we started this business was He wanted to grow…actually,my partner wanted to grow earthworms. He is like, looking for another thing to do and “I think I want to grow earthworms. ”At first, I thought he was crazy. I was like “No way you are growing earthworms. This is crazy. I’m not helping you. ”Then he goes down to a place called The Plant Chicago, which is an indoor vertical farm and he started processing all the waste and producing compost and then I started meeting all the farmers and everybody and I realized that in Chicago, the one reason we don’t have more farms here is because the soil is so bad. It’s full of mercury and lead and in order to produce good, um, good healthier organic food, we need to build up the soil to feed. So we figured by taking the trash, uh, compost and feed it to our worms, we get high grade of fertilizers for it. John: That’s awesome.
Yes, so let’s talk about this mercury and lead. I mean, this is why I encourage you guys to grow in raised beds instead of growing in the ground especially if you guys are in a big city. You want to bring in some stuff and the worm castings should be a big part of that, you know. I think I was over at your other facility because this is the indoor facility. The outdoor facility, you know, you guys were using wood chips in addition to the food scraps and the waste and the worms to break that down. So what are you guys doing over there so that the farmer can be successful growing there because you help out that farm as well as other farms and communal gardens and things in the area, right? Dale: Yeah, absolutely. So one of the big things we do is we work with other development projects to get the farms off the ground and over there, what we are doing is, we are converting a parking lot, I think it’s a half-acre lot and we are changing it into a high growable food. So by this time next year, there is going to be an organic farm there. John: That’s awesome, that’s awesome. So, you know let’s talk about, like, diverting the food waste. As you guys can see behind us, we got the bags, we got all the buckets full of waste that they have yet to process or they have to process by throwing into the bins and the worms have to process it. But let’s talk about why it’s so important to divert all this waste that will normally go into the landfill. Dale: So yeah, the number one thing that is produced in the landfill is methane and what’s causing it, is the food waste. What happens to the food waste is that it gets trapped in the landfill and lose oxygen and therefore goes anaerobic and produces methane.
So number one producer of methane. Everybody gives the cows the bad rep but they are actually number two. So by processing it this way, there is no methane produced and the fact that it not only stops methane from getting produced, it also halts carbon-dioxide in the process. So it reverses both effects of the most dangerous gases in global warming. John: Wow!So yeah, all you guys still throwing out your food waste, minimally compost them or better yet, like they are doing here, feed them to worms and if you guys are looking for a second job or a new, you know, thing to get into aside because you hate your job, right, you can work with worms all day and start a worm business. Get these castings, get these worms out to people, your local community and ship the mall over. We need more of the businesses like this and that’s why I’m here sharing with you guys,uh, them today.
So the next question. Let’s talk about the worms. You know, Dale told me that the worms actually don’t eat the food. So what’s up with this?I see you put the food in there and the food disappears but the worms are not eating it? What’s going on? Dale: So actually, worms are…it’s not just the worms, the extra whole microbial process that comes with the worms, what they do is they create enzymes and microbes that break down the food for the worms. Then, when the food becomes soft and almost liquefied, then the worms go through it and eat it all. John: So Dale, the next question I have for you is actually, uh, you know, what percentage of these nutrients…you are going through a lot of food scraps and food waste here but
I know you are not getting it all, what percentage are you saving and what percentage is still going, you know, to the landfill?Dale: So actually, we only save a fraction of, uh, compost or what is produced in Chicago. We…all of Chicago, all the composting programs only two percent of stuff is actually diverted from the landfill. The other ninety-eight still goes to the landfill and that’s pretty much true across the country. So almost all this stuff is still going to the landfills so we need lots of people to compost, we need a lots of worm farmers, a lot of more composters to get it done. John: Yeah, it’s a great, a great business to have, right. So let’s talk about now, let’s talk about shipping the worms and shipping the worm castings to people all over the country. Dale: Yeah. John: Right, why did you guys decide to, like you know, sell them and ship them instead of just sell them in the local area? Dale: So the number one reason we decided to ship them was, uh, is the internet, right. We can ship to the whole country, you know, which is a click of a button versus locally,it was hard to get our name out and stuff. So we started selling on national sites like Amazon, our very own website which allowed us to, um, get a lot of early sales and promote our brand tremendously. John: That’s awesome. Yeah, I mean, that’s one of the reason why I’m here because I actually found them on the internet. Found their website, found their prices. Actually, their prices on delivered worms are, like, the lowest prices I found and we will talk more about that and give you guys a special deal at the end but they have amazing prices on the worms and they also sell the castings.
These are so beneficial to you guys’ garden. So Dale, what are some of the reasons why worms and the worm castings are beneficial for people in their gardens and why should they use them?Dale: Sure, well the number one source in organic fertilizer has a lot of nutrients and micro-nutrients you won’t get from normal fertilizer, uh, normal soil. They also can help with pest control, um, and they increase the water retention of your soil. So farmers are calling this, black gold. John: Yeah, black gold. So let’s talk about the word ‘humus’, right. You know that word and why the worm castings is one of the best humus out there?Dale: So humus allow air to get into the soil so you, kind of, break up soil. One of the projects, one of the reasons we use, uh, in one of our projects, we use worm castings because it’s an old farm land that is compacted. It had been traditionally, conventionally farmed for decades and all those soil became compacted out in the edge of the city.
So we are using worm castings to put air and humus back into it in order to allow to start growing organically again. John: That’s awesome. Yeah, I mean, worm castings – they are an essential part of my gardening style and I want them to be a part of yours also. The best way of course is to have your own worms in your raised beds or have your own worm box, if you want to do a worm box, or a worm bin like you guys saw a little bit earlier and to get started, you will need the worms. That’s why Dale could help you out. So you guys saw the process, how they pick out the worms, ship you guys the worms and you can buy the worms and then put them into your garden. So Dale, when somebody buys the worms and they get them shipped to you, right when they get the box, what should they do?Should they leave the box sitting there for a week before they get to them or where do they put them once they get them?Dale: So the first thing we always say is to open the box right away to make sure the worms are in a good condition. Um, the number one thing you need to do is to moisture them, that’s the biggest thing you need to do. They can sit in the container for up to two weeks as long you add moisture to the system,uh, to the container but otherwise, we recommend feeding it right away to your bins as fast as you can. That will be the best thing for the worms. John: Yeah. So, you know, set up your own worm bin to put them in there to get them growing or just simply, like I mentioned, you put them into your garden beds. You know, take a little bit and put in every garden bed provided you have a good soil mixture with high organic matter and you have the right water.
That’s where they are supposed to live. Worms are supposed to live in the soil, not necessarily in the bin like they are doing here but this allows them to grow and propagate and get those out to more people and as they are doing, diverting the food waste, one of the more important things you guys could do. So because, you know, I visited them and I liked their stuff, I also negotiated with Dale, the CEO of the company, a good discount for you guys, so we are going to get for you guys a 10% discount on any of the products on their website and so you are going to want to order from them. I definitely can approve of their castings that I saw and handled personally as well as the worms, they look like they got some really nice ones. So you guys can get, not only the lowest price that they have without my discount, you are going to get my discount too. So you probably not going to find lower price online if you want to buy, you know, a pack of worms. So Dale, how many worms come in a pack? Dale: So a pound of worms usually contains a thousand, about a thousand worms. We deliver more than a thousand worms in it. Actually, it is usually a good thing to start like a five-gallon bin at your home garden…Oh! And John, I got a gift for you. There you go. John: Oh cool! Check it out, he’s given me my own package of worms in the paper bag like they would come shipped to you and in a cloak bag inside with all the bedding material just like you guys are going to order and I’m going to take this back on the airplane tonight when I fly back to Vegas. I’m sure the TSA is going to have fun stopping me. “What you got in that bag?”Then I’m going to say, “I’ve got worms. You want some. ”So yeah, so now you guys can order the same ones. I’m going to order some castings. So Dale, somebody wants to learn more about you guys and your company and what you guys are doing and want to reach out to you, they want to start one of these, you know, wherever they live. How can they get a hold of you?Dale: So this way, you can get hold of us, at nlrwormshop. com, it’s our website and NLR Worms is also on social media, Facebook, twitter, all of it. Um, so that it is will be the easy way you can contact us. John: Cool. They also have a cool YouTube channel that I checked out that probably doesn’t have a lot of views but maybe they will get more views after you guys see this video today. So, yeah. Any other last comments or things you would like to share to my viewers today about the worms, about the worm composting, about diverting the food waste or anything that we talked about. Dale: Um, we say we produce the best worms. We give it a 100% guarantee on all our products so if you aren’t happy, we take it back and all this [?]money they can choose, could help to make the world a better place. John: That’s awesome, That’s why I make these videos so the world can be a better place through the education work that I’m able to do to, you know, highlight companies like Dale’s here and adds, you know, are doing good in the world. This is how we are going to create a better world by showing what good people are doing to create solutions in the world instead of creating more problems. They are creating a solution for the food waste and instead of creating problems by,you know, processing petroleum and fracking, creating more problems. Let’s create solutions in our world.
One of the ways you guys can easily do that is to start composting, start worm composting and of course, start growing your own food so you can become a producer instead of a consumer in our unfortunately consumers’ society that we live in. It’s not going to happen overnight, right. You can start growing a small portion of your food and every little bit helps. Every bit of food scraps you don’t put into the landfill is helping out the world. It’s going to also help build your garden too. So I encourage you guys to do that today.