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Thursday, January 31, 2019 G. Kins Catinthehat, WA

Entry 29 of 445
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Wikipedia: “Investigations in the United States show that fresh earthworm casts are five times richer in available nitrogen, seven times richer in available phosphates, and 11 times richer in available potassium than the surrounding upper 6 inches (150 mm) of soil. In conditions where humus is plentiful, the weight of casts produced may be greater than 4.5 kg (10 lb) per worm per year.[3]”

The leaves I added last spring were not noticeably beneficial last year. (Despite adding nitrogen to offset their decomposition). But maybe that’s because the worms didn’t digest them sufficiently. Maybe they are digested now.

When I consider the amount of worms that a cubic foot of soil can contain, the amount of castings could be truckloads per year. Maybe when they say feed the soil, they really mean feed the worms. I can see that if, rather than rototill, I simply keep the worms well fed... they can do the equivalent amount of work. Should I mow and spread clippings more, and till less?

The only problem with no-till is the earthworm tunnels probably provide habitat for various plant and root eating bugs. But nutritionally, it looks like a better vegetable cropping system.

So how can I get the best of both worlds?
 



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