Worming the way to better soil

By Taylor Chartrand
April 21, 2019 - 5:40pm

MEDICINE HAT, AB  - Imagine for a second, a world where we could take our garbage and turn it into food.

Well, one local woman is taking that idea and using it to make food, but not for humans...for worms.

"We are a worm farm," explained owner of T.R.A.D Industries, Roxanne Doerksen. "And what we do, is we pick up garbage from local companies that would generally be slated for the landfill. We process it into an organic goo/soup and we feed it to our worms."

From there, Doerksen says the worms eat the processed garbage, poop it out and then they harvest their manure as castings and use it as an organic soil amendment.

She says there is one main reason she is doing this.

"Our landfills are filling up with stuff that we could actually be turning into something good, like feeding it to the worms. We have relied on so many chemical fertilizers and chemicals for soil and it's wearing out. So, this is kind of one way that we can bring biology back. It's kind of like that circle of life. We take the garbage, process it, feed it to the worms, harvest the manure, add it to the soil and grow healthier food."

Like anything in nature though, this process just doesn't happen over night.

"So, we'll mix our soup, poor it into the worm beds, cover it up and then in about 8-weeks, we can harvest the worms and the dirt into a trammel, screen out the manure and the worms. The extra bedding we reuse and start another bed with them."

And as you're dusting off your gardening tools, you're probably wondering, 'how can I use this product?'

"So, indoor planting, we recommend a half-an-inch on the top of the plant, just leave it there and water it as normal. In a garden, we say 30% and you can rototill it or whatever you want and then plant as normal."

Doerksen  believes that not only will this soil help your plants grow better, but it will also make you healthier as well.

"Plants uptake their nutrition and if they're up-taking nutrients based on chemicals, even organic chemicals, they're still chemicals instead of allowing biology and nature to sort of heal itself. Let's eat food that is growing in healthy soil."

Basically, it's smart-soil, the way it should be.

"It helps with all the things we struggle with in the summer like in-pots. Pots dry out, we water them and they dry out. It's this up and down that plants don't like. Plants like consistency and this is one way. It expands when we add water and it sort of contracts. So, in a drought, it'll give the water back to the plant and sacrifice it's own water retention. It's really a remarkable thing." 

Now, in addition to this soil-conversation, Doerksen  says they are working on another initiative to tackle landfill waste.

"We're doing some interesting work with wax worms because they can eat plastic. We're starting small to see how much the worms eat and where they're processing it and if this is a viable solution to the problem of single use plastic."

If you would like to learn more information about this, Doerksen is inviting all members of the public to T.R.A.D's grand-opening tomorrow from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m..

"You can bring out your organic garbage and we'll have a demonstration on how we process it. Also, from 3-4, we're going to have a class on vermiculture, which is the study and idea of using worms as a reclamation source and we're actually going to make worm beds, so people can re-mediate their own garbage."

If you attend tomorrow's grand-opening, Doerksen recommends you bring your own container, as you will get 10% off your total weight of castings.

They will also provide sheets on how and when to use it.

T.R.A.D Industries is located at 12317, Range Road 65, T0J 2P0

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