In December 2011 we collected a bakkie load of earthworms. You could say this is a lot of worms, and you would be right.
These worms joined our increasing array of livestock in the Dik Delta garden, but unlike our fat-tailed sheep, Sanga cattle and donkey, Ben, we have been working them a lot harder, as they have a very important job to do.
Our sandy, depleted soils in Dik Delta were in serious need of attention so that they would be able to produce healthy and vigorous plants, in quantities large enough to supply our Fyndraai restaurant. Worm composting is a process where earthworms are used to process waste materials into valuable fertiliser.
The worm castings have tremendous benefits for soil. They contain beneficial microbes, minerals, amino acids, bacteria and other nutrients which enhance and improve soil. If you give it some thought, it’s pretty obvious that earthworms and plants have evolved together over millions of years. They have a symbiotic relationship; the one enhances the other.
We have built a box-like structure on legs, a flow-through system, which means that food is added to the top and the worm castings, a high quality fertiliser, falls through the grid and is raked up at the bottom. Organic waste from the Fyndraai kitchen, shredded paper from the offices and grass cuttings from the estate will provide the food for these hungry worms. And this worm-made fertilizer will be transferred directly back into the Dik Delta culinary garden.