Worm Boxes and worm compost

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Worm boxes are used when making worm compost. This method of making compost is highly effective – and the organic compost that you get from worms works like a dream. Worm farms are easy to set up at home and your garden will love you for it. While many people have a compost pile at home – a great idea – it takes 3 – 6 months for the compost to be ready – if you have the right stuff in your compost – no meat, no fish, no coal, no cat litter or dog poop – then you will get a great compost in the right time – which is often too long. Worm containers are the answer to quick compost.

Worm farms use red worms – A box filled with moist bedding with a few cups of soil for the worms digestive processes and you are away. Worms will convert your food waste into a great compost. You will need a container of sorts, bedding (newspaper – shredded, leaves or corrugated cardboard – and of course some worms. A wooden container is the best – plastic works but can get wet. A good number of worms to start your first worm farm is 500 redworms. The worm bin should be about 30 cm’s deep – you will need a worm box about 60cm wide x 95cm long – this will process about 2.5 kg’s of food waste per week. Drill some hold in the bottom of the worm container – this is for drainage. You should place a tray underneath to catch the liquid – it makes great plant food.

Worms like dark, moist places – as their bodies are nearly 90% water they need to be kept moist – not wet – you do not want to drown them (you are not fish farming) – you should place a lid on the box to keep it dark, and to stop rain from drenching the worm farm.  The worm box needs to be kept out of the sun, but also not cold – and it can be kept just about anywhere – in the garden , in the kitchen or in the cellar. For 1/2kg of food waste you will need 1kg of worms – that is about 2000 worms. Worms breed quite quickly – 60 – 90 days to mature and then 21 days to hatch baby worms. Don’t worry about them over breeding and crowding each other out – they will know how much space they have a reproduce accordingly. Once you are ready to add scraps, you should pull the bedding aside and bury the scraps underneath it – try and bury in different places each time. If you are lazy, and just toss your scraps on top – the worms will still compost your material – just not as effectively.

Once the compost in your worm box has darkened – about 6 weeks later the bedding will have started to disappear and your will see some brown earth coloured worm droppings. It is time to add more bedding to your worm farm. If you want to harvest your compost you can separate the worms and the compost by using a bright light – spread the worm compost on a plastic sheet and shine the light – red worms do not like bright lights and will dig down to the lowest point – the plastic sheet. Remove your worm compost and prepare a new bedding for your worms. Do not worry about smell – a properly managed worm farm or worm box will have an earthy smell – and what a great way for the kids to learn, and what a great way to compost your organic vegetables!

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Organic eggs and free range eggs

Organic is healthier – not fringe science anymore!

Organic eggs and free range eggs are the way to go – no doubt. It is only money that keeps the intensive poultry farms in business – the public needs to wake up and vote with their money. The benefits of free range poultry and organic poultry are no longer fringe science. Any organic farming - whether organic crops or organic livestock, is healthier than the rubbish we eat now. Organic vegetables not be as good looking, but our bodies will love us for eating them.

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Organic Chicken Feed

Organic Chicken Feed

Organic feed for poultry

Organic chickens must eat organic food

Organic chicken food is not available in South Africa. All chicken feed in South Africa uses grains from South Africa, and all South African grain is contaminated by GMO’s. With the result that anyone planning to grow organic poultry or organic eggs must grow their own organic chicken feed. PGSSA, the South African branch of PGS (Participatory Guarantee Systems) is busy drafting regulations and standards for South Africa. Due to the fact that GMO is so prevalent in South Africa, PGSA may allow chicken food to contain GMO when raising chickens. This would mean that many chicken farmers in South Africa may begin to provide eggs and chickens that are as close to organic as is possible in South Africa. As soon as Organic chicken food is available the standard will be changed. And until the world swings in favour of sustainable farming practises across all farming sectors and embraces thegreen economy, no amount of small farmers doing organic farming will help.

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Organic Eggs and Organic Poultry

Organic Eggs and Organic Poultry

Organic eggs are easily available in South Africa. Most of the large chain stores sell free range eggs, a few of them sell organic eggs. These eggs are more expensive than battery eggs (eggs grown in layer cages using battery farming techniques). To call an egg organic or free range there are certain criteria which must be followed – through out the supply chain. The most important part is the growing and raising of the poultry. Free range eggs are not the same as organic eggs. Many people are ignorant to this fact and presume that they are the same. All organic eggs are free range but free range eggs or free range poultry is not organic. Organic means that the entire supply chain, form food, production, transport, care and housing is all organic.

Organic Farming is a very strictly monitored process and it is not a simple thing to become organically certified. It is relatively easy to call your eggs or chickens free range – this means that the poultry and layers or broilers have access tho the outside – fresh air and sunshine. They are allowed to forage naturally – but the food and medication you give them can be harmful to both humans and chickens. Obviously one cannot use factory farming techniques such as layer cages, as these are where chickens are kept cooped for the life of the bird. Free Range chickens will be kept in a free range chicken house – this is a poultry houses that allows the chickens access to the outside environment.

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