Vermicomposting, worm bin, composting with worms community and forums
I noticed that the Vermiculture Conference later year is going to feature a lot of information about starting a business using vermicompost tea.
After exploring opportunities for organic lawn care franchises these past few weeks, it seems like an alternative to a $80,000-100,000 franchise investment is to learn from others who are currently using various teas in their current business. I don't want to jump in with both feet and spend my life savings just yet, but I would like to experiment on a part time basis and limit risk while learning.
Meijer is a major retail chain here and one of their suppliers who uses teas in their 30 acreas of green houses is the key note speaker at the conference. The more I write about it and think about, the more I want to attend the conference.
I love vermicomposting, but I live in a metropolitan area. Waste disposal or selling vermicast is probably not a viable business opportunity for me right now. But using teas is lawn care is something totally different. I could conceivably do that on a home based business part time for awhile.
Anyone have any thoughts along these lines?
Maybe a smaller way to start up is to take the EcoCycle approach: http://www.ecocycle.org/microbe-brew
It looks like they brew the tea and sell it at pre-determined dates at farmers markets and such. At $25 for 5 gallons, and $4,000 for a large commercial quality 100 gallon tea brewer you'd have to sell 160 plus buckets of tea to pay for the equipment.
I did find the following lawn care "recipe" but have no idea the ratios needed: http://www.wormwoman.com/acatalog/compost-tea/organic-steps-toxin-f...
If you treated 10 yards per day at $60 a pop x 6 days a week, you get into some pretty good money.
SafeLawns is an organic lawn care industry organization founded by Paul Tukey, author of The Organic Lawn Care Manual. The Northeast Organic Farming Organization (NOFA) is another organization that offers classes and accreditation for organic lawn care professionals through their Organic Land Care Program.
The GeoTea Brewer appears to be an industry leader in compost tea brewers: http://www.greaterearthorganics.com/
I've spent the afternoon researching this idea online. It looks like Greater Earth Organics is one of the leaders in the commercial tea brewer field. You're right, my knees would not go for this day-in-and-day-out, but there's plenty of younger folks. I need a lot more knowledge before I spend any serious money. This is a new but growing field and with the increased focus on organic and natural it's a no brainer. I don't have time or money to get a college education in soil science, so I might be at a disadvantage on the knowledge front.
I'm not sure how the Corn gluten, Nematodes, and Milky Spore fit in. I need some training.
I have an organic lawn care business look me up on FB "Low Cost Yard Service" in Munster, IN. Tea is definitely at the forefront. I am so thankful for VC at this point because I have been hauling yards of bulk compost, which was not very good btw and had to be sifted before being applied to the lawn, on a positive note however the worms loved the large chunks. my lawns look very good, or at least a lot better than they did. i am surprised myself at some of the results. i am going to have to post more photos, huh?
btw 25$ for 5 gal.? good lord! how concentrated is that? i am going to have to do more research about my pricing i think. any links to share? i will check out the ones above when i get the time.
sry no website, just FB. i will try to upload some photos on here, if i get the chance. it is hard organizing and uploading photos to multiple sites, u know?
well i scanned the links provided above and i would like to mention a few things. first off i would never put my tea through a sprayer. i was reading about tests done with that and the guy's conclusion was that there wasn't significant damage to the microbes, but i go through a lot of trouble to breed those microbes so i would say any preventable damage is a bad thing.
also good lord u r right 3$ a gal. i looked around some and have been seeing it go for 10$ and so a gal. too. wow! my customers would probably freak if i started charging that, lol. there is another thing i would never do, is ship tea or sell old stuff. i get orders and make it fresh and lay it down as soon as it is ready. i even see some people claiming a shelf life (i have seen a year or so). idk about that. it would make me nervous. my prices were based off of seeing concentrate (to make 50gal) for 50$ and there is a guy near me that will ship VC for 26$ for 25#. i also have to charge for the water since i am paying 0.35$ a gal for r/o water. it adds up u know.
my prices r pretty low i guess, but i am also a newb so getting people that r willing to let me experiment on their lawn is difficult. even more difficult is getting chem people to switch to organic. so i have to provide them with an incentive, at the moment. my prices r going up after i move to a new location at the end of the year. i will have a better idea of how to do this also.
where are you getting your water? 35 cents/gallon is outrageous
grocery store. i just came across a filtration system though and will probably be using that. i have two carbon filters for it. do u think that would be good enough? sounds like another water topic for the forum, lol. i am over water discussions at this point, lol. an r/o system is 275$ at the store i went to for the filters.
It certainly can't hurt. Even articles I've read questioning the true benefits of worm tea freely admit that it can't hurt anything. If it didn't have merit, I don't think Harvard University would be doing it. On the other hand Cornell University has published information that is skeptical of worm tea.
Ultimately I think much of the "research" is anecdotal. There's a good chance it's true, but how much large scale long-term research has been done? I don't know.
I'll offer some other anecdotal research based on my own personal experience regarding worm castings.
I'm a backyard gardener and this year part of my garden was underperforming. I top dressed the plants in this area of the garden with worm castings and over the next two weeks that section of the garden caught up with the area that was initially performing well to even out the growth throughout the entire garden.
any time i see a research study done by a university i check to see who funded it. they are nearly always funded by a special interested group or business and magically the results tend to be slanted in their direction. how many conflicting research studies have you read and how many have you check to see what corporation funded them?
so many horticultural dept are subsidized by the fertilizer industry, the graduats come out salesman for those companies.