Worm Farm Secrets

Did you know that you could make $25,000 off a few buckets of earth worms?

 

by Melissa Bravo - April 13, 2015

Did you know that you could make $25,000 off a few buckets of earth worms? Jay Myer and his wife Nellene, local earth worm farmers here in Tioga County, did just that a few years ago.

Jay was just one of several invited speaker’s at this year’s ‘Women in Agriculture’ conference hosted by the Tioga County Conservation District in Wellsboro, PA on March 25, 2015. There he shared with the group his knowledge of earth worm castings.

Of course you don’t get to a couple million, worms that is, overnight. The Myer’s began their search for the perfect soil amendment in 2002. By networking with vendors at trade-shows, they quickly had a list of customers in the greenhouse industry ready and willing to buy the product they manufacturer and distribute under their own brand Soil Secret. Jay tells us that Soil Secret is composed of 100% Natural Earthworm Castings. “It is nontoxic, odorless, chemical-free, and contains high populations of beneficial micro-organisms crucial to healthy root systems. Worm casting naturally aerate the soil, retain high moisture levels, release nutrients slowly over time to meet the plant’s needs, improve the look and health of your plants, stimulate flowering and fruiting, and produce larger harvest”.

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Why are earthworm castings good for your plants?
Well according to Jay Myer, earthworm castings are biologically active; containing thousands of bacteria, enzymes, and remnants of plant and animal manures that were not digested by the earthworm’s themselves. Earthworm castings contain: 5 times the available nitrogen, 7 times the available potash and 1 ½ times more calcium than found in good top soil. “The worms’ digestive system”, Jay says “produces rich organic plant food and a slow releasing fertilizer that allows for better growth of your plants”.

At the peak of his operation, Jay averaged 1000-1200 lb. of earthworm castings a week. He can be seen here in this photo loading the machine that sieves out the worm castings. Having started out just selling Soil Secret Earthworm Castings locally, Jay grew to selling through sixty some garden centers and two distributors. In addition to the wormy side of the business, Jay presents to garden clubs and other interested groups to help inform them of the benefits of earthworms. Although he has downsized in recent years, and is no longer taking large greenhouse orders, Jay and his wife still process and sell the 8 cup size retail bags shown here. For more information or to schedule a tour of their Roaring Branch operation, give them a call at 877-583-6367.

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Melissa Bravo of Meadow Lake Farm Consulting Services is a crop, livestock and land management consultant with more than 28 years of experience and training. She provides education, training, and technical services to landowners desiring to implement best management practices and recommendations related to sustainable agriculture. She can be reached at 814-574-4067.

Credits:

Writing: Melissa Bravo

 

Produced by Vogt Media

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