April 10, 2011

Worm castings business blooming

A Maine berry farmer produces the fertilizer to supplement his income after a honeybee die-off.

By CRAIG CROSBY Kennebec Journal

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Richard Reed of R&L Berry Farm in Readfield is Unco Industries’ only commercial producer of “cultured night walker castings” in Maine. “It’s clean, there’s no odor, and a little bit goes a long way,” he said of the fertilizer.

Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

"It's just like you when you go to the bathroom," Reed said. "You don't go all over the house. They come to the surface to poop."

The castings are placed into sealed bags of 1 to 30 pounds and sold wholesale and retail. Reed sells the castings at his farm on Berry Road, and on eBay.

The product also has drawn interest from Longfellows Greenhouses in Manchester and from a greenhouse in Unity.

The castings retail for $1.99 per pound.

"It's a matter of getting time to get to all the stores," Reed said.

The castings, which have no smell and don't leave a residue when picked up by hand, look like little pellets.

When added to the soil, those pellets act like wood blocks in a bucket, creating lots of air pockets for the free flow of nutrients and water. The castings themselves act as a fertilizer.

"It's clean, there's no odor, and a little bit goes a long way," Reed said.

He knows from experience. He added castings to a spinach plant last fall and has been thrilled with the results.

"You ought to see it," he smiled. "It's gigantic." Apparently the worms are adjusting well. They produce a staggering 800 to 1,100 pounds of fertilizer every two weeks.

 

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)