The Celtic Worm Company and Tara Duggan have been on my radar for some time. In part that is down to the name of the company and second, because my head wanted to know just why in a good curious kind of a way, anyone would want to research compost made via worms.
Tara as a by the way, is a PhD Plant Science Student from The School of BEES at University College Cork.
Back to it, I was in Cork to go to a family communion day [yeah, I know….] and the morning of I met with Tara and sat by the very stunning River Lee, just outside The Clarion Hotel, where we had some coffee and a chat.
Tara will be of course on The Sodshow [Friday June 6th, 2014], but with so many high flying words floating about the place I decided to do a wee prequal to our chat in audio.
It’s a fantastic story. It’s also a little different. More importantly it really is a brilliant Cork borne, Irish success story and one that you do not want to miss. My writing here, just a little insight into the behind the scenes.
I’ve popped Celtic Worm Co’s contact details in at the bottom of this post should you wish to get in touch.
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Gardeners know that when out digging, it’s very satisfying to find lots of earthworms in the soil. Seeing these earthworms means you have a very healthy, nutrient-rich and earthy soil, that plants thrive in. As well as being good for your soil, earthworms are also a great addition to your compost bin, as they help breakdown and eat your kitchen scraps and garden waste turning it into a dark, crumbly compost for your garden, and I’ve recently met a group of over 30 farmers which has turned this concept of feeding waste to worms, into a business…
It all began when a man called Tony Grubert thought that if all the farmers in his local are of Bantry, West Cork, got together and started a business selling wormcast (essentially worm poop!), it would bring a great new product in to Garden Centres, and also bring in additional income, and employment, for local family-run farms. The idea being, if you take excess farmyard manure from these farms, feed it to worms in specially designed wormeries (a process called vermicomposting), this waste product could be turned into a fantastic soil enhancer and plant fertiliser.
“Getting the farmers on board was an interesting experience.” said the company’s founder Tony, “Initially, it sounds like a very unusual idea, but vermicomposting has already been a great success in the US, France, Germany and Australia, and when we explained the potential of wormcast to the local farmers, they came on board, and have supported us all the way since”.
With the wormcast produced by these farmers, the Celtic Worm Company have launched Celtic Gold, a probiotic (yes that’s right probiotic!) multi-purpose compost, great for germination, seedlings, potting-up, container planting and hanging baskets, and Liquid Gold, a plant growth stimulator which contain wormcast and seaweed extracts to help grow big and healthy plants.
I met the Celtic Worm Company researcher, Tara Duggan, a PhD student based in UCC who said “Wormcast is a great source of natural plant nutrients, there are no chemicals added to this compost”, she stressed “which makes it more environmentally friendly. When I compare Celtic Gold to other composts, I have seen faster germination and increased plant growth, by an average of between 30 and 130%, and even as much as 200% in some instances, and increased root growth too.”
She told me that the wormcast and vermiculite (what gives the compost it’s gold speckles) are “great at soaking-up and holding on to moisture for longer”, and when I asked her to explain why Celtic Gold is called a probiotic compost, she said “We have all seen probiotic yogurt, and know that they are a great source of good bacteria for our digestive system, well in my research, I have seen wormcast is a great source of lots of different soil bacteria, which are very important for soil and plant health, and that’s why Celtic Gold is called a probiotic compost!”
So there you have it, Ireland’s first farmer-made, wormcast enriched, probiotic compost!
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