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Vermicomposting, an opportunity for soil inoculation?  RSS feed

 
Heinrich Kegeldank
Posts: 14
Location: Southeast US Zone 8b
forest garden tiny house trees
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I am very fascinated with the idea of accelerating the process of an "old-growth" system in a food forest by seeding soil with fungus spores and other beneficial micro-organisms. Instead of buying buckets of Mycogrow (as much as I would love to support paul stamets) or waiting many years after planting, would it be possible to inoculate the forest once then use a part of that patch as starter soil in a vermicompost system? I've read that worms like to eat micro-organisms including fungi and there are fungi that can kill worms, but in such a rich environment I'm hoping all parties would be able to flourish and compete. Is this a pipe dream, or do you think it's likely that we could have this very nutritious soil also be teeming with all the sorts of soil life before it even hits the ground?

I don't know what kind of life already thrives in vermicompost so I might be excited over something that already happens anyway. I like the idea of constantly adding new worms, mycorrhizal and/or saprophytic fungi, and all the other organisms that are a part of great forest soil every time I plant something new. Does anybody know what will or won't survive the time it takes for worms to eat everything in a bin? I'm sorry if I ask a lot of questions, but I get really excited when I come up with ideas like this.
 
David Good
gardener
Posts: 522
Location: Equatorial tropics
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Since there doesn't seem to be data... experiment!

I would think that the fungi/bacteria levels in a worm bin would be significantly different than in a woodland due to the rapid aeration and turning plus the addition of regular scraps.

On a non-worm-related tangent, I've buried and scattered lots and lots of mushrooms here and there into the mulch in my food forest. I collect them on walks then bring them home. Last year we had a marvelous profusion:

http://www.thesurvivalgardener.com/39-pictures-of-mushrooms/

Anything that boosts fungi levels is fine by me. Experiment and post your results here at permies!
 
Heinrich Kegeldank
Posts: 14
Location: Southeast US Zone 8b
forest garden tiny house trees
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It's been really dry around here all summer, but the last few days have been wet. Just walking around town I can find ten different sorts of fungi popping up! I can't positively identify any of them, yet, but I collect a few of each and throw pieces of them in my beds and compost pile. I think I found a reishi that some gardener threw out onto their waste pile. I smeared it all over some birch that I had reserved for hugelbeds in some blind hope that it might work.

I haven't been doing it long enough to see results of any kind but I'll keep watching. It's really a lesson in patience. I might start a vermicompost bin soon and see how any spores might survive when I finally get to plant a real garden in the spring.
 
Alex Veidel
Posts: 124
Location: Elgin, IL
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One thing that comes to mind is that the worm's digestive tract multiplies bacteria, but not fungi, so vermicompost tends to be rather bacteria based and contains few fungi (at least, when comparing it to other compost).
 
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