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 Post subject: Three years of core samples
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 7:08 am 
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Location: Zone 5B Pennsylvania
Four years ago I filled my new raised beds with composted lawn and garden debris rich with horse bedding. My gardening style with these beds has been no till and I top dress the beds each fall with composted horse bedding. As the red worms bring bottom soil and casings in to the beds I have to top dress less and less. The next three photos are of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd year core samples in that order. In the first photo you can see what looks like soil and/or worm casing on the bottom and many recognizable wood chips and pine needles on the top. The core sample in the second photo fell apart when trying to remove it from the mold. It may have been drier or smaller particle size that caused it to fall apart. There was a good bit more material that looked like soil/casing and just a few recognizable wood chips and no pine needles. The core sample in the third photo looked homogeneous from top to bottom with no recognizable material. It fell apart easier than the second core sample and I am more convinced it has to do with particle size and moisture. When this sample dries out (to save on postage) I will send it to Penn State University for analysis. One of there tests is percentage organic material. Since the only thing I have put in the beds was organic, I think I can assume that anything that is not organic is either soil or worm casing. John
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 10:10 am 
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That's amazing. You always have such interesting studies!

The 3rd sample, I assume, was taken at a relatively similar moisture to the other samples. It's amazing how much darker the 3rd sample is. I'm not surprised, and understand why it is darker, but it's interesting to see it laid out like this.

Why wouldn't the soil and worm casting be considered organic since both were produced naturally?

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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 2:01 pm 
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The worm castings would be organic, since the worms eat organic matter. What they cast is still organic.


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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 8:04 am 
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sbryce wrote:
The worm castings would be organic, since the worms eat organic matter. What they cast is still organic.

I am wondering about the soil they supposedly bring up with them. It should have sand, silt and loam in it. John

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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 11:45 am 
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I wouldn't think that would even be measurable.

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PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 10:22 am 
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Thanks, John, this is amazing. Gotta love those worms!


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PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 8:00 am 
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NiftyNabber wrote:
I wouldn't think that would even be measurable.


This is quite common on the web.

Quote:
What happens to food once it leaves the gizzard?
The ground-up food enters the worm's intestine, which secretes digestive enzymes to chemically break down molecules of food nutrients. These simplified nutrients then pass through the intestinal wall for absorption into the bloodstream, and are carried where needed. Undigested material, including soil, bacteria, and plant residues, passes out of the worm through its anus as worm castings.


But you are correct it may not be measurable. John

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