Elsie Olen (Camp Manager) and Adine Roode (Managing Director) have long dreamt of starting a wormery and recycling the kitchen and garden waste at Camp Jabulani. Not realizing that elephant dung is actually one of the worms’ favourite foods, they waited patiently until there was room for the wormery in the budget.
At long last they were able to order the wormery, and now Camp Jabulani is now the proud owner of its very own small biosphere: a careful balance of oxygen, moisture, food, temperature and, of course, the worm population.
Adine spoke to Carl soon after installing the wormery, and he excitedly informed her that their very first batch of ‘worm wee’ had just arrived. Carl is well known around the lodge for his pranks, so a disbelieving Adine asked Elsie to investigate further. Equally dubious, Elsie was convinced that Carl had merely offered up a container of discoloured liquid to trick them. But as it turned out, the boy that usually cries wolf was in fact telling the truth. Needless to say, everyone was over the moon with the first batch of ‘worm wee’.
The worms apparently take time to settle into their new digs, and the leaflet warned not to expect results in less than two weeks. Our first batch of ‘worm wee’ arrived a lot sooner than that however, most probably because we hadn’t factored in the constant supply of elephant dung we have on hand to keep our wriggly workers well fed.
Adine and Elsie understand the old adage of not counting one’s chickens before they’ve hatched, but this hasn’t stopped the pair from dreaming big. Down the line they plan to install an industrial green wormery close to the stables. This will eliminate the need to transport the piles of dung produced during the night, and also offers the added benefit of reducing the flea population in a green way too!
Other plans for the ‘worm wee’ include using it in areas where erosion is a problem, donating some of it to the Paulos Ngobeni primary school to use in their vegetable garden, and should the need exist, to offer it to the learners’ parents and the greater community to use in their vegetable gardens.
We will also use the ‘worm tea’ to aid the growing of the bana grass we give our herd to munch on in their stables at night. And at some point we’d also like to sell the ‘wee’ to established crop farmers in the area.
Think big, think green, is Adine and Elsie’s attitude.
Everything from kitchen waste (raw vegetables, fruit peels, tea bags, coffee grind, crushed egg shells) to cardboard (cereal boxes, tea boxes, egg trays) can go into the wormery, which, if implemented by some of the big hotel chains, would contribute significantly to reducing kitchen waste in the hotel industry.
Some interesting facts:
Elephant dung is one of the worms’ top 3 favourite foods. Luckily for us (and them!), we have 15 obliging elephants on hand to keep us in constant supply.
‘Worm wee’ is the slang term given to the liquid that is produced when the worms get to work on organic matter.
‘Worm wee’ contains most of the vital nutrients your plants need for optimal growth. It is an outstanding tonic to feed and revitalise your garden, vegetable patch or farm.
Earthworms are live waste disposal units, and are efficient at processing organic waste and transforming it into a ‘black gold’ called vermicompost.
Worms can increase crop yields and enhance soil health and fertility.
Greetings from camp 😉