SG521 Steven Devloo Earthworm Technologies


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Curious about vermicomposting?

In this week’s episode (SG521), I interview Steven Devloo – Founder & CEO of Earthworm Technologies. He’ll give us the real dirt on vermicomposting and teach us how his innovative company  is converting food waste scraps into premium organic worm castings gardening products – using the power of the Earthworm!

 

 

In this Episode:

  • Steven’s story  (6:30 ) 

Steven Devloo

“A little lightbulb went on where I thought I might be able to come up with a solution to help divert all the food scraps going into landfills.”

– Steven Devloo, Earthworm Technologies

  • Vermicomposting Terminology (8:00)

” There are many different kinds of worms. The one that you would dig up in your soil typically are not the kind of worms you would use ideally for vermicomposting. The most ideal worm is a red wiggler. They tend to be thinner, smaller – I think they are a little cuter.”

Red-Wigglers 6ftmama.com

“Night crawlers tend to be deeper burrowing worms and might not be ideal for home vermicomposting.”

-Steven Devloo, Earthworm Technologies 

  • Vermitea (13:00)

“People talk about worm tea – vermitea – as some sort of an extract that you take from the work compost. There are some articles out there that aren’t quite correct. I’ve seen some articles talk about running water through your vermicompost system and then collecting that. But, that tends to be leachate.

Leachate is not the same thing as worm tea. It can have toxins in it and be very concentrated so you can burn your plants.

We don’t suggest using leachate as worm tea. I tend to call it an extract – using an end product of worm castings or vermicompost and steeping that in water. Also adding aeration to that to boost the microbial population via a sugar source. However, that tends to be very short-lived because the microbes eat all the sugar.

So we prefer to just steep the worm castings in water for a period of time

– Steven Devloo, Earthworm Technologies

  • The Optimum ph for Worms  (16:00)

“The red wigglers are pretty resilient and they have a big range for ph – but they like the ph pretty neutral.”

– Steven Devloo, Earthworm Technologies

  •  The Shovel Test (22:30)

“This is pretty easy. Get a shovel and go into your garden. Take a scoopful of soil and if you have five worms in that scoop you probably have pretty healthy soil.”

– Steven Devloo, Earthworm Technologies

  • Earthworm Technologies Logo (23:00)

“The logo is pretty simple. There’s the earth and the earthworm. I wanted something that people could latch on to. I ended up using a crowd sourcing model – a contest. I had several designers come in with several ideas. I wanted a logo that would help educate people and help them relate to our logo. We chose the colors to feel environmental and we made the worm orange.

Earthworm Technologies Steven Devloo 6ftmama.com

When he first came out his eyebrows angled down and he looked very angry. I wanted to make him happy. We played around with a few things and this was the final result.”

-Steven Devloo, Earthworm Technologies

  • The Problem of Food Waste (28:30)

food waste 6ftmama.com

“I don’t think a lot of people actually think about food waste and what that actually means. Food waste is the third largest category of waste in the United States. But, there are solutions – like vermicomposting – for this problem.”

-Steven Devloo, Earthworm Technologies

  • Vermicompost vs. Other Types of Compost (33:00)

“I think worm castings offer more benefits. Worm castings create soil structure and can neutralize ph levels. The microbes in worm castings can be up to 20x more than in other types of compost. That enhanced micro-0rganism environment is really beneficial to your soil.”

-Steven Devloo, Earthworm Technologies

  • Debunking Vermicompost Myths (38:00)

“So, let me just say that worms do not urinate. The moisture that you’re extracting from the bottom of your worm bin is not urine.”

– Steven Devloo, Earthworm Technologies

  • Steven’s Business Model (40:00)

Educating people is part of the service that we offer. Why?  Because signing up a person to collect food waste is not that hard. I think everyone is always willing to give something a shot. But, two weeks in, if it’s disgusting or smelly, they’re going to give up on it and let someone else fight that fight.

We’re not going to work this hard to write articles and educate without focusing on how to help people collect food scraps in a way that works for them.”

– Steven Devloo, Earthworm Technologies

  • Vermicompost Conference Takeaways (47:00)

“More and more studies are being done on vermicompost. The results are amazing. One thing’s for sure – a good high quality vermicompost product for starting seeds as well as planting has a lot of benefits. 

The way we look at it is that we’re creating a product that nature has figured out the most efficient way to create ideal soil. I don’t think we can beat Nature – so why not try to emulate it.”

– Steven Devloo, Earthworm Technologies

Connect with Steven:

Steven’s Website

On Facebook

On Twitter

On Pinterest

Links Mentioned:

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Hi there, Listeners! Leave me a review in  iTunes and I’ll thank you with a shout out on the next Still Growing… podcast!     [View it in iTunes and then go to Ratings & Reviews]

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Jennifer Ebeling
Jennifer Ebeling is a proud Minnesotan and U of MN alumni. Gooooooo Gophers! Each week, Jennifer produces and hosts Still Growing - a gardening podcast dedicated to helping you and your garden grow. The show is an in-depth interview format. Guests featured on the show share a passion for gardening and include authors, bloggers, professional gardeners, etc. Listeners and guests of the show can join the Still Growing community on Facebook. It's a place to ask questions, share garden stories, interact with great guests featured on the show, and continue to grow and learn. Jennifer and her husband Philip have four children, a big golden lab named Sonny, and live in lovely Maple Grove, Minnesota. P.S. When she's not teaching her four kids a new card game - or teaching them how to drive a car - Jennifer loves inspiring individuals and groups to maximize and personalize their home & garden.
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