Terra Worma

This is our entry in The Daily Post Photo Challenge Earth.

In May, 2016, we visited Organoponico Vivaro Alamar (OVA), a community-based urban organic farm in Alamar just outside Old Havana, Cuba.  Isis Salcines, the daughter of one of the founders, explained the work done by earthworms on this farm.  In short, they make dirt.


Earthworms are used to create fertile soil from animal manure (pig, cattle, and oxen), rice husks, and sugar cake (left over from sugar cane processing). This mixture is matured in troughs shaded by netting and kept at an optimal humidity. The mixture is added to a trough in layers, with a new layer every few days. Each new layer is separated from the lower one by wire mesh that allows earthworms to migrate upward to the new layer. The topmost layer is then moved to a new trough to become the bottom layer, and the earthworms continue their journey upward. The layers left behind in the original trough are ready to be used in the gardens. Producing this rich soil requires hundred of thousands of earthworms.  The earthworms here have long lives at 16 years, which is about two to four times the lifespan of ordinary earthworms.

This photo was taken on May 9, 2016. Specs are:

Olympus TG-4, ISO 100, f/3.2, 1/250 sec, 5.5 mm

Why is this post called “Terra Worma”? “Terra firma” means “solid earth” or “firm ground,” while earth that has been processed by these earthworms is aerated and loose.


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