Creating Fertile Soil Affordably - Natalie Rowles

Worm People Stories


  • Natalie Rowles
  • Pinetown, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa

When, Why, & How I started start worming‌

At the age of 50, I bought 1000+- composting earthworms variety EISENIA Fetida - from an Agricultural University in Transvaal. I did this after watching the BEYOND 2000 in 1995 where the main topic was Tiger earthworms overseas in the U.K. This University was the only source I could find at that time to sell worms to me - these worms must have been imported from overseas and I think they wanted to see if they could extend its breeding cycle and create a superior worm here in S.A. due to our warmer climate unlike the overseas conditions.

I had no experience but learned quickly and was amazed with the reproduction of thousand upon thousand of worms in such a short period of time. Feeding them my own bio-waste and vegetable peels only, they became my million pets all at once!

Personal Goals

My personal goals for worming are to supply organic, non-chemical and heirloom fresh vegetables daily to my family. To do this,  I utilize all my vermi-compost  placed in 2 jumbo high cement raised beds and sow heirloom seeds. Due to our excellent semi-tropical climate and rainfall, I can harvest faster than usual throughout the year.  In six weeks or a bit longer for potatoes etc. I basically can grow any type of vegetable with the vermi-compost. No need to add store-bought compost, only grass cuttings as a mulch to feed the worms in the raised beds...This is the cheapest way to create fertile soil!

Biggest Lesson Learned

The day I grew bush beans seeds in the winter in a bin with only worm compost and another bin to compare with only newly cut grass cuttings, was the turning point. Both grew like mad and I harvested in six weeks with a little spot of sunshine! The green grass cuttings without worms gave a month or longer beautiful fresh beans, but the worm compost with worms gave twice as long beans to harvest twice a week! I was crying with joy and wished that I could get this message across to the world to all the hungry people to do likewise...Utilizing bio-waste like this there should be no poverty or hunger at all in the world!‌

I Wish I Knew Earlier

I wished that the TV series of BEYOND 2000 appeared on our TV screens years earlier about the Eisenia Fetida (Tiger worms) then I would not of had all the disappointment with store-bought compost that lasts only six weeks  I would have harvested food crops more from my garden instead of buying shop vegetables, with lack of taste etc.‌

My Worm People Wish

I do hope not only my community here in S.A. but all over the world will try and grow food crops the way I do utilizing my "Rowles Cone Planters" to grow their food crops vertically in small spaces.  Harvesting can be done non-stop by using only worm compost, bio-waste and grey water if nothing else is available. Creating from nearly free resources, the best nutritious food to eat on hand.