With a flick of a trowel, an unmoving mound of dirt became a writhing pile of earthworms.
"We're selling these guys for $25 a pound or $15 a half pound," said North End Organic Nursery manager (and former BW owner) Bingo Barnes. Walking over to a row of plastic multi-shelved worm composters, Barnes explained the process--worms and kitchen scraps go in the bottom and as the worms eat their way up to the next shelf, fertile dark casings are left behind.
Worm composters are one of many draws for conservation-minded home gardeners at the recently opened North End Organic Nursery. A partnership between Sustainable Growth and Flutter By Gardens, the nursery offers weekly free classes and focuses on carrying all local, organic and sustainable items, as well as heirloom seeds. They also have a sizeable collection of fruit trees, including five-way grafted Asian pear, apple or plums trees.
"We try to go local first, and then regional, and then made in the USA," said Barnes. "If it's mass-produced in China, we're not going to carry it."
Some of those local items include seed-saving kits produced outside of Moscow, circle hoes from Grant's Pass, HoeDags made in Lewiston, and compost and potting soil from the Magic Valley.
"It's a niche. We're not trying to be the nursery for everybody," said Barnes. "But we will have those really unique things you'll be hard-pressed to find other places."