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Tiny Tim February 21, 2018 11:40 PM

Vermicomposting
 
4 Attachment(s)
How many folks here vermicompost? I just started. I remember my father trying it back in the 70's. We got a flood and he lost all his worms, he never restarted.

I'm using a "Worm Cafe" stack-able bin system. it's made in Australia from recycled materials.

I purchased 2000 red worms and the bin has been up and running since the first week in January.

I've just started my second bin. The first one is full and weighs around 20-25 lbs.

I feed the worms about 5-6 pounds of kitchen scraps and egg shells blended into a thick paste weekly.

Here are a few pictures.

In the third pictures you can see some of the worm eggs, the small amber and yellowish colored sphere's.

In the forth picture you see my worm feed, by blending it they convert it faster into worm poop.



Tim

mikemansker February 22, 2018 08:20 AM

It looks like you are off to a great start! I kept worm bins for a few years and then we moved and I didn't restart the bin. A great way to compost your garbage and the slurry will probably make it easier for the worms to process. Be careful not to make the bin too wet or the worms won't do well.

Great stuff for the garden.

Tiny Tim February 22, 2018 02:55 PM

Thanks Mike. It did get a little wet at first. I now drain the slurry I feed them for about 12 hours after I take it out of the freezer.

I've also made compost tea using some of the fresh worm castings,kelp meal and bat guano. My plants grew a few inches really fast after a watering with that.

Happy gardening

oakley February 22, 2018 04:16 PM

Twenty years I think. Being three homes ago. Learning curve I suppose. I don't fret about
it much anymore as they do fine with minor attention. Though I did sadly kill a good
healthy batch living in the garage but too close to the door. (same year a garage pipe froze)

I do remember studying/staring and wondering what was going on those many years ago...

One thing I added was window screening cut to fit a bit larger than the bins. I had the outlet
drain constantly clogging the liquid tea spigot. If that makes sense.

I built a heavy marine plywood vented cover to keep critters and our pups out of it. It is outside
spring summer fall, but out of direct sun or they will cook. They slow down consuming in high
heat, and winter cold in the garage.

I think different climates and what we provide will have different experiences/outcomes.

velikipop February 22, 2018 04:51 PM

I did have one in my office years ago and still have the plastic bin, however, because I neglected it for a couple of weeks the worms died and I do not know where to buy more worms the around here. I am producing compost the old way in a large bin and have started adding beer mash. The compost loves it as do the worms, which I don't think are the same as in vermicomposting.

Alex

Tiny Tim February 22, 2018 08:24 PM

Alex, I read horse or cow manure attracts red worms. Of course the manure must be well aged or the wormer they use for the animals would kill them. I also have an outside compost pile. I bet that beer mash really helps. I was wondering if my left over rye flour and wheat flour would help my outside compost pile. After a winter season of bread making anything left will get those weevils in it come summer.

Tiny Tim February 22, 2018 08:32 PM

oakley, I was looking at them at lot at first. Now, I feed once a week and let them do there thing. I notice they don't consume much cardboard. I keep the spigot open on the bottom. It's inside my spare room with my grow tents. So there is always air movement. Not to wet and I spray water in the top bin to be sure it lightly moistened. Their outdoor home will be in an open lean to shed with a ratchet strap around the bins and lid. Hopefully I'll keep these alive.

mikemansker February 22, 2018 09:17 PM

I started out with the stacking bins. My last bin was made from treated 2x10 lumber with a plywood lid. It was probably 3 feet deep and 6 feet long. It was outside on the west side of the house. Always had a good crop of worms. It seemed if it was a really cold winter, they would be almost gone, but evidently there were enough eggs to regenerate the population. I remember they loved pumpkin. I would throw in dry leaves as well. I would get 2 or 3 large bags of compost per year.

Tiny Tim February 22, 2018 11:45 PM

I still had a pumpkin from last Halloween sitting on a plant stand outside. After reading they were fond of it, I thawed it out and blended it up.. You are correct, they do love pumpkin.
That seems like a giant sized bin, you must have a BIG garden. I only container garden on my deck and in my tents off season. They seem to like banana's and the peelings too. I believe the eggshells are causing the alkaline environment they require for reproduction. I'm thinking of backing off on the eggshells and see if they will focus more on pooping.

clkeiper February 23, 2018 05:52 PM

[QUOTE=velikipop;684956]I did have one in my office years ago and still have the plastic bin, however, because I neglected it for a couple of weeks the worms died and I do not know where to buy more worms the around here. I am producing compost the old way in a large bin and have started adding beer mash. The compost loves it as do the worms, which I don't think are the same as in vermicomposting.

Alex[/QUOTE]

walmart or a bait store is the cheapest place to get red wigglers. get the large ones. they don't migrate through the holes so easily.

velikipop February 23, 2018 11:15 PM

I will have to check it out. When I searched for them a few years ago they were not available in Canada and very expensive to order from the US. I think that 2,000 red wigglers cost about $ 80.00. The other consideration I had was that for the effort vermicomposting was not all that cost efficient or enough for my needs. I used it mostly to mix with my medium for seedling starts.
Alex

Barb_FL February 23, 2018 11:39 PM

I restarted my WormInn in November. I bought the worms from a vendor in Texas and they are SO much better than those I bought from the first vendor. (the one that pops up on a google search).

First time around, I kept them for about 3 years BUT I read to include leaves. Big mistake - within time, the WormInn was inundated with earwigs. I tried over 1 year to get rid of the earwigs by separating the worms and starting over. It was a hoot throwing 20-50 Earwigs to the lizards; a total feeding frenzy.

This time, nothing from the ground goes in. I'm also growing Microgreens - big reason for getting the worminn going again (also bought a composter for the same reason). And the worms thrive on the Microgreen stems, roots, and mix.

Tiny Tim February 24, 2018 12:41 AM

Barb_FL, I have read of bringing in unwanted larva with leaves. I use coco coir as a bedding with cardboard as a supplement. I tend to over research things before I start. I've lurked on a few of the larger sites for about a year before committing to it. Redwormcomposting and Vermicomposting. Both good sites. Happy gardening and worming

mikemansker February 24, 2018 08:15 AM

Leaves
 
You will get conflicting reports from different people and different areas of the country, but I found that oak in moderation worked fine for me. Don't just throw the leaves in the bin. As they become wetter, they tend to mat. I'd mix them wtih some grass clippings or something to break them up.

Here in Missouri there are areas where wigglers live along streams, etc. Always in layers of decomposing organic matter including leaves.

As you work with the bin, you will develop a sense of its health and what you are doing right or wrong. In my experience, the worms didn't like much attention and always did much better when I pretty well left them alone.

Tiny Tim February 24, 2018 11:44 AM

Mikemansker, I'd guess the actual Oak species would make a difference. Our Pin Oak don't usually lose their leaves in the fall. Our Red and White Oak do. I noticed in the compost pile those Pin Oak leaves can take a very long time to break down as well.

I live on a flood plain with a small creek on one side of our property and a larger stream on the other side. We have floods every year. So I understand exactly what your talking about with leaves and debris on the upstream side of trees. I usually look there for trout fishing worms if I run out while fishing.

I put a sticky note on the bin to remind me when to feed them next and where I fed them last. I have lots of other things going on an would other wise forget. Still a worm wrangling virgin here.

TexasTomat0 March 4, 2018 10:26 AM

I actually just got started as well as I’ve been reading up on all of the benefits of using work castings ( there are tons). I’ve had several cold (unsightly) piles of leaves and yard waste sitting for about a year.

I figured I could kill 2 birds with one stone and ordered a 100 gallon smart pot (fabric) filled it up with all the leaves and stuff from the yard. To this I added a wheelbarrow full of horse manure a bunch of alfalfa pellets and crushed basalt rock dust. I let that hot compost until it cooled off.

Then I re amended with 10 lbs neem meal (the castings retain neems beneficial properties) some brown kelp meal and malted barley.

I’ll let that go for about 6 months with 1000 red wriggles (they’ll multiply many times over by then) and I should end up with some pretty premium worm castings.

This is all I add to my no till beds so I combine everything into the vermicompost and apply a thick layer to the no till beds. Just add some compost teas and you’re all set.


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TexasTomat0 March 4, 2018 10:33 AM

[QUOTE=Tiny Tim;684987]Alex, I read horse or cow manure attracts red worms. Of course the manure must be well aged or the wormer they use for the animals would kill them. I also have an outside compost pile. I bet that beer mash really helps. I was wondering if my left over rye flour and wheat flour would help my outside compost pile. After a winter season of bread making anything left will get those weevils in it come summer.[/QUOTE]



Tim - add those rye and wheat flours directly to the worm bin they’ll love it.


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TexasTomat0 March 4, 2018 10:35 AM

[QUOTE=Barb_FL;685187]I restarted my WormInn in November. I bought the worms from a vendor in Texas and they are SO much better than those I bought from the first vendor. (the one that pops up on a google search).



First time around, I kept them for about 3 years BUT I read to include leaves. Big mistake - within time, the WormInn was inundated with earwigs. I tried over 1 year to get rid of the earwigs by separating the worms and starting over. It was a hoot throwing 20-50 Earwigs to the lizards; a total feeding frenzy.



This time, nothing from the ground goes in. I'm also growing Microgreens - big reason for getting the worminn going again (also bought a composter for the same reason). And the worms thrive on the Microgreen stems, roots, and mix.[/QUOTE]



Barb, mind sharing the vendor in a PM? I’m in the market for some more worms.


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Barb_FL March 4, 2018 04:48 PM

[QUOTE=TexasTomat0;687039]Barb, mind sharing the vendor in a PM? I’m in the market for some more worms.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk[/QUOTE]

It was Texas Worm Farm.

Tiny Tim March 4, 2018 09:13 PM

TexasTomat0, Sounds like your off to a good start too. I've been using worm tea and castings for about a year. A friend has been supplying me. Just thought it was time to start my own bins. I might try a tiny bit of that flour at a time for starters. Good luck and Happy Gardening.

greenthumbomaha March 4, 2018 10:14 PM

I have a question about the worm factory and my backyard full of inquisitive squirrels , raccoons, and feral cats.

I have a used worm factory that was given to me by someone moving. It had been left outside in a pile of other items and the lid is rather warped. I don't want to use it indoors for that reason.

Is there any "diet" that I might give the worms that would not attract the attention of these 4 legged visitors, and would the worms themselves cause any extra creatures to the backyard. As a reminder, I had to have my house resided with vinyl and several trees removed as something made itself at home in my home.

At what temperature do the worms survive and thrive outdoors in a cold climate? My growing partner used to have several bins going in his heated garage and production was very low in the winter but at least they survived.

- Lisa

Tiny Tim March 4, 2018 11:22 PM

Lisa, Mines inside now. When I put it outside I plan on using a ratchet strap around the bin.
Lets face it. If they want to chew through the bin nothing will help. I live with all these animals as well as black bears,skunks,opossums, fisher cats. We even have a dumpster. Nothing gets into our dumpster. But, we do have a dog. I use vegetable matter in my compost pile and never see it disturbed either. I believe we have enough natural resources for them to eat around here. From what I understand our comfort range is also where they do the best. 60-85. If you or anyone has Hannaford super markets in your area. The cantaloupe they have on sale for 2 for $3.00 is sweet and the worms love the rinds.


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