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A garden is only as good as the ground that it's planted in. Discussion forum for the many ways to improve the soil where we plant our gardens.

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Old August 12, 2010   #31
Gerris2
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I had a bad experience with raccoons this year. They dug up many of my morning glory pots trying to get to small balls of organic fertilizer I had placed in the soil. They fortunately have not come back.
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Old August 16, 2010   #32
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Default Worm bin at School: recommendations?

Hi Gerris2
I keep my worms in the basement. They are very happy because the temp doesn't fluctuate much and reaches a maximum of maybe 80 degrees. I started this past spring with a pound of worms and have already set up two people with new bins. I have three large bins and probably at least ten pounds of worms now. They reproduce like crazy under the right conditions.

If you're driving south for some reason, you can come by and pick up some worms. I"m south of Baltimore, email mccross1@aol.com

My plan is to set up a bin at my high school next week and compost lunch time leftovers. Does anyone have experience with this? Any recommendations or thoughts?
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Old August 26, 2010   #33
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Thanks for the offer, Cathy. Actually, I just received my 2 pounds of redworms a couple days ago, and they seem to happily adjusted to their new home. This home I built myself from the directions identified earlier in this thread.

I am sorry I do not have any experience to answer your question. I know your students would be very interested in the entire process, however.
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Old September 19, 2010   #34
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I need to take the time to sit and read through all the comments. I have been thinking about Vermiculture for a few yrs. Now, I have rabbits and heard their droppings are good for this sort of thing. Another undertaking is shaping up...
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Old September 19, 2010   #35
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While on the subject of worms and castings you might be interested in some experiments I did over the summer.
I wanted to see which produced more bacteria in my Activated Compost tea, either worm castings or straight compost.
Looking at tea produced from both under my microscope I found that overall compost produced both fungal hyphae and a good bacterial bloom, whereas worm casts produced little bacteria but lots and lots of fungal hyphae. Makes sense I suppose, considering that worms feed on bacteria, so well worked worm casts will be low on bacteria.
Just as an aside, I found that vericompost, that's worm casts with uneaten compostable material, produced the best of both worlds. Final Ph reading Ph7.2.
This should help when trying to determine which type of compost tea would be the most beneficial combating any disease on your plants.
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Old September 19, 2010   #36
Tom C zone 4/5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coronabarb View Post
I need to take the time to sit and read through all the comments. I have been thinking about Vermiculture for a few yrs. Now, I have rabbits and heard their droppings are good for this sort of thing. Another undertaking is shaping up...
The small bin vermicomposting being described here does take some distinct hands-on work. None of it particularly heavy lifting, just one that has its own routine.

I prefer one of the bigger composting worm specie and adding them directly to out-of-doors compost piles.

Fer my labors its less work with the same good result.
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Old September 19, 2010   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom C zone 4/5 View Post
I prefer one of the bigger composting worm specie and adding them directly to out-of-doors compost piles.
Fer my labors its less work with the same good result.
One big advantage of indoor bins, you can use all the kitchen waste, all winter long. Trying to compost under feet of snow doesn't work too well.
As soon as the temps drop close to freezing, then compost worms come to a grinding halt.
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Old September 26, 2010   #38
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I have a nice outbuilding...it's roofed, insulated, door, window...I use it for a bunny maternity barn. I have one buck who doesn't do well in the heat in there. It's about 15 degrees cooler than outdoors. I think worms would do well in there. Won't freeze in the winter either.
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Old October 19, 2010   #39
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Info Link

http://www.compostwizard.com/docs/To...th%20study.pdf
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Old November 24, 2010   #40
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For those loathe to pay for shipping what is mostly dirt and water to get a worm starter, you can google for bait shops and ask if they have red wigglers. I picked up two dozen wigglers from a local bait shop for a few bucks and they are multiplying rapidly in a broken tupperware that sits behind my flat panel monitor on otherwise unusable shelf space. I drilled small holes in the container for ventilation and filled with dampened shredded cardboard and the contents of my credit card offer shredder (almost exclusively black ink to avoid toxics). I bury banana peels, egg shells, apple cores, etc. in there. No smells.

Edit: Here's an interesting large-scale worm composting setup underneath a greenhouse: http://www.themodernhomestead.us/art...reenhouse.html
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Old January 2, 2011   #41
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I just discovered this thread and so happy to see others jumping on the band wagon!

I have had my homemade rubbermaid bin for about 2 years now. When I first got them I could not keep myself from peeking into their home. I can now go almost a week without peeking, which makes them happy.

I find worms love avocado, melon, apple, banana peels and shredded newspaper. They multiply like crazy.

As others have mentioned, there should be no offensive smell or fruit flies as long as then are kept properly. I keep a fairly thick layer of shredded newspaper, maybe 3-5 inches fluffed up, on top of the castings and food scraps.

I bartered for mine on craigslist. I offered $20 in Starbuck's gift card for a starter set of worms and got my two rubbermaid bins on sale.

Next week I am giving a starter set of worms to my sister and the following week I am doing a workshop and giving away a starter set to one lucky participant so they can start there own.

I live in Portland, OR and I only used worm castings and foliar fed with fish emulsion on my garden this past year. All of my community garden neighbors were envious of my tomato and pepper production and I credit the worm castings for my success!
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Old January 23, 2011   #42
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I have worm composting on my "to do" list after reading some stuff on-line tonight. I once caught worms to sell to a fishing worm supplier, not one of my better ideas but I was only 12 or 13 and my brother-in-law talked me into it. It paid $10 per 1000, I made my first $10 and gave up the business, it was an unimaginable amount of night crawlers. But with this experience plus fishing for years and raising tropical fish that I fed worms to makes me well accustomed to the crawling creatures. As for bedding, although you can use shredded newspaper, I think I'll get the worm bedding they sell in the fishing/ sports department at WalMart or somewhere like that. It is clean to work with and no trouble.
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Old November 26, 2011   #43
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I love my little wormies, they make such nice soil amendment. I am also recycling nutrients using a bokashi composter.
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Old December 11, 2011   #44
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I have a big wooden worm bin outside on the deck, and I am worried about how they will do now that the cold weather is setting in. We feed them kitchen scraps weekly. How can we keep them warm in the winter, or are they fine with freezing weather?
Thanks,
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Old December 13, 2011   #45
dice
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Quote:
How can we keep them warm in the winter,
Their metabolism slows way down in cold weather.

Straw bales are about R-50 insulation value. Not cheap, but
you could stack straw bales around it, and maybe put a space
blanket on top of it.

Next spring you can compost the straw or spread it around outside
for mulch.

Cheap space blanket (probably not durable, ie if you tape it down
and then try to remove the tape, it will probably tear):
http://www.mfasco.com/silver-rescue-...ch-p-6905.html

Note that what space blankets do is reflect body heat back toward
you when you wrap them around yourself. So some heat of some
kind would have to becoming from within the worm bin to be reflected
back. (I do not know how much body heat earthworms produce.)
If you put a bale of straw in front of it, got it wet, and wrapped
the space blanket around that and the worm bin, it would be reflecting
back heat of decomposition from the straw bale.

This kind of space blanket may be more durable in an application
where you want to duct tape it to something or set heavy stuff
on it to hold it down, etc:
http://www.mfasco.com/survival-rescu...ch-p-6903.html
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