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Vermicomposting: Mixing coir and peat in vermicompost?

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Txtea

Txtea
Fabens, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 8, 2013
6:09 PM

Post #9412571

Would like others input on the use of coir mixed with peat in vermicomposting. Due to the higher price of peat in my area, was wondering your thoughts about using a mixture of both?

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 8, 2013
6:37 PM

Post #9412607

I started my first wiggler bin in December, under the tutilage of mraider3. I had worked with coir before and had a supply on hand. Morgan told me to use what was readily available in my area.

I went ahead and used peat, but, I'm going to set up my second bin using coir, in order to compare the water retention in both.

From what I've learned so far, I'd say "go for it!"

Linda
lonejack
Longview, WA
(Zone 8b)

February 10, 2013
8:17 PM

Post #9414834

Hi,
From what I have read about coir, which I have used in both grow boxes and worm bins, it could
have a high percentage of salt, which will kill or slow the development of both worms and grow boxes.
I rinsed my coir, allowing it to sit in water for 5 days and then flooding and draining.
I didn't notice that my grow beds or worm bins suffered from the salt.

One of my two bins have a waterproof lid and one bin has drain holes punched in the lid; both bins
have drain holes in the bottom. The one with the drain holes in the lid, allowing water to pass through,
seems to have a more active, healthy population of worms. I know from studying aquaponics, that
worms can live even under water if there is plenty of oxygen available. Maybe the bin with the holes
holes in the lid enjoys better oxygenation than the bin without holes in the lid.

We have a lot of rain here in Western Washington, so the amount of water draining through is steady.
It never rains more than 1/2 to 3/4" of rain per day here, so the supply of water flowing through is
limited.

Txtea

Txtea
Fabens, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 11, 2013
5:15 AM

Post #9415047

Thank you, I think I will hold off with the coir untill I have studied this more. Anyone else have any thoughts?
tropicalnut777
Provo, UT
(Zone 5a)

February 11, 2013
8:34 AM

Post #9415331

great to have another worm keeper around !!!
morgan is the man for good info on anything gardening..
wealth of info.. i know i get great ideas from him..
i use coir in alot of things gardening..
my worm bins get coir too..its a bit pricey for me for the worm composting
so i use tore up cardboard boxes as bedding..
txtea..on your question on salt in coir.. i find it depends on the source
youre getting your coir from..most of the coir we get comes from srilanka
ive even talked on the phone with one of the big exporting processors of coir
over there..great guy..and hes made some serious $$$
if youre not sure of your source ..what they assure u on the coir being
washed with clean water..not ocean water.. then i would rinse it..
put it in a wheel barrow..fill with water.. then maybe again..
you'll have to figure where to dump the rinsed water off..
as for worm bedding..you will find the worms love it..
in my outside gardens..i add about 30 -big bales every yr.. were i have
alot of it..in the fall when i dig my tropicals out for overwintering.. i have
pulled out the biggest nitecrawlers ever.. U jealous morgan??? :) eheeheh
i think its like anything.. know what youre doing.. there are the best people
here on DG..so just ask..and most likely theres someone who has tried it..
knows something about it.. :)
welcome to the wonderful world of worm keeping !!!!
your plants will love the castings !!!!

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 11, 2013
2:05 PM

Post #9415758

Txtea,
Just to be clear, what Tropicalnut777 is correct on the soaking part.

And, yes, our worm guru, Morgan, would've had me soak the peat OR the coir for at least 24 hours, then squeeze out the excess water, to leach out acid (peat) or salt (coir)...

Just didn't mention that part of the process...

Linda

Txtea

Txtea
Fabens, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 11, 2013
7:25 PM

Post #9416135

Thank you Dave, and Linda. Yes Morgan is the man! He has been helping me for some time now. His is the one who recomended to me to ask the question here. He told me Dave would chime in with his good thoughts. And also that he had been also helping Linda. Great teacher he is. I have quite a bit of coir that I got in a clearence sale a couple of years ago. As I am sure you know Linda as far south as we are peat is some what high in price here in my area " about 30 miles east of El Paso" I pay about 5.00 bucks for 8 qts. And you can't find any larger size around here.

As I am sure everone is aware of the high price of shipping much of anything anymore, I think after reading you'r thoughts on this I will in the future when I need another bin will try the coir.

The reason I got started with this,which I am now becoming more and more facinated by was last season I had the worst year with white flys. They were on every thing I growing. That includes vegtables, roses, hibiscus all three types,iris ect. The fly were so thick and I tried everthing that was advise too do. Nothing seemed to help.. It. was so bad one gardener advised me to discard every thing growing at my place.

A fellow gardener form up north was telling me he had some help with this promblem by applying "black gold" worm castings. Black Gold is not cheap and with shipping even worst. So I D-mailed Morgan and he the Professor started to help me set up my bin. May thanks Morgan.
mraider3
Helena, MT

February 14, 2013
4:09 AM

Post #9418566

James, I make several trips a year to Colorado Springs. If I took the pickup I could bootleg those big bales of peat and pay for the gas maybe. Haven't purchased my usual supply from Lowe's yet but I keep thinking I should stock pile. It is incredible what companies are charging for shipping. I liked Dave's idea on using choir directly in his garden as well. I had planned on doing the same with peat moss in the potato trenches this season.as well as adding it to the outdoor vermicomposting projects, especially the no-dig plots I plan on placing in a sizable area of native grass next to my garden. These beds are much like raised beds without the boards. Just layered materials and some red worms from the bins. Toss on a layer of straw and plant. Figured they would be great for transplanted Buttercrunch and Romain lettuce as well as Broccoli.

Always happy to assist James.

morgan

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 14, 2013
8:16 AM

Post #9418849

Duane!
I went next door to our world famous BBQ restaurant this morning for a breakfast plate. The servers were putting together the salad plates, and they were tossing WATERMELON RINDS into a trashcan right near the register. My mind clicked into gear (even w/o my morning Joe), and I asked if I could have a couple pieces of the rinds, cause I remember reading somewhere that the wigglers LOVE melon rinds.

So, after they looked at me like I was crazy and they hadn't mistaken my request, they put two nice pieces into a bag for me.

And, then it hit me...Do you know how much lettuce, salad fixings, and veggie peels that place must throw out EVERY DAY? I've already targeted them for the half-gallon, plastic mayo containers with lids, to freeze my slurries in. They throw those out EVERY DAY, too.

My goodness, what a mecca of worm food just waiting to be had!!! I could actually feed my entire YARD full of worms with the trash from next door. And, not to mention the Starbuck's right down the street that is just waiting for me to ask for their used coffee grinds! I grabbed a 5-gallon bucket of grinds from our conference center building just yesterday. I'm gonna start chucking that into my raised beds.

My, my, my! What our eyes can see, when we actually look with our brains...

Linda
mraider3
Helena, MT

February 14, 2013
12:43 PM

Post #9419067

Click! Worms really do like melon rinds, even those tough muskmelon rinds which actually grind up quite easily. I have several restaurants in mind which I plan on checking out as well. I have pretty much decided to sell most of my produce this coming season, and I plan on growing crops which restaurants would prefer like French Green Beans. I just ordered some seed from Ed Hume Seed Company which specializes in cool climate seeds. I met a lady in the Bozeman Ace Hardware store who raved about these green beans. Said she purchased all her seed from Ed Hume and sold her French Green Beans to a local grocer.

I would like to try building some no-dig beds in my native grass area next to the garden. I figured combining vermicomposting with these beds would be ideal for several layers of veggie scraps. My first thoughts are to use close planting crops like broccoli, butter crunch and romaine lettuce transplants in these beds, leaving more room in the garden for plant which take up space.

Compost worms have done really well in my raised beds, so I figured they would do equally as well in the lasagna or no-dig beds. What amazed me last year was finding loads of compost worms in the material I recycled from the raised beds. Somehow these red wigglers survived our Montana winter and even though the recycled bed material was dry and powdery they were doing just fine. I will even go as far as proclaiming they are even better from my type of gardening than regular earthworms. Bet that comment will raise some hackles...

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 14, 2013
1:48 PM

Post #9419124

Sounds like you're on to something!

I'm beginning to feel like I need a new profession...
tropicalnut777
Provo, UT
(Zone 5a)

February 14, 2013
4:11 PM

Post #9419241

gymgirl..yep..u have been bit by the worm keepers bug..
last i heard..there is no recovery for u..
u will start with 1 bin..and in 5 yrs..u will have many more
everywhere u go.. thoughts will come in your mind.."i could compost that'
"my worms eat that"
hehehee ya..worms LOVE melon rinds.. i dont have a major process
before putting in bins..i use my potato chopper in a big bowl..
and in they go..
welcome..welcome to the club... :)

Txtea

Txtea
Fabens, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 14, 2013
6:23 PM

Post #9419336

seems like this worm keeping is very contagious I'v cought the bug or the worm
mraider3
Helena, MT

February 15, 2013
5:45 AM

Post #9419656

I'm not any good at finding quotes, and my vermicomposting files are about two inches thick. It would take me a week to find it, but Darwin made a comment about worms which struck me as being one of the most profound statements about man's condition on earth being dependent on these creatures. They are such fantastic recyclers, and we haven't begun to figure out all the ways to harness their powers. I can't go to sleep without thinking about some way to use their amazing ability. And Dave's right...we ARE obsessed!

Paul is working on a flow through design using a heavy duty metal shelf. I just happen to have one broken down in my shed just waiting to become a flow through worm bin. I plan on feeding it purslane after I get it started. I pull and hoe about one or more five gallon buckets of it daily. No getting rid of the stuff, but I bet the worms will love it.

lonejack
Longview, WA
(Zone 8b)

February 16, 2013
9:44 PM

Post #9421512

Hi Duane,
Just to be exact, and give credit where credit is do, I sent you a link from a guy named Steve McGuire (McGuire Organics).
He is building a pass-through worm bin out of a storage rack.
Please see my newest creation here. I started a new thread on this forum.


Here is the link: http://www.mcguireorganics.com/new-flow-through
mraider3
Helena, MT

February 17, 2013
12:01 AM

Post #9421549

Thanks Paul, but as I said this design did not appear to be user friendly.

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