Is anyone interested in a vermicomposting sticky? It would be as an alternative to a whole new forum. Intermittently there are req. for info but they are infrequent enough that a it doesn't require a new forum. Typically when people ask, I refer them out but perhaps we could build a little niche here. What do you think?
A sticky message with composting basics is a great idea! We need both vermicomposting and regular composting basics available.
claypa recently directed folks to this very informative container soil thread in response to the potting soil question. this type of information would be handy to keep at the top. http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/527353/
Im also interested! I know teh Dh wont allow me to keep em over winter in our basement, but I would have up to about Oct- an dthen mabye I could give the lil buggers away!
This compost method just seems faster and easier than any other for those of us with limited space and sun...
(Im fairly new.. and yet to figure out Juts which vermiposting thread I should be watching. That and the sticky thing- I'll figure it all out eventually!)
hmmm.. can you throw worm castings directly on a raised bed?
Hello all, I am VERY new to GA (coming from Netherlands) just reading your thread here cause we have a yard that hasn't been properly maintained for about 20 years! It needs tilling, soil raising etc. etc. BUT can somebody tell me PLSE what the h... is vermicomposting, wormcastings, stickys ????? MAYDAY MAYDAY need advise asap!
Thanks frm newcomer to States. I have started a diary btw with some pics of the yard.
Thanks Ninnian, 2 out of 3 "ain't bad". The "sticky" I sometimes see on a thread, after the title it will say (sticky), meaning ...very long or ?
Sautee Nacoochee?? I know you sautee mushrooms and onions etc. but actually live there.? How far north are you frm Atlanta?
To go back to the thread: are the worms neccessary for making compost or could I do without? Since the yard needs a lot of cleaning up, I will have tons and tons of leaves and pine needles, so it would be a good start for a compostpile I guess but I don't think I am quite ready to work with worms! I just need to come up with a easy and not so expensive way of making something.
Hi all; I hope we can have our Vermcomposting so every one can join in and help the new one's like (me). I have just made my worm beds, and have leaves and shredded newspaper that I have soaked in water and squeezed out so it is moist and not dripping wet. I made my beds out of 10 gallon plastic tubs, with air holes and drain holes. I just order my worms from the worm man, and hope they will be here Wednesday. I have a light (for heat), to keep the worms happy for the first week. Then I'll start feeding them my kitchen scraps. I hope I am doing it right because I want my worms to be happy! I'll report back in when I have my worms. I hope to take pictures but now I don't know how to get them on the forum. LOL If any one needs any help, or you have some ideas I don't know about please tell me, Then we all can raise worms!! Phil
If you make it they will come. In my experience all you have to do is start a compost pile, on the ground of course :~), and the worms will show up to the party *vbg* I've wanted to start a small vemicomposting bin under the kitchen sink for scraps but that's just one more thing on a very long list that I want to do lol.
19flip44 start feeding the bin NOW they eat (the worms) eat what eats the scraps in other words feed the bind NOW not too much but now. So that when your worms arrive the mold and bacteria that they eat are present, alive and eating your scraps.
Would love a sticky, would also love an active head count on how many active Vermicomposters are out there - count me in
Lana - out of all my projects this one was the EASIEST. Sounds like you all ready know what to do - so like NIKE says JUST DO IT. You will love it, being able to compost kitchen scraps in the winter without having to go out to the bin is a real plus. I tend to use the blender on my scraps more in the winter due to its more intense usage.
I have always wanted to try a few (50 or so) on a strictly garlic diet - I have heard that the resulting worms are Trout KIILLERS
I just recently decided to jump in and start vermicomposting, and unfortunately, the worms arrived before the bin, and without any care instructions whatsoever! I've googled "vermicomposting" in an attempt to find care instructions, but there is very little out there. I have a temporary arrangement at this time, and so far they seem to be doing okay.
Also, even though I ordered a pound of red wrigglers, I'm not sure I got a pound. I think I got a pound of dirt with some worms in it (although the worms seem healthy, all pink and squirmy, and they're the right size). I ordered from Green Culture. I haven't called them yet to ask about this. (I bet anything I did not get one thousand worms! A post in the "vermicomposter" thread said a pound of red wrigglers would be about 1000 adult worms. Can anyone comfirm or deny that?)
Aha, thank you TCS1366. Everybody is so excited about the worms, I thought I'll go ask this question again on diff. forum. So... a sticky is not something I have to learn about how to do it etc, right??
You can also visit my Journal here on DG my clicking my name beside this message. There's a section on vermicomposting.
Last fall I used most of my worm compost around shrubs and perennials, and kept my small bin over the winter in the kitchen. Now that spring is approaching, I've split the population and have the second bin going, hoping to have a big batch of compost ready by the end of May for planting.
Angel, I wouldn't worry about your 'thousand' worms. Once they establish in your compost, they'll start reproducing. It takes an egg casing about two weeks to hatch, and the babies take about a month to reach maturity and start reproducing themselves. In a few months you'll have loads of them. The picture shows adult and baby worms and egg casings (they look like grape seeds).
Because my composter is an inside bin, it's isolated from 'wild' worms and I had to populate it with purchased worms to start. But I've read that composting piles started outdoors, on the ground, will attract earthworms naturally, without you having to buy them.
Vermicomposting -- composting with worms, aerobic, relies on worms more than vegetative rotting. Purpose: to create compost for garden use
Vermiculture -- growing worms. Purpose: to produce quantities of worms, usually for sale
Microbial environment -- food and shelter for your worms. They need air, moisture and temperature (40-75F), and food on which microbes grow. It is the microbes, bacteria, spores etc. that provide their nourishment, and they get this by eating the vegetative scraps you provide. They also need a bit of soil to provide grit in their gut to break down what they eat.
Leachate -- excess moisture from the bin which drips out the bottom. This is why you need drainage and aeration holes in your bin, and a plastic boot-tray under the bin to catch the leachate. You can dilute the leachate in water and use it as a mild fertilizer.
Go to Disneyworld for a week... and you have too much to catch up on! Its all good tho! :D
Thank you TCS!!! Its very good to know I dotn have to educate myself on another gardening facet! A sticky is not in my realm of " things I have to know" LOL
Tuliplady, Sautee is pronounced in English as' 'Saw- Tee'. Sautee-Nacoochee is a Uchee/Cherokee Indian name. I love it here in this mountainous area. I am abotu 90 minutes above Atlanta, dependant on what part you measure from. There are days I think I dont live far Enough out! Feel free to write my mail if you want to know anything about the area. Its very popular with tourists.(I try to avoid the touristy areas.. but I do know some about them)
oh! Im so glad we have newbies who want to start up vermicompsoting, and very grateful we have experienced 'worm wranglers' to help us thru teh process! :D
Gosh, heres a question I thought about just after I hit "send" (of course)
I know worms liek stuff in smallish bits... but do you have to blend them or anything? how small is small? I cant see me making up batches of mush for them every day(or every few with food thats starting to rot?!)
Do they like coffee grounds? I wonder if I coudl get my friends to save thiers for me.. or mabye the local coffee houses?
Ninnian, I might contact you, I am really curious what else is "out there".
I am not ready to start composting or vermi composting yet, but I'd like to learn up on it already. We still have a huge garden renovation to do. You can see photo's in my "diary".
Maggie, Thank you! Im going to look over that at once!
(hey, I just noticed - Does my zone only show to others, becuase I cant see it)?
Tuliplady, feel free. I dotn know so much about the other areas of Georgia becuase I myself am a 'transplant', but I Love this area.
I wish I had a huge garden area to renovate! Im putting up raised beds now and hoping I can keep my cat san the deer (grr!) out of them. Ill go tromping thru your diary soon also! Thank You!
Sorry Andy but your wrong about the leachate. Leachate should not be used on plants espeically house plants that are by definition in a clossed system, leachate is what gathers at the bottom of the worm bin this is NOT the same as tea. From the link margaran provided Kelly Slocum (the worm guru) it states: (The first sentence makes it sound like its a good idea but read on)...
Leachate from an actively decomposing pile of organic debris will often carry many of the soluble nutrients that had been present in the solid matter, producing a beneficial growth response when used to water plants. It will also carry small numbers of the microorganisms present on that solid matter, as well as small bits of undecomposed organic material. This becomes a matter of some concern when materials like manure or post consumer food residuals make up even a portion of the feedstock in the system. There is the possibility that fecal coliforms and other pathogenic organisms can be present in the leachate, potentially contaminating plant and fruit or vegetable surfaces with which it comes into contact.
Further, the bits of undecomposed organic debris in the leachate will continue to be broken down in the liquid where oxygen levels are very low, through the action of anaerobic microorganisms. As they slowly decompose these bits of material anaerobes produce alcohol and phenols toxic to plant roots.
It is not always possible to tell when leachate will produce a beneficial growth response and when it will cause damage. Without a lab test it is not possible to tell when leachate will harbor potentially pathogenic organisms. As such, it is generally recommended that leachate from compost or worm bins not be used on plants, but rather used to moisten the system if it dries out or to moisten new feed stocks before they are included in the system.
Steeping the finished, stable end product of a composting or vermicomposting system in agitated, aerated water, then adding a nutrient mix for microbial growth makes a true tea. The water is agitated to extract as many of the organisms clinging to the solid matter as possible and the nutrient mix provides those microbes dislodged into the liquid with a food source on which to grow and reproduce. Aerating the water ensures that it is aerobic organisms being supported in the liquid. This blend of food and oxygen in the tea enables the microorganisms to grow to numbers rivaling those found in the solid matter from which the tea is derived. Teas must then be used within a few hours of being generated in order to ensure aerobicity and high microbial populations. Once the oxygen and food are consumed, anaerobic organisms will begin to populate the system, producing alcohols and phenols toxic to plants.
Good tea begins with good, quality compost, worm castings or vermicompost, or a blend of these materials. Provided the solid material is stable and supports sufficient beneficial microbial life there is nothing in these liquids to cause plant damage.
Outside not such a problem, its inside plants I was worried about, sometimes we (newbies) just take the ball and run, yeah know?
I got into vermicomposting because of her on another (not so friendly forum), nothing could get her going then someone talking about using leachate as a "booster", she would go into this long spiel about the chemical compostion, the true science of it, leaving us newbies & wannbes' in the dust with the techno side of it...
MQN - thanks for the leachate info. The instructions with my worm bin said that leachate could be diluted and used on houseplants, but it didn't say why.
I finally got my worm bin today (10 days after receiving the worms!). The worms survived okay in their makeshift home (a small cardboard box). Hopefully they'll be happy in their new high-rise, multi-level worm bin. :)
A question - according to the bin manual, worms will form up in balls when stressed. Yet in andycdn's thread, someone said that the worms do that when mating. Which is it? Or is it both? There were two groups of worm clumps this afternoon when I transferred them to their new home. I fed the worms very little food while they were in temp housing. They had a little shredded damp newspaper bedding above and below them, and the soil they came in kinda sandwiched in between the paper layers (although the worms distributed it a bit through the paper). I spritzed the surface paper with water every day, and a couple of times dug up the corners and spritzed there too, because the soil was pretty dry. They seem okay to me, not stressed, but I'm no worm expert.
I think worms like company and bunch up when they feel like it. Sometimes I see balls of 20-30, under the same conditions as when I don't, so I don't think it's stress. As for mating, that's a one-on-one activity, not an orgy!
Although you'll be curious for the first few weeks, try to keep your visits to the bin to a minimum. Because they are sensitive to light, they don't like to be disturbed if you can avoid it. The main thing is to be sure they are happy in their environment. If you see them crawling up the walls or on the lid, they're trying to escape and are not happy. If there's a bad smell, there's probably not enough aeration, or you're using the wrong food, like any animal product. Or you might be feeding too much for the number of worms in the bin. I had this problem, and found that the food was rotting and starting to smell because there weren't enough worms to eat it.
Someone asked about preparing the food by using a food processor to make a 'slurry'. I've heard of this, but it's more work than I'm willing to put in. This is garden compost, not an angel-food cake! I throw in orange peels, pineapple trimmings, apple cores, banana skins, canteloupe skins and seeds, all as-is or, at most, cut into 1" pieces.
Things I don't feed them: dried onion skins (microbes don't grow on them); root vegetables, unless rotting or cooked (they won't feed on a growing root); egg shells (some ppl recommend these to balance the pH, but they don't break down, in my experience); and of course any animal products -- flesh, oils, milk/dairy, eggs, etc. Bread is OK, and they love coffee grounds.
I read an hyperlinked article and it totally bummed me out!
Theres no way I can keep a box full fo worms outside under 70 so degrees in teh summer.. not even here in teh mtns!
*grumble* Mabye I'll look at ya'lls suggestions, and think of how to make life more hospitable for native wormies under teh compost heap Ive started. I was thinking mabye Ill rake what I have over a huge peice of cardboad with slots cut out of it here n there.
I'll live vicariously thru my other worm wranglers here abouts. :D
Ninnian, andydcn brings the worms in in the winter. I bring mine in in the summer and will soon need to do that. I just set up a "cheap and easy worm bin" -- you can google that and get the instructions -- and harvest as many as I can find when I turn the compost next, and put them in. The big brown earthworms are fine outside all the time, apparently -- it's the red ones that don't like heat. My inside ones last year produced some of the most beautiful material you can imagine. And you bury the food in the shredded paper, so it doesn't attract other critters. I had a little problem with fruit flies, but I set a simple trap for them (plastic bowl with lid, with apple cider vinegar in it) and they disappeared in short order. It doesn't produce vast quantities, but it's good stuff, and come fall you throw them back into the compost bin.
Hey! Nadine and brigidlily!,
Oh believe me, Ive read that they make swell indoor pets, however my DH has put down teh law. NO Worms in the house! I'm not sure if it's becuase our house is so small and its not completed yet,if he fears 'smell" or if it just creeps him out.(or any combo of teh above)
I think I'll just try to coax them to my newly strated compost heap, and also throw them in teh raised beds Im making as I find em!
Nin, I have an outdoor worm bin also, and it gets way to hot for them... they do bury/go deep.
I plan on building a sunflower "house" around the bin so that as the temps raise the sunflowers can shade them and help bring down the temps my "door" is going to face east - which is shaded by an huge old weeping willow.
I will probably dig in new food additions. Just something you may want to try, I am doing it also to "hide" the bin which really is not that attractive...
A bottomless bin , eh?... who knew?? (obviosly not I)
Using one of these (which sounds kinda nifty) would one then use regular ol' native worms? I had heard that you dont want to put the red types out becuase they are an import to teh ecosystem. I dont truly know , however. Do you buy these things online?
MQN, do you have your bin where the wormies can go in into teh ground itself? Omigosh.. I wish I could grow a sunflower house.. heck - I wish I coudl grow ONE sunflower without it being mauled and chomped by deer beasts! ::scowls and waves her fists menacingly at teh forest:: 'This year it's Irish Spring for the Lot of you!' *sob!*
Ninnian - regarding whether the red worms (red wigglers, Eisenia fotida) should be released into the yard - I asked that myself of some bug experts at the university extension office. It was pointed out to me that North America has virtually no native worms (they really aren't sure) and that all worms we see in our soil are probably European imports. So you may already have red worms in your soil.
I was also told that red worms are, at the very least, considered harmless, and probably, in fact, have a beneficial effect on the soil.
I just ordered a worm bin; will let the company know when it arrives and then they will ship me the worms. I'm really looking forward to this and making some great compost, especially for my container plantings. I live in Florida and the company is also here; so I'm assuming that my climate will be OK and I do have a shady place to put them.
I'm collecting coffee grinds from every lunch room in my building. How much of this should I chuck onto the compost pile, and, Is there such a thing as "too many coffee grinds," in the compost bin? Don't want to upset my wormies!
From what I understand I don't think too much coffee grinds is ever too much. I'm assuming you'll put other stuff in there and not just the coffee grinds. Also if you have a large compost pile this shouldn't be a problem -- I won't concentrate on coffee grounds in my worm bin though.
I have been learning so much --- they also like used tea bags; just remove the staples first. They don't care for onions or garlic too much and not too much acidic stuff; i.e., citrus and tomatoes.
Here's a dumb question. How will I know if the worms have moved into my compost pile? I moved a top 3" yesterday and worked in a cup of bloodmeal. The banana peels from last week were lucking sort of putrid and there was a slight odor of "rottiness." I added some more banana peels and scraps, and some more coffee grinds. Then, I covered everything up again. Couldn't see any worms in there. Trying to decide if I need to go buy some worms.
P.S.. I moved a pot and found two fat, white GRUB worms, which were quickly turned into ex-GRUB worms...
You need the grobs and all the other bugs you find in the pile. Worms don't have teeth. The other critters break down the material to allow the mold that the worms do eat to grow. several of those other bugs are far better decomposers than the worms are. Look here
Keep it wet (not difficult after the rains this weekend) and if you find some worms elsewhere, move them to the pile. Did you put actual dirt into the pile? They need that. If you get the red worms, they don't like the heat. Also you might try putting a layer of shredded newspaper in it. They love a newspaper apartment!
Started off with a shredded paper layer on the dirt. Wetted it down...then built upon it. Do I need to add another layer of shredded paper? I have lots more, and tons of coffee crinds. Just need WORMS!
Mine love banana skins, it seems... and certainly the melon rinds. They also love the skins from baked yams (the more flesh the better). As for coffee grinds, they don't congregate where the grinds are concentrated in one place (as in a filter) so I sprinkle the grinds through the bedding when I add them. Doesn't seem to harm the critters.
If you're worried about acidity, some people pulverize eggs shells in the blender with some water and add it to the bedding from time to time. Whole egg shells never get eaten and don't break down.
This is great!! I have been trying to find info for my worms! There is a couple of ladies that live a few miles from me that raise red worms and sell them. I bought a pound back in January and have them in a bin in my basement. The ladies I bought them from also raise rabbits and the worms LOVE the rabbit manure! So I've been feeding mine a mix of rabbit droppings, coffee grounds, vegetable peelings, ect! The ladies I bought them from told me that the worm castings are actually toxic to the worms and that every 3 months the castings should be removed from the bin. Is this a practice that you all do? and what is the best way to go about it?
Never heard that bit of wisdom, Sue. Glad to know it. I guess out in the Real World the castings don't get concentrated like they do in a bin.
I have a double bin, and when the top one where the worms are is ready for harvest, I get the second one ready with damp shredded newspaper, etc., and go through the castings to put as many worms in the second one as possible, then dump the first bin where it's needed. Great way to distribute worms -- you can't get them all into the next bin, and of course there are eggs everywhere. Then I put the second bin into the first and it starts all over.
I've never heard about the castings being toxic. In fact I have a little trouble believing it.
I have several ways of harvesting the compost. The method I'm using now is simple: I pull all the finished, ready-to use compost over to one half of the bin, worms and all, and stop feeding that side. Then I put fresh bedding in the other half, and start feeding there only. The worms start migrating to the new side. But even after two months, the old side is packed with worms! If the castings were toxic, I'd expect the worms to migrate and live in the fresh bedding where the food is.
Another method I devised is to put a screen made of hardware cloth (see the photo) on top of the final layer of compost in the bin and start new bedding and feeding on top of it. The worms migrate vertically to the new area. But I found that they really like to stay in their old home, castings and all.
A more common way of harvesting is to spread a plastic tarp on the floor/ground in bright light and pile the compost in pyramids. Because the worms hate the light, they migrate to the middle of each pile and you can pull away the outer layer every hour or so. This method doesn't get the egg cases -- you have to do that manually or forget about them. In the other two methods I described, the babies migrate when they hatch.
All in all, harvesting is one of the most problematic parts of this little hobby. It certainly teaches patience and thoughtful ingenuity, though, and that's not a bad thing. And the compost is worth it.
Thanks for all the advice! Andy thanks for the variety of ways to extract the castings. I've never minded getting down and dirty so sifting through and separating worms from castings won't be a problem! I like the idea of double binning. I used a plastic tote which I drilled holes along the bottom for ventilation and in the cover of the tote. So I'm heading out for another one! Well, I know what I'll be doing tonight after everyone goes to bed!!(I'm a night owl so this will be better than flipping channels!)
I'm glad to hear no-one has had a problem with toxicity from the castings. I was getting nervous about harming the little guys!
Hey, what kind of reactions does everyone get when you tell people about your worms?! I've have gotten alot of raised eyebrows from relatives!! :)
dear andycdn, thank you for being so dilligent in posting your experience with worms. this has been so helpful and informative. i think i am going to try it this fall (inside of course, its too cold here). im hoping i will have enough worm compost to start my seedlings in the spring. thank you.. kathy
andy, since you are providing fresh bedding on one side of your worm bin, the castings will not build up enough to be toxic to the worms - they can move to the fresh bedding. I've seen a number of worm bins die from folks never sifting out the castings.
Well --- my little "babies" are now started in their new bin. The grandkids arrived yesterday and the worms today; they were eager and very interested in helping me set it all up... I am going to aim for just feeding them once a week (as was suggested in their brochure).
I have a really good 2-page info handout on worm composting from UC Coop & Santa Clara County, which I've converted to a PDF. I tried, but it doesn't look like I can post it as an attachment here, so if anyone would like a copy, D-Mail me with your e-mail address and I'll send it.
Yes I have told people I have worms!lol! Yesterday my daughter was sitting with one of her friends in our living room and she asked what I was doing. I replied,"I'm going downstairs to water the worms." Her friend immediately busted out laughing!! She thought I was joking! So I took her downstairs to check them out! I actually had to find some in the bin and show her! She thought it was pretty neat-maybe she'll be a future vermicomposter! My daughter on the other hand just gave me the eyeroll! Can't win them all!lol
Hi, Sue, you couldn't pay me enough to be a teenager again. All the embarrasment and aingst! Goodness. Anyway, was wondering about your name. Did it by chance have anything to do with a goat breed? :~)
My first goat was an Alpine/Saanan and her name was Sandy(sometimes it was Sandra Dee!!!) She was with us for 9 years and then she had a couple of strokes. That was about 2 years ago and boy do I miss her! I don't think she knew she was a goat! She followed me everywhere even "helped" us build a new barn one year!! She would pretend to pick up boxes of nails and give a sideways glance to see if you were looking, if we didn't rub her when she wanted-just like a little kid, they know how to get your attention!Lol!
We had a big black Alpine named Toro---we got to bond with him as soon as he was born at my friend's place. She knew we wanted a big wither to keep our back-40 cleared, and she called me as soon as he was born. He was such a kick! We had him disbudded; when he was little, my son and the goat used to love to put their foreheads together and see who could hold out the longest. Guess who always won? He loved to play with the dog, too.
When we moved, we gave him to some folks we knew would give him a good home. They TOTALLY included him in their family, to the point that he was on their wedding invitation!
I had an old saanen doe here that I purchased from a livestock dealer who had gotten her at auction. She was in such bad shape from before the auction she could barely walk from being weak and emaciated...and pregnant! I babied her back to health and she ended up kidding 2 bucks a few weeks later, they weren't the smartest 2 boys but they were sweet :~) The next year she gave me triplets! I bottle fed the triplets and milked her to make cheese. She wasn't a milk goat when I got her but I turned her into one. She would stand loose in the field and chew her cud while I milked her. First she would turn and smell me and lick my face :~) That same year the Nubian doe I had gave triplets so I ended up feeding 6 bottle babies! I finally sold her when I got into Boer goats. I missed her terribly and would love to have a Saanen milk doe again. She had such a personality and regal look about her.
Hi all maybe someone could help me?? I have my worms in a ten gallon plastic tote box, in the basement, Today I had to use the phone, and I set the paper with the phone number on the top of the worm bin. When I picked up the paper I found tiny tiny small black bugs, I never seen them before, but they showed up on the white paper. So I opened the lid and found about fifty tiny black specks moving around. I just ran my finger over them and wiped them out, now later I see more out side the lid, on top, Any one know what I got? baby fruit specks? What would you do? spray? No ? I don't want to hurt my worms. I would like to do some thing now, before they start taking over the basement. Why, because I have my bedroom in the basement! Thanks
If it's some form of fruit fly, get a plastic container with a lid, like the ones soft butter comes in. Poke some small holes in the lid, and put about 1/2" of apple cider vinegar in the bowl. FFs can't resist it -- nor can they get out! I had them and this got rid of them.
Try this page, are they mites?? If so, you don't need to do anything about them. If they bother you, you can try keeping the bin a little less moist but I just leave mine. I like them a whole lot better than I like fruit flies.
Hey brigidlily and margran, Thanks for the fast answer, But at this stage, they are so small, like a point of a pin. I can't tell what they are! To small to pick up, I don't know if they have legs or what, they are not fly or jumping, yet! I'll keep a real close eye out on them, I took the lid in to the bathroom tub and sprayed them with hot water, and so far today I haven't seen any thing move. Thanks again. 19flip44
Thanks for that link, margaran. I tend to agree with just letting them be (of course, my compost pile is outside and when I bring the worms in for the summer I might have a different perspective) as they pretty much just work at the process.
Wow, Im cathcing up and am very appreciative of ya'lls womy wrangling stories!
Ive started a compost pile(ill find if Im doing it right later I guess... Im so busy I just dont hav etime to do all teh research... how wrong can a pile go, anyhow?? No meats or dairy and the occassional layer of dried leaves)
I get fruit wasps( I think) ... but I try not to freak out about it. Surely they are helping , and mabye they will eat my banana peels! (I cant save em forvere to go on roses or tomatoes...)
Whatever you're putting in WILL eventually compost. You can hurry it up if and when you have the time (HAHAHAHAHA) but left on its own, it will still compost. Be sure and throw in a handful of dirt or sand now and then.
Get this. I'm doing all I can to make my compost pile heat up, right? So I remember "greens," and I remember the HUGE, HUGE pile of leaves and grass my DH has out back near the drop off. So I go look and, sure enough, there's a beautiful pile of grass clippings. So, since my neighbor just told me she KNOWS we have snakes, I ask my DDH to go get me a wheelbarrow of grass clippings for my little compost pile. Which he does. And I go with him, cause, of course you're brave when the DH is around...And he sticks the shovel in and I'm looking at all this STEAM coming out of his pile!!!!! So I'm asking him how he got it to heat up, and he's saying, "I don't know, it just gets hot," and I'm freaking out cause I'm buying bloodmeal and turning and sweating, and HE'S doing nothing except dumping leaves and grass clippings. Not even table scraps!!!
Well, if you're worm composting, you don't use the same ingredients---if a real worm-pile gets too hot, it will COOK the babies! But you can put red worms---or fishing worms---into a regular compost pile, and if it doesn't get so hot, it won't matter. They'll compost everything anyway.
Composting with mix of greens and brown is to bring the temp's up get the "burn" going ...are you sure your hubby isn't "watering" the heap with a "protein based" accelerant?
VERMIcomposting does not care about heat, its more about decompostion & moisture levels - you can do it in a bin inside or any where in anything outside - the worms will migrate within the area for temp appropiate surrondings
Question -- I had some bedding that came. separately, with my worms. I added some damp newspaper on the bottom, added the bedding and worms, and then added some food -- chopped apple, some cantaloupe chopped (with rind), some coffee grounds and a few tea bags. Then another layer of damp newspaper.
When I check on the worms every couple of days it looks as if the food isn't being eaten; but they are moving around before burrowing out of the light. Should I remove some of the fruit, etc.? I don't want it to go rotten and start to smell. They've been in there for almost a week now.
My bin took 2-3 weeks to develop a 'bloom' which is basically its own microbial environment. This comes from the natural rotting process of what you put in there, the bacteria, spores, etc. that are on the skins of the fruit. This is where the worms derive their nutrients, and they eat the decomposing material to get their food. So just have patience and you'll see it develop on its own. Feeding the bin with a lot of different fruits and vegetables will give more variety/complexity to the microbial environment.
BTW, I assume you mean damp *shredded* newspaper! If you've got a good layer on top (2-3" fluffed) you shouldn't have a problem with smell. It's anaerobic decomposition that really smells bad, and this you get when there's no oxygen because the bin contents are too compressed for air to be circulating. This happens occasionally just because things tend to settle, and I just use a cultivator to loosen up the bin contents a bit. Also, the worms keep it pretty aerated just by their travels.
I had done a walk around my woodland garden a few days ago and was amazed to see the hostas leafing out with no deer damage. When dh came home I had him walk thru the gardens with me to see the spring blooms and things shooting up. I mentioned my surprise about the hostas as we walked thru the woodland garden he smiled and said he'd been marking his territory around the hostas!!! He's been peeing in my hosta bed so the deer will leave it alone. How sweet is that? LOL He loves me!
Maggie, Thanks for the link to happydranch! It's nice to actully see pictures as descriptions sometimes just don't do the trick. Couldn't id the some of the critters in my bin but the worms seem happy so I guess they're aren't harmful! We had the woodstove going downstairs until last week, so they aren't enjoying the 80 degree temps anymore! I think it's about 60 down there now. They still seem to be doing well.
Just a quick note on the Saanans(hope no-one minds the off-topic). I can remember one time we were bringing some goats to auction and on a quick decision we loaded Sandy onto the truck. It didn't last long as I sat on the front steps sobbing(even though it was my choice to put her there). My DH knew what my problem was without even asking! And off the truck she came! We had her for another 3 years and I never regretted it! Those goats seem to know how to get into your heart! :-) Sue
They do, I hated selling 'Ma' but had to trim down the herd and I was breeding Boers at the time. She had triplets her last kidding with me. She was getting old so probably didn't have too many years after that. I really missed her.
Well, I have my "pile" going... and Im trying not to be fixated about the ratio content. In my new diet, I get ALOT of greens.. and then I shove on an armful of those dried leaves I've mentioned. I've minded my beezwax... but Im dying to know if any worms have moved into teh neighborhood! I also need to go get them a big piece of cardboard(with holes cut into it so they can get to the goodies).. because I havent done that yet.
Ive never felt liek being a "voyeaur" (sp?) before. Give teh worms some privacy, or look in on em? huh- I guess teh pile would have to be turned Sometime anyhow, right? Turn it and place it atop some cardboard. Thats my plan.
They say we're looking at a hot dry season or 2 here in Georgia. Surely area worms would prefer cool new 'digs' with a supply or ready food and occassional moisture?
(omi! reminds me!.. will the soap from dishwater hurt worms?I could only use that for garden areas... noones ever mentione dit as a concern that Ive seen , tho...)
Count me in as someone who wants as much info on this topic as possible.
Note, recently when I was searching for free worms, a woman contacted me and said she was overrun. At first she said she had no idea why and then it came out in conversation that she collects her household veggie/coffee/fruit/grain waste, mixes in the blender with a lil water and pours the slurry around her roses.
Hmmm, now that you mention it, it's time to check the lower trays on my Wriggly Wranch. I could probably sift them out now and add the tray back to the top for more kitchen scraps. I need a bigger worm composting system at home. We fill a 5 gallon bucket of peelings, stems etc each week. My worms take longer than that to comsume it all, so I'm alternating between feeding the worm bin and putting the scraps in a trench in my garden bed. The earthworms don't mind.
I do the same thing----alternate kitchen scraps in the worm bin and in my compost bins. Now that it's getting colder, the worms aren't as active, so more will probably go in compost. Sometimes I put some of my worm stuff in the regular compost---seems to break it down faster. I also periodically "seed" my regular compost with fishing worms.
What I mean was that I occasionally buy a container or two of fishing worms from a bait shop, and sprinkle them into my regular compost (not my "official" worm bin). Seems to make the compost break down faster, and when I use it, it's pre-populated with worms for the garden.
The red wigglers that are in my vermicomposter, I've been told, won't live in the garden----they will only survive in the conditions that the worm bin provides.
Just popping in with a quick question. I have a bag of some veggie peels breaking down in a can with one of those locks like on the ball canning jars. It's turning into a slurry on it's own, but I had it outside and have noticed it's teeming with some kinda maggots. Looks like that snake pile in the Indiana Jones movie...
My question is what do I do with this slurry now? If I throw it on the compost pile, the maggots might hatch (I'm not sure what kind these are, but they're certainly larger than regular old kitchen fly maggots...). Any suggestions? I guess if I had an old blender, that'd take care of that. EEEEEEEWWWW.. disgusting thought...
Yep, maggots and all. Just bugs, natural things, the world is full of them, their presence in the compost covered about 10 inches may or may not kill them, but they have to eat and excrete just like all the other creepy crawlies in your compost you must be aware of. They may survive and fly away, but in the great scheme of things they won't be a swarm or something out of a Hitchcock film.
Girl, can we talk? I am NOT the squeemish, squealie, girlie type. But, I draw the line at maggots...Just something about 'em gives me the creepy crawlies..Still not screaming, and I can DO this -- I'd just rather NOT do this...I'll let you know how your prayers for me are working...
Gymgirl, let me give you another perspective: there are many WWII (and earlier) veterans who are alive today because of maggots. My mom was surgical nurse with the International Red Cross in a mobile surgical unit just off the front during that event. The only way to prevent a wounded soldier from dying of septicemia or gangrene was to pack the wound with maggots. These creatures that repulse so many humans have a job to do on this earth. They are helpful in field medicine in that the maggots only eat dead or decaying flesh. They can often do a better job cleaning the wound than a human hand and have saved many lives.
Garden mermaid , you took the words right out of my mouth! I don't know how sanitary that was, but I had just used my water pic. LOL LOL
Yep, I was just typing about the prevention of gangrene when I scrolled back up and there you were, explaining it, perfectly.
Do I get a prize for digging that hole and pouring in those huge maggots/larvae? 'Cause I did it! Actually, they seemed to have buried down into the slurry, so I couldn't see 'em while I was pouring them into that 'DEEP hole!
Another question concerning my coffee grinds and these HUGE creatures, which I don't think are fly maggots anymore cause they're too large. They look more like long, white, stretched out pill bugs (sorta), only bigger and longer. Anybody got an idea of what I'm hatching?
And, the garbage bags of compost I have are FILLED with these things. I emptied the bags of coffee grinds into 5-gallon buckets yesterday, and put lids on 'em. Pretty sure I'll find a teeming mass of something ugly next time I take a lid off...but will it be organic enough (and NOT anerobic) to move into the compost pile? Actually, I'm thinking I need to put these coffee grinds and filters into the BIG compost pile DH has way out back.
With my luck, the birds would ignore them, and then what?
Speaking of critters and coffee grinds, I have several bags on the ground in the corner of my potting area. Saturday I began cleaning up the area for the winter, and went to move a bag. Well, it moved back and I jumped back. And out slithered a garden? snake, about 14-15" long, colorful and thin. It was striped, red, yellow, silver? I didn't stand there long enough to really get all the colors.
Anybody got any ideas about what kinda snake it was with those colors? And, I suspect, it likes the cool of the coffee grinds, as well as what the coffee grinds attract...
Were the stripes linear? (head to tail) Or banded (circled all around?) Linear is harmless garter snake, (or another harmless species) If banded and the red and yellow were touching, don't get near it.
The stripes were linear. I went online today to try and identify it, but I didn't see anything that looked like it. And thanks for the tip. I memorized the warning: "Red on yellow, kill a fellow. Red on black, Friend of Jack!"
"Copperheads smell like cucumbers. You may have heard someone say you always know when a copperhead is around because it smells like cucumbers. This is both true and misleading.
Yes, copperheads and most other kinds of snakes give off an offensive odor when molested, cornered or captured. This defensive odor, produced by glands at the base of the tail, is given off at will and may also be mixed with feces. To some individuals this musk may smell somewhat like cucumbers.
However, a snake has to have a reason to expel its musk. Thus, a copperhead at rest under a rock or alongside a log will have no reason to give off its musky defense. You could walk within a few inches of the snake and never know it's there."
Or a shark, ANYTIME you swim in open water. And, I do believe I had an encounter with one near me once in the Caribbean Ocean as I hung onto the drop-off buoy a ways off the shoreline, in a private cove. The hairs on my body kept standing up and I had this sense something was in the water. I kept looking into the dark water, but couldn't see anything. Then, something in my spirit said, "swim now, hurry, and do not look back!" I let go and swam toward the shoreline like my very life depended on it. And, to this day, I'm sure that it did...
In perspective, I'll take the ribbon/garter snake!
The worms were in the compost.
The compost was in a pile.
The coffee was supposed to be in the compost
The snake was in the coffee.
I found the snake when I reached for the coffee to put in the compost because the worms like the coffee in the compost.
But, nobody liked the snake that was in the coffee that was supposed to be compost for the worms...
andycdn, snakes may not be common in Ottawa, but in warmer climates, snakes are not uncommon around compost and worm bins. They may be attracted by other animals that are attracted to the worms. We had an outdoor worm bin that went sour when moles/voles tunneled up and ate the worms. We put a wire mesh on the bottom after that experience. I'd rather see a brief discussion on the snakes to help out a fellow composter than see Gymgirl harmed by a venomous snake because she didn't see the thread that cautioned her about them.
imapigeon - I've just built a worm bin and have been told that you can find red wigglers in manure rather than having to go out and buy them. I've also been told that regular earthworms won't live in a wormbin.
My conclusion, until I find a definitive answer, is that red wigglers do the intense breakdown where there are lots of nutrients, inboth side and outside. It sounds like they can't live in regular soil without the nutrition that decaying vegetables, coffee grounds or manure can provide. That's where the regular earthworms can live.
So I'll be heading over to my neighbors barn this week to search through the manure for red wigglers. Maybe buying them is not so bad . . .
I've been reading this and other related threads with great interest. Think I'm going to have to add a Worm bin to my Santa list. This looks like too much fun. I can relate to the snake issue, we use to have a real problem with copperheads hanging about. Since there has been a lot of changes to the side road, mainly draining a marshland, they are fewer, but I still check the compost bins with a shovel handy.
I'm curious as to the "quality" of the worm castings. Is there a difference between castings given off between the different worm species or does it matter?
Since we've gardened organically for over 25 years, keeping worms busy as never been an issue. This 3/4 of an acre that use to be nothing but filled over VA red clay is almost perfect. I have a couple of edges of the property I'm still working, but it's immensely satisfying to be able to plant veggies and flowers almost anywhere we want with a minimum of fuss. And the neighbors who thought we were total nuts are now calling for gardening advice. Too funny! LOL
Thank you ALL for your patience regarding the snake near the compost bin discussion. And particularly to Garden_mermaid for letting me know that this might be a pretty routine finding. I'll be on the lookout for real, from now on.
The best part is that, I've spent so much time with the DGer's in the garden and plant files, that I actually was NOT terrified of the snake. I've gotten over the heebie-jeebies from looking at all the wonderful new creatures in the BUG files, too. Some days I stop by just to see what new animal somebody discovered in the yard.
All in all, DG is refining my view toward all God's creatures in the yard!
HI ALL I HAVE MY WORMS IN ONE OF THOSE PORTABLE SHED THINGS WITH CLOSED DOORS. DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO WINTER MY WORMS BETTER. I LIVE IN W. TN SO IT GETS COLD BUT USUALLY DOESNT STAY BELOW FREEZING FOR LONG.
My worms stay outdoors in a small bed, and I've never done a bin indoors. But, I would think that a small portable heater in there would do the trick. Also, some additional layering of material on top might provide some extra warmth...
And here's a great video for making an off-the-shelf worm bin. It's quick to make. Took me longer to find the stuff than to build it (about an hour). The vents are in the roofing section of the hardware store. Not every hardware store employee knows they have them. LOL
The top bin, which is where the worms will live, has 20 1/4" holes in the bottom for drainage, 5 1" holes on either side and 2 2" holes in the top for ventilation.
The bottom bin will catch any fluids and the spigot is to periodically let the fluids out.
The hardest part is the spigot - the hole didn't drill cleanly because I put the spigot too close to the bottom. I'm hoping that the rubber/plastic o-rings will seal it. The instructions say 1/2" up, but you should make sure that you are drilling above the bottom rounded edge.
Do this outside - there are fumes from drilling through the plastic. Gave me a headache.
An added bonus to doing it this way is that you can pretty easily insulate the outside if you have to for colder temperatures.
fieldsems, does it freeze inside your shed? You may want put some straw bales around the worm bin for insulation in the winter.
The first year we had an indoor worm bin, we had frozen worms around the outer perimeter of the worm bedding (lived in the mountains at that time). We felt really guilty and moved the bin close to the furnace. At the next feeding we discovered we had roasted worms on the perimeter. Argggh! Thankfully the worms at the core were survivalists and gleefully reproduced when we managed to get the bin location right. As an added incentive, we built a large pile in the yard - chicken wire wrapped around stakes, filled with straw. We started burying all the kitchen scraps in the straw and by the time snow season started we had enough heat generated from the scraps in the pile to allow the worms to overwinter in the center. We'd find tons of worms when we sifted the pile out in the spring. That being said, the Sierras have "warm snow", meaning, we didn't get the sub zero temps that many other areas experience. You'd need a bigger pile or better insulation in those areas.
I've been trying to get the answer to "how do you get the compost out from under the worms in the Springtime!" YOU HAVE MY ANSWER...please tell me about "sifting" so I don't kill all my beautiful worms.
We made a sifter that fits over our wheelbarrow. It's similar to these 3 plans, but it has long handles so it's easy to shake the box. The worms pretty much stay in the sifter, and the compost pretty much goes into the wheelbarrow.
We moved the worms from the sifter to a bucket, then back into the pile.
A word of caution on sifting - the robins and other worm eating birds will gather around an watch the sifting. The bolder ones will make kamikaze dives for the worm bucket.
We've accidently dumped soil/compost on more than a few birds.
HI new to this section of DG and wow so much info here I'm gonna have to re read it.
We just moved here from the Rockford Illinois area in July and of course I have to re learn some gardening since we don't have black dirt in Texas. lol
Hubby is gonna love me when he gets back from hunting up there as I want to be able to get started on a veggie garden in the spring and I knwo the compost pile we started will take time to get to the point of being usable. so I am going to have to start getting things together for composting with worms.
I did find a site called EMAmerica.com and am trying their bokashi composting to get things better here...worked out good as the manager of the branch in Texas is near by so I saved by pricing it up directly from her.
fieldsems have to ask if you are actually in Paris or outside of it my brother in law has a place just east of Paris Landing on the river. We stayed there in July until we could close on our hose here in Texas.
ok well I'll just have to keep an eye on ya then so when we go over there to visit I can give ya a holler and we can meet in person, since my fishing is almost limited since he complains (teases me) that I always catch the first fish the most fish and 2 summers ago the biggest fish...lol
Well, I ordered some worms from a company not too far away. I don't expect my tumbler to get hot again this winter because I won't have a whole lot to put in, mostly kitchen scraps, so I'm going to put some worms in it. The rest will be going into my new raised bed that has lots of goodies in it. I hope they will be happy. (still can't believe I paid for worms, haha)
Hey Field being blonde does not mean anything ...:)
hair color do not make the person
not everyone knows the "slang" used in typing to shorten things so it is a learning experience for anyone new online.
Hoo Rah Maggie...Over 150 responses since Feb 07 on vermiculture and you're still going! So why don't we have a new forum? Somebody needs to slap ol Dave up the back of the head.
I just breezed through your thread and it's apparent there is sufficient interest here for your sticky...whatever that is. I will spend the weekend reviewing all of the comments your followers have posted. Some look very intriguing.
I have raised red wigglers for more than four decades and I'm always on the outlook for new suggestions and ideas. My original purpose was to provide live food for my native fish collections. Since taking up gardening several years ago I have discovered new uses for the stuff I use to throw away. At $100/lb for worm casings I'd be rich if I had marketed it instead of tossing it in the dumster.
Anyway, I see a lot of people doing some of the same things I use to do like drilling holes in the bottom of their worm/compost bins. I have ruined a good wood floor, and chased more escaped worms than you can imagine. So I developed my own method of worm farming and it works pretty well for me. I haven't yet learned the nuances of Hyperlinking, so if anyone wants a peak at the procedure, I posted a copy on my personal page.
Thank you for your kind words. I've looked at the various worm/vermicomposting threads and it does look like there is more interest than just what's on this thread. People do seem to be having a bit of trouble finding info though. I think if we could get all these people together on the same forum, we'd have critical mass and more entries. I suspect people poke around on DG, don't find what they're looking for and go to other sites which are much more active. There does seem to be a lot of confusion on the larger forum re: garden worms vs. Eisenia foetida. I think a forum would help with that.
Glad to see you're staying on top of this. There are so many spin offs on this subject it's like a Buck Minister Fuller think tank.
What I like about DG Forums is the practical knowledge it brings to any subject as well as the scientific. I have been following the postings of an UBER in the vegettable gardening section that I find absolutely facinating.
Do you think we could vote in a worm UBER...or is that strictly ordained by the King!
I'm leaning towards Gymgirl for my vote...some great ideas there. But I've got one for you Gymgirl...Try blending your bannana peels in a little water and making a watery paste. I always cut the peal into about four smaller pieces first, and toss the stem which gets caught in the impeller if you leave it attached. Blended peelings are readily divoured by the worms in my indoor compost bins.
Well Maggie...good luck...I hope this takes off...Tomorrow I will spend the day catching up on this thread and I may be Dmailing some people.
fieldsems, getting compost of the bin in the winter certainly won't hurt the worms. If it's a "hot" pile, they get closer to the source of the warmth, otherwise they just go deeper in the ground under the frozen area. I don't know if they get less active in the winter, I know my pile keeps right on working, as long as I can keep materials added to it.
You live in a area that has pretty mild winters, so I would think you would have a longer growing season to take advantage of.
fieldsems...I harvest spent media (worm casings) from the top of my indoor worm compost bins regularly, and store the spent media in a 30 gallon plastic trash barrel. It's full by spring, ready to be processed into germination and potting mixes. I use a hand trowel to scrape off the top 1/2-inch of material before feeding my worms. I use a blender with 1-2 cups of aquarium syphoned water (DG'er recommendation) to blend the peelings into an emulsion which I burry in a trench with some new media (peat moss soaked overnight in warm water and dried out using a four-inch aquarium net to remove most of the water). I have four 20 to 30 gallon plastic bins and each spring I dump the two oldest bins into my outdoor compost bins, and start two new ones.
About once a month I completely mix the top two-thirds of each bin to avoid compaction, and about once a quarter I completely mix the whole bin. My vermiculture methods may be different from most, but I don't notice any problems with the worms being 'disturbed' from mixing. These red wigglers are healthy, fat, long (up to 5" in lenght), and generally pregnant. In the spring when my insulated attached garage temperatures heat up above 60 degrees F, the bins are loaded with midget worms.
One thing I do recommend is that before using spent worm media in germination mixes, I heat it in a small oven at @ 220 degrees F for half an hour or more. I then grade the cooled media through a 1/4-inch screen. The heat process as I understand it helps reduce problems from plant viruses, as well as cutting down on rogue tomato seeds.
Thank you for considering me knowledgeable about the worms in my little compost bin, but I must admit that everything I know came from other DGers! That's the beauty of belonging to this great neighborhood. Neighbor helping neighbor. I'm sure there are others very much more and most deserving of the title of "Uber!"
I am truly honored, and humbled.
P.S. Thanks for the banana peel idea. They're in for a new treat - Banana Splits!
Good one Linda...I appreciate the laugh. I totally agree on the subject of DG knowledge...I just told someone else the same thing.
I searched the web for about thirty minutes a day looking for information on setting up my new garden. In just a couple of months of crusing various DG threads for new ideas and techniquies I have surpassed nearly three years of web browsing. The down side to this place is it's addictive...I can't get enough. I have coppied your thread postings a number of times...so THANK YOU LINDA!
P.S. I'm on my way to some of that great microwave corn...another new addiction...thank you very much!
ok y'all this has been on my mind alot and I think about it and ponder how what and where to do this all ...yes I am talking worms.
I know santa ( my folks) are sending me the money to order a small green house for my present so I could probably set it up in there so Dh doesn't go nuts on me in the house or garage.
I know we have plenty of coffee grounds as Dh drinks it every day, I have some newspapers from work and can get more if I just remember to go over to the spa and get them and I have access to getting stuff like potato peels carrot peels etc from the restaurant when we prepare stuff.
I have a rubbermaid tub that is no longer in use that I could use to start with I think...now my question is can I go and just buy fishing worms to get started as my cash flow is limited right now but I do want to do things that will help in having stuff for spring to work in the sand and clay so I can have a garden and improve the flower beds along with the compost piles we have out back.
I would love to order from fieldsems but I can't until I get some stuff caught up ...I never dreamed getting poison ivy when we moved here would send me to the doctor twice and cause such a problem.
It depends on what kind of worms you want. If you want worms to do composting of table scraps etc. in a worm bin, you need Epigeic worms (eisenia fetida). These live in the top 10 inches or so of the duff layer and eat the microbes that decay the garbage. They tolerate being close together and will breed in a worm bin. They operate at a temperature more or less consistent with human comfort level. These are also called manure worms. This site http://www.happydranch.com/10.html is one of the best for overall education regarding worm composting and what you may find in your worm bin other than worms. Great photos! It also has worms and supplies but like you, I like to buy from DG'rs when possible. Read anything you can find written by Kelly Slocum. She is a scientist who specializes in worm composting to deal with waste on a commercial scale. there is a ton of misinformation on the internet so it's good to find the scientist experts to see what is known for sure and then adapt it to what works for you.
Anecic worms are the outside kind that build permanent vertical burrows that they leave and return to with decaying plant matter. They do not do well crowded together in a worm bin. It will be too crowded and likely too hot.
If you build a compost pile outside and keep it moist, worms will come and work on it for you. I wouldn't advise putting those worms in a worm bin. While you MIGHT end up with the right kind of worms (especially if you start with some manure), more likely you will not and they will die of stress and you will have no composting worms.
Well, if I don't feel like and idiot! Sorry, it was late last night when I "chimed in". Wrong composting thread...LOL
I find I'm spending more and more time on here and later and sometimes that's not always a good thing. The brain seems to do lights out some times. LOL
LOL doccat5 ..if you noticed I posted at 11pm so your not the only one up late instead of in bed, but then I am on dial up and I find it better later in the evening to stay on and not get kicked off...doesn't help me get up at 5am to go drive a bus but I too spend more time here at DG surfing through things.
margaran..THANKS for all the info!!!!!!
we do have two outside piles but they are mostly of leaves, grass, some cardboard and yard trimmings from trimming back some bushes...although hubby did take the bokashi pile and put it in the middle of one and covered it ...bokashi info can be found at emamercia.com
It is taking kitchen waste ...more then just peelings and such and "pickling" it as they call it...Told ya I wnat to have stsuff to use this coming spring to get started on gardens and improving the ground. LOL
Here is another source for EM culture. If you buy a bag of Bokashi bran (compost starter) and you like it, you can make you own in large batches. The site has directions on how to make your own Bokashi bran (cheaper if you make it yourself). http://www.scdworld.net/category_s/1.htm
I buried a batch of Bokashi fermented kitched scraps in my raised bed and caused an earthworm stampede. I had just used the garden fork to turn the soil, so some worms were near the surface. Never new they could move so quickly as they stretched and scooted across the top of the soil and then dove down into the area when I had just buried the contents of my Bokashi bucket.
I brew up batches of Activated EM now and use that both in the watering can, the worm bin and as a foliar spray.
Before I purchased my worms, I read a book from a library, "Worms eat my garbage". It's a great book for beginners like myself that didn't know much about Vermicomposting. I had no clue how to feed my worms, but I do now after I read that book and had some learning and trial and error along the way.
My worms are happy and they lived in my basement during the winter time. I just might leave them there all year around since they're not in my way. I just bring the food to them, put some shredded newspaper clips, and leave them for awhile. When I needed some soil, I know just where to go. I LOVE my WORMS! I wished I knew this when I was younger. LOL.
Never toooo old to learn new things. Give it a try. It's very easy and just imagine all that food waste goes to the worm for our garden and not to a landfill.
Ohhh creadman I may have to look ya up this summer when we come back up to Belvidere as get some tips from ya.
mine are having ups and downs on being happy but I know last time I looked which was Sunday I had some nice fat ones in there but it seems I also find some stringy ones that are dead.
they are getting mostly coffee with some torn up banana peels, orange rinds, and other peelings when I have them.
Gonna have to find the library around here and see if they have that book to read too.
Mibus2...coffee grounds as I have been told by commercial worm farmers have no food value. I have seen numberous DG thread comments of people using their coffee grounds even for a media. Just think about it, how much weight can You gain by drinking coffee? I'm pretty sure I will get busted for this comment, but I just had to chime in.
umm I don't drink coffee so I don't gain any weight from it...smells good but tastes nasty no matter what ya do to it LOL
hey busted or not I can use all the help I can get if I want to get this place to "shine" in growing gardens of any kind here with all the sand and clay it has been left to be over run with weeds so it is gonna take work to get things going
Mibus2...Join you on the coffee taste...I drink it strictly for the effect. I just looked up an old thread on the NPK atributes of coffee grounds, and read another Hyperlinked article on Star Bucks coffee grounds recently posted in this forum. My opinion is coffee grounds are best served as addition to your compost pile which is where my excess goes. I do however use it as an addition to my hot pepper potting-up mix. (Spent worm media: soaked peat moss with excess water removed: grated and aged horse manure compost: coffee grounds. Ratio of 2:3:1:1 respectively.) So far the potted hot pepper seedlings are doing well with no ill affects from the coffee grounds as a fertilizer source.
I hadn't heard that coffee grounds were supposed to provide nutrition for the worms as much as for the plants. Worms have differing nutritional requirements from humans, so what makes a worm fat wouldn't necessarily translate to what makes a human fat, even if we both like molasses. LOL!
I would consider coffee grounds in the worm bin as a substitution for something like shredded newspaper or coir bedding It provides a moist media for the worms to wiggle around in and covers the plant/kitchen scraps that are buring in it to reduce odors or flies.
Is anyone aware of any controlled studies on the difference in the nutritive value to the garden of vermicompost produced by worms fed a specialty diet compared to worms fed "potluck"? As in whatever is in my fridge? I'd be willing to rachet it up a notch if there was an end benefit but I started this as a way to not waste so I just give them whatever. You guys are much more devoted worm wranglers.
Maggie...you're opening up a can of worms here...I too have been curious about the possibliity of introducing something into the vermiculture bins from those store bought banana, or orange, or grapefruit peelings. What did they spray them with??? Did that guy picking them wash his hands after going to the bathroom...or what about that guy who was messing with the fruit before you bought it??? For a while there I was heating my spent worm median in an oven before using it as a germination mix. Then I used hydrogen peroxide. Finally I just said what the heck and planted the seed. Worms have been doing their thing for so long I can't imagine there is a whole lot we can do to improve the process.
Vermiculture sort of reminds me of modern day conventional wastewater treatment...which is little more than natures way of treating waste, except it's in a more confined space. Isn't that what we are really doing here. Making the best form of combined space for one of natures best means of treating waste?
Intuitively; bigger, fatter worms would make bigger, fatter poop. But what if they just use up all the good stuff and the waste product is equivalent to that of skinny worms? One of these days, when my garden is more together, Id like to learn how to do that Bokashi. From previous chat , it seems that the Bokashi is good for the garden without being processed by the worms? Is that correct? I plead ignorance here. My goal is to live a little lighter and to feed my garden. Does processing Bokashi through the worm gut just use up more nutritive value from the end product and bulk up the worm? Or does the worm processing the Bokashi nutrients make the poop even more highly concentrated than skinny worm poop? I think how I feed the worms depends on my goal. RedHen ,on another board, raises them to sell. In that case, or for fishing, or just raising them as a hobby like fish; I can certainly understand wanting bigger worms. For myself, I just want poop :-).
My experience, don't use orange peels. It's too acidic for them and they will try and crawl out of your bin. If you are using coffee grounds, make sure its not toooooooo wet. Too much water in the coffee ground can drown your worms. I would spread them out a bit and not put it in there all at once. They LOVE veggies, such as salads, cabbages, cucumbers, celery, banana peels, apples, grapes, carrots, etc. If you put them in the microwave and softened it up, it will help break down faster for the worms to eat their meal. Make sure it's cool off or cold before giving it to them. You sure don't want to cook your worms. LOL Also, use shredded newspaper it will help absorb some of the excessive fluid in the bin, and toilet paper and paper towel rolls. It will also mold on it for the worms to feast.
Maggie, the Bokashi doesn't need to go into a worm bin. It is customarily buried in the ground, where the "wild worms" finish it off in place. Bokashi is the fermented food waste. It isn't really broken down into soil yet. The worms do that. I just find it convenient to empty my Bokashi bucket into a tray in my Wriggly Wranch. When I just added straight kitchen scraps mixed with the worm bedding, it took longer for the worms to break everything down. When I started fermenting the food scraps into Bokashi first, the worms finished it off faster, and I discovered a much larger population of worms in the bin. Since I haven't added any additional worms to the bin, I'm interpreting the larger size of the current worms to the better nutrition from the Bokashi step. Bigger worms probably eat more, so they chow through the scraps better.
Don't mean to be a pill but I'm in the medical field so I get all weird about measurable stuff. It seems to me from what you say that more worms are more impressive than fatter worms. I'm so looking forward to looking at this issue. I'm thinking more poop baby;-)!!!.
Maggie, I'm also in the medical field. I come from the school of "treat the patient, not the lab test". I look at the measurable tests as routine info that may help me determine the solution needed, but I focus on the person, or in this case, the worm, in front of me.
I stopped taking notes on how many weeks were required for the worms to chow through a full tray of kitchen scraps with and without the Bokashi technique after the first few trials. The worms in the tray are larger and more plentiful when I fill it with Bokashi versus filling it with straight kitchen scraps. I did not feel a need to weigh and measure for my small worm bin. If I had a larger worm operation and/or sold casings or "worm juice", then I would of course keep tighter records. If you decide to conduct a more formal trial, please do keep us informed! :-)
Larger worms can eat more than smaller worms. A higher worm density means the scraps are processed more quickly. With the Bokashi fermentation process, the EM microbes pre-digest the kitchen scraps so that the material is assimilated more completely. There are very few pieces left when I sift the worm casings. Without the Bokashi "pre-cycle", there are usually pieces left to toss back into the tray.
GW- do you have a rough idea if you are getting more poop? Like you, the person is more important than the lab work but it certainly helps sort things out sometimes. My end goal is more poop. If fatter worms will do that, I'm all for it. Less residue is nice for sure but no big deal for me. How much time do you spend on the Bokashi? How much space does it take up? One thing I like about the worms is I just dump it and presto, they process it. Can I just skip the worms and switch to Bokashi?
One of the reasons I like the worm castings is that I want to build a strong beneficial community in the rhizosphere of my garden. I think having the probiotic culture of the EM/Bokashi makes for better quality worm castings. The Bokashi process is more convenient for me, since I can use a larger bucket in the kitchen and not need to empty every day. The EM culture keeps the kitchen scraps from getting stinky.
I can fill a tray in the Wriggly Wranch now and not worry about overwhelming my population. They eagerly crawl up to the newly filled tray and chow down.
Ah, the amaizing Maggie. Normally when I read an article I like to be able to find at least three things which I find new and interesting. Maggie's #1 and #3 hperlinked articles I down loaded to my DG word vermiculture files are loaded with red font changes. Threre is easily enough information here for some very interesting discussions. With what I have read so far on worm casings, and comments from docgripe and others, I am reconfirmed. In other words just stop messing around and use the stuff as is!
Most of what I read in the three articles was positive except for one statement down playing the use of vermicomposting on a larger scale to reduce various types of waste products including toxic wastes. I quote, "It turns out that worms used in composting emit a greenhouse gas -- nitrous oxide -- which is hundreds of times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, large-scale composting plants could be just as damaging to the environment as landfills of the same size, reports the UK's Telegraph newspaper." Personnaly I think this is a short sided statement, but enogh on that subject.
From a personal standpoint this comment was a favorite. "According to NatureWatch, earthworm castings have five times as much nitrogen, seven times as much phosphorous, 11 times as much potassium and 1,000 times more "beneficial bacteria"
***Just one pound of worms can turn 1.3 million pounds of raw manure into high quality fertilizer in around 60 days, according to ScienceDaily.*** I'm still trying to get my mind around that one.
• improves soil quality;
• prevents plant diseases;
• speeds up seed germination;
• combats soil erosion;
• increases the soil's ability to store water (thereby diminishing the amount of water needed by the trees and plants);
• and, according to The Ecologist, "fixes heavy metals and reduces mineral leaching from the soil."
And that one just about sums it up for me...thank you Maggie.
I have been reading on this forum for about 2 weeks now. I finally got enough nerve up to try vermicomposting. I ordered my worms and bought two storage bins for the worms. Now I am just waiting for my worms. I work for the post office so I can find out when I am going to get the worms. I am really excited to get started. I have read some about Bokashi. Should I try to do both worms and Bokashi or just stick to the worms for now. Then after I figure out the worms try the Bokashi? Is Bokashi that good?
MRaider, I agree completely- vermicompost is a living thing, killing it w/ H2O2 and other disinfectants inactivates what we and our worms worked so hard to achieve. frank316
I wouldn't throw you off Bokashi as I plan to learn to use it myself. However- I think learn to do the worm bin first so you can learn to balance the moisture levels and learn the basics.
Moisture is something lots of newbies have concerns about. They don't necessarily have problems but they do have concerns. What I have found is that the worms move to areas that are wetter than common wisdom suggests ("like a wrung out sponge"). As long as you have good drainage so you don't have standing water it will work out. The proper temperature is very important for them to breed, not too hot or cold, so you get more worms quickly. The last thing I can think of off the top of my head is in most cases, don't waste time fluffing the worm bin- that's their job. Now if the bottom layer is flat saturated and compacted, there may be some benefit to flipping it on top so it can dry out a bit.
Thanks for your sugestions. I got my worms over the weekend. I fixed the bedding and closed the lid. I have been looking into the bin but not disturbing the worms. Today I looked at them and all the worms were at the top of the bin. I put more newspaper in the bin to dry it up. Hope I didn't put to much in. I have the bin a my basement. Will the high humidity affect the worms? My dehumidifier broke so it is very humid.
No, humidity is fine as long as they don't hve to swim. the worms typically take a while to settle in (1-2 weeks avg). How long in advance did you set up your bin? Worms don't eat the food we put in, they eat the mold on the food & byproducts of other worm bin inhabitants. If you set it up the day you got your worms, don't worry, there is usually enough food in the media your received with your worms to tide them over until your stuff gets started. That said, you might be able to boost things a little by adding some moldy bread soaked with some fruit juice, over-the hill strawberries, or some other past its' prime sweet thing. Just don't over do it and load up the bin with lots of stuff like an outdoor compost pile- it will heat up and the worms won't be happy. If you put your additives on one side, they can go to it if they want and void it if they need to. You can leave them a light trail across the worm bin to the main food supply if you want.
maggie...there you go again with another mind blowing statement...worms don't eat the food we put in...they eat the mold. Man have I been missing something here. First I have heard that one. Actually I have limited the amount of moldy stuff I add when blending the vegetable and fruit peeling thinking I might over do it. So what I'm hearing is that the added food must mold first before the worm will injest it. Maybe that's why blender fed scraps seem to work so well for me. Tell me more maggie TYP!
Hi all, I'm still quite new with vermicomposting, but anyone can help me identify the following attached image and sort out what kind of worm is that? I just had to be sure that im using the right type of worms. Do they have different colours due to the environment that they are in? Mine is in a composting bin about 1.5 feet in diameter. Thanks.
mraider- I think that a lot of mold is microscopic. the worms eat what we don't even see yet. Hyphae etc probably are rampant in the goopy slime around our veggies we put in there but I agree. The processed stuff surely grows it faster. That said, I refuse to cook for worms and just try to feed them occasionally so something is always rotting. I'm not telling my guys how you and GG prep their food for them or they'll go on strike or something. they may not poop for me.
Maggie...I had several buckets full of rotting tomatoes from the end of last season. I had been adding a cup or so to each blender full and worms seemed do fine on this mixture. Problem was the smell of the rotted tomatoes was getting to me, but there were no ill effects to the worm bins. Media never soured and retained its earthy smell no mater how much of this I fed. I guess I could call this a semi-Bokashi...but like you say theres a limit to how much effort I will put into feeding worms. This year I will retain all the moldy produce in a thirty gallon pail w/ lid, but I will keep it in the shed and let it ferment. Who knows, I might even toss in some Bokashi!!!
If I had that much tomto soup, I'd definitely check into Bokashi! Lots of wet summer fruits/vegetables are something I struggle with. Check with GM, I think she has the key for that sort of problem. Please learn it in depth, run some case controlled studies, and let me know what you get. ;-) I'd like to do it when I have more time.