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Ilex, you've heard the phrase "jack of all trades, master of none" ? That also applies to my knowledge bank. I just don't know enough to know what questions I need to ask.
I have only done a little reading regarding worm bins, mostly here. I watched a worm bin being put together a few years ago on the tv show "Rebecca's Garden". A worm bin is on my list of things to do, just not quite ready to do it yet.
I'm really glad to see this forum, so that when I do get ready to make one, I can come here to get answers.
You can buy good prefab worm bins off of ebay fairly cheap. These are good if you want to start out small or your keeping it indoors. The kits come with everything you need except the worms. Add your worms then just feed them it's pretty simple and very rewarding!
msrobin...I've been traveling for a couple of weeks and just now caught this thread. You question of how to start a worm bin indoors is a good one and this thread is a good place to start with an "Indoor Worm Bin Made Simple". Since noone has jumped on this I would like to take a shot. I started mine over fourty years ago with a couple hand fulls of red wigglers dug out of a neighbor's leaf compost and have been doing it ever since. My philosophy is to learn from the best then do you own thing. By that I mean there is considerable information on the subject of raising red worms indoors which is helpful in getting started, however you will develope you own method in time...one that works best for you.
(1) Do Not drill holes in the bottom of your indoor worm bin.
(2) Soak peat moss over night in hot water and use a six-inch nylon aquarium net to squeeze out the excess water.
(3) Do not put bananna stems, coffee grounds, or meat scraps in blender.
(4) read my blog for further information...mraider3
mraider - good info there. Would you please start a new thread - perhaps titled something like 'some suggestions and tips' or whatever you come up with. :) I'd just like others to see your great info and I doubt many will find it in this thread. Thanks!
kooger, thanks for the compliment. My methods are developed from my philosophy of learning from the best and doing my own thing. Even though I have been 'vermiculturing', if that's a proper word, for more than 40 years, I have learned a gread deal from the DG composting threads and this recent vermiculture forum. I consider my procedure work in progress, and have been trying some new things like using gravel syphoned aquarium water for blending my vegetable and fruit peelings/scraps; and a thermostatically controlled plant germination heating mat to maintain the media temperature between 70 and 80 degrees F. Some very interesting results. Thank you DG/ers!
Hi redwiggler-- I've used coir a couple of times for starting a new bin. Once the bin is established, I just add paper- shredded junkmail and newspaper. Coir is much lower in acid than peat. I like it because it doesn't compact and it holds the correct level of moisture for a new bin. The worms really seem to like it.
I don't use it regularly, though, because it apparently has some connections to rainforest deforestation. Being tropical, it obviously comes from very far away, and it has a sizeable carbon footprint.
Hey ilexwhite, been so busy trying to plant garden I've lost track of what has been going on in DG. Your comment triggered a notice on my home page so I thought I would check an see what you were up to.
I would like to comment on the red wiggler media thing before I go back to planting my peppers...Peat moss seems to be spurned by many on the vermiculturing site here, but I for one still like the stuff for various reasons:
1. Easy to find and not that expensive.
2. Acidity can be reduced significantly by soaking overnight and using an aquarium net to remove as much water as possible.
3. Compaction is not a problem when mixing in new media on a regular basis...which means removing a quarter inch off the top of the bins each time I feed.
4. Moisture control is simple when adding new media on a regular basis, and even though I use a quart of water when blender emulsifying peelings, I still add more!
I just don't understand why so many are having problems with this media...it's the simplest method I have found for red wigglers, and I have tried a number of them.
mraider has an excellent but very complete list of what to do. I did not find I needed anything so complicated. I did use the Rubbermade storage tub (I think it is about 20 gals, but probably not too critical. I drilled 1/4" holes around the bottom about 2" up. There were maybe 4 on the long sides and 3 on the short sides. Then I did the same hole spacing about 6" up and 10" up. I started mine with a bit of Pearlite I had left all over the bottom then the work begins!
You need about a 12" stack high of newspaper without the non-newsprint Sears, Target, Circuit-City flyers. Start tearing the newspapers into about 2" wide strips. Try going top to bottom and side - one way clearly tears better. Put your torn pieces into a container like a kitchen 13 gal plastic can and when nearly full add water and then grab clomps of wet newspaper and squeeze to somewhat dry (not dripping down your arm) Try as best you can to separate most of it an lay in your storage tub with the drilled holes. After there is maybe 2" all over the bottom, you can put compose or mowed leaves and grass mixed for about 2" then more newspaper strips then some kitchen vegetable waste
No meat or animal fat!.
Repeat as you wish, keeping adding the 2" layers of newspaper strips in between the veggie stuff. I finished up with some pulled up weeds from the edge of the woods to add micro-organisms. Close and put the storage tub in the shade for about 2 weeks and then pour in some red wigglers. Keep adding kitchen vegetation but no more lawn mowing for a long time- it has too much nitrogen from fertilizer. Feel free to mow through a stack of green or brown leaves and catch the chopped remains in the mower basket.
As level sinks, add more of the same. The other postings will give you other suggestions which will probably also work - this ain't rocket science. Also most all Cooperative Extension Services have info and even classes on vermiculture. Just don't drown the worms, bake them , freeze them (I kept mine in the garage in Winter but some people use their basement year round). Look out for ants (covered elsewhere).