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I got worms

kenny

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Today I attended a composting class provided by my city.
It is required by law to reduce what goes to landfills so they offer free training and deeply discounted composting equipment.
They covered the two basic types of composting, backyard composting and vermicomposting with worms.

Since I have little landscape material to compost worms were the better choice.
If you follow directions there is no smell; in fact it smells fresh and wonderful, like a walk in a forest after the rain.
In fact, many people keep the systems right in their kitchens.

The heart of the system is a tray with holes on the bottom.
You start with one but eventually can use two or three stacked up.
(Pictured below is only one of the breeding trays above the tea tray.)
The breeding tray(s) are on top of a water-tight bottom tray with a faucet for the "tea".
This tea is a liquid byproduct of the process, and is claimed to be one of the two best fertilizer on the planet.
The other is the worms castings (poo) themselves which build up over a few months.

When the castings build up high enough to touch a tray above it, you put on another empty tray.
Then you put the food in the top tray, where the worms will eventually migrate.
Then you can take the lower tray, full of castings, and mix those into your soil and watch your plants go crazy like they were on crack.

Besides getting the best organic fertilizer in the world for free you stop sending kitchen waste to the dump.
I'm told that 25% of what we send to the landfill could have been composted and DOES NOT decompose into anything healthy and useful in the landfill.





It came with a brick of compressed brown coconut husk substrate material.
Soak in water for 15 minutes and put it on top of a thin cardboard layer on the bottom of the tray.
The cardboard, which quickly disappears, prevents the new coconut husk substrate material from falling through the mesh.

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kenny

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For $20 I bought 1000 red worms from a recommended breeder, earthworms are not the right choice, they live IN the soil.
These red worms live above soil in mulch and eat plant material.
They prefer soft sweet stuff but will eventually eat anything.

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kenny

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After the worms are added you put in a little food.
Apparently not adding more than they can eat (before it spoils) is the key to preventing smell.
Worms don't have teeth.
They prefer soft stuff that is already pulverized.
If you throw in a spoiled tomato or apple be sure to squeeze it or break the surface seal.
I was told one of their favorite foods is the pulp left over from juicing carrots.
I make organic carrot juice almost daily.



Cover the food with wet newspaper to keep light off the worms and prevent fruit flies from laying eggs.



They eat the newspaper.
They told us the inks used on newsprint today are soy-based and non-toxic to the worms.

The red worms are pretty hardy.
You can leave them for 3 or 4 weeks without food and they'll just eat newspaper.

Each worm is both male and female so it is easy for them to get married and find themselves in the family way.
They can reproduce at only 3 weeks old but are somehow smart enough to not overpopulate based on the food available...Humans take note.

Eventually the system's population should stabilize at 10,000 to 20,000 worms.

The book that came with the system has a special recipe to fatten them up if you'd like to use them for fishing bait.

I'll post about the newspaper bedding preparation next.

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kenny

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minmin001

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just made myself some nice food and eating it... why did I even open this! :blackeye:
 

kelpie

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Good for you! Do you have a garden the compost is slated for? Are redworms native in your area? Earthworms are actually an invasive species, their eggs came on the feet of the horses of the conquistadors. I used to compost but then I got a pot belly pig which eliminated almost every need to. She's slightly more cuddly a furbaby than red worms. Not that I'm knocking your worms, they're pretty. And how else can you have 20000 furbabies that require so little care?
 

iheartscience

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Very cool-thanks for sharing! I need to do this when we move to a house with a little yard!
 

Miss Sparkly

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kenny|1316924049|3024824 said:
Here's a good website if you want to learn more.

http://vermicomposters.com/

A couple family portraits of my new furbabbies.
Don't you mean slimebabies :cheeky:

Pretty cool! It's been a long time since I've had my worm compost station
 

HopeDream

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Worms are furbabies, they have setae http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seta, tiny little bristles that help them move through soil. You can actually feel their grippy texture if you gently pull a forward-facing worm backwards across your hand.

Nice new pets Kenny!
 

Fly Girl

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Very nice setup.

I'm wondering if, as a by-product of composting, if one could occasionally feed a few red worms to the retiles we happen to have living in our home? (These are left over pets from when the kids were small. The kids left home, but the pets did not. :(( )
 

kenny

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Fly Girl|1316977790|3025231 said:
Very nice setup.

I'm wondering if, as a by-product of composting, if one could occasionally feed a few red worms to the retiles we happen to have living in our home? (These are left over pets from when the kids were small. The kids left home, but the pets did not. :(( )
Only if you don't name them.
 

kenny

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HopeDream|1316970708|3025143 said:
Worms are furbabies, they have setae http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seta, tiny little bristles that help them move through soil. You can actually feel their grippy texture if you gently pull a forward-facing worm backwards across your hand.

Nice new pets Kenny!
Thanks.
Our teacher told us why the city stopped providing worms with the kits.
A few years ago they ordered 20,000 worms for the next day's class.
Over night they somehow escaped and the next morning 20,000 red worms covered the carpeted floor.
They tried to pick them up but learned they have that grippy stuff and when you pull them off carpet they break in half. :o :knockout:

BTW, this is where I bought the worms: http://home.earthlink.net/~mccrawls/id1.html
He charges $25 to the public.

The teacher said he has a very clean operation and provides healthy disease free worms that he hand selects one by one, avoiding young or old ones.

He also has a description of how to process old newspaper into bedding material.
I'm doing to try this today.
 

NakedFinger

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Jan 8, 2009
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lol ok, this may be the immature side of me that LOVES this movie....but is it wrong the first thing I thought of when I read the title of this post was Dumb & Dumber?

Lloyd: This isn't my real job, you know.
Mary: No?
Lloyd: Nope. My friend Harry and I are saving up to open our own pet store.
Mary: That's nice.
Lloyd: I got worms!
Mary: I beg your pardon?
Lloyd: That's what we're gonna call it. "I Got Worms!" We're gonna specialize in selling worm farms. You know, like ant farms.

Hehe :) Nonetheless sounds really cool Kenny!
 

Gailey

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Kenny,

Good for you for getting a vermicomposter. I have had a 5 tier worm hotel for several years. It is a very successful way of reducing kitchen waste. I have a few tips for you.

Don't feed citrus to red wigglers, they don't like it. Don't feed meat, fish, dairy, oil/grease. I am told you can feed all these things to Night Crawler worms, but not red wigglers.

I always pre chop and freeze everything prior to giving it to them. Freezing does two things. It breaks down the lignins and make the food easier to digest. Secondly, it destroys fruit fly larvae. Before I started freezing, no matter what I did, I got flies. Defrost the material and discard the excess liquid, they don't like to be wet.

They adore watermelon. I think this disappears faster than anything else.

The little buggers have a way of getting into the bottom tray where the liquid collects. They drown. On the base of the lowest tray, I cover the bottom with well rinsed out dryer sheets. This also stops too much in the way of castings sediment dropping through and blocking up your tap.

I would caution against using or recommending the liquid that collects as fertilizer. Many people think they have a nutrient rich "tea", when in fact it is anaerobic leachlate, which is very likely to kill plants rather than fertilize them. http://www.wormdigest.org/content/view/60/2/

They also like dead leaves adding in. When I feed them, I like to cover the food with a fresh layer of dead leaves. Newspaper will do, but dead leaves are a staple of a worm's diet.

Hope this helps.
 

Dancing Fire

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dinner time :!:

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iLander

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I composted for a long time, big rotating barrel on a stand in the yard, it worked great.

Then one day, I realized I didn't have anything to do with all that great compost. I had already used it on my fruit trees, to the point of potentially root rotting them, and the vegetable plot was too shaded to plant anymore (trees around it grew).

So what are you going to do with all that compost, Kenny? I suggest potted tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes are SO easy, and there are a ton of varieties. You can grow them from seed. I suggest Husky Cherry Red for rich, deep tangy flavor, and Sweet Million for a bright, sweet light flavor. You can also do salad greens in a shallow tray, picking off a few leaves as needed. Butter crunch lettuce is great, too. Go ahead and start the tomato seeds now, it will be a few weeks before they need compost, and by then you'll have some! :appl:

Big tomatoes are slightly more difficult, they tend to get blossom end rot unless moisture levels are watched very closely. At least they always did for me! :oops:
 

Selkie

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Jan 11, 2006
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Cool, you did it! Have fun with the wormies. We set up our new bin composter for the yard on Sunday, and filled it almost all the way with our grass clippings and leaves from our extremely neglected back yard. Hopefully, it will work as advertised. Our neighbors have a different type of vermiposter from yours, but they've had trouble with getting grubs in it that take over. I hope that doesn't happen with yours.

There was a tween girl with her mom at the composting workshop I attended who was handling the worms and bugs that the teacher passed around to show us, and clearly was into science and stuff. It was cool to see her NOT be all freaked out by it.
 

lliang_chi

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Mar 13, 2008
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Kenny a friend of mine kinda started this as a side business. He's trying to sell the poop, not the worms. I got a nice baggie of worm poop from him last summer and my herbs, plants and flowers LOVED them. It was like they were on CRACK. It was the ONLY time I ever got my lavender to bloom (I live in Chicago, and the lavender is on my balcony, not in the ground). But the worm poop does have an expiration of usefulness. I saved up some leftover poop from last year, and it isn't nearly as potent.

~LC
 
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