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What's the lowest maintenance way to do vermicomposting

 
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I'm moving and leaving my worms with my parents. The only problem is they have plenty of other projects going on right now and probably won't have time for the worms. I've been considering just dumping them in the garden telling them to make sure there is always organic material in the soil for them to eat. Does anyone have any thoughts on this or any other ideas?
 
master pollinator
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If you aren't going to be there yourself to take care of it, the best thing you can do for your worms is put them in a garden bed and mulch as heavily as you can. That way, as long as they get even occasional watering or precipitation, they will be okay. They will also be able to move around if they need to for more food, water, or protection.

Whatever you do, just make sure they can access soil to escape wherever you put them into somewhere they can fend for themselves. There are few things sadder than a vermicomposter that is forgotten and the worms allowed to shrivel and die.

-CK
 
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Where do you live? If they are red wigglers, they will not overwinter well if the temps get below 45-50. Maybe you can give them to someone else who will appreciate having the worms. They are low maintenance creatures, after all, and don't ask for much, but they do appreciate enough warmth and moisture, of course, along with a few scraps. Not much to ask for. If you are in the US, let me know. If no one close to you will take responsibility for them, maybe you can just send them to me in one of the USPS flat rate boxes. I am in NC. I'd be happy to pay for the shipping. I love those little creatures- they ask for so little and give so much. I have very happy worms in my basement that get fed only organic food and have all natural bedding, and I have room to extend that nice comfortable home for more.
 
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Location: Boonsboro, Maryland - Zone 6b/7a
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Maybe I am doing it wrong but I have a few worm bins and they really take almost no time. I feed them maybe every other week with some food scraps and that is about it. It literally takes me maybe 10 minutes every 2 weeks. I can't imagine how someone could not have the time for that. I guess it does take me a bit longer to harvest the castings but I only have to do that every couple months and I am thinking of some ways to make that much easier too.
 
pollinator
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What sort of living accomodations are they in now? I am currently running a stacked tote system and just had a major breakthrough in terms of effort and effectiveness. I started filling the bin with dryish material (dried leaves and woody stems from the garden), then I threw in a quart of kitchen scraps every 3 or 4 weeks. 3 months into this new system I have topped up the tote once with more drier material. The worms are thriving and it is much less intensive than monitoring them and feeding the kitchen waste when they seem hungry and then adding some bedding if the kitchen waste seems to have made it to wet. Otherwise, I second the garden bed and mulch plan.
 
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Location: Columbia Falls, MT
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I started my vermicomposting a few years ago by having my grand daughter help me pick up worms from the sidewalk and driveway after a good rain.  
We put them in a compost pile and have added food scraps.  I have done nothing else with them, (well, I have taken a few fishing from time to time )
I have several gallons of casting waiting for me come this spring.  And I know the worms winter well because they are all local yocals.
 
pollinator
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warren mccarthy wrote:I'm moving and leaving my worms with my parents. The only problem is they have plenty of other projects going on right now and probably won't have time for the worms. I've been considering just dumping them in the garden telling them to make sure there is always organic material in the soil for them to eat. Does anyone have any thoughts on this or any other ideas?


I don't understand why the question goes with so little informations! What sort of worm, what climate, and how you tended them and in what?

About the answers: nobody seems to mention that they can travel far away in one night! They will go by themselves where there is food and shelter. They can go 200m away to a manure pile in the neighbour's garden. Except if they are in a bin that they cannot climb.
 
master steward
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Here are a couple of topics that might give you some ideas.  The second one is about mealworms but I really like the pictures of his worm bins.

https://permies.com/t/34034/Vermicomposting-project-Wheaton-Laboratory

https://permies.com/t/45040/critters/Mealworm-Farm-efficient-protein-small
 
pollinator
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Originally, were pretty neglected, too.  I did a few things to make it easier for me.  1) I moved them from the chicken pen to outside my front door - they get scraps more regularly now 2) I put the Reverse Osmosis cleaning line (~1-2 gallons/day) into the worm tower - too much water is better than no water.  I now have a lot of diluted compost tea which I may use to spout seeds for the chickens, but that is a future.  Note: in Nor Cal it rarely freezes so this set up may not work for everyone.  If you just want to get rid of the worms for now - post them on craigslist.  That is where I found mine.
worm-tower-on-RO-waste-water.png
[Thumbnail for worm-tower-on-RO-waste-water.png]
worm tower hydrated by reverse osmosis waste water
 
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Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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I made a worm tower out of stack-able 5 gallon pails.

The bottom pail has a spigot and a level indicator that tells me when it needs draining. I have three levels, the bottom level acts as a sump for collecting leachate, the middle one is finishing compost, and the upper one is where I dump the tea leaves, banana peels, apple cores, melons, squash etc.

I don't add bedding, or any liquid, and I drain the sump maybe once every 6 months.The rate at which I feed them means that I get a 5 gallon pail full of castings every 12 months, and it takes 2 years to get a completed pail. It's no exactly mass production, but it's enough for seed starting and potting.

It's about as low maintenance as it gets I think. Each fall, I take the middle pail and scoop out the top layer of castings where the worms hang out. The rest goes into a container where it sits until I use it. I clean out the pail, put the worms and castings I scooped out back into the pail, and it becomes the top pail in the tower.

Now, the fresh castings still have some worms and eggs in it so a month or so later I come back and scoop any worms out that are hanging out in the top layer. Since I live in zone 3, I then take the castings and put them outside to sit at -20 C for a month or so. That kills any unhatched eggs and worms. I do this because I have found that seedlings and potted plants do not get along with composting worms.

Oh, and during the summer I keep the tower outside, but in the fall I put it down in the basement. It doesn't smell, or leak. Sometimes I get the odd fruit fly explosion in the fall, but they die off and go away.
 
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