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Vermiculture: Worm composting

 
Posts: 32
Location: Alberta Canada 3b I think....
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ok so how many worms it in that much wieght? I have found a lady in Edmonton that sells a litre container with worms, food and soil in it. She estimates that there are 30 plus worms in a container. She sells that for 10 dollars. She is saying that on average, people are buying 2 of these containers. Can anyone here estimate how many worms are in a half pound? Or give me an opinion on whether spending 20 bucks and getting 60 some worms is a worthwhile investment? I dont know what is a good price. Around here, vermicompost isnt a very popular thing. I will be the first in my town area that I know about that will be running a worm bin that I am aware of.

Thanks for the continued help
 
Posts: 308
Location: long island, ny Z-7a
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1 pound is estimated to be 1,000+/- worms, it's estimated they can double their population ever 3 months with optimal conditions.
i'd gotten mine at $9/lb through ebay. there are people on there selling at even $50 a pound,(and now $90/lb with your seller! that is ludicrous)
another good site is http://www.redwormcomposting.com/ . bentley lives in canada somewhere. also sells worms, quite expensive in my opinion but he really knows worms!

checked ebay and most prices are higher now. http://www.ebay.com/sch/Yard-Garden-Outdoor-Living-/159912/i.html?_sop=15&_from=R40&_nkw=red+wiggler
 
James Barr
Posts: 32
Location: Alberta Canada 3b I think....
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So I got a 'starter kit' from a local worm farmer the other day. The worms came packed in her compost. She said that she did that to help prevent shock. Is it normal for the worms to stay in one place for a long time before moving? Also, I am worried because when I check them out in their compost, they dont move very fast at all. Is there a reason for that or is it normal for a new bin?
 
Posts: 53
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This is an old question, but I'm answering just in case someone in the future runs into the same thing. Sometimes worms get dried out or puny in shipping. It should take less than 48 hours for them to perk back up once they are watered.
 
gardener & hugelmaster
Posts: 1607
Location: mountains of Tennessee
587
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This is now an old thread too. Got cabin fever yesterday & started an indoor worm garbage disposer. Haven't kept indoor worms in a number years so though it wise to read up. Some good info in this old thread so ... bumping it into 2019. (almost)

I went with simple construction using 2 empty storage containers. About 10 gallon size. They stack inside each other. Added drainage & vent holes to the top one. It also has a top cover. Filled it about half full of leaves. Then some shredded paper & cardboard. Wet that down good until it was moist. Followed by a layer of garden soil with the worms placed in the center. After the worms dug down to get away from the light I added coffee grounds & food scraps. Easy.

My initial purpose for these new critters is kitchen waste processing. Ultimately to breed more worms to populate outdoor worm pits & for chicken treats. They are excellent for use with cow pies & chicken straw for building quality soil fast.









 
pollinator
Posts: 118
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Hiya guys

I would like to use my garden waste to produce worms to feed to chickens.

I was thinking off using a large blue barrel, and start emptying it during the winter months when the worms stop breeding.

My question is in regards to rotating the barrel, is it a good idea to rotate the worms or best just to let them go where they want?
 
Mike Barkley
gardener & hugelmaster
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Rotating earthworms in containers? I hope we're not discussing rotating as in a tumbling composter. Presumably we're talking about swapping the container. When the container is full there are several good options. One method is to dump the contents on a tarp or something similar. Any exposed worms will dig down. Gradually remove the top layer of castings. Then wait for the worms to dig deeper. Then remove some more material. Repeat several times until most of the castings are removed. Add fresh bedding & food to the container & put the worms back in. Another method is to stop feeding them & let them almost completely finish processing the contents of the old container. Place a new container with fresh food & bedding on top of the old container. The worms will find the new food & move in through the drainage holes. That will take a few days or even a week.

Haven't fed worms to chickens yet. Intend to do that starting this spring. Building a large outdoor worm pit so I plan to give them shovelfuls of the wormy compost daily & let them have fun digging through it. Doesn't get much easier than that. Worms don't completely stop breeding in winter. They do slow down though. They simply dig down deeper to avoid freezing.
 
Jay Mullaky
pollinator
Posts: 118
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The pit idea sounds very interesting.

I watched a few videos on YouTube of guys catching large amount off worms using electric probes that cause the worms to come to the surface.

I have one area of land, approx 15 acres and it is packed full.off enormous worms. When fixing up a ditch I couldn't believe the size and quantity.

The videos I have seen have been DIY jobs but If I could buy a divice that would cause the worms to surface I would be able to collect huge amounts.

I am also wondering do people buy/grow caterpillars? After watching the swarms which appeared on my oak trees and kale I am wondering would it be a cheap way to get some 'natural' food for chickens, just pick a handful off caterpillars every now and then and Chuck them.in.to the chickens.

I am hoping I will be able to source a legit version of the DIY electric probe
 
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I have not read all three pages of this thread so here's hoping I'm not repeating.

I keep it simple. I have three 30 gallon garbage cans that i heave the worms into. I have put carboard and paper but the worms love cow plops. I mix the plops in water and make a porridge with a paint mixer.

I invert the can lids and put a hole in the top (bottom) to catch any rain.

That's it. I am gone a month at a time so it's good luck charlie, i hope you survive.
Right now the worms are dealing with some snow and freezing. Yet they live.

I had considered putting ( used) toilet paper in the can but i didn't want to be finding that later. Same with using human waste. Cow plops are fine.

The question is: can i put composting worms in with my root vegetables? I figured that i would build a long raised( bunny proof) bin , fill it with poor arizona soil, compost worms,  and fresh cow plops and let them work their magic. I might toss some buckets of juniper leaf to continue the experiment.

I have also put worms in a hole in the ground to see where they go. They have food and a plywood cover.
My area has a lot of potash. If you hear anything about "tremors" size worms in arizona i don't know anything about it.
 
Mike Barkley
gardener & hugelmaster
Posts: 1607
Location: mountains of Tennessee
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but the worms love cow plops



They sure do. It seems to be their favorite food.

The question is: can i put composting worms in with my root vegetables?



Yes.

 
gardener
Posts: 950
Location: Galicia, Spain zone 9a
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I have a question regarding worm composting and internal parasites.

Is treating manure with worms sufficient to kill internal parasites such as tapeworms, pin worms, etc?



Have you had a reply to this yet or found answers please?
 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
gardener
Posts: 950
Location: Galicia, Spain zone 9a
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I was given a worm bin for a birthday present from one of our sons. They deliver to europe and send worms by post. Great site.
We are going to get another one to put poo from our composting toilet so that we can make sure it is broken down before putting it on the garden. I don't  have a problem applying it direct but just in case I'm  wrong...... also our dogs eat it if they can get at it. Then come for cuddles....

https://www.wormery.co.uk/wormeries.html
 
Mike Barkley
gardener & hugelmaster
Posts: 1607
Location: mountains of Tennessee
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The humanure handbook addresses the subject in depth. Interesting reading that will ease your concerns.

 
Posts: 35
Location: Piedmont, NC
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I lazily started a worm bin in a California apartment years ago. One rainy morning i found two red wriggling worms on my way to the car. I called my spouse and asked her to drop them into a five gallon tree pot that i had been dumping leaf litter into. From then on, for over ten years, veggie scraps went into that bucket and the worms thrived and reproduced. Every now and then i would dump the bucket out and manually separate worms and undigested stuff from the castings and use the casting in my potted plants. My conclusion is that worms are not fragile critters that need careful management of environment but they can cope with really hot and dry situations as well as freezing temperatures, plus random feeding without much fuss. I'm sure OPTIMAL casting production occurs with a managed environment, but i wouldn't let optimization get in the way of doing. I've bought a commercial worm farm now because i am dealing with a larger volume of scraps and the farm promises easier separation of castings from worms and undigested matter, and because it's in a more obtrusive location.
 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
gardener
Posts: 950
Location: Galicia, Spain zone 9a
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Mike Barkley wrote:The humanure handbook addresses the subject in depth. Interesting reading that will ease your concerns.



Thank you Mike!
 
pioneer
Posts: 50
Location: Douglas County, WI zone 4a 105 acres
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Keeping worms alive in WI winter without heat??? Haven't yet built the bin, but we really have no place to keep it warm, and I want worms for my chooks during the winter. We've got a an unheated barn and sheets of 4"-thick foam left from the house build. Could we insulate somehow? Appreciate any suggestions from other cold-climate folks.
 
kevin stewart
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Two winters ago i left my wrigglers out in the open in a tall storage bin.(i unloaded them from the truck and left them out)
Some nights it was cold enough to freeze but it warmed up by day and when i dug my hand into the soil they were wriggling.

Eventually i moved them to the greenhouse where it isn't warmer but i felt better about it.

This winter i have three garbage cans of worms but I've been gone since thanksgiving. So I'll just hope for the best.

My only concern is that i leave the lids inverted to catch rainwater for them and if it freezes after a rain i will have worm ice cubes.
 
pollinator
Posts: 262
Location: N. California
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I just started my worm bin in May. (so far so good)  I did lots of research before I started, and from the info I read earth worms like to go deep into the soil and that is why they don't do well in worm bins, where as red wigglers like to be in the top 3" of the soil.  I think if you are going to put them in the ground then earthworm will be fine, besides what have you got to loose, if it doesn't work you can always buy red wigglers.

I watched a video on you tube called 'How to build the ultimate plastic free worm composting bin.'  basically he builds 3 wooden frames with wire on the bottom , and a lid.  He puts the bottom tear on the ground with the bedding and the food scraps.  As time goes by he will put the next tear with the bedding and food scraps, ect. ect.  The worms move up to compost the food and bedding and you can remove the bottom tear once the 3rd tear is added and it should be full of worm castings, and almost no worms.   I would put the link up, but don't know how and to tired to figure out, but I liked it, it's worth the watch.  I have not built it yet, but have all the stuff.  I will try it both ways and see what works better.  

I considered the wood bin on top because I worried about my worms cooking to death in the heat, but so far they are doing fine.  I have the double plastic bin type, and on super hot days I put 1 or 2 of those hard plastic ice packs between the bins.  I don't feed my worms as often as my research said.  I put scraps in once a week.  When I first got it I kept checking, sure I would need to add more, but it didn't take me long to realize once a week, at least in the heat is enough.  

I started my bin with half decomposed wood chips, some paper and cardboard, and some compost.  So it is taking a little longer to harvest the casting, but I was going for quality, not quantity.  At least that is what I hope for.  
 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
gardener
Posts: 950
Location: Galicia, Spain zone 9a
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We are trying a new (to us) method of burying a container riddled with holes into a compost bin, putting the wormfood in the container with tiger worms. The idea is the worms can migrate through the holes into the compost and come back for food.  Our control to see if this works is in one bin, there are two food containers, 1 with worms, 1 without, to see if the wormless container becomes populated.  It is so intestesting to see how these wonderful little creatures work!
 
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