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Operation Worm Rescue

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Operation Worm Rescue Empty Operation Worm Rescue

Post  Coelli on Sat 23 Jun 2012 - 15:44

Around the beginning of May, we installed 2' tall, 4" diameter worm towers in the two 4x4 SFG after reading this thread and thinking it sounded like a really awesome idea. Smile I got a pound of red wrigglers from a local person and split them between the two towers, which were also full of bedding and food.

However, all was not well in Wormland. I just had a feeling about it... from the crossed eyes and alarm the worm seller had when I said where they were going, to the many posts I read (yet disregarded) in my research that said compost worms are not soil worms and would not migrate out to the soil and back into the tube, to the nagging questions I had about how to harvest castings from the towers, and finally, to the lack of visibility into what was Really Going On Down There, Anyway?

What finally brought the red flags I was feeling to full-scale flashing lights and sirens was the lack of a single worm when I was digging up squares recently. I turned them over from top to bottom and saw nary a worm.

So today I built a 2-story Wiggler Hilton (with #3 to be added later if it seems to be going well), made my poor 12-year old shred newspaper and cardboard with me for an hour, and prepared a home for whatever I might find when I pulled up the towers. I hoped we weren't too late!

In a nutshell:

  • Most of the worms were dead. One tower was worse off than the other, but between them there couldn't have been more than 50 worms out of the hundreds that went in. I found lots of little dried out wormy corpses.
  • There was still plenty of shredded paper, coffee grounds, etc. I had been blending their food so I can't say what was eaten and what wasn't.
  • Ants had invaded one of the tubes.
  • The MM had almost completely filled both towers through the holes in the pipe. It was packed almost solid with soil. The bedding, etc. was all on the top.
  • Any worm castings were impossible to find amidst the MM.
  • Finally, roots had penetrated the pipes through the 1" drilled holes in a major way, and the tubes were almost as full of roots as they were of soil.

The remaining rescued worms have been installed in their new home along with the new bedding, some food, and the entire contents of the tubes, roots, soil and all. I figure they'll sift through it for me. Now I have to decide whether to buy more worms or let these guys multiple on their own (and any vermipods that might have survived - there were LOTS when I put them in there, all the more reason to wonder about the lack of worms).

So I'm declaring Operation Worm Towers a failure and Operation Worm Rescue a tentative success. I'm glad I didn't wait any longer to get in there!

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Post  Triciasgarden on Sat 23 Jun 2012 - 21:34

Oh that is terrible losing so many worms! I don't know much about worms but I love it when I see them and know how much good they are doing! Good luck on the rescue!

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Post  GWN on Sat 23 Jun 2012 - 21:45

Sounds like you are on the right track.
I got the red wrigglers and the worm farm tower, and thought I did everything I was supposed to (likely checked on them and fed the too often) but for some reason many of them died..... I never saw corpses, but never saw the numbers I was expecting.
I have just bided my time and tried to give them everything a worm might possibly want....
and FINALLY I have TONS of worms.
AND so will you in 3-4 months. That is how long it takes them to grow into a full sized worm. BB\'s happy face


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