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Post  No_Such_Reality on Mon 3 Apr 2017 - 15:55

Rather straight forward question, when is a tray  of worm poo, just poo and when is it compost gold?


I'm pondering this question as I'm starting my seedlings in coconut coir.  Someplace between sprouted and first set of real leaves seems like I should probably give them something 'to eat'.


It's that whole leachate versus compost tea question.  If I take the material from an older tray and soak some, I have a beginning compost tea.  If I simply drain existing water from the tray, that's leachate.

So is the distinction the tray you're currently feeding in is 'poo' and water filtered through it is leachate and any tray past that which is not being actively feed is compost and water through that is 'tea'?
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Post  llama momma on Mon 3 Apr 2017 - 18:50

I've had worms for a couple of years.  I'll tell you what I know until someone else comes along.

Vermicompost is the material the worms have passed through their system, mixed with other small materials.  People generally say they have castings or the good stuff we put in the garden or steep to attempt to make a nice tea.  It is thought to be wrong to claim you have castings, as this implies purity and it is technically difficult to screen for pure castings. So the correct term is vermicompost, according to Bentley Christie from his web site, Red Worm Composting.

The leachate is the liquid that comes from food breaking down. This drained out liquid is Not considered to be tea.  It is not a ramped up nutritional product, but rather liquid waste from food rotting down, its not something the worms have really worked over.  I've read this liquid is fine to dispose on your flower beds rather than your veggies. 

Vermicompost tea would be the finished material that the worms worked over real well, then whatever methods you choose to make it into tea. There is debate on how to make it, I've seen people make claims of aerating it with fish tank bubblers, others say no that will increase bad bacteria too.  I don't know what the current experts have to say about that.  

I'm no expert but this is my understanding of things. Hope some of this helps and do check out Bently Christie's red worm composting site.  He's been at it for many years.
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Post  llama momma on Mon 3 Apr 2017 - 19:00

Oh my God I still didn't answer the question!
It is gold as you say when the material is such that only little shreds of paper are left.  You could use it sooner if you want.  Your choice!  Generally you want to see mostly dark material. 
Sheesh I really went off in the other post Embarassed
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Post  Banned Member on Tue 4 Apr 2017 - 6:23

If you buy a gob of fishing worms from the sporting goods store and then release them in your compost, will they not supply you with ample castings without having to do anything else?

We have loads and loads of big fat Earthworms, but the worms they sell for fishing are the type that people can use to make worm boxes.  I don't have the time to add extra work, so will just adding the worms to the compost pile provide me with castings?

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Post  CapeCoddess on Tue 4 Apr 2017 - 9:48

Don't know how it is where you live but my on ground compost pile is always loaded with worms. I think I get the whole neighborhoods worms, as they flee from being 'fertilized' on in other yards. Very Happy
Build the pile and they will come if they are around.
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Post  Banned Member on Tue 4 Apr 2017 - 15:52

Rat snakes also like warm piles, maybe because mice like them too.
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Post  sanderson on Wed 5 Apr 2017 - 0:37

Geezer, You could put the red wigglers in your boxes where they can slowly eat the mold and bacteria that grow on the compost. I think it would take a loooong time for compost to grow mold and bacteria for the worms to eat and then pooh.

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Post  Banned Member on Wed 5 Apr 2017 - 3:57

I spent way too much time last night reading about worms.  I discovered that the red wiggler worms that you can buy to make indoor worm boxes are not good for outdoor use in the garden.  
In order to put worms directly in the garden, you have to go with Night Crawlers.

I also learned something I have never heard nor would ever suspect.  Some of the worms in our American landscape smuggled to the new world from Europe when vegetation was shipped here.  They are non-native worms, and they actually disrupt the normal flora in our forest floors.  Their castings favor non-native vegetation over native vegetation.

So, as Gardens Alive says about worms, "it might be a mitzvah to collect them from the woods and take them to gardens."

There is a definitive book on this subject: Long Slim Slimy Ones: The Complete Guide To Worms In Your Garden by Loren Nancarrow and Janet Hogan Taylor from Ten Speed Press in Berkeley, CA.
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Post  llama momma on Wed 5 Apr 2017 - 12:38

I don't use my red worms in the garden, they stay in the basement bins.  If you do a worm tube and want a gob of native worms, just put a shoebox of scraps in a shallow hole in the yard with the lid at the ground surface. Maybe put a rock or something on it to keep out other wild critters.  Have worm holes on the shoebox sides, check back in a few days or till you see a bunch in there.  I filled my worm tubes this way. Now you're a worm herder. Wink
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Post  Banned Member on Wed 5 Apr 2017 - 20:30

@llama momma wrote:I don't use my red worms in the garden, they stay in the basement bins.  If you do a worm tube and want a gob of native worms, just put a shoebox of scraps in a shallow hole in the yard with the lid at the ground surface. Maybe put a rock or something on it to keep out other wild critters.  Have worm holes on the shoebox sides, check back in a few days or till you see a bunch in there.  I filled my worm tubes this way. Now you're a worm herder. Wink

I shall try that.  That seems easy enough.
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Post  ralitaco on Wed 5 Apr 2017 - 20:58

@llama momma wrote:Now you're a worm herder. Wink
lol! rofl
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Post  sanderson on Thu 6 Apr 2017 - 0:42

A few big earth worms found their way into my boxes when they were on the ground. I guess they wiggled up between the wood and the cheap black weed fabric. The beds are now all table tops/elevated off the ground and I raise Red Wigglers directly in the boxes via worm tubes. They are very happy there, producing lots of babies and worm castings. I top off the beds with homemade compost for the winter. In the spring, when I move the remainder of the compost aside, the surface of the MM looks like fine coffee grounds, teaming with RW.

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Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on Thu 6 Apr 2017 - 14:55

@sanderson wrote:A few big earth worms found their way into my boxes when they were on the ground.  I guess they wiggled up between the wood and the cheap black weed fabric.
I just watched a worm crawl *up the outside* of one of my 8" high boxes, over the edge, and down onto the MM!

cheers BB\'s happy face
So your worms may have taken the scenic route, rather than going through/between the weed fabric. It's a very wet, dreary, humid day - perfect for wormy adventures. The slugs are out strolling, too. Not a great day for outdoor gardening, but there was a break in the rain for me to get my radish seeds in.
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Post  llama momma on Thu 6 Apr 2017 - 21:01

I put tarps over most of my beds. Bricks around the outside hold it down. Rain will collect on top and there are always live and dead worms in the puddles. My beds are mostly 12 inches tall. It's like vermi-suicide.  I don't know what they are doing up there but its a shame to have all that energy to wiggle up there only to be unable to return to safety. A two foot round puddle could easily have 50 victims.
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Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on Thu 6 Apr 2017 - 21:25

@llama momma wrote:I put tarps over most of my beds. Bricks around the outside hold it down. Rain will collect on top and there are always live and dead worms in the puddles. My beds are mostly 12 inches tall. It's like vermi-suicide.  I don't know what they are doing up there but its a shame to have all that energy to wiggle up there only to be unable to return to safety. A two foot round puddle could easily have 50 victims.
I think they are driven to explore and expand their territory when conditions allow it... but run into issues with their traction not working properly in puddles.

I've had some success in using 6ft-ish zebra grass stems set diagonally across the bed to create a very low criss-crossed arcs to curve my plastic sheeting (weighed down with bricks outside, like your tarp) and prevent puddles. My landlord planted zebra grass so I can get it for free. You might be able to get it for free as well; some localities don't allow the cut down stems it to be placed curbside with the yard waste, and people want to get rid of it without paying disposal costs...though I think more often in the fall than the spring.
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Post  robert1938 on Sat 21 Oct 2017 - 3:47

Hi Everyone,
Thought I may as well join the discussion on Worm Bin.

We have been using variuos Worm Bins for a few years now in the garden.
The worm compost can be used various ways, from direct application / mixing wth other composts ( which is what we mainly do ) / put compost into a lint type bag and pop into a barrel of water - then use as fertiliser

We drain the liquid which is collected at the bottom of the worm bin, again we dilute and use as fertiliser.

Currently we have a new ( spring this year ) Worm Factory 360 model - see youtube link below regarding this product, which will give you an idea.

A Form Factory 360 is available on Youtube to view : youtube/watch??v=VUtoDqf6sNQ
( sorry I cannot give link due to being a member for under 7 days as per forum T&C's )

Should add the worms used are "red" worms not the common garden type - "red" worms are often used in fishing ( not sure about US but they are here in UK )The worms used in worm bins for composting are known by various names; brandling, manure, red or tiger worms. These include the species Eisenia foetida, E. andreii and Dendrabaena veneta. Composting worms live in decaying organic matter, whereas earthworms are soil dwellers. They are smaller and darker red than the common earthworm, Lumbricus terrestris, which is unsuitable for using in worm composting

We feed "our worms" once a week with food from kitchen :-

Feeding the worms (adding waste):

For best results, add small amounts of waste often to the wormery.

  • Chop the waste into smaller pieces so it can be eaten faster
  • Place the food on the top of the compost
  • Alternatively, bury the food within the compost to create feeding pockets
  • If the waste is not being eaten, feeding should be stopped for a few days until the worms start to work through the top layer of the composting material
  • Avoid adding more waste than the worms can cope with


Good :
Worms enjoy a varied diet eating any decaying organic matter. You can put in;

  • Any raw vegetables, except for onions, shallots, leeks and garlic that are best used in small amounts or cooked first
  • Any cooked vegetables
  • All fruit, except citrus peel, which needs to be limited or preferably cooked before adding
  • Tea bags, eggshells, coffee grounds and small amounts of bread
  • Limited amounts of newspaper, shredded office paper and cardboard, but not glossy magazines
  • Small amounts of garden waste such as annual weeds, leaves and other soft green materia


Remember: Fruit and vegetable scraps that contain seeds can be included but the seeds may germinate in the wormery.

Bad :
What to avoid


  • Dairy products, fat, grease, meat, fish and bones as these are likely to attract unwanted pests and flies
  • Larger quantities of tough leaves and woodier material as it will slow the system down

If there is a lot of garden waste, which could overload the wormery, it is often best to have an ordinary compost heap as well


Worm compost and liquid – how to use:

The worm compost can be used as a general soil conditioner or as a constituent of homemade growing media. It is generally rich in nitrogen and potassium.
The liquid drained from wormeries can be used as a liquid fertilizer on garden plants after diluting with water at a rate of 1 part liquid to 10 parts water.

Hope above helps
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Post  sanderson on Sat 21 Oct 2017 - 13:16

Where do you have your Worm Factory 360 set up? Yes, we have little red wigglers here in the US, and they are also sold for fishing, as well as composting.

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Post  walshevak on Sun 22 Oct 2017 - 21:07

Did you know rats will eat worms.  I lost my entire colony to a dastardly rat that had the nerve to chew a 3" diameter hole in the top of my 18 gal rubbermaid worm bin and snack on whatever  scrap food and worms he could find.  I fixed his little rat's ass though, I put rat killer blocks beside the now wormless bin  and found his dying body a few day later.  Scooped up the carcass with my trusty shovel and watch his last twitches before disposing in plastic bag into the trash bin.  I will start over soon.

Kay

FYI  I kept my bin in the guest room closet unless company was expected.  We gardeners have to carve space out where we can.     K

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Post  sanderson on Mon 23 Oct 2017 - 0:24

Yes, I found out they will eat worms. Finally set a rat trap and got the dastardly dude.

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