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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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1,000 worms on their way.... - Page 8 Toplef101,000 worms on their way.... - Page 8 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

1,000 worms on their way.... - Page 8 I22gcj101,000 worms on their way.... - Page 8 14dhcg10

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1,000 worms on their way....

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Post  Josh 8/11/2012, 5:43 pm

Only you and me would do something like that llama momma, I counted my worms, I even sprayed them off with a fine mist of water to clean them off, I hand picked out the worms and cocoons before I would use the compost out in the garden, and it took forever to do it, but I wanted to know exactly what was going on, how much compost they had made, how many worms multiplied.

But then I stopped doing that, I just started putting food over in one corner for several weeks,something that they would really like, most of the worms would move over there to the food, then I took the lid to my worm bin and took the casting/compost and spread it out pretty thin, leaving a pile of compost on one end, it didn't take long for the worms to move over to the pile of compost to get out of the light. Then I didn't worry about the few worms in the compost that were left behind, or the cocoons, because when I added the compost to my SFGs the worms survived in the SFG and the cocoons hatched out and lived in the SFG. 1,000 worms on their way.... - Page 8 692681
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Post  FamilyGardening 8/11/2012, 11:18 pm

LLM....sounds like you put in a good day of work Very Happy those casting look great and 11 pounds of them... wowzers 1,000 worms on their way.... - Page 8 3170584802

not sure what we are going to do when its time to get our castings and give our worms a new start.....i really wanted to use the worm castings in compost tea.....but the thought of baby eggs drowing What a Face or do they??....... study .

maybe by the time we harvest i wont care so much..... sawing logs

hugs
rose


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Post  llama momma 8/12/2012, 8:59 am

Plantoid - you are fortunate to have what I would call a large 3 ft set up right outside your door. For my frigid winters here I found information for a 4 foot square box, 2 ft. high that is lined with 1 inch Styrofoam and has removable sides. The bottom sits on soil. The top wooden piece is lined with a moisture barrier material and more Styrofoam. And the worms reportedly survive Toronto, Canadian winters in it. This set up would work here in Ohio. Strongly considering this for a nice Autumn project. I don't mind the worm bins in my house but I would like to add manure and can't fathom bringing that stuff inside my home.

Rose - Maybe after you see thousands of eggs and worms the saving issue is not as great. I saw a video of a guy sifting with gloved hands and he was going so fast there was no way he could save everything. The other option I read is to hold your castings for a few weeks and add some grated carrots, or some melon into an indented line across the top of the castings, the new babies will head right for it then you transfer them back to the bin. At least it gives the remaining eggs time to hatch and you get save more worm kids.

Josh - yes, it was a chore for me, even for the first time "excitement" of harvesting. Before the 4 hours were up I was kinda tired of trying to save every baby and cocoon. But I needed to see how many worms were there! But then I got way more than an eyeful. affraid To last a life time..
Really liking the idea of giving them llama manure (not in the house!)for a richer diet that should result in even stronger fertilizing properties. An outdoor set up will be the way to go in the near future. For now I'll tend to the 2 indoor bins that will eventually help seed the outdoor one. It would be great to have enough castings to make into worm tea for sf and non sf gardening areas, some trees, and the lawn.
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Post  Kelejan 8/14/2012, 2:16 pm

Today I started going through my compost to see how many worms I could get to start my own Hilton.
I managed to get over 200 before taking a break until this evening.
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Post  llama momma 8/14/2012, 5:52 pm

1,000 worms on their way.... - Page 8 3170584802 That means your worms have very comfy suroundings, congratulations! cheers
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Post  Kelejan 8/14/2012, 6:05 pm

@llama momma wrote: 1,000 worms on their way.... - Page 8 3170584802 That means your worms have very comfy suroundings, congratulations! cheers
It was interesting going through the compost to see how the worms congregate in clumps. They seemed to appreciate the walnut half-shells that were there. I picked out about a dozen shells and they all contained clumps of worms in the compost that was embedded in them. They also liked to be buried between the leaves that were only partly decomposed from last year and the clumps of lawn grass that I had put in a short time ago. I had to tease them apart.
The compost comes from my tumbler.
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Post  llama momma 8/14/2012, 6:30 pm

Yes I noticed they like to clump together too. I had a patially filled bucket of worms and compost that I took out of a worm tube. Some time later when I took them out they were heavily clumped along the bottom edges of the bucket.
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Post  Kelejan 8/15/2012, 11:37 pm

I finished making my Wiggler Hilton this morning, bottom and first tier, and dumped my 200 worms in it, then spent time this late afternoon teasing out another 400 from the compost bin so now I have a total of 600. I expect another 100 or so from the small amount I still have to tease through.
I dumped those 400 on top of the others and within ten minutes there was not a sign of them. I hope the initial 200 do not mind the newcomers.
The worms ranged in size from about 1/3 inch to three inches with most of them about 2 inches.
How big do they grow? How long do they live? Anyone have an idea.
Sorting through the compost for the worms has really given me a feel for the conditions they like so I am hoping that I will be successful this time.
My Hilton is located on my north-facing deck which is always in shade so I am hoping they will not get too heated during the summer. I can bring them indoors to the utility room so that should keep them happy during the winter.
As I have found out that they like the clumps of grass I put in the composter, I have three garbage bags of dried green grass which should supplement their diet during the winter.
I feel I have done a good day's work today.
The third tier I will eat my leisure.
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Post  llama momma 8/16/2012, 7:26 am

To answer your questions, if I recall correctly the adult size is about 3 inches. Someone else please chime in if I'm wrong. They are not the biggest worms out there but their cast productions are the claim to fame. I believe the typical life span is around a year but controlled experiments I read about show them to live for 3 years. You can search and also ask questions like that on redwormcomposting.com A wonderful extensive site I go to many times for worm info. Best wishes on your new worm farm! I wish I had started this time of the year in 2011 for a boatload of ready castings this past springtime planting. At least I have plenty for fall planting now. Had to start somewhere Wink
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Post  Kelejan 8/16/2012, 11:06 am


Thanks for your answers, LL. What would I do without this forum?
I do know, I would have to look up the Internet myself. lol.

I have another question:
I checked in on my little guys this morning and some of them are climbing the walls. Is this because I have the lid on and it is dark, or should I not had the lid on and the light will keep them under the bedding?

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Post  llama momma 8/16/2012, 1:24 pm

Roaming worms can be a sign of getting settled into new surroundings, I would be more worried if you had a mass exodus, that is suppose to signal something is very off in the wormery. Since you just added them I would not be concerned. When I split my bin into two I had one escapee who dried up on the bathroom floor. And when I received the order of initial worms back in March I think I had a total of two take off and croak outside the bin. And yes, a light would keep them down but personally I prefer a lid and put little weights on top of the 4 corners of the lid like a flashlight and shampo bottles, whatever I have on hand, just something to weigh it down, encourage them to stay inside.

This morning I checked on my bucket of harvested worm castings from last week. I kept it moist and added a banana peel, and found 25 babies chewing away. That made it easy to transfer the banana peel with worm kids back to the worm bin. I read to use carrot peelings and it did not work at all to attract worms. Then I dug down to the bottom of the bucket and found a couple more adults bunched up. So off to the worm bin they went to join the others. Ican't decide what has become more fun, eating all the lovely home grown organic vegetables and fruit, or seeing how far this worm experience goes!
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Post  Kelejan 8/17/2012, 1:51 am

No sign of roaming worms this morning, and today I added another 350, the last from the compost tumbler. Total 950.
I doubt that I will ever count worms again.
After sifting the tumbler contents, I have about 5gallons of lovely compost, the rest went back into the tumber along with any worms I have missed, so I will see how that goes.
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Post  llama momma 8/17/2012, 9:42 pm

Congratulations on those worm castings!! And no more roaming worms. Or counting! Besides the winning number is the pounds or gallons of castings right? I plan to use some of my castings this weekend with new transplants of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts. Give the cumbers, squashes, tomatoes and pumpkins a booster of castings too. I'm keeping a banana peel and watermelon rind in the top of the stored castings in the bucket to attract any new hatchlings and older wormies that might still be lingering. Then transfer them back to one of the 2 bins.
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Post  Kelejan 8/23/2012, 7:14 pm

These past few days I have been making little packages of conveniece food for the future worm feedings. I have dozens of little plastic containers in which dog food comes in, Purina Beneful, and I am too frugal just to throw them away so I use them for all sorts of things. (Like spaghetti sauce in one-person portions and dog meals on single portions.)
So I decided to fill each one with a little dried green grass, chopped veggies such as chard, kale etc, dried banana peels, egg shells, compost, tea and coffee grounds, and a little water. Allowing them to sit for three days outside, then freezing them for use as and when required. Completed six "meals" and have another ten done today and put outside to start the decomposing before freezing.
I want to get ahead as I don't know how things will go in the winter. Then as needed, I will wrap the meals in damp newspaper and feed my guys.
So now I have several jars lined up containing dried banana peels, dried green grass, tea and coffee grounds, crushed eggshells, etc. As I get the fresh green stuff I will add these ingredients and continue making prepackaged "meals". I am also accumulating quantities of shredded newsprint and egg cartons.
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Post  llama momma 8/23/2012, 7:43 pm

I got a kick out of reading your post. You've got an assebly line all figured out just like McDonalds, but McWormys. Lately, the night before feeding I take some frozen stuff out if I remember, otherwise I put the frozen in the package and let it thaw and age in the bin for eating later on. I also add fresher stuff from under the sink compost container. Almost always add oatmeal or yellow cornmeal for protein too and more eggshells in the food and around the bin.
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Post  Boz 8/27/2012, 7:48 pm

This is how I currently do my worm bins, not necessarily the best way, just my way. In May I started two 18 gallon Rubermaid tote bins. I have decided to remove the 18 gallon totes and replacing them with 10 gallon totes. I started by removing three thousand worms from the bin, 500 went into bin 2 the rest into a new flow thru bin. Yes I counted them. That's why I retired so I could do exciting things like count worms
1,000 worms on their way.... - Page 8 Catch_10
I use a lid and 1X2s for my catch basin. I run my bins as wet as I can while not getting any leachant. My bins have vent / drainage holes in the bottom.
1,000 worms on their way.... - Page 8 Bin112
The unfinished Vermicompost went into bin 1. There is a soup can and short 2X2 in each corner. These keep bin 2 from compacting the VC. The VC is stacked up in the middle so the worms can migrate up to bin 2.
1,000 worms on their way.... - Page 8 Stack10
I will leave the bins stacked this way for about 2 months, to allow the cocoons to hatch and the VC to get done. Bin 1 will get sprayed with water if needed but no food. Bin 2 will get water and food. At the end of two months I will swap the two bins so that bin 1 is on top. I will put a light over the bin and drive the worms down into the VC and remove as much VC as I can get without worms. Wait about an hour and remove more VC. Keep on doing this until all the VC and worms are separated. The VC will then go into the 18 gallon container. This storage will be stirred up and moistened as needed until spring. There always seem to be some worms left in the VC. You can use a couple of slices of cucumber as bait and remove these worms if you want.
1,000 worms on their way.... - Page 8 Inside10
The inside of bin 2 has some corrugated cardboard running the entire length of the bin, torn up egg cartons, shredded newspaper on top to cover food. It will be interesting to see which bedding the worms consume first. I use burlap on top of my bins instead of lids. If I were concerned about birds or rodents then I would use lids.
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Post  Kelejan 8/27/2012, 9:03 pm

Boz, your way seems to me to be a good way to do things.
I had to smile at the reason your retired so that you can count worms. that is the beauty of having time to do things your way.
Why did you go from 18 gallons to 10 gallons? Is it because you now have a flow-through system?
I started my Wiiggler Hilton two weeks ago so I still have a lot of experience to accumulate. Been reading the Redworm site avidly and feel I am making good progress; must curb looking into my bin too often, as I know now that the wormies can get stressed out.
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Post  Boz 8/27/2012, 9:36 pm

Kelejan, I left the 18 gallon bins for a lot of reasons.
When I bought the 18 gallon bins I planed on using them for VC storage thru the winter. Why did I put worms in them?
My bin was up to 28 lbs and less than a third full. The weight could cause compaction and anaerobic conditions.
I like to stack my bins and use migration to get the worms moved. I have problems getting compacted bins to migrate.
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Post  llama momma 8/27/2012, 9:49 pm

Looking really good Boz!!! You have lots of patience counting all those worms. Sounds like you should have loads of success.

The laziest method for me is to keep a record of how much time passes and how many pounds of castings are produced each harvest, whatever the # of worms. Funny cause there are some things I can be obsessively tedious about, but I quickly found out I don't want to count worms. Razz

I keep finding more baby worms in the bucket of castings that is kept moist and has melon rinds on top. Today, took a little can of castings to add to the sifted yard compost around the strawberry bed. Nearly every tablespoon of castings had a couple baby worms in it.
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Post  Boz 8/27/2012, 10:28 pm

@Kelejan wrote:
I started my Wiiggler Hilton two weeks ago so I still have a lot of experience to accumulate. Been reading the Redworm site avidly and feel I am making good progress; must curb looking into my bin too often, as I know now that the wormies can get stressed out.

The Wiggler Hilton looks like a good way to start and the Redwormcomposting.com site is very good. When you run out of reading material take a look at this site http://www.biosci.ohio-state.edu/~soilecol/NewPubs1.htm
Edwards, C.A. is recommended by llama momma
The best way to control the urge to inspect the bin is to have lots of bins then you can check a different one everyday.
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Post  llama momma 8/27/2012, 10:41 pm

There are a lot of articles by Dr. Clive Edwards, but this particular short article summarizes what vermicompost does for plants without getting overly scientific.

http://www.biosci.ohio-state.edu/~soilecol/Full%20articles/2007/The%20utilization%20of%20vermicomposts%20in%20horticulture%20and%20agriculture.doc
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Post  walshevak 8/27/2012, 11:16 pm

Nuff said!! It's good stuff both in the soil and on the plant.
I like using the teas. Makes it go further until I get a bigger supply.
Kay

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Post  llama momma 8/30/2012, 6:35 pm

I haven't made tea with it yet. Still pulling babies out from the pail in the garage. Unreal how many keep surfacing and appear on melon rinds. But when I put castings on the strawberries the other day I had to sacrifice some knowing they would not survive this winter in a tabletop. They were so tiny it wasn't worth picking and walking all the way back up to the house. I even felt guilty. Rolling Eyes
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Post  CapeCoddess 8/31/2012, 1:55 pm

I know what you mean, lm. I felt guilty when I put my ready compost into bags last spring coz of any wormies that might have been in there.

CC
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Post  FamilyGardening 10/12/2012, 11:19 pm

how are the worm families doing?

took our's out from under cover out back.....to give them some food and check on them......wow...they have done a lot of work...we took some pictures and will post pics later....

question: do we need to bring them inside for the winter?....they are in a rubber maid container under cover with a tarp in with our fire wood box.....the container doesnt smell so i dont have a problem bringing them in....its finding the place to put them that will be a challange...

hugs
rose
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