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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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1,000 worms on their way.... - Page 11 Toplef101,000 worms on their way.... - Page 11 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 11 I22gcj101,000 worms on their way.... - Page 11 14dhcg10

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1,000 worms on their way....

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Post  llama momma 11/17/2012, 9:58 am

Very Nice pictures, your worms look so healthy and robust. Cardboard lid - hadn't thought of that. My bucket lid is a cheap overturned thin plastic see-through potted plant saucer. It doesn't quite reach the edges but some reason these worms aren't interested in roaming and I can take a peek whenever. They're in a darkened bathroom of course - for comfort. Wink
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Post  FamilyGardening 11/17/2012, 10:10 am

we have a plastic lid for the bucket too....we found using the cardboard helps keep out the fruit flies....so we put that down first before putting the lid on....the worms seem to like it too...

hugs
rose
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Post  mollyhespra 11/17/2012, 11:46 pm

OK! We've done it! DH and I have officially become "worm guardians" to a bunch of red wigglers we spent the morning digging and sorting out of one of the piles of horse manure we got earlier this year!

The pile was frozen down a couple of inches but there were still plenty of red wigglers in there--we dumped a few shovelfuls into buckets and sorted through them inside where they thawed out and are now part of a cozy new worm colony.

Here's a pic of our new wards:
1,000 worms on their way.... - Page 11 Img_0810

I have no idea how many are in there; what you see is just the bit that were congregated at the bottom of the container we used to collect them. My best guess is somewhere around 4-500?

We put them in with some of their "familiar" food (the manure they were dug out of) and added some banana peels & coffee grounds we'd been saving up, then covered the lot with some damp shredded paper.

Tomorrow I'll take some pics of the actual container they're in for the time being. We chose to use 5-gallon food grade plastic buckets until I can make something out of wood. We had to hurry up and dig them out before the pile froze solid, which should happen any time now.

So thankyou to all you brave "worm guardians" who've gone before us & inspired us to give it a go, too.

BB\'s happy face WOOT!
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Post  Kelejan 11/18/2012, 1:56 am

Welcome to the world of worms. You have done it the way I did, dug the worms out of one's own compost. Look forward to reading of your progress.
Kelejan, fellow wormie.
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Post  FamilyGardening 11/18/2012, 3:01 am

Molly congrats cheers on your new BB\'s happy face family adventure!

wish we had some of that horse manure too!!!

hugs
rose

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Post  llama momma 11/18/2012, 3:42 am

Mollyhespra
Did you know that 500 red wigglers would have cost you 15 dollars plus shipping from an online source like Uncle Jim's Worm Farm? When I purchased 1,000 from that place last year it was $19.00 plus $10.00 shipping. Congratulations on free worms! With the money you just saved yourself you may want to spring for a nice wide rectangle shaped container like Rubbermade or Safelite for about 8 or so dollars. The wide surface area allows for loads of oxygen and O2 exchange. It is an ideal environment to give your new little friends. Yes, a couple of us have buckets of hatchlings but it is not the ideal method long term. Welcome to the world of worms cheers
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Post  mollyhespra 11/18/2012, 9:57 am

Thanks for the encouragement, all. you rock

We actually started out with the intent to make a "Wiggler Hilton" type set up with some of those blue Rubbermaid bins. A few years ago, we'd bought a dozen of those bins for use in household storage and now have a few empty ones that we were going to make into the WH, but--

--and here's where it gets complicated--

--as I was cleaning said bins out a couple of weeks ago, just out of curiosity I looked to see what kind of plastic they're made from, and nowhere was to be found that little triangle with the number in it, which got me concerned.

We all know that plastics can leach into whatever they're in contact with, especially if it's moist/wet, so we started looking to see if there were any food-grade rectangular bins out there...well, there may be, but not easily accessible to us within the time frame we were working with, so we got the 5-gallon food grade buckets instead. I'm sure that whatever BPA of GKW (G-d Knows What) the worms will consume and excrete from contact from the plastic is arguable, but we just don't want to go there.

Soooo, I'm with you about the benefits of a large rectangle vs. a tall bucket, just need to make one out of wood.

Didn't I read earlier in this thread about a coffee table worm farm...hmm... study
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Post  llama momma 11/18/2012, 10:24 am

It's nice to see you already have worm knowledge. Very Happy
Goodness gracious I had not thought of BPA leaching -- interesting.
I will check out my favorite worm site, redwormcomposting.com and see if the topic is addressed by Bentley Christie. In the back of my mind I was thinking BPA is a particular concern when it is warm, such as a water bottle left in the car in summer?? Anyway if I find out anything I'll post.
Also, the coffee table worm farm may have been a reference to the book, Worms eat my Garbage. There is a photograph of it on page 10.
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Post  mollyhespra 11/18/2012, 10:42 am

Thanks for looking into the BPA thing, LM.

Here's a how-to for making a worm bin out of plywood. What do you-all more experienced "wormers" think about the design?

ETA: After posting the above, I found this thread on another forum discussing the same issue.


Last edited by mollyhespra on 11/18/2012, 10:53 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added info)
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Post  llama momma 11/18/2012, 1:03 pm

I have no wood building experience but it sounds very nice. I was curious about the measurements. Two of my plastic bins are equally as long as the wooden box in those plans. But my bins are only 12 inches wide at the base and the wooden box plan was 19 inches I believe. This plastic/BPA topic has got me wondering a lot. I couldn't find any info from redwormcomposting.com. Next will try Dr. Clive Edwards from Ohio State University, he's done extensive research for years on worms, written books, and his work is known 'round the world. I'll post any findings.
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Post  mollyhespra 11/18/2012, 7:19 pm

Thanks, LM!

In the meantime, here's anxious new worm mom update #1: No worms in sight. None have tried to make a break for it (that's good), but I can't see any chomping on any of the food we put in. I'm thinking it's probably because they still have plenty of manure in there and are feasting on that for now.

But I guess the point of my question is this: how will I know when to put more food in? Will the banana peels have disappeared completely? It's hard to tell with the coffee grounds because they're dark like the manure...I just don't want to over-feed them.
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Post  llama momma 11/18/2012, 7:52 pm

You are so right about not wanting to overfeed them. Since they are in a new environment I wouldn't worry too much about feeding till they settle in over the first few weeks or so. At first I'd be closely watching the moisture level in the bedding. They can always start 'eating' the bedding till you find their feeding rhythm.
Yes the banana peels will disappear. Smaller pieces will disappear quicker. You may want to gently dig around and make sure your worms are still there. They're probably hanging out in the very bottom. You might know that nitrogen in coffee grounds has the potential to get too hot for survival if there is too much in there.
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Post  mollyhespra 11/18/2012, 9:08 pm

@llama momma wrote:...snip...
You might know that nitrogen in coffee grounds has the potential to get too hot for survival if there is too much in there.

Shocked Oops! It's a good thing I haven't added more, then. I didn't know that tidbit. Thanks again, LM.
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Post  llama momma 11/18/2012, 9:35 pm

Very Happy
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Post  Kelejan 11/19/2012, 3:45 am

Molly, I checked when you started your wormery, and I find it has only been three days. You really must learn to cultivate a little patience. Very Happy

I know when I started, the first week I was digging around every day, but I soon learned that the worms do not lile light, vibration, and being disturbed too often. I have had my Wiggler Hilton now since august, and it does get easier not to poke areound too often.

Now I check on them once a week and give food only if I cannot see any there apart from the bedding. I am looking forward next week when I think I will check to see if I need to add another tier.
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Post  mollyhespra 12/3/2012, 5:27 pm

I'm about to do my first "cleaning" of the old uneaten food & put in the new stuff I've been saving for the wormies & I want to add some eggshells--so I crushed them first but the pieces looked too big, so I put them in the spice mill and now they're a really fine powder...did I over-do it? How do you-all prep the eggshells?
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Post  llama momma 12/3/2012, 7:13 pm

That's fine, you're just sprinkling some into the container anyway.
I stopped putting shells in the electric spice grinder. Didn't like inhaling the dust and the calcium was too smelly, like a dentist drilling teeth. So I've gone back to putting the shells in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to break it up into bits. Sometimes I just crush the shells in the bag with my hands. It makes bigger pieces.
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Post  mollyhespra 12/3/2012, 9:47 pm

Thanks, LM!

While we're on the subject of the eggshells, what exactly are they doing for the wormies? Because I've read conflicting info ranging from NOT to add the eggshells because it will scratch their little bodies to they need them to help them digest their food by acting as sand in their little gullets/gizzards/craw-thing.

I'm figuring that the eggshells must be safe or y'alls little fellas would have kicked the proverbial Wiggler Hilton by now.

So, do you think one teaspoon should do it for my 5-gallon bucket?


Last edited by mollyhespra on 12/3/2012, 9:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  camprn 12/3/2012, 9:53 pm


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Post  llama momma 12/4/2012, 8:18 am

I found a nice discussion on eggshells from another source called vermicomposter.com. The author of redwormcomposting.com is a member here also:

http://vermicomposters.ning.com/forum/topics/egg-shells?id=2094123%3ATopic%3A13702&page=1#comments

Mollyhespra
Eggshells are suppose to change the pH which is believed to increase cocoon production and viability. An acidic worm bin is believed to be the death of worms. The more I read about specific amounts of eggshells to add, powdered or bigger pieces - the more different the answers become. Redworms are known to be very adaptable, lucky for us as we stumble through all kinds of info out there. Including the stuff I share and hope is correct! Re: Your question of how much to add -- compared to what I add into my bin(which is much more)
your amount should do no harm (from my humble guess and experience). There are lots of variables from bin to bin, so it's hard to state absolutes.
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Post  mollyhespra 12/4/2012, 10:05 pm

Thanks for the info, ladies!

We went ahead and made some "homemade manure" and added that to the bucket. The food we initially put in the bucket seems to have gotten broken down some, so just to see, we grouped the "leftovers" to one side & added the new stuff to the other half with a sprinkling of pulverized eggshells over the old stuff and just plain crushed over the new stuff. Not a scientific experiment by any stretch of the imagination, but just to say how we did it.

I did decide to leave the lid off the topmost bucket, though. I don't think there's enough air holes drilled into the side, so until I can get out the drill, the top is gone to improve air circulation. I imagine this will mean keeping a closer eye on the moisture levels since it's so dry in the house during the winter. We'll see.

1,000 worms on their way.... - Page 11 3170584802 Here's to the worms!
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Post  llama momma 12/6/2012, 6:51 pm

If anybody is interested in a course on worms:

Bentley Christie has been sharing his almost 13 years of worm knowledge. He is the website owner of www.redwormcomposting.com and is offering close to an 11 hour audio course that also includes life long updates and its own forum. The info is on the site mentioned above. The course is called Easy Vermicomposting.

Worm ownership to me is a very specialized little critter kind of husbandry that certainly compliments our square foot garden efforts in a very unique way.
Hope it is ok to mention it here on our sf garden forum(??) If Not --then oops and please accept my apology and lapse in common sense -- and delete.
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Post  Boz 12/7/2012, 3:27 pm

The site and course is very goodl
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Post  llama momma 12/20/2012, 9:14 am

I just want to share with the redworm owners among us, especially if you are new -- if you are leaving or very busy over the holidays your worms should be fine if you neglect to feed them for awhile.
Recently gave a regular feeding and left the worms alone completely for 3 weeks. The result was less bedding but no apparent loss of life. Plastic bins are great for holding moisture in as most of us know. When I opened it up there was more activity around the top of the bin then what I normally see. Once I put the food in there I've seen no upper-bin activity in the last four days. So that got me worried but upon closer inspection all was fine as they seem quite busy seeking out the banquet. What a Face
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Post  mollyhespra 12/20/2012, 10:20 pm

Thanks for the info & reminder, LM!
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