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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Worm Tube for the SFG - Page 20 Toplef10Worm Tube for the SFG - Page 20 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.

Worm Tube for the SFG - Page 20 I22gcj10Worm Tube for the SFG - Page 20 14dhcg10

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Worm Tube for the SFG

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Worm Tube for the SFG - Page 20 Empty Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  sanderson 6/20/2015, 5:08 pm

Kathy, If your beds are touching the dirt (as yours do being raised brick flower beds) the larger earth worms will wiggle their way in from the dirt. I think they go to the edges of the weed cloth and slither upwards. As far as the little red wigglers, I think you just need patience. Feed the tubes as the food goes down. Make sure the MM stays wet next to the tubes. I have even added water to the inside of the tubes if the food looks too dry. I chop and freeze their food as I produce it, then set it out in the sun with Saran Wrap over it for a bit to get it thawed and mushy. Just give the little guys more time. For the beds without tubes, I bury some of the mush here and there.

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Post  Kelejan 6/21/2015, 12:29 pm

@Kelejan wrote:
@sanderson wrote:Marie,  Congrats!!

Nan,  2.  They have both sexes so they just need to find each other.  A small tub for fishing contains about 25.  I think someone is doing an experiment with 2 worms in a controlled environment to see how many they get.
That's me, sanderson.  About time I did another count. Tomorrow, too late today, I am a morning person. Very Happy I started off with two tiny worms in January, and last count was about 25 prepubescent worms end of May.
Just found the piece of paper with the latest update. (I am a paper-rat-packer)
15 June 2015
One very lethargic adult left, I expect it to be gone next time I look.
Total of 70 offspring, majority very tiny and ranging up to 1 and 1- 1/2 inches in length.  None yet with clitella (clitellum?) so they are all still pre-adults. Expect some adults in a month's time.
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Post  sanderson 6/21/2015, 12:57 pm

Very Happy

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Post  Goosegirl 6/22/2015, 8:20 am

okay
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Post  momvet 9/10/2015, 4:18 pm

I think my worm tubes have been a bust. Never saw very many worms and when I did put food in the tubes, it just seemed to sink and decompose. I kept a large bucket outside that we filled with coffee grounds and kitchen waste and now it is a soupy mess that reeks - is that what worms eat, or should I just dump and try again. I have a strong stomach but I can't handle filling the worm tubes (which I stopped because I really don't think there are any worms)  Embarassed
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Post  sanderson 9/11/2015, 12:14 am

Kathy, I think most folks store the coffee grounds and kitchen scraps in the frig or freezer. Then once a week or every 2 weeks, put a handful of fresh (thawed) scraps in. The first year there may not be many worms so they won't need a lot of food. Over last winter, I had a worm explosion and now have to feed them weekly. I had compost with horse manure on the beds in the winter and they loved it. Be patient and you may find you have more worms than you think.

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Post  Marc Iverson 9/12/2015, 6:18 am

Kathy, my worms were kind of a bust too until I looked closer. I wonder if you could try something like I did ...

I buried a large pot with big holes in its bottom. I left just about an inch of it above the soil. Then I dropped in some garden soil and brought fresh kitchen waste to the pot every so often. I figured the pot itself would keep the moles out, and the holes in the bottom would let the worms come and go as food and heat/cold and moisture varied. I covered the pot with a plastic lid to keep the birds and many of the insects out.

Seemed like a go-nowhere experiment until a year later, when I scooped out the decayed veggie matter in chagrin and (sorta?) despair, expecting nothing and finding ... some worms! Even in our area, where they're not supposed to survive the winters ... they were able to use my food and water and the insulation from the surrounding soil to survive.

I transfered a few worms here and there and this year am finding them in odd places -- they're migrating!

I guess the gist is, think of worms as a long-term project, and as something to feed and protect.

Also, if you don't want to bother about feeding them(odd, because I think everyone must have kitchen scraps?), then cow manure is dirt cheap at the big box stores like Home Depot. Throw down a few bags in an odd corner, water the heap every once in a while, and you should be on your way to creating worm paradise.



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Post  sanderson 2/29/2016, 11:57 pm

These worm tubes are from 3" PVC pipe. Two heights for 7 1/2" and 10 1/2" beds. The top of the upper holes are located at 5", to allow for MM shrinkage. Worm Tube for the SFG - Page 20 Worm_t10

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Worm Tube for the SFG - Page 20 Empty Worm tubes and SIP planters

Post  Becky8813 4/26/2016, 5:31 pm

The Hi, has anyone tried a worm tube in a sub-irrigated planter box?  I am building this box this weekend and would like to incorporate a spot for the wormtube from the get-go. My box will have a bottom and will be elevated to a comfortable 22" to save my back.  My box will be 3'x6' with a 12" depth to the Mels Mix.
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Post  sanderson 4/27/2016, 2:46 am

Becky, If you are going to have a bottom for the MM, resting above the water chamber, I don't see why a worm tube wouldn't work. Just make sure it sits on a solid bottom. Once you get the grids in, you can put it where you want (on solid bottom).

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Post  Becky8813 4/27/2016, 6:25 am

Thanks for your reply Sanderson.  To clarify, the SIP has the water chamber below, separated from the Mel's Mix by a layer of weedcloth.  I was going to put a small exterior box on the 3' side to accommodate the PVC Tube, with the opening in the side of the SIP placed at the 6" depth mark.  There will be no solid floor separating the Soil Box and the Water Box.  I was worried that the wormies would burrow too deep and drown, but since the worms in my current bin are red wigglers, maybe not?
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Worm Tube for the SFG - Page 20 Empty red wigglers Vs Earthworms

Post  YorkR88 5/19/2016, 2:24 pm

I'm wanting to do a worm tube. What type of worms do you recommend? Red Wigglers or Earthworms?
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Post  sanderson 5/19/2016, 3:34 pm

From what I have read on this topic, Red wigglers are used. They are shallow feeders (I think) so the SFG beds are perfect for them. If your beds are set on the ground, a few earth worms may find their way in. They are deeper feeders (I think) and will enjoy the moist, enriched environment under the bed areas. Just make sure the holes you drill are well below the top of the Mel's Mix or there will be lots of little gnats (little flies ?). I max the holes at 5" but I would do 4" max height in the future to allow for shrinkage. Make sure you have some soggy food in the tube before you place the worms. over ripe banana pieces, coffee ground, horse puck, etc.

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Post  AtlantaTerry 7/15/2017, 12:37 am

@Josh wrote:Chopper here is a picture of the tool we used to make the holes.
Worm Tube for the SFG - Page 20 Holedrill

The drill bit goes in first and holds the round hole saw in place so it wont slip off.  My dad said you might try using a small drill bit first to start a hole and then that will help keep the bigger drill bit from slipping off.

Good luck and let me know if there is anything I can help you with.
Tip: run your drill backwards when cutting the hole - the plastic will not shatter and the hole will be neater.
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Post  sanderson 9/26/2018, 3:09 am

This spring I pulled out the worm tubes after feeding the little red wigglers for 4-5 years. Today as I was turning new compost into the fall beds, I didn't see many worms. Time to put the tubes back in and beef up the population over the winter with kitchen scraps.

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Post  OhioGardener 11/25/2019, 10:39 am

Reviving an old thread, but I found this video on the subject interesting.  He even put bird baths on top of the worm tubes.


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Post  countrynaturals 11/25/2019, 12:16 pm

golly gee whiz The results are amazing! Thanks for reviving this one, OG.
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Post  yolos 11/25/2019, 1:01 pm

I watched this and the growth of the plants next to the worm tube may have grown larger than others for another reason other than the worm poop.  Although I agree that worm poop is super food.  What about keeping the tube contents moist also helps plants near by get needed moisture.  ???
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Post  countrynaturals 11/25/2019, 1:10 pm

@yolos wrote:I watched this and the growth of the plants next to the worm tube may have grown larger than others for another reason other than the worm poop. 
I was wondering the same thing. Could the rotting veggie matter be making compost tea that's leaching into the nearby soil? thinking
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Post  OhioGardener 11/25/2019, 7:27 pm

@yolos wrote:I watched this and the growth of the plants next to the worm tube may have grown larger than others for another reason other than the worm poop.  Although I agree that worm poop is super food.  What about keeping the tube contents moist also helps plants near by get needed moisture.  ???

Could be the case.  But, I do not moisten the worm towers in my beds, and I get similar results.  I am hope to add more worm towers next year, so that there is one per 4'x'4 section of raised beds, but not sure how successful I'll be in getting it done. This past summer there were times when I did not have enough kitchen scraps for the worms, and ended up just putting Starbucks coffee in the pipes to feed the little critters.

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Post  sanderson 11/27/2019, 2:28 am

When I had worm tubes, I only fed them once a week or less, depending on the season. I froze kitchen trimmings if needed. Then, microwaved until thawed, added corn meal, a torn up piece of bread for mold, mixed and apportioned among the 10 tubes.

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Post  ralitaco 2/8/2020, 1:43 am

@sanderson wrote:I froze kitchen trimmings if needed.  Then, microwaved until thawed, added corn meal, a torn up piece of bread for mold, mixed and apportioned among the 10 tubes.

Sounds like what I've been eating/cooking while we have been remodeling our kitchen sans the microwave and mold. Lots of frozen pizza in the oven and sandwiches with the occasional oatmeal
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Post  GardenFairy 4/6/2021, 12:17 pm

@Lavender Debs wrote:I wouldn't have thought to feed them that way. My gardens are full of worms (doesn't that sound gross? maybe I should call them red wigglers) Worm "castings" (me, I like to call it poop but am ever warned that I spend too much time with 5th grade boys), ARE great for the garden but even better is what they do to keep the soil soft.

I started putting red wigglers into pots of herbs in my kitchen window. I think one of my boys brought one in and asked if he could keep it as a pet (??? I KNOW). We dropped him (him??) into a pot of oregano in the window. A funny thing happened, the soil in that pot got soft instead of the usual house plant hard. I never added any fertilizer (not that I would have added chemicals, but there were “teas”). We only sprinkled cornmeal on top of the soil of the pot to feed him, because my dad used to toss it on the bin of fishing worms he kept in the basement. Two years later the soil was fresh and bouncy while other soil from the same mix in other house plants was like brick.

Most of what we learned was by accident.

Make a happy worm habitat instead of striving for good root anchors.

Do not drown nor parch wormy.....mr oregano was much happier with a happy wormy (so was miss african violet)

Instead of feeding the plant, feed the worm. House plant worms were only fed cornmeal because we didn't know any better. No matter what we fed other house plants, no plant did as well as the plant with the worm, not just because of the "castings" but because of the condition of the soil as he tunneled about.

Deborah ....who is sure that worm had a name but I'll be jiggered if I can remember it.

That is really interesting. I just got a "worm farm" but I wasn't sure if they would live in my raised SFG or a pot without running away if it got too dry. I may have to try the houseplant idea as I have several.
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Post  OhioGardener 6/13/2021, 4:30 pm

Saw this video that is an expansion on the concept of worm tubes in the raised beds. Hate to give up a square foot of garden space in a raised bed, but it would be an interesting experiment.


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