Author Topic: Worm Composting  (Read 12109 times)

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Dorine

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Re: Worm Composting
« Reply #20 on: December 17, 2011, 01:38:17 PM »
Dorine, I have a similar worm farm to this but larger and have been impressed.  It is a large dark rectangular box with a lid and holes in the bottom so the worms can come and go as they please (for when it is too hot or cold and so they can distribute the worm castings into the garden.)  It sits directly over the main vegetable patch and is covered around the sides by a heavy layer of straw to protect it from the elements.  I bought 4000 compost worms (5 different varieties because they do different things) to get it started.  Now I have an army of them.  I feed the worms all the softer items like leafy greens and banana skins.  Sometimes some moistened broken up newspaper and cardboard.  Compost worms don't like too much citrus or onions/garlic, so those items go into the compost bins. 

What kind of winters do you have? I've always wanted to try this but thought our winters too severe for those types of worms to survive. I'd do it inside but do not have an inch of space to put anything like that. You've got me curious now. If it would work in our climate I'd start one next year.  I'm looking for other methods of composting because I hear that it is going to be against the law to gather washed up seaweed along the shore after a storm because it is part of the eco system.  That's my main source of compost for the garden each year.  Do you have pictures of your set up?
But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press  toward the mark. Phil. 3:13,14

Richard Myers

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Re: Worm Composting
« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2011, 09:43:07 PM »
And soon it will be against the law to heat your home and to drive to work. And we know that they will make it illegal to buy and sell before long! :) We are going home very soon!!

I suppose gardening with compost bypasses mother earth? 
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Marelis

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Re: Worm Composting
« Reply #22 on: December 18, 2011, 11:05:29 AM »
Dorine, I have a similar worm farm to this but larger and have been impressed.  It is a large dark rectangular box with a lid and holes in the bottom so the worms can come and go as they please (for when it is too hot or cold and so they can distribute the worm castings into the garden.)  It sits directly over the main vegetable patch and is covered around the sides by a heavy layer of straw to protect it from the elements.  I bought 4000 compost worms (5 different varieties because they do different things) to get it started.  Now I have an army of them.  I feed the worms all the softer items like leafy greens and banana skins.  Sometimes some moistened broken up newspaper and cardboard.  Compost worms don't like too much citrus or onions/garlic, so those items go into the compost bins. 

What kind of winters do you have? I've always wanted to try this but thought our winters too severe for those types of worms to survive. I'd do it inside but do not have an inch of space to put anything like that. You've got me curious now. If it would work in our climate I'd start one next year.  I'm looking for other methods of composting because I hear that it is going to be against the law to gather washed up seaweed along the shore after a storm because it is part of the eco system.  That's my main source of compost for the garden each year.  Do you have pictures of your set up?
I've yet to see if they survive the coldest part of winter, Dorine.  Winters where I am are relatively mild.  I suspect some would die and others would simply burrow deeper into the soil.  Perhaps the worms die off and their eggs hatch in spring?  I'll send you a picture.

You are very lucky to have access to seaweed for composting.  Seaweed would have to be about the premium ingredient for composting.  And yes, I can imagine it becoming illegal to remove washed up seaweed.

 I am finding that we have have so much stuff that can be composted that I have already filled two compost bins just recently.  This includes newspaper and plainer cardboards.  If I could be certain that printer ink is non-toxic, I could compost piles of shredded paper from work. May need to make a more traditional compost pile as well.  I've also been putting some light fruit and vegetable scraps and herb tea bags etc under the thick layer of mulch on the flower and they seem to decompose quickly that way as well.  All the garden weeds, lawn clippings etc are going into the compost.
"Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."  Ps 16:11

Marelis

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Re: Worm Composting
« Reply #23 on: December 25, 2011, 10:47:04 PM »
Right now, we are beginning from scratch, so we have a very small area.  We have three raised beds 4x6 and one 4x12.   I have grapes spread around and some citrus in the front yard and more in containers in the back yard.  That leaves enough room for another seven raised beds and an area where I have planted artichokes and a raspberry plant and a few fruit trees. 
This is about the size of our current garden beds.  Before I started this year I would have said that we have no room for vegetable gardening but I keep seeing new possibilities with the little land we have.  I have room for four more medium sized plots.  I have learned that it is not a good use of space to garden in raised rows (and walking between them) and so have plans to turn the main bed into two raised rectangular beds and plant by the square foot method, without wasting space.   

We have fairly old grapevines but the green grapes are so sour as to be useless.
"Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."  Ps 16:11

Richard Myers

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Re: Worm Composting
« Reply #24 on: December 26, 2011, 05:01:54 AM »
You might consider grafting a good variety onto your vines.  That will get you faster production from the existing vines.  And a great object lesson.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Marelis

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Re: Worm Composting
« Reply #25 on: December 26, 2011, 10:34:53 AM »
I hadn't thought of that, Br Myers.  Excellent idea! 
"Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."  Ps 16:11

Marelis

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Re: Worm Composting
« Reply #26 on: January 03, 2012, 01:57:09 PM »
Another thing about a worm farm directly in the garden bed is that it draws the slugs and snails away from the plants to the worm farm where they can be collected and removed.  Nothing was attacked by insects in that particular gardenbed.
"Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."  Ps 16:11

Marelis

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Re: Worm Composting
« Reply #27 on: April 12, 2012, 07:06:04 AM »
My worm farm has been a wonderful success.  The box is full 1000s & 1000s of worms and rich worm castings.  The worms seem to love layers of kitchen scraps alternated with layers of saturated cardboard - the plain greyish egg carton type.  This way the worms only need to be fed about once a week if that. 

I recently started up my first raised gardenbed a la lasagne gardening style: dug the soil inside the gardenbed (at ground level) to at least 12 inches and removed all grass and weeds, added a layer of damp newspaper, then heaps of my own compost, a layer of sugar cane mulch, bags of vegetable and fruit scraps (and transferred handfuls of composting worms from the worm garden to live with the scraps) then a load of organic composted sugar cane on top (this is quite a deep garden bed).  The red Russian kale, onions, parsley, spinach and lettuces are all thriving.
"Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."  Ps 16:11

Dorine

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Re: Worm Composting
« Reply #28 on: April 12, 2012, 09:07:18 AM »
What is the size of the worm bed in the garden? Is it in a wooden box or plastic? Got any pictures? I'm very visual. It sounds fascinating. At what point do you add the worms? Before the vegetable matter and cardboard or after? I've been thinking about taking my plastic compost bin and putting it in the garden at one end of the pathway. Will that work or does it need to be buried right in the earth?
But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press  toward the mark. Phil. 3:13,14

Dorine

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Re: Worm Composting
« Reply #29 on: April 12, 2012, 09:08:44 AM »
One more question.....did you buy these worms or did they just find their way into the box from the garden?
But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press  toward the mark. Phil. 3:13,14

Marelis

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Re: Worm Composting
« Reply #30 on: April 12, 2012, 11:16:54 AM »
Hi Dorine.  I bought the box and 4000 composting worms(5 varieties) together.  I am not at home at the moment so cannot measure it but I reckon it would be about 24 x 18 inches x 10 inches deep.  It is green with a lid and the box is half under the earth. The box has heaps of holes in the bottom so the worms can come and go to and from the box into the garden. The worms came with bedding, which is like composting straw.  Sometimes I add a layer of decomposing mulch from the surrounding garden into the worm farm.  You could do exactly the same with any opaque box with a lid with lots of holes in the bottom. 

Composting worms are different to common garden worms -they are smaller and thinner and they thrive in decomposing matter. In theory garden worms disperse the worm castings from the composting worms throughout the garden.  I will take a picture for you when I get the chance.
"Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."  Ps 16:11

Richard Myers

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Re: Worm Composting
« Reply #31 on: April 12, 2012, 01:05:18 PM »
A few weeks ago I attended a meeting where a large worm grower spoke on the subject of growing worms and how they produce their castings. It was quite interesting. I wish I had taken notes. I came away confirmed in my decision to allow my garden worms to not only eat my compost material, but to provide them with much cardboard placed throughout the garden.   We all have seen the worms that live under cardboard left on the ground for a time. Well....then let's give them plenty of opportunity to thrive under cardboard. They eat the stuff. And, I have never really like weeding unless it is a small amount and the soil is loose. So, out came the cardboard!  There is a lack of beauty, I will admit, but I am looking down the road to all those worms that are going to devour not only that cardboard, but will then begin to soften up all the clay ground I have. I suppose I ought to buy some worms to speed the process up.

I have found it hard to turn the contents of my tubs.  A shovel does not work because I want to push down on the handle and the sides of the tubs cannot take that.  What kind of tools do you use, Dorine?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Marelis

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Re: Worm Composting
« Reply #32 on: April 12, 2012, 01:53:42 PM »
Worms do love cardboard, Br Myers.  Some weeks ago I bought a new appliance and it came encased in a crude cardboard that looked handmade - knew the worms were going to love it.  Soaked it all in a bag of water overnight then gave it to the worms.  When I checked on the worm farm a few days later there were so many worms underneath it that the cardboard was moving like a wave!  Yes, use more cardboard in the garden, even on the sides of garden beds, but soak it first so it clings and stays in place, or shred the wet cardboard and use it as a layer in lasagne gardening.

It sure is fun learning all these new things!

Now, I have a 4.4 lb tin of spirulina/chlorella/barley green which I thought would  make me look and feel ten years younger, but I could never face the second dose of it (had a taste in my mouth like I'd been drinking pond water) but couldn't bring myself to throw it out after what I paid for it...and it is now a year out of date.  I'm going to feed some to the worms and put the rest into a vegetable patch under a layer of mulch.   The garden will love it.
"Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."  Ps 16:11

Marelis

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Re: Worm Composting
« Reply #33 on: April 12, 2012, 02:08:21 PM »
Is this thread about composting in general as well?

Last weekend I cleaned out the pantry and found quite a few items that were stale or out of date.  This included flour, various grains and organic pasta.  It all went into the compost.  Even the toilet rolls and any brown carry bags we get, are being soaked in water, broken up and composted.  I actually look for things to compost, to increase the carbon content. 

I've been pulling armfuls of weeds and noxious grasses that I wouldn't be game enough to compost and so am soaking them to make a tea, so the  nutrients come out and then return to the garden via the tea minus the matter.
"Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."  Ps 16:11

Dorine

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Re: Worm Composting
« Reply #34 on: April 12, 2012, 04:55:55 PM »

I have found it hard to turn the contents of my tubs.  A shovel does not work because I want to push down on the handle and the sides of the tubs cannot take that.  What kind of tools do you use, Dorine?

I use a pitch fork and kind of give it a twisting motion. It sounds like your soil is heavier than what I have. Use some of that soaked cardboard torn into pieces to add to your bin mixture. If the bins are full why not just dump the mixture out and mix it on a piece of cardboard. If everything is broken down you could just start over using the mixture and putting it back into the bin and layer it adding your kitchen scraps. It may take a couple of attempts using the same mixture to get the soil broken down into light soil. Can you post a picture of it?
But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press  toward the mark. Phil. 3:13,14

Richard Myers

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Re: Worm Composting
« Reply #35 on: April 12, 2012, 10:42:21 PM »
When it quits raining!!  :)
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: Worm Composting
« Reply #36 on: April 12, 2012, 10:46:15 PM »

I've been pulling armfuls of weeds and noxious grasses that I wouldn't be game enough to compost and so am soaking them to make a tea, so the  nutrients come out and then return to the garden via the tea minus the matter.

Which brings up the issue of what not to put in a compost pile.  I think we need to start another topic for general composting. The two methods are quite different, I think.

When adding material to the worm pile, it is going to get eaten. It does not generate high temps. A regular compost pile must generate heat to kill harmful organisms.  And a topic of compost teas.  :) We are getting quite educated! 
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Marelis

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Re: Worm Composting
« Reply #37 on: May 11, 2012, 03:28:44 PM »
Oh, and the worms survived very cold weather. I'm feeding them once a week or less in layers - thick layers of vegetable and fruit scraps between cardboard layers. The rotting vegetables generates some heat.
"Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."  Ps 16:11

Richard Myers

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Re: Worm Composting
« Reply #38 on: August 25, 2012, 10:33:54 PM »
I have worms in my bins!!   And compost!!! It works!!!!   I have a worm farm!

I will get some pictures, but I am using my compost, so I had better hurry!!  Also, I am mixing bins so I can start new ones.  The holes in the bins is a great idea, Dorine!!!  I have been adding a little water on these hot days. But, I got a better idea because the water makes the material stink.  I have been watering around the bins so that the ground under the bins remains soft during the hot summer.

The compost is good, but my mango seeds are hanging around!  I won't do that again! I suppose they will get eaten eventually. But, they are ruining my ready to use compost. I have to separate them out.  I think that adding the dirt really helped my compost along quite a bit.  I am also being a bit more careful to mix the green and wet stuff with some dry material like leaves and cardboard.  I really like not having to turn piles. It never worked for me, but this does. Seeing the worms is very exciting. I know they are enriching the compost as well as helping to break it down faster.

Thank you, Dorine for the lessons!!
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Marelis

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Re: Worm Composting
« Reply #39 on: August 25, 2012, 10:44:34 PM »
That's great news about your worms and compost, Br Myers.  Have found the same with mango and avocado seeds. 

I have been reading that adding molasses to a watering can of water and adding this to the compost pile helps to increase the decomposition rate, so do does adding urine!
"Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."  Ps 16:11