Micro organisms and the symbiotic relationship between microbes, worms, and plants

Written by Matthew on November 21st, 2012

Rose Bush In Front Garden. Picture Taken In Middle Of November.

Microorganisms in the soil are important for plant health. Both positive and negative health effects can result from microorganisms.  Microorganisms that promote healthy plant growth are called beneficial microbes. Microorganisms which deter from plant growth or otherwise harm plants are known as  plant pathogens.

Beneficial microbes help plants by several different methods. The most common method is by beneficial microbes releasing nutrients to plants that otherwise would be unavailable. Interestingly, some beneficial microbes are able to bolster plant growth without increasing available nutrients to the plants. It is unknown exactly the method through which these beneficial microbes bolster plant growth. Commonly it is thought that some microorganisms may produce chemicals that mimic natural plant growth hormones. Also beneficial microbes may prevent certain plant diseases and other pathogenic microbes from harming a plant. Beneficial microbes sometimes can even kill pathogenic microbes by destroying the cell membranes of pathogens.

Worms have a symbiotic relationship with plants. Worms consume the litter that plants produce as they grow, such as old leaves in the fall. As worms digest this decaying plant matter they release nutrients back into the soil. Worms do this with the help of many microorganisms. These microorganisms are also commonly beneficial plant microbes. This is clearly seen when worm tea is applied on plant foliage. Studies by universities including Ohio State University have proven these benefits exist. Also huge improvement in plant health can be seen simply when worm castings are used around the base of the plant as a soil amendment and fertilizer.

One simple observation that I have personally witnessed was when I started adding worm castings around the base of my rose plants. In the past these rose plants were just average, but immediately after dumping worm castings around the roses they begin to grow and bloom quite vigorously. It’s now the middle of November and my rosebushes are still producing dozens beautiful flowers. No more red fungus spots on the leaves either.

When I started farming worms I had the intentions of mainly just selling the worms, but it was not long until I realized the value of worm castings. It is quite a remarkable thing to see these plants grow after feeding them with worm castings. You really need to see it for yourself to believe it. I am always so confident in these benefits that I will assure you that if you buy worm castings from me and you’re not completely satisfied then I will gladly refund you for the purchase.

Fortunately I have plenty of worm castings available right now. I am working on a more efficient way of bagging in distributing the worm castings. If you run a nursery or any business which might be interested in worm castings you can look up my contact information on my website. www.wormsetc.com  Also we sell a special potting soil made from a mixture of worm castings, coconut coir, leaf compost, vermiculite, rock powder, and alfalfa meal. I don’t think that a better potting mix is made. These products are available from our website. Also if you live in the upstate of South Carolina you can visit our place to pick up your order. Starting this spring we will be distributing our products to garden retailers across the upstate of South Carolina.

 

Worms to Hong Kong

Written by Matthew on September 24th, 2012

Just in case you are worried that your worms may not make it in the mail ok, no worries at all. We ship worms all over the world without issues. We just shipped a box of worms to Hong Kong via USPS international mail and they arrived without a hitch or even a single worm dying.

 

Composting Celery With Red Wiggler Worms

Written by Matthew on July 30th, 2012


 

Worm Composting Video of Tomatoes and Cucumber Salad

Written by Matthew on July 27th, 2012


 

Worm Castings Video

Written by Matthew on July 17th, 2012

Video by http://www.youtube.com/user/Praxxus55712

 

How to Make Worm Casting Tea / Worm Compost Tea

Written by Matthew on July 13th, 2012

Worm Casting Tea Complete Kit
Kit comes with a 5 gallon bucket, an aquarium air pump, the bubbler stone, and five breathable bags with the proper amount of worm castings for a 5 gallon bucket. Each bag can be used twice making them each capable of producing 10 gallons of worm casting tea. This means the five bags in your kit can make a total of 50 gallons of worm tea.

One of the great benefits of having worm compost is being able to make worm compost tea. Worm compost tea is a wonderful product for your plants. Studies have clearly shown how beneficial it is for plants health (Edwards, Vermiculture Technology). Not only does it increase their vigor, but it also helps the plant’s natural defenses against diseases and insects. It’s also great to know that worm casting tea is very easy to make.

To make worm casting tea you’ll obviously need worm castings. The worm castings are added to water which is then aerated for 24 hours. A common way of aerating the water is with a fish aquarium bubbler pump and stone. Commonly the worm castings are contained in a cloth bag. This is so the particles will be separated from the liquid, and then the worm tea can be spread on the plant leaves much easier. On my webpage you will find worm castings sold already packaged in cloth breathable worm teabags. Or you can buy worm castings in bulk and use your own tea bags.

For a container I use a 5 gallon bucket. I fill the 5 gallon bucket 3/4 full with water, then I add a worm casting teabag. I then drop the aquarium bubbler stone into the bottom of the 5 gallon bucket and let it bubble for 24 hours. After the worm casting tea has aerated for 24 hours, it is ready for use. Use the worm tea to water your plants, but also be sure to get as much of it on the foliage of the plants as possible. It does not take long at all to see your plant’s health improve. Within 2 to 3 weeks any aphids should be gone. After 3 weeks most fungus spots on the plants will begin to disappear. On fruits and vegetable much higher yields will be obtained. I was skeptical myself and then I started using worm tea on my plants and the difference is astounding.

 

 

Worms multiplying fast, despite the hot summer. A question on ants

Written by Matthew on June 28th, 2012

Even though we have had terrible weather, hot then cold, dry then soaking wet, the worms are multiplying well. Red wiggler worms are very tough and this just goes to prove it. Today it is over a hundred, but the worms are still eating away and multiplying even in the heat. Now the worms are in a shade and have adequate water. This water helps keep them cool as the water evaporates off of the top of the beds.

Summer time often brings lots of ants. I have had several people recenlty ask me what I do to keep ants out of the red worm beds. I really don’t do anything, the ants just don’t seem to like my worm beds. I think this is because I keep the top of the worm beds wet. Ants don’t really seem to like getting wet.

 

Earthworm Egg Capsules, Red Worm Reproduction

Written by Matthew on May 1st, 2012
Red Worm Egg Capsules

Red Worm Egg Capsules

Worms reproduce by a fascinating method which also helps ensure their future existence. Earthworms lay egg capsules in the soil usually near a good source of food. The neat thing about these egg capsules is their ability to survive harsh conditions that would kill adult earthworms. Earthworm egg capsules can survive freezing, and dry conditions for extended periods of time. The egg capsules will wait for more favorable conditions to hatch.

Adult worms in favorable conditions will lay between 2-4 egg capsules per month. Worms are hermaphrodites and must mate before laying. I have never seen a worm “blowing” an egg capsule, but a colleague of mine tells me it looks like someone blowing a bubble out their mouth. Each egg capsule can hatch from 3-7 worms (Eisenia fetida). The worm egg capsules are bright golden yellow when first laid and progressively turn brownish red before hatching. Eisenia fetida egg capsules will hatch in about 21 days under ideal conditions and at about 80 degrees. The eggs hatch faster at warmer temperatures than what adult worms prefer.

 

Growing worms worms and more worms

Written by Matthew on January 31st, 2012

I never had any idea how much I would learn by being a worm farmer. Starting and running a small business with little money means that I have had to do most of the work myself. Although sometimes I do use part-time help, most of the work is done by myself. Often I find myself doing carpentry work to build worm beds. Other times I will be welding and bending pipe to make greenhouses. Currently I am working on the computer obviously, kind of basic, but two days ago I was working on a programing issue with the website. Eventually I gave up on that and hired a programmer, but I didn’t really want to. Many of my customers are gardeners so I try to keep up to date on the latest gardening buzz like the square foot gardening. Often I am running a skid steer loader, other times I am wiring lights or plumbing a sprinkler system.

Sometime though I do find myself actually feeding, harvesting, shipping worms. Actually this is a lot of my time of course. I am learning a lot about red wiggler worms. It’s been a real adventure figuring out the best things to feed them, how much water they need, and other things like how often to aerate the beds.

In order to be able to sell more worms I am constantly expanding the size of the worm farm.

red wiggler worm bed

New Red Worm Beds

Here you can see the worm beds that are in construction. The one on the left is finished and the one on the right is partially done. I stock them simply by adding the worm castings that come straight out of harvester. The worm castings that come out of the harvester will always have enough baby worms and eggs to repopulate the worm bed. It takes quite a while before the new beds have enough worms to be harvested though.

 

New building, again, for Worms Etc

Written by Matthew on November 26th, 2011

I am so excited, today I got a great deal on a green house. Can’t wait to construct it on the property, but I’m still finishing another greenhouse on the property as it is, but it was a good deal so I snatched it while I could. More room to grow worms in!