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Composting Celery With Red Wiggler Worms

Monday, July 30th, 2012

How to Make Worm Casting Tea / Worm Compost Tea

Friday, 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

Thursday, 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

Tuesday, 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.

New building, again, for Worms Etc

Saturday, 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!

Sandpit type worm farm

Friday, November 25th, 2011

One simple and cheap way to grow worms and compost with them is a “sandpit” style worm farm. You just construct a structure that would be similar to a sandpit for children built on the ground. You simply need construct a sandpit, but don’t but sand in it, instead fill it with your compostable materials and then add the worms. As for building the sand pit, there are tons of different ways. Just search Google and you will find tons. Here is an example. Taking care of the worms is the same as in any other bin, like here.

If you live in a hot area be sure to build it where it will get some shade. Also be sure to keep it damp and fed well. A lip of some sort around the top will help keep worms from escaping. Be sure its deep enough to not freeze through during the winter. Check your frost depth and build accordingly.

Compost and Vermicompost, What are they?

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Compost is the process through which organic matter transforms from an unstable state to a stable state. To understand this, think about an apple that has fallen off of a tree and is left sitting on the ground undisturbed. The apple, although fresh and ready to eat when it falls from the tree, will not stay in this condition for long. Because the apple cannot stay in its present condition it is said to be in an unstable state. The apple has stored energy in the form of sugars, starches, and proteins. These chemical stores of energy came from the sun and were stored through the process of photosynthesis. The apple tree took CO2, water, oxygen, and converted these basic ingredients using sunlight through the process of photosynthesis into the sugars and starches that make up most of the apple. The apple will soon begin a natural and God created processĀ  of decomposition called composting. Organisms such as yeast, bacteria, and fungus will begin breakdown of the apple into a more stable form and eventually into a material called humus. Humus has many important functions that whole books could be written on, but for basics its important to know that humus holds nutrients for plant use and acts as a filter and helps prevent contamination of ground water from many chemicals (Miller 148).

It is quite fascinating to see how this natural process keeps everything in balance. If things did not rot (compost) eventually there would be huge piles of leaves in the forest, our uneaten apple cores would soon litter the planet, grass clippings would eventually take over your yard, so on and so forth, but more importantly the soil would soon run out of nutrients because they were not getting replenished. Composting is necessary for new things to come about. Composting is a natural process through which God has allowed for His creation to continually renew itself. Everything that was once living will eventually turn back into the soil. (Genesis 3:19) The complexity of natural cycles is amazing and so vast that scientist cannot completely understand the chemistry involved, yet at the same time somehow they are fascinatingly simple and complete systems.

A large portion of garbage created comes from organic and once living sources. All the food, paper, wood, cotton and much of the other resources we use come from the ground as grown products. These product all can be turned into compost when their usable life is over. Currently we throw much of these materials into landfill when they could be used to enrich our soils. The problems comes from the fact that the natural process of composting is to slow to efficiently handle the huge volumes of organic material currently produced. However through intentional composting and using special methods we can compost large amounts of garbage quickly, producing a valuable soil amendment in the process of reducing waste. This also prevents depletion and waste of agricultural capacity.

Many different compost methods have been devised by people over the years. Some compost methods are suitable for extremely large scale facilities composting hundreds of cubic yards a day and some methods have been developed that can allow for a completely automated compost bin to fit under your kitchen counter. One type of composting called thermophilic composting requires temperatures to climb to over 150 degrees F, compared to vermicomposting which takes place at room temperature. Vermicomposting is of course composting with the use of earthworms. Vermicomposting can also vary in scale from million dollar operations to 15 dollar plastic containers.

Red Wiggler Worm Composting Bin Setup Video

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Shipping and packing red worms

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

We have had great success with shipping and packaging our worms. This year we have shipped out more than a thousand pounds of worms with only a couple of packages having problems. We did have an issue with worms trying to crawl out of the seams of the bags but we have solved that with new types of bags.

We harvest our worms ahead of time so that they have time to cool before shipping. After the worms have spent some time in air-conditioning and have cooled off we remove all material or substrate from the worms and try and get them “Clean as spaghetti” (Thanks for that saying go to Mr. Jack Brantley) before weighing them. This ensures that our customer is getting a solid pound of worms shipped to them.

The worms can not survive for long though without being in a substrate, aka bedding, so after weighing them we immediately add either peat moss or coconut coir to them and mix them up with it. Mixing them ensures that they are no clumps of worms that would soon run out of oxygen and die. The substrate is a little dryer than the worms would normally prefer, but this has no long term effect upon the worms and helps keep them alive in shipping. If we were to add them back to the bedding or to really wet substrate they would likely perish during shipping. If a worm farmer claims to add his worms back to the original bedding before shipping, be careful as they cannot take heat very well in such a situation.

The weighed out worms and substrate now go into a breathable fabric bag which is heat sealed so that no worms can escape. Boxes are ready and the bottom of the box is filled with a compostable and insulating packing fill. We use a special fiber made from recycled cardboard boxes that we make here on site at Worms Etc. This material has really helped us in preventing the loss of worms during shipping. It keeps the worms cooler during the summer and warmer during the winter. Also it helps retain moisture preventing the worms from drying out and also keeps the shipping box sturdy during transit. This along with the heat sealed bags now makes our shipping very safe for the worms.

Included in the box of worms is an instructional sheet that will help you get started composting. An invoice and our business card also hitch a ride in the box.

Red Wiggler Worms and Water

Monday, July 25th, 2011

I always thought that red wigglers would drown if the substrate or bedding was really wet, but I have found that this is not necessarily the case. Although they certainly can drown in too much moisture the level of water which they can handle is very high. While checking on my beds I found a certain spot that the sprinklers were watering much more than the rest of the beds and when I checked to see if how the worms were in this spot they were just hundreds of them bunched up. They were also some of the largest worms I had seen. This spot was so wet that the substrate was almost like pudding or a very wet mud. The thing is that they don’t lay may eggs when it is this wet and that it is impossible to harvest them from such wet bedding.

The thing here I guess is to know that if you want some really big wigglers for fishing, don’t be afraid to wet them down. Just be sure that you have good drainage, because the standing water can cause problems.