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Do Worm Castings Help Your Veggies Grow?

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Have you ever tasted an artichoke?   If you have not, you’ve really missed out on a great tasting vegetable.  Actually, in my household, we call the artichoke a Mayonaisse delivery system…..because there is always plenty of Mayo for dipping this yummy treat.

Take a look at how HUGE my artichoke plants have grown.  They look more like how healthy plants look at the beginning of summer.  This is normally NOT how plants look in March!    What is the secret to my HUGE plants?    No secret…just a mixture of worm castings and neglect. 🙂  It’s true…other than applying castings, I’ve done nothing to these plants.  I didn’t even water them!   When it rained…they drank.

Last year we had hundreds of artichokes.  I’m expecting that many again this year!

Alabama Jumpers…ON SALE NOW!

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Just wanted to do a quick shout out about our Alabama Jumper Sale.  This is the LOWEST PRICE EVER on Alabama Jumpers….Limited Time Only.  Do your garden a favor and pick up some while they are on sale!

Go to the “Worm Stuff” page for details and pricing.

Funny Worm Story

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

So….I’m at the post office this afternoon mailing a Worm Inn and Stand Kit to a customer in Malaysia.

While I’m completing the customs paperwork in this crowded post office, I hear, “Anyone in here with the license plate holder that says, THE WORM DUDE”? 

Backstory:  The parking lot at our post office is horribly tight.  LOTS of accidents occur in their lot.  In fact, I was involved in a fender bender there about 6 months ago.

Obviously, my first thought is that this woman backed into my car.  So, I sheeishly turned around and stated, “That’s me”..waiting to hear the bad news.  She then said, The Worm Dude, as in the website, The Worm Dude?  I said, “That’s me”.  She said, don’t worry, nothing is wrong with your car…I have some worm questions for you.

I didn’t know which was the stronger emotion, pride in being recognized, or embarrassment in being recognized. 🙂

Anyway, I finished my transaction and walked out front and helped this nice lady with her worm questions.

It’s tough being a celebrity. 🙂  Just kidding!

Now is the time to add Alabama Jumpers!

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

From Kevin in Modesto:

I bought from you some Alabama Jumpers for my garden at the beginning of my gardening season.  I removed all the plants and now have bare ground.  The jumpers are chock full in my planter box which is approximately 4 x 10 x 1.5′ deep.  I want to know what to put on top?  So far, I bought some straw hay and will layer on the top and was wanting your opinion on if that was enough or what to do.

Hi Kevin,

Great news…you created an infestation….a GOOD one.  It’s cool to have these active worms coming out by the handful isn’t it?

Your question is timely as NOW is the best time to prep your dirt for Alabama Jumpers.  Their FAVORITE food is leaf litter, so all you need to do is grab a bunch of leaves from the curb, and throw them on top of your garden bed.  You don’t even want to mix them in as that can rob your existing plants of much needed nitrogen.  Instead, simply layer the leaves on your beds as deep as you want.  You can’t have too many leaves.  The fall and winter rains will break down the leaves, and come spring, you will be even MORE chock full of worms.

You CAN do it!

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Several months ago I had a REALLY nice couple come over to purchase some worms and a Worm Inn.  They were EXTREMELY excited to start Vermicomposting.  I walked them through the entire process, and they were ready to go.  A day or two later I received a frantic email.  They had killed all their worms and were desperate for help in figuring out how they could have killed them so quickly.  They were very sad.

I help people with their worms all the time, but this was a particuliarly strange case.  Because The Worm Inn makes composting simple, I could not imagine how they killed their worms….especially in such a short period.  I invited them to come over and to bring their Worm Inn so we could diagnose the problem.   Obviously, something went very wrong.

It turns out that my explanation about FILLING their Inn completely with bedding was misinterpreted.  They filled their Worm Inn with lots of scraps, but almost zero bedding.  Worms NEED bedding to survive.  We spent about 15 to 20 minutes having a paper shredding party.  They could not believe how many newspapers we used to fill The Worm Inn (25-30 full newspapers).  Their comment was, “If I had not seen this myself, I would have never realized what you meant when you said to FILL the Worm Inn”.

I’m happy to have received this email today:

Hi Jerry, not sure if you remember us, we’re the couple in S.J. that had a bit of trouble getting started, but you hung in there with us.  Our worms are doing great….I keep dumping veggie/fruit scraps and then topping with new shredded paper which I keep damp.  No flying critters or smell, and I continually replace the shredded paper as it shrinks down….I know not where!   I’m wondering how do we know when it’s time to harvest the castings?  I check the worms, but not often and when I do, I go down about 6″-8″.  Lots of worms and other stuff that looks like castings.  Need your expert advice.  Thanks!

My Response:

Hi.  Of course I remember you.  Glad all is going well.  There is no specific rule about when to harvest.  I’m assuming by now your bag is getting heavy.  If so, it’s time.

Here is what I do in preparation for harvesting:

I continue feeding, but stop watering the bag for a week or so.  This will make more worms come out of the damp castings, and into the area with the rotting vegetation (The moist area of the bag sloughing off water).

The castings will get a damp coffee ground consistency during this time.

With your bucket underneath, open the toggles and release (Controlled release) the castings into a bucket….

As soon as you hit some unprocessed material, close the bottom and lock the toggles.  Put the unprocessed material back in.  Make sure the top layer is clean damp paper and you are done.

No system will be completely free of worms in the castings, so if you want to get the rest of the worms out of your bucket of castings easily…just bury a piece of rotting fruit slightly below the surface of the castings.  Within a day or two, all of the straggler worms will be eating that fruit.

Feel free to use your castings, or store them in a bucket with some air holes.  Because plastic retains so much moisture, a plastic bucket is good for keeping castings viable for a long time.

Have Fun!

They’re Back!!!! African Nightcrawler Cocoons

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

By popular demand, They’re Back!!! I have a limited supply of African Nightcrawler Cocoons! Want an easy and economical way to raise some major crawlers? Try cocoons!

Available on the “Worm Stuff” page. Get yours today!

*Available only in the USA, excluding Hawaii

The Award Winning, The Worm Inn Worm Composting System

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Are these beautiful castings, or what? Finished castings, straight out of the system. No playing with mud, or worse….blocks that you have to chip before you can use them because the castings have turned into pseudo concrete!

Alabama Jumpers for Sale!

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Take a good look at this soil. It was once hard clay…now…gorgeous and loaded with Alabama Jumpers.

Alabama Jumpers are the only commercial worm especially for soil. They can live in any soil type, from heavy clay to sandy.

If you’ve never seen an Alabama Jumper, you really need to treat yourself to some!

The Lazy Man’s Way To Grow Strawberries Revisited

Monday, September 12th, 2011

If you remember, last year I planted my strawberries in a raised bed. I did something special to make picking easy…and that was placing a layer of weed stop on top of my raised bed, and simply poking holes every few feet to insert my berry plants.

Now, the plants are putting out runners ALL over! The berries themselves are sweet like candy. The next harvest is going to be incredible!

I got a SWARM of flies, and I’m excited!

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Check out all the Black Soldier Flies hanging out today!

Bet you’ve never seen this many BSF’s in one place before!