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Passion

Monday, May 30th, 2011

When you are passionate about something, it shows.
I received this nice note from Mary today, and I wanted to share it with everyone.

Jerry: I wanted to thank you for being my “go to” guy when I started out 2 years ago knowing no other person that did worm composting. I discovered your website by chance and it was a great help. I am even more enthusiastic now than I was in the beginning and today my passion for worm composting allowed me to overcome my fear of public speaking and I spoke in public for the first time in my life when I gave a worm composting demo.

Thanks Mary! Hope this is the beginning of a lifetime of teaching. I’m sure you knocked it out of the park!

Planting with a PLAN!

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

When you plant your garden, do you make plans or do you just plant? This lettuce bed contains onions to help ward of bugs, corn to provide shade when the weather warms, and a succession plan to replace some of the lettuce with heat resistant spinach (Spinach growing as starts now). I’ve even got worms eating away at the grow medium (compost and peat moss).

The harder I work at gardening, the luckier I get!

The Lazy Mans Way To Grow Strawberries Revisited

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Castings, And The Story Of The FREAKY Plants!

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

 

So I walked out to water the the Worm Inn, and I looked down and saw this (Think of the music to the movie JAWS…Da Dum, Da Dum, Da Dum)…..

 

What the heck is that you ask? 

It’s the same question I had asked myself. 🙂

What I had done was dumped a bunch of castings into this plastic tub, along with a couple of large fresh pumpkins that I was going to get around to breaking up to feed the worms.  I never got the chance to use the pumpkins before they started breaking down.  The existing worms in the castings made small work of the pumpkins themselves…but you can see what happened to the seeds.

 

Holy Smokes…even when I DON’T want stuff to grow in castings…it grows.

 

 

For those that have forgotten 6th grade Biology…the plants are white because they’ve received no light.  No photosynthesis has happened for these poor guys.

So…I put them out of their misery, pulled them out and just laid them on top of the castings, and will let the remaining worms do the cycle of life thing to them.  Hopefully, the next time I open this, all I will see is rich black castings without these feaky mutant pumpkin sprouts. 🙂

Amazing!

Featured Customer Question: JD

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

Hi, I’m in Tempe, AZ and would like to set up a worm bin indoors – 70 – 80 degrees F.

I’d like to raise them mainly for bait, but with the tea, castings, and composting aspect as benefits!

How does the ENC and the ANC compare in length? girth? reproduction rates? and time to size maturity (use on a hook)?

Also if you can put these into perspective compared to a Canadian I’m used to seeing in the bait cups.

I also have collected nightcrawlers for fishing from my family’s yard in Flagstaff AZ (northern) and I am wondering what species that most likely was… thank you.

-JD

Looking forward to placing an order with you soon.

 
Hi JD,

 
You can raise any composting worm indoors in 70-80 degree temps.
 
Composting/Casting production:
Winner – African nightcrawler
 
Africans are extremely voracious.  The drawback is if temps drop to below 40 degrees or so for extended periods of time, the Africans start to die off.  Euros are decent composters, but not as voracious as Africans or Red Wigglers.
 
Size:
Africans will get much longer, Euros will get much thicker.  Overall, Africans will weigh more, but not by much.
Reproduction rates are similar for both worms.  Africans will reach bait size a little faster as they are more voracious.
 
Temps: 
Both worms will do fine over 60 degrees, with the Euros being able to handle temps to just above freezing.
 
The differences you’ve asked about between these worms aren’t significant enough to discount either worm. 
It really depends what YOU like better…composting or fishing. 
Want a great composting worm, get some Africans.
Want a great fishing worm, get some Euros.
 
You may want to try a pound of each and see for yourself which you like better given the information above.
 
Canadians are an entirely different animal.  Canadians are the slugs of the worm world.  Deep diggers, slow movers, non composters, Only good for bait.  Need very cool temps (Below 60) to survive long term.
 
The worms you’ve collected in the soil are just a common earthworm.  Closer related the Canadians, although not temp sensitive like Canadians.  They are non composters, and that is why they live in dirt, not compost.  Living in dirt makes them a stronger worm, with a thicker skin.
 


 

The Worm Inn – SEEING IS BELIEVING

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Every Mothers Day (Gotta treat the Moms right),  I go all out…. making an ALL DAY eating fest.

The moms LOVE fresh fruit, so I always include plenty of  it.

$200 worth of groceries can leave a LOT of food scraps.  Fortunately, I’ve got The Worm Inn to process all the fruit skins:

Believe it or not, there was MORE going into The Worm Inn than what you see here.  We went through 6 cobs of corn and had even more melon rind.

I put EVERYTHING  into the system:

And when I was done, I covered everything up with plenty of damp shredded paper:

Want to see the video of this?  Just go to:

http://www.wormvideoclips.com/worm-composting/the-worm-inn-power-lunch/

Kevin’s Jumping for Joy!

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

http://fromthemouthofkstewart.blogspot.com/2011/05/my-dealings-with-worm-dude.html#comment-form

I just wanted to share a really nice blog post that I received this evening. Kevin just received his Jumpers and boy is he excited.  I hope he doesn’t mind that I not only posted the link, but I also copied  his post to share with everyone.   Thanks Kevin!

my dealings with “the worm dude”

thewormdude

i ordered up some Alabama jumpers from the worm dude a couple weeks ago, ant they came in today, they are already in the ground, chompin away at my stupid clay soil makin it decent one poop at a time!

lemme tell you what, Jerry (he’s the worm dude) is one heck of a guy, and a great business man to deal with. you see when i ordered was just days before them horrible tornadoes hit the whole ‘Bama region. Jerry was prompt in letting me know things were bad for his worm farmer (yeah these worms actually come from ‘Bama) they just had a catastrophic event happen, i understood, but i appreciated that Jerry would get back with me. I got them today and i was very pleased with the worms i got, very jumpy 😀 and a bunch of em…i ordered 1000, and it actually seemed like 1000. ya see the last worm dealer i dealt with sold me worm that cant seem to live in clay very well, but told me they could, 500 cost the same as Jerry’s 1000, and they were lethargic.

I thank you personally Jerry (if you read this) and hope to do business with you again.

Now onto the garden, this clay is gonna be the death of my sanity…it’s horrible, so this weekend i am gonna get a lotta black dirt, take out a bunch of of the junk, and load in the goodness. My plants have been in there over a month and no noticeable growth, i think that they are pissed at me. so im gonna show them some lovin… we’ll see how the city’s transfer station’s compost does for me, it’s pretty cheap, so that’s a plus!

so wish me luck. and thanks again Jerry, i would love to do business again in the future!!

…And It All Started With A Few Worms To Feed My Box Turtles

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

The backyard is getting full of edibles!   Take a look at this stuff….the lettuce bed started out with two packages of seeds, the strawberries, 48 plants (But I gave a few away in the middle)….the artichokes started with $5 worth of starts. 

I never cared much for gardening before…but, if you make it easy like I have done, it’s nothing but pick and eat!

Weathers turning warm this week….gotta get that lettuce into the fridge.  Lotsa salads this week!

Oh yeah…Lots of worms in these no dirt beds!

A Case of the Plastic Bin Blues!

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

 
 Let me start today’s blog totally off topic….sort of.   You’ll soon see the connection.

Close your eyes.  Picture a few pounds of  rotting produce scraps.  Now, picture yourself putting the scraps into a bucket with some air holes drilled on top.  Let the scraps ferment for a week inside the bucket.  What do you think this mixture would look like, smell like, and consist of in a week?

At best, you would open the lid and get a strong whiff of vinegar.  At worst, you would be breathing a putrid sewer smell.  Either one of these is not pleasant.

This is EXACTLY what happens when you overfeed worms in a plastic bin.  No matter how many holes you drill in plastic…it does not breathe well.  Want to kill a batch of worms in a box?  Put a plastic bag over the box!  You’ll kill the worms in a matter of hours.

Would you consider putting your dog in a rubbermaid container?  How about your cat?  Why would you put your worms in one?

….Onto todays featured queston.

Hi, Worm Dude!

I’ve got a problem with my worm bin, and I’m hoping you can offer some advice.  It appears that I’ve slowly lost about half of my worms since I bought them a month ago.  I keep finding decaying worms covered in what appears to be little white eggs.  I don’t know if they died because of some kind of worm bin infection that is related to these eggs, or whether the eggs were laid by something after the worms died.  I’ve attached a picture of a dead worm and my worm bin contents.  I’ve also noticed a lot of little white potworms, but I’ve read that these won’t do any harm to the bin.  Last summer my worm bin was doing much better (until the rains flooded it and all the worms drowned).  I don’t think I’m doing anything differently this time, except I added a lot more newspaper bedding this time around.  Do you know what these eggs are, and do you have any advice?

Thanks

A.

Hi A.,

You’ve got an infestation of mites. The white mites themselves aren’t causing the problem (Although they are indicative of a bin going sour from too much food/bedding/worm ratio).  The picture of the mite on the worm looks like a dead worm being composted by the mites. 

I have no idea how much/what you are feeding your worms.  At a glance, it looks like you have WAY, WAY, WAY too little bedding.  I’d suggest trying to salvage the worms you’ve got and putting in fresh bedding.  LOTS AND LOTS.

Don’t feed the  worms at all.  They can live off the bedding.  Your goal now is to keep the worms you have alive.  When they are nice and active again, then you can start feeding again.

  

Thanks Jerry! I’ll do a bedding swap ASAP and try to save these worms.  I put in at least 5-6 inches of shredded newspaper bedding to start with, although it has compacted a bit over time.  I started this vermicompost with a bit of left over partially decomposed compost from my previous batch.  Perhaps something infectious transferred to my bin with the old compost.  I’ll start fresh and hopefully that will work.


Very good.  One thing I don’t think I conveyed enough is that you should have bedding at least 3/4 to the top of your bin.  The more bedding, the more errors you can make.

I doubt you transferred anything infectious.  What happened to you happens to almost everyone that tries raising worms in plastic.  Plastic is a horrible

When working with plastic, you need to be really careful about the amount of food you feed your worms.  Think of your plastic bin like a bucket with some holes drilled in it.  If you throw a bunch of food scraps in that bucket..you would soon create a sewer if the amount of scraps rot faster than the worms can process them. 

Additional bedding will help…but ultimately you really need to limit the food you feed the worms in a plastic bin to what they can eat in a day or two.

 

  

SOUPERCHARGE (Sic) Your Garden!

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

This is for my friend Linda!

Do you want a garden that will be the envy of the neighborhood?

Make some aerated Worm Tea!   You’ll get professional results for less than $20!

Here’s all you need.

1 Five gallon bucket

4 gallons of water

1 Pound of worm castings

1 airstone

1 cheap aquarium pump

1 piece of aquarium tubing….you only need about 3 feet

A couple heaping tablespoons of molasses (If you use dry molasses, it’s even cheaper)

It’s Easy!

Pour the castings and the molasses into the water. 

Connect one end of the aquarium tubing to the airstone, the other to the aquarium pump.

Lay the airstone in the castings/molasses/water mixture.

Turn on the aquarium pump (External pumps DO NOT go into the water, only the airstone).

Come back 24 hours later!  Use your brew within 24-48 hours.

The beneficial bacteria in the castings will have an absolute feeding frenzy on the sugars in the molasses.

You’ve now increased the beneficial bacteria population expotentially.

HERE’S THE BEST PART!  UNLIKE SYNTHETIC FERTILIZERS, YOU CANNOT BURN ANYTHING WITH THIS MIXTURE.  IT’S LOW NITROGEN AND WORKS BY FEEDING YOUR SOIL THE BACTERIA IT NEEDS TO BE IT’S HEALTHIEST!