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…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!

I’ve got Redworms with my Africans?

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

I’ve gotta admit,  I get into some interesting conversations some days.  This afternoon, I had a long conversation with a  commercial worm grower that  has only been in the business for about a year.  I’m not mentioning any names to avoid any embarrasment.  In fact, I consider this gentlemen a friend.  I  just wanted to write this as a learning experience for all you aspiring worm growers.

Him:  Jerry, I bought  African Nightcrawler cocoons from you last year, and I think there may have been Redworm Cocoons mixed in.

Me:  You are raising both Redworms and Africans at your farm.  You realize there is a greater chance that any contamination happened at your location, especially considering you’ve had these for about 8 months!

Him:  We do a good job at keeping our worms separated, so I don’t think it could have happened here.

BEFORE READING ON…..LET’S TEST YOUR WORM IQ….ANY GUESSES?  BY THIS TIME I ALREADY KNEW THE ANSWER 🙂

Me: What are you using for bedding?

HIm:  Paper and  Peat Moss.

Me:  And?

Him:  That’s it.

Me:  No manure?

Him:  (Sheepisly) uh 0hhhhhhh….I’ve got 20,000 pounds of horse manure on them.  Now I get it.

Me:  Yep, you introduced the redworms into your beds as soon as you added the horse manure.

We then discussed strategies to separate the two types of worms. 

Just another day in the life…….. 🙂

…….The World’s MOST FUN WORM WEBSITE is NOW LIVE!…..

Monday, April 11th, 2011

WHAT’S ALL THE FUSS ABOUT?

Go to www.WormVideoClips.Com  and see for yourself.

www.WormVideoClips.Com is the first website in the world devoted solely to video’s about WORMS!  If you love watching worms, love talking about worms, and love free prizes, www.WormVideoClips.Com is the site for you!

I’ve plowed through hours of online video’s to come up with some that I thought you might enjoy, but the BEST video’s are likely to be the ones that YOU, the Viewers submit.

There wil be a “Video of the day” featured, 5 days a week.  This will be a great way to encourage discussions about the video’s.  Your participation is critical to the success of the site.  You’re welcome to post thoughts, comments, debate.   All I ask is that you keep it civil and friendly.

 

The World’s MOST FUN WORM WEBSITE is just 1 day away!

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Keep your eyes open for the WORLDS MOST FUN WORM WEBSITE!

It’s only 1 Day away!!!!!

 

 

 

 

The World’s MOST FUN WORM WEBSITE is just 2 days away!

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Keep your eyes open for the WORLDS MOST FUN WORM WEBSITE!

It’s only 2 Days away!!!!!

 

 

 

The World’s MOST FUN WORM WEBSITE is just 3 days away!

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

Keep your eyes open for the WORLDS MOST FUN WORM WEBSITE!

It’s only 3 Days away!!!!!

 

 

 

 

EVERYTHING you’ve wanted to know about Canadian Nightcrawlers

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

If you’ve spent much time fishing, you’ve obviously come across Canadian Nightcrawlers.  Canadians are the NUMBER ONE worm for fishing in the world!  These are HUGE, fat worms (They actually remind me of slugs).  Fisherman LOVE them due to their immense size, 100 per pound or 10X the size of an average sized Red Wiggler.

The positives:  Huge Worms, Easy to maintain (Just keep in the fridge for several weeks).

The negatives:  Difficult to propogate.  Perish easily when on a fishing trip unless you keep them in your cooler.

Care tips:  You can maintain Canadians for several months with proper care.  At refrigerated temps of 45 degrees, they will last for 3 weeks in organic peat bedding (Available at Walmart).  At higher temps, they will process the peat faster and will need it changed more often.

Want a worm that’s great for fishing, survives outside of refrigeration, and will eat your fruit and veggie scraps?  Try European Nightcrawlers!

A-F-R-I-C-A-N-S!

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

If  you want to try a  composting worm that REALLY tears it up, try African Nightcrawlers.  These will begin shipping for 2011 the week of 4/11/11.

I’ve got limited quantities of cocoons available, and EXTREMELY Limited quantities of full sized worms.

Click on the link below to learn all about them.

Order now:  First come, first served.

http://www.thewormdude.com/products-page/composting-worms