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The Food Waste Problem – Week 2

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Lets see what progress has been made this week.

Did the worms process most of last weeks scraps in The Worm Inn?

Let’s take a look.

Yep. Most of last weeks scraps are gone.

This is the worst month of the year for us when it comes to fresh fruit. The winter fruit season is pretty much over, and it’s too early for stone fruit (Unless you count the fruit picked unripe and imported)…aka..imported crap.

We’ve been away several days this week and only had 1.35 pounds of scraps. MUCH lower than a normal week for us.

Here’s the quick “Dump” into The Worm Inn.

Covered the scraps well, and added some additional newspaper like I wanted to do last week.

Had some paper towel tubes and some egg carton material, so that went in also.

I could shred them, but why waste my time?  The Worms will process these just fine.

WEEK 2 – May 5, 2013  1.35 pounds

YTD….2.75 pounds (Just wait, some weeks will have 10 pounds of scraps)

The Food Waste Problem – It’s MUCH Worse Than You Think!

Monday, April 29th, 2013

I provide the worms for most of our county and city composting programs.  Because I attend many events, I’ve met several interesting people in the field of waste reduction. After a recent long conversation about the issue of Food Waste, and the struggles our local governments have with this issue, I decided to dedicate a blog series about food waste.

What’s the big deal?

How are we “Managing” it?

Is what we are doing sustainable?

What is my “Waste Reduction Footprint”?

As part of this series, I also took the opportunity to see just how much of a difference my own recycling habits have made.   We recycle a large percentage of our food waste using composting redworms,  but I wanted to quantify my “Waste Reduction Footprint”.   I believe you will find this blog series eye opening.  Please feel free to share it with your friends.

Step 1. Start a Fresh Compost Bin (We’ve been using The Worm Inn for years.  It’s the system I manufacture, it holds LOTS of food waste, and it makes Worm Composting very simple and painless.

Even though I’ve got hundreds of Worm Inn’s available, I’ve been using this recently harvested one for the last 3 years.  No reason to dirty up a brand new one when this one will work perfectly fine.

Step 2: Load The Worm Inn with newspaper bedding that has been soaked for 24 hours. I recommend filling The Worm Inn completely with 25 or more full newspapers. Unfortunately, I’ve given away so much newspaper to customers in need lately that we only had about 15 newspapers available.  This filled my Worm Inn about half way (Filling it full with damp, fluffed, newspaper is optimum)…but, life is not always optimum.  Also, I knew we didn’t have very many available scraps on hand this week, so overfeeding wasn’t going to be an issue.

Step 3:Fetch my available food scraps, and then weigh them.  My state certified scale, (Using the appropriate tare weight for the container) shows that I’ve got 1.4 pounds of food waste today that will never see the landfill.


Step 4: Place the food waste in the bedding, and be sure to cover it up with plenty of damp, fluffed newspaper.  This virtually eliminates bugs 99% of the time.

Step 5: Weigh  Composting worms.  Here is your normal pile of 2 pounds of Red Wigglers. (Doesn’t everyone have pounds and pounds of worms just sitting around)?  I’m starting off with 2 pounds because that amount should take care of most of our food waste.

Step 6: Add composting worms.  They will work their way down into the nice, damp, fluffy bedding pretty quickly.

Step 7: Act fascinated that the worms all go down so quickly.  lol…okay, I can’t say I’m actually fascinated by this after many years in the business….but I thought you might be. Now you see them,  Now you don’t!

Step 8: Zip up the bag, Go inside, and enjoy some nice cold ice water.  This is really the most important step, because it shows just how quick and simple it is to compost with worms, and do your part to help reduce food waste going to the landfill.

I’ll update this at least once a week for a yet undetermined period of time.  I’m really curious to see just how much of a difference we can make.

Stay Tuned!

WEEK 1 – April 28, 2013  –  1.4 pounds.

ZOMBIE Worms are Here!

Friday, April 26th, 2013

They’re cool. They’re huge. They’re the scariest looking worms around.  They’re ZOMBIE worms.

Simple to raise in damp peat moss, or a couple of inches of oatmeal, with a few slices of apple or carrot.  That’s all you need!

Unlike small mealworms that need to be kept chilled, Zombie worms LOVE room temperature.  No worms in the refrigeration needed (You’re welcome mom).

Feed your Zombie worms to your chickens and reptiles (They will go NUTS) chasing down the Zombie’s.  Keep a few Zombie Worms for breeding purposes, and you will have perpetual feeders.  Zombie Worms will morph into beetles, the beetles will lay eggs, and then die…leaving you with up to 500 Zombie Worm babies.

You can’t go wrong with these easy to breed Zombie’s.

The Worm Inn. EZ Worm Composting. How Much, How Fast?

Monday, April 22nd, 2013


There are two main questions that people ask about The Worm Inn.

How much can it process?

How fast will it process?

The Worm Inn (Pictured above), has been set up in my garage for appx. 8-9 months.    I decided to empty it today for a few reasons:

1.  I’m going to start totally fresh, taking pictures every week and monitoring just how much goes into this system (And showing how much waste is avoiding the landfill every week).

2.  I wanted to show the amount of useable castings come out of the system.  You’re looking at approximately 9 gallons of unscreened castings.  Just the stuff straight out of the system.  I sell 5 gallons of castings for approximately $50.  At this rate, the Worm Inn pays for itself in less than one year!

3.  When I take the weekly pictures, I will also include bedding that I add to the top of the system.  You will not BELIEVE how fast the bedding level drops.  And the bedding that I add to the top could be many things….from newspaper, to junk mail, to toilet paper tubes, to paper towel tubes.  No paper shredder?  Doesn’t matter.  You’ll see.

African Nightcrawlers…Great For Raised Beds In Warm Climates!

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

I constantly get requests from all over the country for worms that help break up clay soil. My answer is always the same, Get some Alabama Jumpers, along with adding a lot of organic material and some moisture….a natural solution!  To this day, I smile when I see Jumpers in every shovelful of soil in my yard.

But, what about raised beds?  Because raised beds are built to not be walked on,  aeration should not be a major concern.  Additionally, raised beds are typically filled with LOTS of organic material…The smart gardener would never add only garden soil to a raised bed. Sooo…you’ve got a raised bed filled with organic material, and (Hopefully) lots of plants. But you want WORMS,…..LOTS AND LOTS OF WORMS eating the organic material, and…ahem…processing it.

This is where African Nightcrawlers come into play.  African Nightcrawlers are relatively large, active composting worms that would love to “Process” all over your raised beds. Don’t worry about them eating your live plants, that’s not what composting worms do. Soon your raised beds will be full of beneficial bacteria, and you’ll have a smile on your face from seeing worms every time you garden in your beds.

WORM FRIENDLY BIOCHAR – MAKE YOUR SOIL FERTILE WITH A ONE TIME APPLICATION

Monday, April 8th, 2013

What did the ancient Amazonian people know that we did not? They realized that when they extinguished their cooking fires, over time, the remaining charred matter became an incredible growing medium. This black earth is known as Terra Preta soil, and to this day, Terra Preta is revered as a growing medium. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terra_preta

Carbon is essential to all plants in order for them to perform photosynthesis. Biochar actually sequesters carbon in your soil, making your tired lawn or garden fertile again.

Did you know that plants depend on soil bacteria in order to break down fertilizers into a form that roots can absorb. Without an encouraging environment, bacteria and other microorganisms exist, but do not thrive.

Biochar acts as a repository and delivery system for beneficial soil bacteria. These soil microorganisms are necessary for plants to benefit from available nutrients in the soil. Plants and Worms LOVE nutrient rich soils!

A one time Biochar application absorbs moisture, fertilizers, nitrogen, and releases them to your plants and grasses over time. Think of Biochar as a NUTRIENT REEF for your soil.

BIOCHAR – BECAUSE GREAT SOIL DOES NOT HAPPEN BY ACCIDENT!

Fine grain Biochar is made from pure hardwood feedstock. We purposely do not use wood chips from diseased trees in our Biochar.

Now, Great Pricing on Black Soldier Fly Larve!

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

If you’ve ever considered starting a colony of Black Soldier Fly Larve, now is the perfect time to prepare.  Much of the country is starting to warm up a bit (BSFL LOVE warmth), and coincidentally, I’ve got LOTS of Black Soldier Flies!

You can now buy Black Soldier Fly Larve in quantities as low as 500, and as high as 10,000 (or more).

Black Soldier Fly Larve have proven to be incredibly efficient composters.

Got a LOT of waste?   BSFL colonies eat like nothing you’ve ever seen.

Available here:  http://www.thewormdude.com/products-page/the-bio-pod-plus-and-black-soldier-fly-larve

Vermicompost Question From Betty

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Here is a great question from Betty in Palm Desert:

How often do I put the worm castings around the plants?  I am having so much fun in the garden and as always thanks so much for your expertise and your help.

Hi Betty,

Glad to hear you are having so much fun.  Vermicompost makes plants do well, and healthy, happy plants makes gardening fun.

I need to give you my standard answer, “It depends”.  Let me explain.

Rule of thumb:  Give your plants some castings and/or brewed worm tea whenever they need a pickup.   You cannot burn your plants with vermicompost or brewed worm tea, so you need not worry about that.   If I’m growing veggies, I will usually treat the plants when they first start sprouting, and again right before producing.

I treat fruit trees as soon as they start showing their spring growth.  IMO, it’s a waste of time to give them castings during the winter when most fruit trees (Non citrus), have lost their leaves and are basically hibernating.

Ornamentals get a treatment right after last frost.

Basically, my thoughts are, treat the plants when they are ready to start turning green.  Treating them in the winter when most plants are doing nothing is a waste of time and resources.

Of course, living in Palm Desert, you can probably grow tomato’s in the middle of winter so YMMV. 🙂

Amazing Airport Project…Guess Who Provided The Worms?

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

http///www.wfae.drupal.publicbroadcasting.net/post/one-airports-trash-2-million-worms-treasure

Read all about how the Charlotte, NC airport is using worms to process their waste.

This was a huge commercial project in which I provided the worms.

1,440 pounds of worms were used on this project!   That’s a bunch.

I’ve Gone Bananas

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Check it out….I’ve got a banana plant that produces edible bananas….not cooking bananas…REAL eating bananas.  And it is cold hearty, So I don’t even need to bring it in during the winter.  The plant is a dwarf, reaching only 8-9 feet tall.  The cool thing is, I can just raise it in a pot.  I’ve put wheels under the pot so I can move the banana plant around easily whenever and wherever I want some shade.

And now I have my first banana’s coming.  Have counted 40 bananas so far.  Yum!