Saturday, July 24th, 2010
If you look back a couple weeks in my blog, you will see a small pumpkin plant. Here is that small plant a few weeks later! This plant grows so fast, you can almost watch it grow. My wife is starting to get afraid of the plant, as if it would run after her…haha…..na, maybe it would crawl after her, but run, I don’t think so!
I like to refer to my pumpkin plant as “Pumpkinzilla”! We’ve already got a dozen or so mini soccer ball sized pumpkins growing. By next week I expect them to be beach ball size.
Keep in mind there is no trick photography here…no “Special” seeds (In fact this was just a volunteer plant that I let grow). The most important thing to know is that I’m no great gardener. In fact, my idea of a garden is to dig a hole, add castings, ask my wife to water the area every once in awhile, and walk away. How lazy is that?
So…as the headline of this blog says, “What’s the SECRET to GIANT Plants”?
Nothing but WORMS and WORM CASTINGS!
Tuesday, July 6th, 2010
Is this something out of Jurassic Park? Considering this plant is growing over a foot every day, maybe it is! Scroll down a bit. This is the same plant I have pictures of just 10 days ago (below).
This is what happens when you plant in well aerated soil (Thanks Alabama Jumpers), that is loaded with beneficial bacteria (Thanks Red Wiggler Castings).
The best part is I haven’t done ANYTHING! The worms did and continue to do all the work.
No special camera, no special tricks, just good healthy soil that is feeding the plants…like nature intended.
Would you like your garden to look like this? It could.
1) Collect or purchase a foot or two of leaf litter mulch.
2) Keep damp
3) Add Alabama Jumpers.
4) Plant your plants.
5) Add a couple handfuls of worm castings around the base of each plant.
Read through my blog. You will see that this is not anything extraordinary. EVERYTHING I plant looks like this. No bone meal, blood meal, Synthetic Junk or book reading needed. Just pick out some plants that you would LOVE to produce for you, and you’re good to go.
Monday, November 2nd, 2009
Can your disposal handle all of this? The worms can not only handle this, they LOVE it. What an easy way to get rid of all your Halloween Pumpkins!
As many of you know, worms are bacteria feeders (ie…mush eaters), so they won’t be able to devour the pumpkins until they’ve had a chance to rot. The pumpkins will rot quickly though….and soon be turned into vermicompost. Stay tuned for more pics next week.
Monday, October 26th, 2009
I went through the coir fiber and retrieved a few hundred cocoons to put in my single tray with all of my Euros. If you remember I had some pretty mucky compost ( not all of it but some). I shredded up newspaper for the bottom of the tray under the compost, and shredded newspaper for above the compost in the tray so the worms and compost are surrounded by bedding. There is no manure, just composted leaves and garden plants plus 1 apple, a green pepper , a few rotting pole beans and a banana peel. Anyway, when I added the cocoons I noticed the material was warm! Do the worms generate their own heat? I have composted for 20 years now and I have never seen material like that heat up, it was already pretty well broken down. Maybe the castings from the worms are high in bacterial activity? Is the ink from the newspaper ( Washington Post ) harmful? Someone told me the newspaper ink is made from soybeans, is that true? I see online a lot of people use newspaper for bedding since it is so convenient. Thanks Jerry.
The answer is much simpler than what you were thinking. Worms do not generate their own heat (Cold blooded), the castings did not create a problem here, and the ink not a problem as it is soy based.
What you are experiencing is the nitrogen release in your scraps. You may not have noticed it before depending on the amount of food you put in, or the amount of nitrogen in the scraps you put in. It’s one of the reasons I always recommend pocket feeding only. If you have food throughout the bin, two catastrophic things can happen:
1. The bedding may heat up…creating excessive bedding temps for the worms (This is what you experienced when you put your hand over a hot spot and felt the bedding heating up.
2. The bedding can sour. You can create an environment too acidic for your worms.
Garden plants=High Nitrogen (Probably best composted in an outdoor compost pile).
By themselves, rotting green beans are usually not a problem, but when aded to high nitrogen garden plants, they have the potential to contribute to the heat your are experiencing in your bin.
Basically, even though you may not have a lot of food in your bin (I’m just guessing here), the food you put in your bin is the equivalent of a couple of matches. Depending on the size of your bin, and whether or not the worms can get far enough away from the hot spots, you may want to remove some of the warm scraps for now.
Friday, October 16th, 2009
Anyone that has ever studied vermiculture knows that there are three basic ways to kill Redworms.
1. Direct Sunlight
2. Standing Water
3. Too Much Food for the Amount of Worms in your Bin
Direct Sunlight: Worms can tolerate a lot of heat, but worms cannot tolerate the heat from unfiltered sun. Sound strange? Let me explain.
Regardless of what you read on the Internet or in worm books, worms (In damp bedding) tolerate ambient temps over 100 degrees without any problem whatsoever! I usually have over 100 pounds of worms residing in my garage at any given time. Our local temps exceed 100 degrees quite often in the summer. I’ve never lost a pan of worms due to ambient temperatures exceeding 100 degrees. Why? The bedding the worms live in keeps them insulated from the ambient temps. Conversely, I’ve worked outdoor events in 75-85 degree weather where I thought I had shaded my worms well, but the sun shifted, cooking my worms. How does this happen? If the outside of the bin gets warm to the touch, you create a frying pan situation for your worms. As the heat transfers from your bin to the bedding, worms begin to cook.
How do you know when worms are cooking? You’ll smell them. And it isn’t a pleasant smell.
Standing Water: Redworms need moisture to live, but cannot tolerate standing water.
Although worms need moisture in order to breathe, standing water causes redworms to rot. It’s the reason the stackable worm bins have become so popular! Even the most uneducated worm farmer can keep worms alive in a bin that doesn’t hold water! The spigot in the base really isn’t for collecting the leachate (Notice I did not call this overwater”Worm Tea”….more on this later), it’s so you don’t have a bowl of standing water sitting around forever! The stackable bins allow you plenty of room for error in the amount of water you add to your bin, without killing your worms! Pretty cool huh!
Too Much Food for the Amount of Worms in your Bin: This is the tough one.
It’s pretty easy to keep the sun off of your worm bin. It’s easy to avoid overwatering when your worm trays are loaded with holes. But…How do you avoid overfeeding your worms? The 15 pounds of lettuce in the picture above was added this weekend, and will all be eaten by next weekend. How? I’ve got 20 pounds of worms in the bin.
Considering that most people buy 1-3 pounds of worms to start, it may be quite awhile before most people are actually recycling ALL of their scraps with their worms. It’s unreasonable to try and feed a pound or two of worms 15 pounds of scraps, but you would be amazed at how many people try! So…How much should you feed your worms at any one time? A good rule of thumb to feed your worms no more than the weight of your worms !
1 pound of worms get up to 1 pound of scraps.
2 pounds of worms get up to 2 pounds of scraps.
3 pounds of worms get up to 3 pounds of scraps.
I don’t recommend a new worm person start out with more than a few pounds of worms. Best to learn how easy they are to keep alive first (It is easy with some good advice)!
For those of you that have been raising a pound or two of worms, and are salivating at the thought of composting a LOT more here is my recommendation.
Go halves with a friend on a bulk purchase! On my no frills site, WWW.BulkWorms.Com, I currently have a 10 pound special on Red Wigglers…JUST $169 WITH FREE DELIVERY!
Why buy bulk? 3 pounds of worms are $59.99, plus $11 shipping = $70.99 Compare this with splitting a bulk purchase with a friend…you each pay only $84.50 for 5 full pounds of worms!
You too can be shaking your head in amazement at just how much your worms can eat! Plus, when spring comes, you’ll have all the castings you need for the BEST garden ever!
Monday, October 12th, 2009
Red Worms (Red Wigglers), have lots of foods that they really like.
Corn on the cob
See the pattern here….worms have sweet tooths!
Understand, worms will eat LOTS of different types of rotting produce. We are just talking about their absolute favorites.
I’m often asked what worms like BEST! Since I’m yet to hear a worm speak obviously the only way to measure what worms like best is to watch their reactions, and see how they swarm the broken down food.
Based on this…I’m about to share what worms like BEST!
Now is the time….If you have worms, ask your neighbors to save their Jack O’ Lanterns for you. The worms don’t care if the pumpkin starts to go moldy, in fact, to a worm, mold just means they will soon have available food!
If you’ve thought about composting with Red Worms, but don’t have worms yet, now is a great time to start.
Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009
ONLY A FEW DAYS LEFT TO GET YOUR FREE UPGRADE. IF YOU HAVE BEEN THINKING OF PURCHASING YOUR FIRST BIN…NOW IS THE TIME!
If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a Gusanito Premium Worm Bin, NOW is the time. From September 21 – October 31, purchase a Gusanito Premium Worm Bin and get a FREE TRAY UPGRADE!
Buy a 3 Tray Bin, RECEIVE A FORTH TRAY FREE!
Buy a 4 Tray Bin, RECEIVE A FIFTH TRAY FREE!
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Your FREE TRAY UPGRADE will be shipped automatically.
START WORMING TODAY…YOU WILL HAVE THE MOST AMAZING GARDEN EVER!
Sunday, September 20th, 2009
I live in Mesa Arizona where the summers are really, really hot. I set up a
worm bin in June. Now it’s September, and I think all my worms are gone. My
wife won’t let me take the worms in the house. Is there any hope for me? I
keep my bin in the shade under a tree in my back yard. Should I give up?
We have a heat wave coming this week where I live. Temps expected to be above 100 all week. Not fun, but I don’t expect to lose any worms.
Yes/No questions are not always so simple, as things are not always as they appear. Your question brought up a lot more questions in my mind.
I looked up Mesa’s average temps, in the summer. The records show they are about 104-105 degrees. These are definitely extreme.
Here are some questions for you:
When you say “Shade”, is it total 100% shade or a little sun at times?
Have you ever measured the temps of your bedding when it is hot outside?
In these temps, does anyone keep a dog or a cat outside?
Does your house have a garage? Does your house have a basement? Possible alternative location?
Does it cool off in the evening where you live?
From my experiences, worms can tolerate a few days of temps above 100 degrees in the heat of a garage (Although nights cool off where I live). This is much warmer than many articles I’ve read stating sustainable temps for worms. Yet, if I take a pan of worms outside when it is 80 degrees, the outside of the pan gets warm to the touch, and worms die. Mesa likely has temperatures too extreme for worms kept outside, even in “Total Shade”.
People kill worms by having them set up incorrectly in temps of 60-70 degrees. Although heat may be a contributing issue to the problems you have been having, it may not be the issue that caused you to lose your worms.
Before I’d throw in the towel, I would ponder a few of the questions above.
Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009
I continually stress the importance of spending the time to set up your worms in proper bedding. If the bedding is set up correctly, raising worms is easy. If not, it’s a never ending challenge. Michael sent some interesting questions that offered me the opportunity to remind everyone about making a proper worm bedding…..
Good evening. Hope you are having a good week.
I have a few questions and I hope you don’t mind.
1. Does it matter, when adding bedding, if some of the newspaper strips are stuck together? After I squeeze out the water from the soaked papers they get stuck together and it is hard to separate them. Do you have any tips for preparing the bedding?
2. When the bedding is turning into a lot of worm casting will the castings loose their potency whenever I mist them down?
Thanks for your time. Have a good night.
On the first question…regarding fluffing your newspaper. The better you fluff the bedding, the better your worms will do. It takes work…sometimes a good 30 minutes to make a great bedding. Not much way to shortcut it. If you don’t separate the “Stuck” papers well, you will create an anaerobic, (stinky) environment. The good thing is, you only have to fluff the bedding every few months(when you put in new bedding).
The castings will not lose their potency when misting. In fact, just the opposite. You are making the bedding condusive to the worms, so they are going to continue to process the bedding. Even though it looks like all the food is gone, the worms are usually continuing to eat the stuff.
Wednesday, August 19th, 2009
One perk of being in the worm business is meeting nice people on a regular basis. I always say, if you are willing to put your hands in a gob of worms, you are definitely not the pretentious type.
If you know anything about me, you understand that this business means more to me than just making a couple of bucks. Unlike some that sell worms, I make every effort to help my customers succeed in raising their worms. Fortunately for me, I’ve made a lot of great friendships, and have a large group of repeat customers. One letter that stood out came just a few minutes ago. I was so impressed, I wanted to share it with everyone………..
All your tips have really paid off, my bin is doing great. It seems like a couple of dozen work there way to the bottom every few days, but I just throw them back in the top. I will probably be coming by in the next couple of weeks to buy more. I have a lot of room on my property (2 1/2 acres, plus a couple of out buildings), so I want to grow as many worms as I can possibly handle. I have been letting my friends and family know, so hopefully they will stop by and pick some up from you.
Take care and thanks again!
Do I have the Best Customers, or What?