Saturday, January 2, 2010

Some Common Worm Bin Problems

Most problems that arise can be solved pretty easily. There are eight main areas of concern that are pretty common if proper bin maintenance isn't followed. These are:
  • Bin is too wet
  • Bin is too dry
  • Temperature is too hot
  • Temperature is too cold
  • Rotting food in your bin
  • Bin smells
  • Worms escaping
  • Unwanted pests

Too wet-

Check drainage holes for blockage and ensure they are at lowest point in bin. It is also possible that recent addition in excess amount of wet foods have produced a wetter environment that can be easily corrected by adding some shredded newspaper that will absorb the excess moisture.

Too dry-

Use a mister or spray nozzle to evenly distribute water over top of bedding and check temperature conditions that may be causing bedding to dry out faster than normal. Make sure when new bedding is added, additional water is added to prevent your new material from absorbing existing moisture from bed.

Too hot-

Ensure plenty of ventilation and shade in the summer. You can attempt a short term solution by placing ice in a tray and setting it in the top of your bin. If bin temperature cannot be maintained at a safe level, move to an environment that is climate controlled such as basement, garage, spare room or closet.

Too cold-

Worms don't have the capability of generating their own body heat, so you'll need to from harsh elements. You can help keep your bin warm by placing it on a rug instead of bare ground or concrete and by covering it up with blankets or other insulating materials and by the use of a light or heating pads placed under your bin as long as the space is adequate so as not to pose a fire hazard. If bin temperature cannot be maintained at a safe level, move to an environment that is climate controlled such as basement, garage, spare room or closet.

Rotting food-

If you see rotting food in your bin, you may be either adding too much food for your worms to consume, or the food is too large for them to eat and they are just waiting for it to break down some where they can manage it. While this is normally not a big deal as long as it is covered with bedding, it can become a problem if it is in excess. It can lead to unwanted pests, bad smells, and an unbalanced environment. Excess rotten food should be removed or chopped smaller and given more time before adding more food. You can use a blender or food processor to chop up your kitchen scraps which will help speed up the breakdown process.


Typically when your bin is properly maintained, you should have no smell other than a slight earthy smell. Some reasons for a bad smelling bin can be from not properly burying the food, by adding the wrong foods that the worms avoid, too much food or excess moisture. this could be a start of more problems such as pests or an unsafe environment for your worms. Ensure all food is properly buried and moisture levels is maintained. If you can't correct by adding more bedding, try leaving your lid open and allow bin to air out and dry a little.

Worms escaping-

The red wiggler is not typically an adventurist and are content to stay put when their environment ids to their liking. The only time they should try to escape is when they are not happy about something in their bin. you may have a couple of wanderers when you first add your worms to a new bin, but they will normally only crawl around the inside walls and lid of their bin. They don't like light, so if you see them getting out of the bin, or a large quantity of them clinging to the walls or lid trying to get away from the bedding, you can bet something is not quite right. There can be a few different things that can cause this. Bin temperature, moisture level, pests, etc. The most common is if the bedding has taken on a high acidic or alkaline content from excess levels of certain foods. This can normally be corrected by adding some dried crushed eggshells and cutting back on excess foods with a high acid content. Some sources mention adding powdered lime dust, but this is like driving a thumbtack with a sledge hammer and definitely overkill for a small bin.

Unwanted pests-

I say unwanted, because some actually help the process of breaking down the waste and are only a concern when they become a nuisance to you. This is one of the most sought after subjects around worm composting. While most pose no immediate threat to the worms, if left alone they can rob your bin of the food intended the worms and eventually become a bug habitat. The easiest way to avoid them is to properly bury the food, and keep your bin secure from any openings other than screened off ventilation holes. Don't allow your bin to become too wet and be sure to clean up any spills around the outside of your bin. You may notice gnats, flies, ants, and a variety of others if your bin is not properly maintained. Keep in mind that if your bin becomes invaded with pests and nothing seems to be working to eradicate them, it may be easier to start a new bed and move your worms. You can use a cardboard box temporarily while you clean your bin inside and out. The following list should help you remedy the problem pests.

Flying insects-

Attracted by certain smells and can usually be avoided by completely burying food and keeping bin closed. Fly paper can be placed around the outside of bin and hung from the lid. Also for most flying insects, you can suck them up with a vacuum. While you won't catch them all, you can damage their population. Traps can be made from placing cups of vinegar with a drop of dish soap around your bin. Cover the cups with plastic wrap and poke some holes in it for the flies to get in through.


They work fast and can wreak havoc in a short time. It's best to get them under control at the first sighting. prevention is your best defense by keeping your bin area clean and dry. If your bin has legs, you can put them in a small dish of water and the ants won't be able to get in your bin. You can also treat the infected areas leading to your bin with granular ant poison. If you have them in your bin, you can soak the affected areas and the ants will usually leave on there own. For the rest you may have to scoop them out by hand and discard the affected bedding. After you have them removed, clean and dry all outside areas and add new dry bedding if needed to soak up excess water.


There are several species of mites that are normally of no threat to your worms, but they can rapidly increase in population, causing the worms to go deeper and not be ing able to process the upper levels of food. Mites will be present from over feeding, over moist bedding and meaty or wet food. To remove them, leave the lid open for a couple of hours, driving them into the bedding. Water the bedding, forcing them to the top and use a propane torch to flame across them thereby killing them. This is only a quick fix and you will need to correct the problem that caused them or you will find yourself repeating in a short time.


These oblong wingless insects will jump when disturbed and will turn the top of your bed with there rapid reproduction. The only real threat other than being a nuisance is the same as mites and can be dealt with in the same manner.


Usually no threat of rodents as long as area around bin is kept clean, bin is kept secured and no bad smells are present. Traps can be placed around bin as a safety measure if needed.

The Worm Digest Ebook You can review and order our Ebook on Vermicompost by clicking here, or with the link below.

Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

Written as a helpful guide to vermiculture, providing tips and info on a all areas of healthy composting and loaded with information to help get you started and guide you through the process of setting up and maintaining a worm bin.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Benefits of Compost Tea

By Gina Mullendore

Compost Tea is a microbial solution that improves soil structure, adds beneficial organisms to the soil to sustain plants, builds organic matter in the soil, and aids in nutrient uptake.

A mature, finished compost contains millions of beneficial organisms. That is why gardeners spread compost on their crops. This is beneficial to the soil, but very labor intensive.

Compost Tea, on the other hand, contains BILLIONS of beneficial organisms, doing in one application what spreading compost onto crops does in multiple applications. A true actively aerated tea is brewed in one of the many commercial brewers on the market. It is not a 'steeped' or leachate product. Many gardeners soak their compost in a bucket and pour it into the soil. While this will add a small amount of organisms to the soil, chances are that this product will not significantly improve soil health and may be anaerobic as well.

A good rule of thumb in making compost tea is: if it stinks, it is not an actively aerated product. This product should have a rich, earthly smell, like duff from under trees and shrubs.

Brewing compost tea needs to include aeration and food sources for the organisms to multiply and grow during the brewing cycle. While many gardeners build their own brewers, it's best to stick with commercial systems. These manufacturers test their end result, showing what organisms are in the tea.

If you are thinking of purchasing a brewer, ask to see lab test results!

While there are many commercial compost tea brewers on the market, my favorite is the Growing Solutions System. These are available in large sizes for growers, as well as 25 gallon, and their newer 10 gallon homeowner size. Tea brewed using these systems is often diluted at a rate of 5:1. A 10 gallon unit would yield 50 gallons of tea.

Any true compost tea product must be applied to the soil within 5-7 hours. Because the solution contains microbes, food sources are depleted quickly as soon as the tea is finished brewing. Do not purchase a pre-bottled compost tea product - these are not worth the price and you are not getting a true benefit by using them. Microorganisms cannot be 'bottled' - they would die off.

Applications should be made in spring, summer, and fall for best results. This is especially true if you have used conventional methods for fertilization, which leaves chemical residue in the soil and depletes beneficial organisms. Once you are on a program using compost tea, soil health will be re-established over time.

Compost Tea is not a quick fix, and not a stand-alone product. Think of it as building soil health over time - adding beneficial organisms that aid in plant health and growth. This product does not offer NPK and is not a fertilizer or pesticide.

Article submitted and written by Gina Mullendore, Eagle Rock Organics, Wenatchee, WA.

With over 10 years experience in organic gardening, we have developed a website to help gardeners find the right products. We are in the process of setting up an online forum to answer questions, troubleshoot gardening problems, and offer our support.

We offer a full line of organic lawn and garden products. We are located in Wenatchee, Washington, deliver locally, and ship nationwide.

Our products include compost tea systems, weed & pest control products, organic fertilizers and soil amendments, beneficial insects, and much more! Visit us at

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Vermicomposting: Indoor Composting with Earthworms

Composting is a controlled process of decomposition used to transform organic material such as kitchen scraps, yard wastes and paper products into humus. Humus, or compost, is a dark, soil-like substance that enriches soil with nutrients, increases moisture retention, improves structure and provides a good environment for beneficial soil organisms. Composting is usually done outdoors, but the process can easily be adapted for indoor use. So you can compost even if you don't have a yard, or if you don't like going out to a compost bin in the snow, or if you want to produce the highest quality compost there is: vermicompost!

What is vermicomposting?

Vermicomposting is simply composting with earthworms. Earthworms speed up the composting process, aerate the organic material in the bin, and enhance the finished compost with nutrients and enzymes from their digestive tracts. The best kind of earthworms to use are red worms, also known as "red wigglers" and "manure worms". These worms thrive in decomposing organic matter such as leaf piles, compost heaps and old manure piles. They are smaller than nightcrawlers and are reddish brown in color. Red worms are native to Europe but have become naturalized across the United States. Red worms are a good indicator of fertile soil because their presence indicates high organic matter content and a lack of toxic substances in soil.

Red worms make composting indoors feasible because they are very efficient processors of organic waste; they eat and expel their own weight every day. Even a small bin of red worms will yield pounds of rich compost, also known as worm castings. Finished compost can be harvested in as little as two to three months. Redworms are extremely prolific. It takes about three weeks for fertilized eggs to develop in a cocoon from which two or more young worms can hatch. In three months the worms become sexually mature and will start breeding. Within a year you'll be able to give worms away to get a friend started! And you'll never have to buy bait for trout fishing again!

Where can I get a worm bin?

There are several mail order catalogs that sell worm bins, such as Real Goods, Seventh Generation and Gardener's Supply. Worms and bins are also available from the suppliers listed below. The least expensive way to obtain a worm bin is to make one from a plastic or wooden container by drilling air holes in the sides and top. Plastic containers can be purchased from a hardware or department store. Get one with a lid. Since worms do not like light, an opaque container is preferable to a translucent one, unless the bin is kept covered with a dark cloth. The larger the container, the more material you will be able to compost. A deep bin is preferable to a shallow one because it allows more room for layering and burying fresh material.

How do I convert the bin to a worm bin?

Drill holes approximately three inches apart in the sides and cover of the bin. The holes should begin approximately four inches from the bottom of the bin. Diameter of the holes is not important, but they should not be wider than 1/8 of an inch. Some guides recommend drilling holes in the bottom of the bin for drainage, but this is optional. If you provide drainage holes, you will need a tray to catch excess moisture. If you do not provide drainage holes, you will need to add extra dry material if the bin starts to develop puddles in the bottom. Red worms thrive in a very damp environment (at least 50 percent moisture), but puddled water will eventually result in odor formation.

How do I prepare the bin for the worms?

First, you will need bedding for the worms. Red worms can survive and breed in many kinds of bedding materials. The worms eat the bedding as it decomposes, turning it to compost along with the kitchen scraps you add. The bedding should be a high carbon material, such as fall leaves (best if small or shredded), shredded paper (such as newspaper, paper towels, napkins, paper bags), ground cardboard or peat moss. Make sure to mix peat moss with other bedding as it is too acidic to use alone. Bedding can be a combination of the above materials. Dampen the bedding until the moisture content is 50 percent (as damp as a wrung out sponge). It is important to keep the bedding this damp or the worms will die. Mix a few handfuls of soil or finished compost with the bedding. The bedding should fill the bin about three-quarters full. Vegetative wastes are buried underneath the bedding, which filters out any odors from the decomposing material below. The whole mixture will turn to compost in about three months. Now it's time to add the worms!

What do I feed them?

Worms will eat just about any type of kitchen waste including vegetables, fruits, coffee grinds, tea bags and egg shells (crushed). Do not add meat or meat byproducts. Bury the food scraps completely, so that they are always covered by bedding; this prevents development of odors and fruit flies. Don't add more food scraps than the worms eat in several days. The worms can't eat the food until it starts to decompose, so it may take a few months for the bin to get up to speed. For fastest decomposition, chop the food scraps into small pieces.

Can worms live outside during colder months?

Worms prefer temperatures between 40 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in an apartment building they can live quite happily out on the balcony until temperatures drop to 40 degrees. After that they should be taken indoors. Basements or garages that don't freeze are good locations for worm bins.

How do I harvest the finished compost?

After about three months you'll notice that the volume of materials has dropped substantially and the original bedding is no longer recognizable. At this point the finished compost and worms can be moved over to one side of the bin and new bedding added to the vacant side. Put new food wastes into the fresh bedding only so the worms will move from the finished compost in search of new food. After two weeks or so remove the lid under a bright light source. The worms are sensitive to light and will burrow away from it. Scoop out the finished compost a few layers at a time and place in a plastic bag or container until you're ready to use it. Latex gloves are very convenient for this task. Now add fresh bedding and the process begins again!

How can I use the finished compost?

Vemicompost, or worm castings, provides nutrients to your plants and helps the soil hold moisture. Growth trials indicate vermicompost has a more beneficial effect on plants than compost produced without worms, although the reasons for this are still not entirely understood. Vermicompost can be used in a number of different ways:

  • Mix it into the seed row when planting.
  • When transplanting, add a handful of vermicompost to the hole you have dug for the plant.
  • Use as a top dressing, placing a layer of vermicompost around the base of plants (but not in contact with the stems).
  • Mix with potting soil and sand (one-third of each) for house plants.
  • Give a quart away (with the worms still in it) to someone else who wants to start vermicomposting.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Is there money in worms?

Vermiculture is finally starting to be recognized as a legitimate and thriving industry. Between new technology and business practices, companies have created extremely efficient home and industrial worm growing operations. The increased knowledge of vermiculture benefits such as safer fertilizers and pesticides have made the raising of red worms and production of vermicompost and related products, highly desirable to many who until recently had never heard of this technology.

Worm tea for instance, stimulates the natural activity of beneficial soil microorganisms. It is a rich liquid, a super tea, derived from 100% organically register worm castings. Many farmers have known the benefits of earthworms and their castings for years.

Worm castings are the excretions of the worm after eating your organic garbage. They convert this into a very high quality plant and soil enhancer. It is completely natural and organic and very highly concentrated. Worm castings can be used for a top dressing on your lawns, plants etc. It feeds your plants on demand.

Vermiculture or rearing of worms is important for several reasons and they can be used for numerous benefits. Whether converting waste into organic matter or creating fertilizers with high humus content. They have a number of other uses as well. Organic farmers are using them to increase plant health and productivity. Local farmers are fertilizing entire cops with the by-products thus fertilizing as well as using for a pesticide with a 100%. natural product that is safe to the environment and will benefit future crops as well.

While others have found their niche selling the worms, castings, tea or all of the above. There is a lot of potential money to be made in this market as more and more people decide to be more environmentally conscious. The answer is yes, there is definitely money in worms.

So whatever your reason for taking an interest in vermiculture, you are on the right track and are to be commended in your efforts.

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Which Type Of Worm Is Best For Worm Bin Composting?

The Eisenia Foetida is by far the chosen favorite for worm composting. Also known as the red wiggler, red worm, brandling and manure worm. There are a couple others that will compost as well, but the Eisenia Foetida is better at staying put, works well indoors or out, has a voracious appetite, and is a fast breeder. They average three to five inches in length, and one thousand worms is equal to about one pound.

Red worms can eat half their body weight every day breaking down waste quickly and producing castings that are rich in nutrients making an excellent supplement when mixed with soil for your garden or houseplants. The castings as well as the worm tea produced in the process is a great alternative to chemical fertilizing and provides a clean, controlled environment indoors or out. They require little space and can be scaled to accommodate your individual needs from a few houseplants to a full size farming operation.

Monday, June 29, 2009

So Lets Take A Look At The Worms

There are approximately 2700 types of earthworms. The Australian Gippsland deserves mention, as it can grow to twelve feet long and weigh one and a half pounds! Although the record holder was found in South Africa measuring in at 22 feet!

Earthworms normally live from three to four years but have been known to live as long as fifteen years. They are cold blooded animals that tunnel deeply into the soil and bring the subsoil closer to the surface thus mixing it with the topsoil, providing nutrient rich ingredients for plants.

Worms are hermaphrodites, having both male and female organs and are capable of breeding at substantial rates without having to look very far for a partner. One acre of healthy land can contain more than one million earthworms.

Earthworms have no eyes but can sense light through their skin and will quickly move away from it. If exposed to light for very long, they will die. Normally about an hour is all it takes to do them in. They also take in oxygen through their skin which must be kept moist for this process.

Not content with one heart, they have no less than five. Since they have no teeth, they are equipped with a gizzard that grinds up their food in the digestive process. They also have the ability to replace lost segments such as the tail, depending on the amount of damage and specific type of earthworm.

Pound for pound, they are ten times stronger than the worlds strongest man.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Few More Reasons For Worm Composting

Worms convert waste faster! Worms can consume three times their weight a week. Conventional composting takes weeks to months to convert organic material to compost and is very labor intensive. By using worms to compost, the organic gardener can convert organic waste into vermicompost!

Using worms to convert your kitchen waste, yard debris and other organic waste not only takes far less time than hot composting the material but the vermicompost is far superior to conventional compost. The worm castings in the vermicompost have nutrients that are 97% utilizable by your plants and the castings have a mucous coating which allows the nutrients to "time release".

Using the rich 100% organic vermicompost, which you recycle on site, on your house plants, lawns and gardens gives them the best fertilizer on the planet.

Here are just a few references about the value of vermicastings:

Analysis of earthworm casting reveals that they are richer in plant nutrients than the soil, about three times more calcium and several times more nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Redworm castings contain a high percentage of humus. Humus helps soil particles form into clusters, which create channels for the passage of air and improve its capacity to hold water. Humic acid present in humus, provides binding sites for the plant nutrients but also releases them to the plants upon demand. Humus is believed to aid in the prevention of harmful plant pathogens, fungi, nematodes and bacteria.

Worm castings on vegetable gardens have shown a 33% increase in productivity.

The list goes on and on.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Cheap And Easy Worm Bin!

Composting with redworms is great for apartment dwellers who don’t have yard space, or for those who don’t want to hike to a backyard compost bin with their food scraps. Some kids like to keep worms for pets! By letting worms eat your food wastes, you’ll end up with one of the best soil amendments available—worm castings. This is the cheapest and easiest to manage worm bin system that I’ve seen:

Materials Needed to Make an Easy Harvester Worm Bin:
  • Two 8-10 gallon plastic storage boxes (dark, not see through!) as shown in pictures Cost: about $5 each
  • Drill (with 1/4" and 1/16" bits) for making drainage & ventilation holes
  • Newspaper
  • About one pound of redworms
Step 1
Step 1
Drill about twenty evenly spaced 1/4 inch holes in the bottom of each bin. These holes will provide drainage and allow the worms to crawl into the second bin when you are ready to harvest the castings.

Step 2
Step 2
Drill ventilation holes about 1 – 1 ½ inches apart on each side of the bin
near the top edge using the 1/16 inch bit. Also drill about 30 small holes in the top of only one of the lids.

Step 3
Step 3Prepare bedding for the worms by shredding Newspaper into 1 inch strips. Worms need bedding that is moist but not soggy. Moisten the newspaper by soaking it in water and then squeezing out the excess water. Cover the bottom of the bin with 3-4 inches of moist newspaper, fluffed up. If you have any old leaves or leaf litter, that can be added also. Throw in a handful of dirt for "grit" to help the worms digest their food.Step 3 Cont.

Step 3 Cont.

Step 4

Add your worms to the bedding. An earthworm can consume about 1/2 of its weight each day. For example, if your food waste averages 1/2 lb. per day, you will need 1 lb. of worms or a 2:1 ratio. There are roughly 1000 worms in one pound.

Step 5

Cut a piece of cardboard to fit over the bedding, and get it wet. Then cover the bedding with the Step 5cardboard. (Worms love cardboard, and it breaks down within months.)

Step 6
Place your bin in a well-ventilated area such as a laundry room, garage, balcony, under the kitchen sink, or outside in the shade. Place the bin on Step 6top of blocks or bricks or upside down plastic containers to allow for drainage. You can use the lid of the second bin as a tray to catch any moisture that may drain from the bin. This "worm tea" is a great liquid fertilizer.

Step 7
Feed your worms slowly at first. As the worms multiply, you can begin to add more food. Gently bury the food in a different section of the bin each week, under the cardboard. The worms will follow the food scraps around the bin. Burying the food scraps will help to keep fruit flys away.
What do worms like to eat? Feed your worms a vegetarian diet. Most things that would normally go down the garbage disposal can go into your worm bin (see the list below). You will notice that some foods will be eaten faster than others. Worms have their preferences just like us.

Feeding your worms:

Worms LOVE

Worms HATE

Breads & Grains
Coffee grounds & filter
Tea bags

Dairy Products

When the first bin is full and there are no recognizable food scraps, place new bedding material in the second bin and place the bin directly on the compost surface of the first bin. Bury your food scraps to the bedding of the second bin. In one to two months, most of the worms will have moved to the second bin in search of food. Now the first bin will contain (almost) worm free vermicompost. (You can gently lift out any worms that might remain, and place them in the new bin, or put them into your garden!)



Probable Cause


Worms are dying or trying to escape

Too wet
Too dry
Bedding is used up

Add more bedding
Moisten bedding
Harvest your bin

Bin stinks!

Not enough air
Too much food
Too wet

Drill more ventilation holes
Do not feed for 1-2 weeks
Add more bedding

Fruit Flies

Exposed food

Bury food in bedding

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What's So Great About Worm Composting?

I already compost in my back yard.....
I already have worms in my soil.......
Worms are icky.........

Tonight I was going to write more content about constructing worm bins, however I have had a lot of questions about the benefits of composting with worms and I felt it was more important to write a little about that first. We will get back to the bin construction shortly.

The Environmental Protection Agency reports the United States produces approximately 220 million tons of garbage each year. This is equivalent to burying more than 82,000 football fields six feet deep in compacted garbage. There are no statistics readily available for the entire planet, but considering the United States makes up about 4% of the world's population, this is a LOT. I would personally estimate the entire planet's yearly production of garbage to be somewhere in the vicinity of 4 to 5 BILLION tons.

Of this, sixty percent is compostable material. If this isn't reason enough to compost with worms, their are several other benefits as well.

  • Worm compost can be made either indoors or outdoors. So if you don't have a yard, or have a small yard, this method may work best for you.
  • Worms speed up the regular composting time line.
  • This is a natural process in the circle of life creating healthy, organic, nutrient rich material from waste.
  • Vermicast is a rich organic fertilizer.
  • Bacteria in vermicast convert existing soil nutrients into plant-soluble form.
  • Worm eggs in vermicast will hatch by the thousands in your garden and…

The benefits of worms in your garden are:

  • Worms produce more vermicast.
  • Worms move through the soil creating channels that greatly improve moisture retention, aeration and soil structure.
  • Worms constantly turn the soil evenly distributing nutrients and preventing matted roots.
  • Worms produce natural antibiotics which help fight plant diseases.
  • Worm castings on tomato crops have shown a 33% increase in productivity.
  • Vermicompost has been shown to be richer in many nutrients than compost produced by other composting methods.
  • It is rich in microbial life which converts nutrients already present in the soil into plant-available forms.
  • Unlike other compost, worm castings also contain worm mucus which helps prevent nutrients from washing away with the first watering and holds moisture better than plain soil.
Worm Castings are naturally organic, odor free, will not burn your plants, improves soil structure, contains beneficial nutrients, microbes, trace minerals and natural plant growth hormones.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Setting Up A Worm Bin

The first thing you'll want to do is to make a home for your worms. There are a lot of choices when it comes to a worm bin. There are commercial bins in various sizes available at most nurseries and garden centers and can be ordered from retailers over the internet. You can choose to build your own bin using what you have on hand or with a few basic materials from a building materials supplier. You can also use containers such as a Rubbermaid storage box or similar ones found in most department stores. With a little research online, you should be able to decide which one will work best for your needs.

The main point is that whatever you decide, most bins will work just the same and it's a matter of preference. The worms won't complain whether it's a two hundred dollar bin or one you made from some scrap wood you had laying around.

An average amount of worms to start with is normally one thousand. They won't take up a lot of space and it's easy to expand as you get comfortable with it. You won't have to worry about the over breeding in a small container, they will only breed to accommodate their environment and food source. One thousand worms need one to two square feet of surface area to live in. The larger the space you give them, the faster they will breed to maintain their space.

Stay tuned for more on this subject......

Monday, June 22, 2009

Basic Compost Pile Verses Worm Compost Bin

What's the difference and what are the benefits?

Worm composting has several benefits over regular outdoor composting and differs significantly. While outdoor composting is a great source of added nutrients for your plants, you are not getting everything out of it that is possible. With a worm bin, you are able to contain 100 percent of the nutrients whether it be in the castings, or by capturing the worm tea that drains from the bottom of your bin. In an outdoor pile, this is not possible as the worm tea is washed into the ground and while the nutrient rich soil you are producing is still better than normal soil, it contains less than half the benefits of a worm bin. The outdoor compost pile is active during the summer months and will lay dormant during the winter months and a worm bin will be active continuously. Worm bins can be used indoors or outdoors and is a clean healthy environment that is controlled by what you put in it. For those who raise organic vegetables, worm castings are superior to regular compost for several reason's as well. You will be reducing the chance of outside elements such as animal waste and parasites getting into your vegetable garden and you will see an increase in crop productivity.

Worm castings contain five times more nitrogen, seven times more phosphorous and eleven times more potassium than ordinary soil. These are the main minerals needed for plant growth. Worm castings on tomato crops have shown a 33% increase in productivity. Not only in amount of food produced, but also resulting in a much better soil content for future crops.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Todays Fun Worm Facts

  • Worms tunnel deeply in the soil and bring subsoil closer to the surface mixing it with the topsoil. Slime, a secretion of earthworms, contains nitrogen. Nitrogen is an important nutrient for plants. The sticky slime helps to hold clusters of soil particles together in formations called aggregates.
  • Not content with one heart, earthworms have no fewer than five.
  • The study of worms is helminthology.
  • Worms are cold-blooded animals.
  • Earthworms have the ability to replace or replicate lost segments.
  • Worms are hermaphrodites. Each worm has both male and female organs.
  • Worms can eat their weight each day.
  • Baby worms are not born. They hatch from cocoons smaller than a grain of rice.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Wacky World Of Worm Charming

The 30th Annual World Worm Charming Championships are being held at 2pm on Saturday 27th June 2009 at Willaston County Primary School, Willaston, Nantwich, Cheshire.

Welcome to the world of Worm Charming!

On Saturday 5th July 1980 local Willaston farmer's son, Tom Shufflebotham amazed a disbelieving world by charming a total of 511 worms out of the ground in half an hour. True, there had been rather dubious unsubstantiated reports of a similar activity in Florida, USA some 10 years previous, but this was the first time a true competition with strict rules had been held. The village of Willaston, near Nantwich, Cheshire has been the venue for the annual World Championships ever since.

The Worm Charming event was first devised by Mr John Bailey as a school fund raising event.

The Rules were compiled in 1980 but over the years the size of plots have been increased from three yards square to three meters square to bring it in line with EEC requirements.

The number of squares have also increased from 100 to 144 to accommodate additional competitors who compete on behalf of various charities.

The record that was set in 1980 by Mr Tom Shufflebotham when he raised 511 worms from a three yards square plot was verified by various independant witnesses from the press and is entered in the Guiness Book of Records.

Click here to check out the video of the competition.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Todays Fun Worm Facts

  • One of the first multi-cell animals to evolve was the worm.
  • Worm cast fossils have been discovered from over 600 million years ago. That's 300 million years before the dinosaur.

  • Most earthworms live an average of 3 to 4 years, but they have been found as old as 15 years.

  • An earthworm found in South Africa measured 22 feet long.

  • In size to strength, worms are about 1000 times stronger than the worlds strongest man.

  • Some people in many countries actually eat earthworms, such as the Aborigines in Australia, the Maoris of New Zealand, and some people in China.

  • Earthworms in a diet have shown to reduce cholesterol. The basic oil in earthworms is Omega 3.

  • Earthworms are 82% protein.

  • Numerous famous people throughout history have been interested in worms.

  • Cleopatra declared them sacred, passing law that forbid farmers from removing them from the soil.

  • Aristotle referred to them as the intestines of the soil.

  • Darwin studied them for 39 years and came to the conclusion " It may be doubted whether there are many animals in the world that have played so important a part in the history of the world than the earthworm.

Worm Trivia

  • One of the first multi-cell animal to evolve was the worm.

  • Worm cast fossils have been discovered from over 600 million years ago. That's 300 million years before the dinosaur.

  • Most earthworms live an average of 3 to 4 years, but they have been found as old as 15 years.

  • An earthworm found in South Africa measured 22 feet long.

  • In size to strength, worms are about 1000 times stronger than the worlds strongest man.

  • Some people in many countries actually eat earthworms, such as the Aborigines in Australia, the Maoris of New Zealand, and some people in China.

  • Earthworms in a diet have shown to reduce cholesterol. The basic oil in earthworms is Omega 3.

  • Earthworms are 82% protein.

  • Numerous famous people throughout history have been interested in worms.

  • Cleopatra declared them sacred, passing law that forbid farmers from removing them from the soil.

  • Aristotle referred to them as the intestines of the soil.

  • Darwin studied them for 39 years and came to the conclusion " It may be doubted whether there are many animals in the world that have played so important a part in the history of the world than the earthworm.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Worm Composting

This blog was created as a helpful guide to vermiculture, providing tips and info on a wonderful means of healthy composting and information to help get you started and guide you through the process of setting up and maintaining a worm bin.
Worms have been around for more than 600 million years and have been studied by many great people, which include Cleopatra, Darwin and Aristotle just to name a few. They have been praised for their contribution to the history of our planet and for good reason. They turn waste into treasure as they break down organic matter while producing nutrient rich soil high in nitrogen. The benefits they provide are numerous and unequaled to anything man has made with chemicals.

There are two terms you may have heard before;

Vermiculture: The scientific method of raising and breeding earthworms in controlled conditions common for the production of biofertilizers, waste management, soil improvement and agricultural production.

Vermicompost: The end product of the breakdown of organic matter rich in nutrients, also know as worm compost, worm castings, worm humus and worm manure.

Whether your interest is in reducing your carbon footprint on our planet, growing lush houseplants, increasing your crop production or a wide variety of other benefits, you are to be congratulated for your efforts. Well done!

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