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1,000 worms on their way....

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Re: 1,000 worms on their way....

Post  llama momma on 3/27/2014, 5:54 pm

Thanks everybody.  Who knew sq. ft. gardening would be so much fun and this forum would introduce me to other fun and interesting activities? 
 sfg smile

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Re: 1,000 worms on their way....

Post  Thomas on 3/27/2014, 6:35 pm

What a great setup!! Much neater than mine. I started vermicomposting 14 months ago, inspired, in part by your involvement. I now have a worm factory 360 and a worm inn. Both are doing well. I get a lot of satisfaction out of taking our kitchen scraps and "converting" them into vermicompost. Between this blog and Bentley's, I have learned so much. I am looking forward to this gardening season (if the weather ever breaks) to take the finished vermicompost and add it to my beds and see how much better all the plants will do.

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Re: 1,000 worms on their way....

Post  llama momma on 3/27/2014, 7:24 pm

That's great Thomas, terrific to hear you are enjoying it and its really cool to think I played a little part in it too!
I realize I'm not using space very efficiently.  Some people use shelves.  I'm height challenged and it would be too much work to slide out every bin to tend to it and lift it again to slide back in.  The wooden aquarium stands and unused office furniture in the picture were gathering dust anyway so I repurposed it. I walk down the line one bin to the next for an easy quick peek at the kids.  I'd like to try something other than plastic bins, though.  For now it's cheap and works well, despite so much talk about moisture which hasn't  been a problem.  Got my eye on a Mega Inn that Bentley raves over.  Also I have lots of well-aged cedar planks to be converted one day to an outdoor monstrosity for year round use.  I'm in no hurry so we'll see where this all goes.  Happy Worming.

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Re: 1,000 worms on their way....

Post  Marc Iverson on 3/27/2014, 7:39 pm

Boy oh boy, what a line-up! Good job! You must get some serious output from all that.

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Re: 1,000 worms on their way....

Post  llama momma on 3/27/2014, 8:11 pm

That's the plan Marc.  3 very busy bins were recently split to 6 bins to keep growing the herd.   Three more bins were added then housed with 2,000 new purchased worms divided among those bins.  They were  shipped as a winter priced special from Orlando and arrived quickly in fantastic shape.  They didn't even roam the bin sides or lids.  Just got down to business with the aged food in there I guess.  Lack of initial roaming surprised me so I kept checking on them too. Guess the lodgings are to their liking. ?
Anyway, here's hoping for lots of vermicastings, cocoons, and happy breeding adults.

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Re: 1,000 worms on their way....

Post  Kelejan on 3/27/2014, 8:23 pm

I guess you have a handle on things now, LLM.  That's what experience does for you, I expect you do things now without really thinking about it?
Remember when we first set up and wanted to peak in every hour, then every day, and then one day we realize we haven't even checked in for a couple of days and then we know that we have arrived.
They are the easiest pets I have ever had, don't even have to have a pet-sitter when going away for a few days.  Very Happy

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Re: 1,000 worms on their way....

Post  llama momma on 3/27/2014, 9:25 pm

You're right Kelejan,
Yes I remember just like you said, the checking, and the re-checking. We probably annoyed them like crazy.  And, just like you, after all that practicing I've gotten a feel for the process.  I don't worry like I use to and I trust more of the decisions regarding care.  It is so nice they can be left alone for weeks as long as the moisture levels are good.   tongue

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Re: 1,000 worms on their way....

Post  GWN on 3/27/2014, 9:34 pm

LM......
I have the very same bins as you, but I have them stacked with holes on the bottom of each so the first one I put food in, the second is the older bin and the lower one collects the fluid..
I built if from a youtube video.

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Re: 1,000 worms on their way....

Post  llama momma on 3/27/2014, 10:12 pm

GWN,

Wow, Very cool, honestly I would be a beginner all over again with that system, LOL! I decided from the start that I would manage excess liquid by preventing it in the first place.  Imagine somehow I could deal with wiggly red meat looking wormies but excess leachate liquid completely turned me off.  Yeah, I can't explain it either..

All I know is strictly from my experience with 18 gallon bins with no holes in the bottom. I keep very large holes in the lid plus a decent size hole at the top of each of the four walls.  Except the first bin in the picture has no holes in the walls, should fix that too.   Of course it's for aeration. Keep Loads of dry bedding on top of the moist bedding/food below.  I will fluff the bottom/moist bedding at times, or re-moisten it, it depends.  I'll change out dry bedding up top when it fees damp and freshen it with new.  I can pick up a bin and know if its too lightweight(time to moisten) or too heavy, meaning it's either too wet, time to add dry bedding to it, Or, it's full with well-processed vermicompost and time to pull out all the material and separate it from the worms.

In the end its all about knowing your system I guess.

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Re: 1,000 worms on their way....

Post  Marc Iverson on 3/27/2014, 10:48 pm

I love reading about this stuff. I can't get a worm farm(verboten!) but one day I've got to at least try some worm tubes.

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Re: 1,000 worms on their way....

Post  Kelejan on 3/27/2014, 11:42 pm

@Marc Iverson wrote:I love reading about this stuff.  I can't get a worm farm(verboten!) but one day I've got to at least try some worm tubes.

Do try, Marc if you can. I'm sure your other half would not object if it was out of her sight and you did not show her the reg wigglers if it grosses her out. We know that not everyone feels comfortable with worms.  for instance, I do not like those half-inch thick by twelve inches long earth worms, but I can handle the little reds with no problem at all, especially as I know what wonderful creatures they are for this earth.
I don't mind spiders but I cannot stand slugs.

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Re: 1,000 worms on their way....

Post  GWN on 3/28/2014, 12:14 am

LM
There are so many ways you can go with all of this, which is what I LOVE about gardening in general,...... because there are a million ways to do everything.... everything to everyones personal interests.

I really like having the leachate..... OR whatever you call it... because I drain it ever few days and then either put it onto plants OR use it for IGNITOR for my outside compost.

One thing I have discovered is that everyone does things differently.....  ESPECIALLy with worms, it really is amazing
I think it is an evolving science, and those of us doing it right now, technically are pioneers...   Very Happy

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Re: 1,000 worms on their way....

Post  llama momma on 3/28/2014, 5:50 am

GWN, never thought about putting leachate in the outdoor compost, Brilliant!!!  I love hearing all the different ways of doing things too.

Kelejan, it's funny to compare notes on things that gross us out.  I have squealed at some of those outdoor monster garden worms myself. Got chills from looking at them.

Marc, every year I mention getting yourself free worms to populate your worm tube, so please allow me to repeat myself -- you can simply corral your earth worms, yes think worm corral,  in a shoebox by putting a couple holes in the sides near the bottom. Put some wet worm yummy  kitchen waste in the box. Throw on the lid and put the box in a shallow hole in the yard. Deep enough to cover the lid. In a couple days you'll have garden worms all over it.  Simply relocate those hard workers right into your worm tube(s) with more food.  I've done this with great success for my worm tubes.  Your wife doesn't have to see one worm either.  Even when I removed the worm tube and didn't replace it the following year, the native worm population was far noticeably higher in that sq ft garden box, compared to the box right next to it with no worm tube.  Coincidence? IMHO I think not!    Side note Put a board or something over the shoebox lid to prevent any critters that could dig it up. The worms want darkness too.

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Re: 1,000 worms on their way....

Post  Kelejan on 3/28/2014, 7:42 am

I've never had leachate in the bottom of my Wiggler Hilton either, LLM.
Just the odd worm or two.  I don't think I would need the bottom tray the way I am doing it, but I expect there could always be the odd occasion when there is too much moisture.

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Re: 1,000 worms on their way....

Post  llama momma on 3/28/2014, 7:57 am

Yup you got the feel for your system. 
I remember Mary Appelhoff's book said if there was too much moisture in a bin, one option is to put a stocking filled with peat in the bottom.  When it soaks up the fluid add it to the outdoor garden.

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Re: 1,000 worms on their way....

Post  Marc Iverson on 3/28/2014, 2:43 pm

@llama momma wrote:Yup you got the feel for your system. 
I remember Mary Appelhoff's book said if there was too much moisture in a bin, one option is to put a stocking filled with peat in the bottom.  When it soaks up the fluid add it to the outdoor garden.

What a good idea. I suppose vermiculite could do the same thing. And as SFGers, we're all likely to have one or the other on hand.

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Re: 1,000 worms on their way....

Post  Marc Iverson on 3/28/2014, 2:55 pm

@llama momma wrote:GWN, never thought about putting leachate in the outdoor compost, Brilliant!!!  I love hearing all the different ways of doing things too.

Kelejan, it's funny to compare notes on things that gross us out.  I have squealed at some of those outdoor monster garden worms myself. Got chills from looking at them.

Marc, every year I mention getting yourself free worms to populate your worm tube, so please allow me to repeat myself -- you can simply corral your earth worms, yes think worm corral,  in a shoebox by putting a couple holes in the sides near the bottom. Put some wet worm yummy  kitchen waste in the box. Throw on the lid and put the box in a shallow hole in the yard. Deep enough to cover the lid. In a couple days you'll have garden worms all over it.  Simply relocate those hard workers right into your worm tube(s) with more food.  I've done this with great success for my worm tubes.  Your wife doesn't have to see one worm either.  Even when I removed the worm tube and didn't replace it the following year, the native worm population was far noticeably higher in that sq ft garden box, compared to the box right next to it with no worm tube.  Coincidence? IMHO I think not!    Side note Put a board or something over the shoebox lid to prevent any critters that could dig it up. The worms want darkness too.

LM, I did that last season after a fashion, by putting a big pot (three gallon? not sure how to size it) in the soil almost flush to its rim and dumping kitchen scraps and shredded newspaper and cardboard into it. I was hoping the holes in the bottom of the pot would be enough to let the worms in. It was the kind of pot that has an attachable bottom plate that curves up and turns into a small water reservoir for the pot. I put the lid on top to help keep the sun and some predators at bay. This was in the middle of a small area I have that is deep with wood chips, which I had hoped would also attract worms over time. I did this with a smaller one-gallon pot about ten feet away too. I can't say I ever saw worms or worm poop in either container, and the food didn't seem to go anywhere at other than the ordinary pace, either.

I think the problem may be that we have a huge mole infestation in this part of Southern Oregon. I know gophers or voles have already been to that part of the garden. And I have seen the kind of long native worms Oregon has come out after the rain. Just not close to that area. Perhaps there's so much decaying forest duff everywhere around us that worms don't feel any particular urgency about seeking out my kitchen scraps. Or they may migrate there in ten years, but that doesn't do me any good now.

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Re: 1,000 worms on their way....

Post  llama momma on 3/29/2014, 12:12 pm

That's interesting Marc. I never considered that it wouldn't work.  Wow, interesting.

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Re: 1,000 worms on their way....

Post  GWN on 3/29/2014, 2:07 pm

Not sure about others, but I find that the worms do not really like vermiculite.  I have ended up with it mixed in with my worms and they seem to go away from it, I wonder if it hurts them.   
With regards to the leachate. I have an overabundance of squash, some I planted plus other volunteers.  the worms LOVE The squash but it really makes for more liquid though.

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Re: 1,000 worms on their way....

Post  GWN on 3/29/2014, 2:20 pm

@marc wrote:I think the problem may be that we have a huge mole infestation in this part of Southern Oregon. I know gophers or voles have already been to that part of the garden. And I have seen the kind of long native worms Oregon has come out after the rain. Just not close to that area. Perhaps there's so much decaying forest duff everywhere around us that worms don't feel any particular urgency about seeking out my kitchen scraps. Or they may migrate there in ten years, but that doesn't do me any good now.
Marc  I lived in Eugene and had the most incredible worms there. All I had to do was leave a pile of leaves for awhile and with in a few days if I lifted up the leaves it would be crawling with HUGE worms under the worms

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Re: 1,000 worms on their way....

Post  Marc Iverson on 3/29/2014, 3:45 pm

@llama momma wrote:That's interesting Marc. I never considered that it wouldn't work.  Wow, interesting.

Maybe it's a little like bees. People posting her about attracting bees sometimes get reminded that you can't attract what isn't there in the first place.

Our moles are way out of control. Sometimes there are holes all over in front of the house and in the park not far away. Everybody's got cats and dogs but it doesn't make any difference. Moles just like it here. Pocket gophers, too. Anyway, maybe worms will get established in my gardening area at some point, but they're going to have to fight an awful lot of moles to do it.

I'll keep trying here and there, just in case. It might be that worms need to establish some kind of critical mass to be long-term tenants here.

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Re: 1,000 worms on their way....

Post  Marc Iverson on 3/29/2014, 3:49 pm

@GWN wrote:
Marc  I lived in Eugene and had the most incredible worms there. All I had to do was leave a pile of leaves for awhile and with in a few days if I lifted up the leaves it would be crawling with HUGE worms under the worms

We're right up against a hill with trees everywhere and tons of leaf litter and other decaying forest duff -- twigs, grasses, etc -- but we're not lucky with the worms like that. It may not be ideal worm country in a lot of areas around here, because while some of the soil is deep and rich, on most of it you can scrape for an inch or two and get nothing but decomposed granite. That's not a hospitable setting.

I have seen worms occasionally over at my neighbor's place, in his raised beds. Soil they can manage, I guess. But rock and decomposed rock is hard to get a shovel through and probably hard to get a worm through.

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Re: 1,000 worms on their way....

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 3/31/2014, 11:39 am

Hey, you experts... I have a question for you.  I planted worm tubes in my SFG last year with a pound of red wigglers spread across 3, 4x4 table tops and a 5 x 10 raised bed.  Yesterday when showing some visitors my garden I pulled back my wood chip mulch layer on a table top and everywhere I put my hand I could see 15-30 worms.  

My thought is that they've loved the system so much they've multiplied and I need to get some of them out and off to new digs.  Here are my questions:

1.  Are they overcrowded and if so, what will happen to them if I don't do anything?
2.  Do you have any suggestions on how to draw them out so I can grab a bunch and transplant them out into my various gardens?

Thanks!
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Re: 1,000 worms on their way....

Post  llama momma on 3/31/2014, 1:25 pm

No expert here but I'll throw in what I've learned--
Red worms will self regulate their numbers so don't worry about overcrowding,  and it's very easy to get a bunch of worms to transplant somewhere else.  One way is to lay the moist side of banana peels down in the mix and they will be all over it.  Or moistened bread will work too.  Have fun with your worm kids!

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Re: 1,000 worms on their way....

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 3/31/2014, 2:00 pm

@llama momma wrote:No expert here but I'll throw in what I've learned--
Red worms will self regulate their numbers so don't worry about overcrowding,  and it's very easy to get a bunch of worms to transplant somewhere else.  One way is to lay the moist side of banana peels down in the mix and they will be all over it.  Or moistened bread will work too.  Have fun with your worm kids!
I was thinking about using banana peels - thanks for the confirmation.  

My babies are certainly happy little guys!  

I found the funniest thing this morning in my strawberry beds.  I have rain gutters installed about 18" below my table top on the legs where I rooted the strawberry runners last year.  I used a potting soil I like a lot there as it moistens up really well and never hardens and even when it dries out it absorbs water instantly.  

Well, when transplanting those strawberries I found several humongous earth worms.  2 feet off the ground... not at all sure how they got there unless there were eggs in the potting soil mix?  I don't remember adding any of my own compost to the soil mix to have introduced earth worms.

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