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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 3/21/2012, 7:26 pm

Week 3 - The Joshua Inn Worm Bin.
So far, this is the the easiest "animal care" project I have ever tried. Unlike the house cat who gets quite mouthy if I'm late with her food, worms don't seem to mind when they are fed. They simply munch on their bedding til I get to it. Llamas don't get mouthy if I'm late with their grain either but 12 eyes staring at you communicates you are late And you are very bad.

Have separate storage bags each for newspapers, heavy cardboard, paper towel and toilet rolls, and brown packing paper. The bin gets a mixture of each, specific reason, not sure other than I have access to it and maybe variety offers benefits? Could be OCD related too...
Wish I would have started with 2,000 worms instead of 1,000.

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

Post  llama momma on 4/2/2012, 5:53 pm

Week Four, day four: babies: unbelievable

In the book, Worms Eat My Garbage, the author describes how worms use ground up eggshells as grit in the gizzard . She also said the shells can go in as they are, she "found as many as 50 worms curled up in one eggshell." I thought I would try this instead of pulverizing every shell. What a surprise today to find 2 of the teeny-tiniest pinkish worm babies sitting on top of the white eggshell. I would have never spotted them in the bedding, not with these 55 year old eyes. This is probably the only public place I can come to celebrate new worm "kids" Smile

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

Post  Josh on 4/2/2012, 6:05 pm

Well congratulations on the new worm babies! cheers

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

Post  llama momma on 4/2/2012, 6:13 pm

Hi Josh, thank you! And I see you've got some cotton growing, way to go, look forward to seeing your progress!!

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

Post  shannon1 on 4/3/2012, 12:25 am

Now you'er LLama and worm Momma

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

Post  llama momma on 4/3/2012, 11:45 am

@shannon1 wrote:Now you'er LLama and worm Momma

Razz They are so itty bitty and delicate, need to lay off poking around in there, wonder how many got smooshed by good intentions.....

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

Post  AvaDGardner on 4/16/2012, 8:18 pm

What's the latest wormy report, LM?

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

Post  llama momma on 4/17/2012, 7:53 am

HelloAva DG!
Here is a worm report-- Glad you asked as I needed to do this for my own records. The plastic bin set up is six weeks old. Maintain 6-8 inches of moist shredded paper and little pieces of cardboard in there, and add pulverized eggshells (from a coffee bean grinder) with each feeding. The entire bin is noticeably heavier and I have no idea how many worms are in there as the very bottom inch and a half is quite packed down. If I pulled it all up, I think it could smoosh whoever is under there (?). I've seen 2-1/2 inch long worms, infants and in between sizes. Once in awhile a lighter colored worm, is it sick? I don't know. Also have seen a couple of dark ones that I think were on their way out -- I hope from old age, and not illness, but who knows.. Adding about an 8 oz. packet of food wrapped in moist newspaper about every 4th or 5th day. It's pretty neat to see them partying /wrapped around the contents. I thought 1,000 worms would go through that much food every day. But perhaps I didn't receive exactly that much to start with and maybe some died too. At the 6 week mark, the bin as I understand is now settling and the wormies are becoming adjusted. So I'll continue to feed as they finish the packets of food. Finally got myself out of the daily habit of looking in there and disturbing them. Now its about every third day Very Happy I'm working on it....still want to fluff up the bedding to ensure oxygen levels. Also checking bedding moisture and misting when I think its needed. So for now as long as there are casts and they're eating, I guess keep doing the same till its time to collect the casts. I don't know what else to dofor them, still a new Worm Momma Smile

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

Post  GWN on 4/17/2012, 10:38 am

HI LM
I also have some very largish more palish than red worms.
I have the tower and the droppings in the bottom are pretty much devoid of worms, I pick them out.
There have not yet been TONS of it but I had a "dying off" period with my worms and their numbers are just coming up again. I got my worms on January 31st, so I guess going on 3 months now.

I am very encouraged to find the food gone eventually. It is kind of cute, we eat a lot of bell peppers and the tops of them, I cut out and leave for the worms, they eat the entire thing, except for that brown handle, so I have lots of brown handles "in the mix"
My bedding that I have used has basically been shredded paper from my office. It is thicker than the newspaper, and seems to form very thick clumps, but it does keep the underneath area moist.

It is all quite a mystery, I have moved my tower out to my greenhouse as there were getting to be some tiny flies in largish amounts.

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

Post  llama momma on 4/17/2012, 2:49 pm

Ah, some pale worms too? I don't know but I wonder if it indicates more protein is needed? Mine went bonkers over wet corn meal which has about 2% protein, couple vitamins, and iron.
You probably know this - I read you can eliminate little flies by freezing the food first, so now I'm doing that. I don't have any little flies, but I am seeing the teeniest, tiniest mites. A few here and there near the top of the lid.

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

Post  GWN on 4/18/2012, 12:26 am

No LM I did not know to freeze the food first, great idea.

I think that the NON red worms are healthy, they are just either very mature red wigglers or something else.

Everyone looks happy in my worm tower at the moment.

I just hope they all get along...Smile

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

Post  AvaDGardner on 4/22/2012, 2:36 am

I posted a pick of light colored ones I found in some dirt in the other thread.

Do yours look like these?

They don't act like wigglers. They are very slow. They are much bigger, too. I think they are earthworms.

I can just see a robin pulling one from the ground. That "snap" as it is pulled free rings like bell!

Why aren't there robins in SoCal?

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

Post  GWN on 4/22/2012, 10:20 am

Smile One day I was digging a new bed and taking all of the worms I found and setting them on my SFG and whenever I found a new one, to put on the square, the previous one was gone.
I was marvelling at this and my DH said, perhaps it might be explained by the robins sitting on the fence.......

(there were no robins there..... I would NOT let robins have my worms..)

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

Post  llama momma on 4/22/2012, 11:33 am

@AvaDGardner wrote:I posted a pick of light colored ones I found in some dirt in the other thread.

Do yours look like these?

Why aren't there robins in SoCal?

Ava

Ava,
The few lighter colored worms I have could be the same as yours, but there are thousands of varieties so who knows. Maybe I'm just seeing a new type that came with the original shipment and simply wasn't noticed till now thinking

No robins in SoCal? I'd ask Wildbirds Unlimited if you have those stores out there. They would know.

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

Post  GWN on 4/22/2012, 11:48 am

Why aren't there robins in SoCal?
perhaps for the same reason that it never RAINS in SoCal

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

Post  llama momma on 4/22/2012, 11:55 am

...and that shows how much this former northeast coast now midwest gal thinks about SoCal climate! Wink

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

Post  FamilyGardening on 4/30/2012, 6:49 am

how are the worms ? Very Happy

my sister called this evening and wanted directions to a garden center that our family loves to go to.....my sister just moved here from out of state a couple of months ago....anyway....

she asked if there was anything i needed....well....i told her i wanted some red wiggler worms Shocked .....LOL.....well.....she stop by on the way home to bring the kids some icecream.....and me....some worms!

we now have 200 worms tongue the kids and i made an over night home for them until we construct their new home tomorrow Very Happy

hugs

rose......who used hubbys office paper shredder to shred card board albino ....and well...lets just say she may have to buy a new one What a Face when she is out and about getting new buckets for the worms

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

Post  llama momma on 4/30/2012, 9:26 am

Congratulations Family Gardening! I can't recall if you had worms before. Anytime you get worms it's Really Nice! Very Happy Are they going into an indoor or outdoor bin? Worm tubes ?
As you probably know they will keep longer in a nicely tended bin.

As for my worm kids, they're good! I'm experimenting with little bones and little scraps of pork chop meat. In the book, Worms Eat My Garbage, the author says if you eliminate all meat from the system which contains protein from nitrogenous components, "it could result in a nutrient deficiency for the teeming organisms in the bin." She also said to experiment carefully and cover it with moist paper and put it a good inch under the bedding. (or the results can be too smelly) So into a moist package of newspaper it went. It makes good sense if they are fed well then the worm casts will be very nutritious too. It's the nitrogen that is so incredibly useful to the worms and microorganisms. I also put in a piece of an old pancake that grew some colorful mold on it and boy they took care of that instantly within 48 hours, gone. The food package had meat, bone, pancake, green beans,strawberry top trimmings, and coffee grounds. The author also said she would remove the bone(s) when taking out the casts, which she did twice a year. She let the bones dry out in a mesh bag hanging in the garage, then took a sledge hammer and smash for her own bone meal for the garden or compost heap, pretty neat to add your own N, P, and K.

Mites - I do see some little brownish mites on the inside of the lid, and along the inside of the bin, about the size of the period in this sentence. I started to freak, but the book says they are a normal part of the little ecosystem and not to worry. Outside the bin they won't survive according to the book. They better not - I find that gross. They are attracted to watermelon or cantelope rind and can then be disposed of that way, if they overpopulate.
OK back to work, have a great day with your wormies!


Last edited by llama momma on 4/30/2012, 9:35 am; edited 1 time in total

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

Post  llama momma on 4/30/2012, 9:34 am

I was shredding cardboard too till I read something far more simple. Take a hunk of it, soak it, then easily tear it up into pieces. I broke my husbands office paper cutter, the kind with the guillotine handle, trying to shred it first
silly me

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

Post  FamilyGardening on 4/30/2012, 12:45 pm

thanks LLm Very Happy

these are our first red wigglers......we have been keeping a few worms in a cool whip container from the garden that the children had found for the last month or so just to make sure i could keep those alive.....and sure enough they have done great....i dump them right into the temp housing right along with the new residents Shocked hope they all can get along!

thank you for all the great info and im sure glad to hear your wormies are doing well!

we are going to get a couple new 5 gal buckets.....put some holes in the top and bottom and then put that 5 gal into the second 5 gal.....do you think that will be good?....im worried the worms might get thru the bottom of the first one.....and how are you planning on harvesting your worm castings?

hugs

rose who is off to view some video's on farming worms tongue

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

Post  llama momma on 4/30/2012, 1:25 pm

Rose,
I don't know about mixing different species but I never heard of worm wars either! Silly me... Concerning your bucket set up I think these little guys are pretty adaptable. Are you saying your bottom bucket will have holes? I have found my 18 gal bin doesn't need drainage at all, just from watching the moisture content. I spritz some water now and again. You don't have to have drainage holes on the bottom bucket. Still if you want, you could keep the whole thing higher on one side to drain out. Or, if things got soggy, again keep it tipped higher on one side and use an old turkey baster to siphon out moisture. Another trick is put peat moss in a piece of panty hose leg, close up both ends with rubber bands, put it in the bottom to soak up the moisture. The soggy peat moss contents can be added to potting soil.

Harvesting castings-- I'm thinking take the tarp outdoors on a table. Dump a dozen or so little mounds of worms and castings on it. The sun will drive them downward, scrape off the goodies, repeat scraping off the tops. Return the worms and as many eggs I can find back to the bin. Hope there will be enough to split the worms into two bins at that point so they can multiply all they want. Someone said they self regulate their population. I'll take more worm kids Wink
Enjoy your worm videos! LM

Hey I see now what you mean about one bucket inside the other, I don't know how well it will work, or how to prevent them from squeezing around and getting out. My 18 gal. lid was able to snap on at both ends and a couple of the little exuberant ones still got out. That was just during the first week when they are restless anyway. I put a couple weights (filled shampoo bottles) on the lid and that took care of that.


Last edited by llama momma on 4/30/2012, 1:32 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : clarification)

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

Post  FamilyGardening on 4/30/2012, 1:50 pm

now im not sure if we will go the double bucket or not....humm

maybe we should just keep them as is and see how they do....

i just checked on them....i pulled back a layer of the paper and there were a few there on top by their food....they looked moist and plump Very Happy and were trying to get away.....not sure where all the rest of them are......What a Face

i did put some dirt from the compost pile that hubby had dump in after planting our new blue berry plant...i put in about an inch of that first....then the shredded cardboard and paper from the office shredder....sprinkled some rain water on top and then added some food scraps on top....( some bag mixed salad fixing that were turning that slimy brown color...just a little sprinkle of that....then a couple of strawberries that was getting that white mold on top....some kale rip up and then some fresh artichoke scraps....and a little bit of dry oatmeal.....

then dump the worms in..... added a little bit more paper.....

pic of last night





we did add more papper on top of the worms Very Happy

hugs

rose....

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

Post  llama momma on 4/30/2012, 2:16 pm

For the right amount of bedding, you can scale this down from my experience from the book, to your number of redworms and your bucket size -- a pound of worms = about 750 - 1500 worms in an 18 gal. container, so for bedding, the advice was 6-8 inches of moistened bedding. Supposedly skimping on bedding tends to be a problem as much as over feeding the "kids". How to figure that in with your other earthworms? I don't know so you are going to become the expert here. I'd say just watch them and even take notes or run your observations here if you like.
Worm Mom's Unite, ha!

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

Post  FamilyGardening on 4/30/2012, 2:24 pm

well the container said 200 and we only had a few of our own from the garden.....like maybe 6 of them.....so...my herd is small ....they were real active though when i dump them in their new home......

from your reading up on worms....do they need a darker colored bucket?.....right now they are in a recycled kitty litter bucket that i have been making our compost tea in What a Face .....

hugs

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

Post  llama momma on 4/30/2012, 3:08 pm

Yes, I noticed the light colored bucket. I'm no expert so I didn't want to say...but since your asking! From the readings, the worms prefer darkness. Light is suppose to disturb them. Mine are in a blue container in an unused bathroom with the blinds drawn cause I put fairly big holes in the bin for air circulation. Covered the holes with stretched panty hose but it still let the light back in. Yeah, I keep the blinds drawn in that bathroom, for the worms. Please don't tell anyone Razz .. Honestly I know I've got too much time on my hands to get crazy silly over this stuff. So how far do you really have to go with the details? I don't know. I try to follow the book and read on line and read, read, read some more....

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