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Worm Tube for the SFG

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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  Coelli on 6/24/2012, 11:58 pm

@Josh wrote:You may find later you have more red wiggler worms in the SFGs than you thought you had, but I never found any dead dried up worms, so time will tell.

Yeah, I'll keep an eye out, who knows? Maybe there are some hiding in the bed and I'll come across them some day. Smile

In the meantime I bought a few hundred new worms to jump-start the worm farm!
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  Josh on 7/16/2012, 5:06 pm

I thought I'd give you an update on my experience with the worm tube. I have had the worm tube in my 4 x 4 SFG for two years now. I leave it there all winter. I have never added more red wiggler worms to it since I started it back in 2010. I do add food scraps, rabbit poop to the tube on a regular basis. I don't add a lot of scraps to the tube at one time. I take the top off the tube and check it before I add more stuff to it, when I can see it is running low, I sometimes take the water hose and run it in the tube to "flush" the tube out...moving the casings that have gathered in the tube out into the sfg.

A few weeks ago my mom gave me a gallon container full of left over scarps, mostly veggie scraps, peelings, and stuff from the garden, it had a lid on it and she had forgot to give it to me and it all had turned black, and moldy. I dumped it all into the tube, that would be more than I would usually add to the tube.

The other day I needed some worm castings so I could make some worm tea, I thought about the tube and maybe I could find some there, so I pulled the tube up, and guess what was there, hundreds of red wiggler worms and lots of worm castings....and remember...I have never added more red wiggler worms since 2010 when I first put two handfuls in the tube.

We have been having a sever drought here, the temps reached a high of 111 and have stayed in the 109 range, the SFGs and red wiggler worms have been doing good because I water the garden everyday.

So here is a picture of what I found after two years of using the tube. There were masses of red wigglers. The tube may not work for everyone, but it works for me.




How do you know they are red wigglers? The red wiggler is a surface worm, they like manure and you can often find them there. They are red and the adult worm is small in size compared to the earthworm/dirt worm that goes deeper in the ground when it's hot and dry. Notice the difference in the red wiggler in size to the earth worm in the picture I took, the earthworm/dirt worm is fatter and longer.

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Re" Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  tabletopper on 7/16/2012, 5:24 pm

Great News about the worm family.......really multiplied.....even rotted food scraps.....
I saw your video about making worm tea and dont know if you explained why you used a fish tank aerator......for 24 hrs...is that right?
Ruth



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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  boffer on 7/16/2012, 6:00 pm

@tabletopper wrote:...I saw your video about making worm tea and dont know if you explained why you used a fish tank aerator......for 24 hrs...is that right?
Ruth

Many recommend aerating compost tea, because just like making compost, it can go anaerobic and destroy the good bacteria and/or create harmful bacteria.
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  Josh on 7/16/2012, 6:04 pm

Here is a link to the Ohio State research findings, it talks about the benefits of aerated worm compost tea worm tea article
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  squaredeal on 7/16/2012, 6:23 pm

Josh-
Doesn't the worm tube attract moles? I thought moles loved to eat earthworms.
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  Josh on 7/16/2012, 9:36 pm

@squaredeal wrote:Josh-
Doesn't the worm tube attract moles? I thought moles loved to eat earthworms.

I've never had any mole problems in the SFGs at all and we don't have anything on the bottom of the boxes. We do have moles in the yard, so the worms in the SFG must not be that big of a thing to get them to move into the SFG, or at least not in mine.
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Worm food dangers

Post  hamguy on 8/23/2012, 3:43 pm

Worms are really great but some people are not aware that you can't just throw anything to them. Animal fats for one and citrus isn't normally very good for them. I don't know of all the bad things but it would be good to have the awareness before just dumping everything in the tube. Smile
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  llama momma on 9/29/2012, 7:59 pm

I took out the worm tube at least two months ago. Out of all the beds the only bed that continues to have worms is the one bed that had a worm tube. I was shocked. Today I was removing old plants in all five beds yet the one and only bed that had a worm tube Still had lots of worms in it. All the other beds had zero worms. I am baffled since I haven't added any food! So, I am going to put worm tubes in every bed next season. And Still continue to add worm castings to everything.
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  Josh on 10/4/2012, 1:01 pm

That's great news llama momma!

That's what I was hoping someone would find out about using the worm tube. Many people see the worms in the tube feeding, and think that is the only place they are ever at is in the tube, but they do travel out into the garden and return to the tube for feed, or they look in the tube and the worms are not there and they think the worms have just died but are really out in the garden and until you remove the plants they don't see the worms in the SFG.
I think since you removed the tube, the worms have ate the left over vegetable mold from roots that have died, or other small things that you don't see, and providing them a tube with left over food assures them a happy SFG home. Wink

My suggestions to anyone using the tube would be don't overfeed in the tube, let the food completely disappear at least once a month and take the water hose and spray down in the tube to wash out any worm compost that may have accumulated in the tube.
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  plantoid on 10/5/2012, 2:46 pm

My beds are really chockablock with all sorts of worms now that they are almost a year old & containing a very good quality MM. The bed with the small worm tube seems to have even more muck worms than the others .

I've been doing the autumn clear out today .. snipping off all wind damaged leaves & flowers , harvesting everything that is ripe . I happened to move a brick that was laid on the concrete path way at the foot of my high raised beds . It was raised at one edge and filled up in the gap with windblown stuff , on picking the brick up there were literally hundereds of muckworms were underneath .
I decided to check my composter bins because if they are in numbers in one place they will be elsewhere if the conditions and food are similar.
Absolutley masses and masses of worms in the top three inches of all the bins .. loads & loads of worm casts like used teabag contents.

I think I'll be scooping a few pounds of casts off and make a tea for winter feeding my one year old grass lawns when i give them the autumn dressing after aeriationg them 9 scaffified them to day ..aireation next week when it is abit drier..

I sat on a wall and fed a hand full of the worms to several of the cheeky local UK robin redbreasts that were watching me like a hawk.
One is especially brave , for it followed me into the glasshouse and perched less than a foot away from me asking for more worms .
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  Josh on 10/6/2012, 11:06 am

The bed with the small worm tube seems to have even more muck worms than the others .
GREAT NEWS Plantoid!

Feeding the robins... AWESOME!!!
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  mollyhespra on 10/20/2012, 12:21 am

We're in the process of filling up our beds with MM in preparation for next Spring (and to get some garlic in this Fall), and as we're mixing up our manure & composts, we're finding tons of red wigglers, "regular" earthworms and night crawlers in there. I'd read this thread a few months ago and had already decided to put some worm tubes in so here is my question: we're in zone 4, and the ground freezes pretty deep, so how long into winter should we worry about feeding the worms? Intuitively, the answer would be to just add food until it's gone, add some more, etc., and then leave it be once the ground freezes & don't add any more food. Otherwise, I'll just have a frozen tube of food which the earthworms won't touch being as they've burrowed down too deeply (or froze to death) for the winter. Does that jibe with y'alls experience?

P.S. We took the weed blocker fabric off of the bottom of the beds so that the worms that do burrow, could, but I understood from this thread that not all of them burrow deeply. Would it serve us better to collect up the red wigglers and make a Hilton instead of setting up the tubes this late into Fall?
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  Kelejan on 10/20/2012, 11:15 am

@mollyhespra wrote:We're in the process of filling up our beds with MM in preparation for next Spring (and to get some garlic in this Fall), and as we're mixing up our manure & composts, we're finding tons of red wigglers, "regular" earthworms and night crawlers in there. I'd read this thread a few months ago and had already decided to put some worm tubes in so here is my question: we're in zone 4, and the ground freezes pretty deep, so how long into winter should we worry about feeding the worms? Intuitively, the answer would be to just add food until it's gone, add some more, etc., and then leave it be once the ground freezes & don't add any more food. Otherwise, I'll just have a frozen tube of food which the earthworms won't touch being as they've burrowed down too deeply (or froze to death) for the winter. Does that jibe with y'alls experience?

P.S. We took the weed blocker fabric off of the bottom of the beds so that the worms that do burrow, could, but I understood from this thread that not all of them burrow deeply. Would it serve us better to collect up the red wigglers and make a Hilton instead of setting up the tubes this late into Fall?

I am doing exactly what you may be doing, Molly, worms tubes in my compost, fill the tubes with worm food and bedding, then when the temperature goes into freezing mode, leave it until the spring.
My worm tubes so far are keeping up with the compost level and when it freezes I will fill the wormtube to the top with shredded newspaper and cardboard. I believe the worms will be safe further down the pile, and will find their perfect spots as the pile cools or heats, and as it thaws in the spring and the food thaws the worms will come up the pile and then spread all over.

Just in case your worms do not survive the winter, I would agree it would be a good move to prepare a Wiggler Hilton and take it indoors until the spring. That is what I have done. Lets me talk to them as well.

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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  mollyhespra on 10/20/2012, 12:16 pm

@Kelejan wrote:
...snip...
Just in case your worms do not survive the winter, I would agree it would be a good move to prepare a Wiggler Hilton and take it indoors until the spring. That is what I have done. Lets me talk to them as well.

darn funny I LOVE it!!! Did you give them names, also?

But in all seriousness, thanks for the validation. I have about a 5 hour window in which to get my garlic in the ground today and maybe tomorrow I can work on making the worm tubes and a fancy-schmancy-worm-hotel so that we can cover all the bases.
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  llama momma on 10/20/2012, 12:44 pm

Typically from what I am reading, keeping redworms alive in northern winters involves plenty of bulky compost to create warmth, with possible additional electric heat added, along with insulation in a larger area say 4 ft. long by 2ft wide and 2ft deep. That is the kind of wooden box I am currently trying to put together. I'd like to move some of my indoor redworms outside. The box would have an additional 2nd outer core filled with leaves and cardboard for insulation. The inner box would have additional styrofoam insulation too. Then the whole thing surrounded by straw/hay bales. The top covered with more leaves, straw, and a tarp. I'm combining techniques from different sources, hoping to keep the majority alive.

I'd be concerned the worm tube will freeze solid killing the adult redworms and leaving you with only cocoons for next spring. Suppose it depends on your comfort level of risk. Cool I lean towards lots of insurance Laughing
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  Josh on 10/20/2012, 12:52 pm

I'm in zone 6, I've had the worm tube for several years now, I stop feeding the worms once it's pretty cold, even before freezing. I do nothing to protect them for winter. In early spring, long before planting time, I see red wiggler worms in my SFG that has the tube. I start putting food in the tube as soon as it is past freezing. I've never added any red wiggler worms, I have a lot of them every year without doing anything, but I am zone 6, but it still gets very cold here.
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  llama momma on 10/20/2012, 12:57 pm

But..but wait... everything grows perfect for you Josh!
Seriously, this man is a trusted voice of experience
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  Josh on 10/20/2012, 1:01 pm

@llama momma wrote: But..but wait... everything grows perfect for you Josh!

Well not everything llama momma...if it did...I would be holding the new world record for pumpkins.... Razz
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  llama momma on 10/20/2012, 1:07 pm

Hah, we won't talk about that....you know, I still have 2 odd looking pumpkins out there, keep hoping they will make me proud, but I'm just dreaming...
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  Kelejan on 10/20/2012, 2:19 pm

@Josh wrote:
@llama momma wrote: But..but wait... everything grows perfect for you Josh!

Well not everything llama momma...if it did...I would be holding the new world record for pumpkins.... Razz

You make me smile, Josh. Smile
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  Triciasgarden on 10/22/2012, 2:44 pm

It's great to hear the experiences of all of you with your worms! I am hoping to get worm tubes into the beds in the Spring. Have to wait for finances. I will be putting one in each bed. I read through this thread again last week and put two and two together. Someone else may have already done that for me so in advance "duh". I had read about Josh saying he plants his potatoes in the same box every year and we all know he has great harvests! Well I read one of the sites he posted way back and it said how worms help get rid of fungus or disease or something like that in the soil. Well that would explain why Josh is able to plant his potatoes in the same bed every year!

So Josh, do you have that kind of success with your other beds? Do you rotate your other beds? Do you plant something like broccoli or cabbage or tomatoes in the same beds every year and have the same success?

I was wondering about your and llama momma's pumpkins. I will have to find the posts. I followed for awhile but haven't been able to for over a month.
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  llama momma on 10/22/2012, 2:53 pm

Triciasgarden
My first time ever pumpkins netted only 2 that finally made it but they are demented looking with odd coloring and odd shapes. Maybe 8 pounds a piece? Think I'll feed them to the worms Laughing
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  Triciasgarden on 10/24/2012, 6:22 pm

Well that's the pits Gina! Hopefully next year will be better! Those are gonna be some happy worms and hopefully they will make your next year's pumpkins fantastic!
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  llama momma on 10/24/2012, 6:39 pm

Thanks a bunch for the good thoughts!
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

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