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Worm Tube for the SFG

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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  Megan on 5/12/2010, 7:16 pm

Some noob questions:

I have lots of regular earthworms already since the bottoms of my SFGs are open to tilled soil. Would I gain anything by adding Red Wigglers too, aside from gaining a handy place to put some kitchen scraps?

If the Red Wigglers eat waste (leftover food/plant trimmings etc), why wouldn't they eat my plants too, or any growing fruits/veg lying on the ground/growing under ground in my SFG?

Is there any particular reason, Josh, for picking the height and diameter of PVC you used?

Great job, I love it!
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  Chopper on 5/12/2010, 8:00 pm

I love being surrounded by scientists and inventors. Let's my mind concentrate on design and layout.

Boffer! Good to know. This will eliminate the starter slippage I would guess.

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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  Josh on 5/12/2010, 9:37 pm

Megan your not my teacher in disguise are you

I'll do my best to answer those questions.

Your regular earth worms will go deeper in the ground when it gets warmer temperatures,red wigglers are a compost worm and can live in a higher temperature and may hang around longer in your SFG .

The worms wont eat your plants,only decomposing,decaying waste.

You can use something other than a PVC pipe,although the one I read about was made from a PVC pipe. Some used 5 gallon buckets, but I thought that would be to big for a SFG,the article was referring to a traditional garden,but I thought it might work well in a SFG too.

I didn't mention the height but the article said 3 feet,the pipe came in a 6 foot length so I cut it in two pieces. So you bury it the six inches of the SFG box,that leaves it 2 1/2 feet above the box, that might be good for keeping animals from snooping around getting into it?

So here is some links to some interesting things to know about worms,and worm castings. The casting can be more than just a good fertilizer for your plants,they can also be a insect repellency,Fungus control, and lots of other stuff according to researchers.

worm info

more worm info
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  ColoradoNatureGirl on 5/12/2010, 10:38 pm

Thanks Josh! That's some great info. Who knew worms were so important and bennificial?
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  junequilt on 5/14/2010, 3:54 pm

Bec, you've hit the nail on the head about worms and hot compost piles. Wormies generally can't live in a hot pile, although if they are already there, they may survive by temporarily migrating to the perimeter. It's just not an optimum environment. If a compost pile heats up and then cools down, now, that's a great place for them to munch away and do their wormy thing -- as long as it's kept moist and you don't try to heat it up again.

Also, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but imho moving a compost pile into the sun does little or nothing to get it to heat up. A compost pile should generate internal heat, which happens in the presence of a proper ratio of carbon to nitrogen with adequate moisture. The highest temp will be in the middle of the pile if it's "working" (as in a short-order cook has your burger "working").
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Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  Bec on 5/14/2010, 4:41 pm

Junequilt, I hadn't thought of that with the heat. Of course! You're making perfect sense. I must need more nitrogen in the compost. It's apparently not getting hot enough because even though I've taken as many worms out as I could find (I know - what a fanatic) I was just out there and it's full of worms again. Not that I mind the worms of course, it just isn't getting hot enough. I did notice that it was getting dry so I'll have to get out there tomorrow and add some creek water to it. On second thought, maybe not. I'm probably going to be using most of it tomorrow to finally get my MM made and into the boxes. My plants are really needing to be transplanted. Thanks so much for your input.

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worm for sfg

Post  fw2000 on 5/16/2010, 4:59 pm

Josh you are a very intelligent young man and I am impressed. Would you share more info on your worm compost bin? I love worms and would love this challenge. Keep on keepin' on.

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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  Megan on 5/18/2010, 6:38 pm

Thank you Josh, great answers and great info! I want a worm tube now. Smile
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  ChristyMC on 5/20/2010, 5:44 pm

I have a question about the worm tube. I have built my tube with the appropriate holes drilled and put it in my garden (I actually had to order worms online so I am still waiting for those). The question is when you put the tube int he garden do you leave the Mel's Mix in the tube or put it in empty and then put in the compost-worms-food scraps?
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  Josh on 5/20/2010, 9:50 pm

What I did was move the Mel's mix over and put the tube in empty. I put some damp peat moss in first then some worms, and added food scraps on top of that.

It's been a little over 3 weeks now since I put the worm tube in the garden. I added food scraps, about 2 cups a week in the tube, things like coffee grounds, banana peel, veggie scraps and some rabbit manure. I decided to take a closer look to see what's been going on in the tube and garden around it.

I pulled the Mels mix away from the tube, LOTS of worms in the Mels mix around the tube! I pulled the tube up, and and what fell out of the tube was lots of dark black fluffy worm castings with lots of worms in it. There was no food left, except for a small piece of the banana peel. It had a earth smell to it. I put it on my giant carrot plants and spread it around some of the plants in the other squares. I put the tube back and put some more damp peat moss in the tube and put the mass of worms back in the tube, and left the ones that were in the garden there.

I think I can put in more than the 2 cups of food a week since all the food was gone.
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  Megan on 5/20/2010, 9:55 pm

So the next question is... is it inherent in the wigglers' behavior to know to burrow *up* into the tube again for more food after the original contents have been disturbed? The deep worms (I forget the name of the variety, but I read it here in the forum) seem to remember their vertical paths, but do the wigglers? You could have a whole master's thesis on this project! Wink
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  Josh on 5/21/2010, 3:05 pm

Hi Mrs. Martin I mean Megan,
I'm not sure how the wigglers find their way to the food. I do know this, in the worm bin that I keep,wherever I put the food, the worms move to that place,they also travel everywhere in the bin, they crawl to the sides and top of the bin leaving castings everywhere as they go.
I read your post last night (yesterday was last day of school, so I stayed up late last night) and used night vision binoculars to see if I could see the worms without disturbing them with light, guess what,I didn't see a single worm anywhere! I moved the soil mix around where they were earlier and didn't see any. I looked down in the tube but all I saw was the food, and I was sure I would see them crawling on the inside of the tube like they do in the worm bin.
This morning I went out early to see if I could find them and I found some actually coming or going from the holes in the tube,and the next square over had lots of them in it, so they get around!

I'll keep you posted if I learn anything else.
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  miinva on 5/21/2010, 3:12 pm

Night vision binoculars! How cool is that?! I'm watching this thread closely and I appreciate your research, Josh! Very Happy

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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  middlemamma on 5/21/2010, 3:13 pm

I WANT NIGHT VISION GOGGLES!!! (stomps feet)

LOL You are a kick Josh!!! Love reading your posts! And just so you know this thread is helping me immensly so keep up the great reporting!
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  dmpower on 5/21/2010, 3:57 pm

The red wigglers don't see red light, so you can put a red filter on your flashlight and check them out without disturbing them. When my indoor farm needs a little extra airing, I remove the lid and place a piece of red, breathable clothe over the top and they don't seem to mind.
So if you don't have super-cool, night vision glasses, all you need is a piece of red film to cover your flashlight.
Have fun with the worms
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  junequilt on 5/21/2010, 4:48 pm

Speaking of cloth, red wigglers love 100% cotton fabric. Ours are currently grooving on DH's worn-out Oxford shirt and a pair of holey cotton knit socks. The cotton holds moisture (which is essential for them to travel and feed) and gradually decays, so eventually they'll consume it all -- except for any synthetic thread that may have been used to construct a garment. They also love quilting scraps. It's a great way to recycle cottons.
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  carolintexas on 5/21/2010, 6:46 pm

Josh, you are an awesome young man. I thoroughly enjoyed your tutorial especially since I am a visual learner. I can see you getting a doctorate and being a college professor. What are your long term goals? (None of my business so don't feel like you need to answer thinking ) Now, for what I REALLY came here to post......I don't have access to a drill so do you think a tube could be made out of a 44 oz styrofoam drinking cup? (only thing I could come up with around my house that i could cut holes in & was approximate correct size and shape) Yikes! Would styrofoam be bad for worms if they decided to try a bite??? so much to learn! I appreciate everyone's help.
thanks Carol

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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  boffer on 5/21/2010, 7:32 pm

Hi Carol

An alternative you could try is plastic coffee cans stacked up, or flexible non/perforated drain pipe that can be found at your favorite hardware/big box store. They could both be cut with a knife or scissors.
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  middlemamma on 5/21/2010, 7:36 pm

Josh, I noticed in your gallery shots you painted the pot on top of your worm tube. Smile Did you paint the PVC as well? Im just wondering if I could paint the outside of it so it wouldnt be so...."industrial looking" in my garden. Smile

THANKS SO MUCH for this thread.


Last edited by middlemamma on 5/21/2010, 7:37 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : realized my wording was unintentionally insulting!!!)
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  WardinWake on 5/21/2010, 7:57 pm

@middlemamma wrote:Josh, I noticed in your gallery shots you painted the pot on top of your worm tube. Smile Did you paint the PVC as well? Im just wondering if I could paint the outside of it so it wouldn't be so...."industrial looking" in my garden. Smile

THANKS SO MUCH for this thread.

Howdy MiddlemMamma: If you decide to paint the outside of your tube be sure to use "plastic paint". Plastic paint is specially formulated to adhere to plastic. Most all other paints will flake off in short order.

God Bless, Ward and Mary
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  middlemamma on 5/21/2010, 7:58 pm

GREAT WardinWake! THAT is exactly why I was asking, had no idea there was "plastic paint". Huh....I learn way more than "something" new everyday! THANK YOU!
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Got my wormy tube made :)

Post  middlemamma on 5/24/2010, 1:49 pm

Won't be putting it out in the garden right away....have to save up some compost..and get some worms...but getting closer. Smile
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Hmmmm...wondering....

Post  middlemamma on 5/24/2010, 7:01 pm

Josh I have a question...

Do you have any kind of barrier beneath your mel's mix or do your SFG's sit right on the ground?

I had my husband make me a couple worm tubes per your tutorial ( ) and we are getting ready to put them in.

But I was just thinking...come winter...with my weed barrier in the way they wont really be able to go deeper in the ground...or will they be just fine living out in the mel's mix? if I kept sending scraps their way all winter?? I live in Idaho it gets pretty dern cold...

What do y'all think?
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Straw

Post  junequilt on 5/24/2010, 7:15 pm

Jennie, could you pile a lot of straw on top of your bed for the winter? That might keep the wigglers insulated well enough, and they would happily munch on the straw itself as long as it's moist.
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  Dietryin on 5/25/2010, 8:08 am

@middlemamma wrote:Josh I have a question...

Do you have any kind of barrier beneath your mel's mix or do your SFG's sit right on the ground?

I had my husband make me a couple worm tubes per your tutorial ( ) and we are getting ready to put them in.

But I was just thinking...come winter...with my weed barrier in the way they wont really be able to go deeper in the ground...or will they be just fine living out in the mel's mix? if I kept sending scraps their way all winter?? I live in Idaho it gets pretty dern cold...

What do y'all think?


I think they would freeze....But that's not a bad thing...that would add to your compost...If you don't see any next year just add more

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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

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