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Worm Tube for the SFG

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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  momvet on 5/26/2015, 2:11 pm

After reading this thread, I decided to try the worm tubes - such a great idea. I ordered the red wigglers and made the tubes (couldn't find large white PVC so went with 4 inch, cut to 2 1/2 feet, buried 8 " - I have the raised beds). My question is, what do I fill the tube with? Even reading all the responses, I am not sure. I was thinking moistened peat moss, then shredded newspaper, then the worms, topped by scraps (already saving coffee grounds, banana peels). Will that work? If so, how high do I fill each layer in a 4 inch tube? I just need the advice because I don't know - 1 inch? 6 inches? Thanks!
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  Marc Iverson on 5/26/2015, 3:12 pm

Stuff that will decay.

The worms eat most anything. Avoid meat and fats and bones. Moisten the soil once in a while. Keep a lid on to discourage flies coming in to lay eggs and to keep birds away. A little of your own live local soil at first will help add helpful microbes to the mix to assist the worm's digestion.
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  sanderson on 5/26/2015, 3:25 pm

I started a reply and then a squirrel ran by and I lost it!  Embarassed Marc has a good idea about putting some of the bed MM in the tube, like a starter.  I would start small.  Two or 3 handfuls of the food and MM.  Then top with the worms.  They will crawl down, and probably out the holes into the bed.  They will come back to feed when the food is broken down and moldy enough.  Did you make the tubes tall for a reason?  Mine are only tall enough to clear the MM and top with PVC caps.  Three inch PVC about 12" tall.

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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  momvet on 5/26/2015, 4:55 pm

Sorry, I made them tall because of the first tutorial and pictures I saw. If they can be shorter and still do the job, I will do that (although hubby might not be so happy after all the work he did sawing and drilling). I read that they needed moistened peat moss - no? (I still have lots of peat moss but no homemade compost - another thread..)
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  sanderson on 5/26/2015, 5:34 pm

If he only drilled holes in the lowest 7-8", then he can saw it in half and make 2 out of that section, drilling holes in one end of the new piece.   Wink  That leftover 1 1/2' from the initial project?  That can be a third tube!  Very Happy
Yes, I think they need something at the bottom, moistened peat moss, compost or bed MM.
PS I'm glad you posted in this topic. It reminded me that I needed to feed the worms! Laughing

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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  ralitaco on 5/26/2015, 6:39 pm

@sanderson wrote:It reminded me that I needed to feed the worms! Laughing
Something else only a gardener would say Razz
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  sanderson on 5/26/2015, 8:35 pm

Wink

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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  momvet on 5/29/2015, 2:31 pm

Got my worms yesterday! They were pretty lively and I put them in the (shortened) tubes on top of moistened peat moss and shredded newspaper, then the kitchen and garden scraps I had been saving. I chopped them up, but didn't puree. This morning I found a lot of slimy dandelion greens while feeding  the tortoise so lifted up the food I had put in to place in the bottom and they were full of squirmy worms. That's good - right? It either means they are eating or they can't get out of the tube?? My hubby drilled holes up to 8" because that is how deep I dug the beds but it apparently settled, and even after cutting away the weed cloth there were a few holes above ground but they were filled with moistened peat moss. I did see a couple of worms around the base of the tube last night. Anyway, I am a worrywart. 
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  sanderson on 5/29/2015, 4:26 pm

Yes, worms in the tube is a good thing. They are just getting settled. How big are the holes? How many? If the holes at the 8" level keep getting exposed, tape them closed with red masking tape. Flies/gnats, sow bugs, etc., will enter exposed holes. There is also a black soldier fly whose larva are aggressive feeders, eating the food meant for the worms.

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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  momvet on 5/30/2015, 11:36 am

@sanderson wrote:Yes, worms in the tube is a good thing.  They are just getting settled.  How big are the holes?  How many?  If the holes at the 8" level keep getting exposed, tape them closed with red masking tape.  Flies/gnats, sow bugs, etc., will enter exposed holes.  There is also a black soldier fly whose larva are aggressive feeders, eating the food meant for the worms.
The holes are 1/2 " - pretty much as many as he could fit - 8?  As you are probably aware it is getting hot here, and yesterday afternoon I found a couple of worms writhing on the ground outside the tubes. I figured they could go into the moist ground beneath them, but I have seen so many earthworms dying on sidewalk that I picked them up and plopped them into the tubes. Food isn't getting eaten. I chopped it fine but didn't puree. Should I leave well enough alone for a few days? Oh, why RED masking tape? More questions! Razz
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  sanderson on 5/30/2015, 4:51 pm

Unless a worm predator has entered and taken over the tubes, I would just be patient. Give them a couple weeks to get acclimated. Remember that worms have teeny mouths and don't actually eat the food, not until it is rotten and moldy.

I just learned about red masking tape last summer. My favorite tape is blue painter's tape that can be removed easily without hurting the substrate, except for paper. Silver duct tape is such nasty stuff to apply and leaves such a gummy mess when removed. Red masking tape is in between these, sticky enough to stick to stucco but doesn't ruin the stucco when removed. So, I have been using red tape around damp areas.

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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  AtlantaMarie on 6/5/2015, 1:42 pm

I have a worm tube!  Yea!!!!   Razz

DH made it and 10 more for me this morning.  4" diameter with several 5/8" holes for wormies to go in & out of....

I'm so excited!
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/5/2015, 2:12 pm

Cool, Marie. Grats!

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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  NanSFG on 6/5/2015, 2:27 pm

I don't know how many worms have decided to my SFG their home.  Is there a minimum numbers of worms needed for them to propagate?  My SFG is a raised bed that is directly on the ground.  The land is fill dirt with only about 3-6" of top soil.
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  sanderson on 6/5/2015, 4:36 pm

Marie, Congrats!!

Nan, 2. They have both sexes so they just need to find each other. A small tub for fishing contains about 25. I think someone is doing an experiment with 2 worms in a controlled environment to see how many they get.

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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  vortex on 6/7/2015, 1:14 pm

Y'all are nothing but enablers. I'll be back to report after a run to Home Depot and Wal-mart. lol!
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  momvet on 6/7/2015, 1:42 pm

Not sure how my worms are doing - I am not seeing them. I cut the tubes shorter, put in compost and a little shredded newspaper, then my compost scraps. The scraps are going down (but from decomposition?) and underneath there are nice castings (or compost?) - dark, crumbly. What isn't there is the newspaper. Do they love the stuff? Should I add more? Or should I continue to leave them alone?
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  llama momma on 6/7/2015, 1:57 pm

Don't worry, all is good. The scraps are probably settling a bit, rotting down,  and being chewed on. Sounds like good decomposition plus the worms chowing down the newspaper. If you think about nutrients in veggie scraps compared to newspaper, I'd always go with scraps first for better nutrition which equals better casts.  Then consider newspaper as fantasic worm bedding first, then as a nutrient source second.

When you see the contents go down, add more, and moisten it.  Enjoy!


Last edited by llama momma on 6/7/2015, 1:59 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : add last two lines)
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  AtlantaMarie on 6/7/2015, 2:01 pm

@vortex wrote:Y'all are nothing but enablers. I'll be back to report after a run to Home Depot and Wal-mart. lol!



Thought you knew that already!
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 6/7/2015, 2:05 pm

Worms really love your used coffee grounds - so if you drink coffee make sure you toss those in with everything else, paper filters and all.
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  Kelejan on 6/7/2015, 8:22 pm

@sanderson wrote:Marie,  Congrats!!

Nan,  2.  They have both sexes so they just need to find each other.  A small tub for fishing contains about 25.  I think someone is doing an experiment with 2 worms in a controlled environment to see how many they get.
That's me, sanderson.  About time I did another count. Tomorrow, too late today, I am a morning person. Very Happy I started off with two tiny worms in January, and last count was about 25 prepubescent worms end of May.
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  sanderson on 6/7/2015, 9:40 pm

Kelejan, The fact that they had babies is so exciting. Very Happy

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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  vortex on 6/7/2015, 11:22 pm

Didn't get pictures since I was tending the grill while installing, but in my corner garden that's made up of 5 4x4 areas (all connected together in one big corner) I've got 3 tubes going.

14" long, 4" wide, with 8" buried. They wanted almost $9 for the PVC end caps, so I got creative and used a female thread adapter and a screw in end cap for $4 total for both pieces. Not to mention it'll be easier to get open, and if I really wanted to I can screw the cap on and keep it loose. Enough to keep the bugs out, but not tight enough to completely kill off the airflow.

So off we go.
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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  sanderson on 6/8/2015, 3:31 am


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Re: Worm Tube for the SFG

Post  momvet on 6/20/2015, 4:53 pm

I am unsure about my worm tubes. The food in the tubes has gone down, but when I look under it all I see is castings (but I used castings as my original compost). I was disappointed when I harvested my (aggressively rooted) turnips not to see a single worm. Yesterday I decided to cull the one tomato that just doesn't look right - curled, yellowish leaves with brown spots - and did see one. Maybe I didn't put enough in? (I split 500 between 2 4 x 8 beds). It is very hot but the soil is moist and friable. Anyway, I found this guy and he is much bigger than the ones I put in. Should I just be patient? Add more worms? Or? Very hot here right now so maybe the worms are going deeper (I do have weed fabric about 8 inches down).

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