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Raising Worms in Texas

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Raising Worms in Texas

Post  rabbithutch on 2/11/2014, 2:00 pm

I've just read the entire thread on the 'wiggler Hilton' vermiculture approach.  It sounds almost too simple, but apparently there are quite a few things to attend to lest the maggots ruin the factory or the cold or the heat kill the worms.

It got me to thinking that I might give it a try, but we have both hot and cold weather that might make vermiculture impossible.  Do any of you in the Lower South who experience both triple digit summers and below freezing temps in winter raise worms?  If so, how do you deal with the heat in summer and the cold in winter? 

If I were to give it a try, I would have to have the bins outdoors due to lack of space.  I wondered if anyone has done this and what they did to mitigate the temperatures.  No doubt there is an ideal range for the inside of the stack.  I should think that one could monitor it with a compost thermometer or with and inexpensive remote reading cooking thermometer.  ????
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Re: Raising Worms in Texas

Post  sanderson on 2/11/2014, 2:12 pm

RH,  This is also another favorite topic on worms. and Josh was just a kid when he started it!! Raising worms directly in the beds!!

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1603-worm-tube-for-the-sfg?highlight=worm+tube
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Re: Raising Worms in Texas

Post  rabbithutch on 2/11/2014, 2:24 pm

Yes, I saw and read that thread before reading the one on the wiggler Hilton. 

Josh is quite a bright young man and seems to have great charisma.  The tube idea is likely to be a better fit for me than the castings generator because of temperature issues.
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Raising worms in Texas

Post  GloriaG on 2/12/2014, 12:29 am

Hi rabbithutch,

FWIW, I'm in Double Oak, near Dallas and have been raising worms in tubes in the SFG for almost three years.  I'm using Josh's technique. 

I have one tube in each of my five SFG beds.  My tubes are 4" white PVC about 24" long. Each tube has lots of holes underground.  For caps, I used slotted PVC drain caps with plastic window screen underneath as a bug barrier.  I fill the tubes with shredded newspaper, vegetable scraps, a bit of coffee grounds, etc.

I have red wriggler worms, and they seem to survive hot and cold equally well as long as they are well fed and the tube is protected under a cover in winter.  In summer, I make sure they don't dry out from the heat.

Other than avoiding foods I have heard are not good for the worms (like onions and citrus) that's all I do.

Hope this helps,
Gloria

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Re: Raising Worms in Texas

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 2/12/2014, 2:41 am

I also do the worm tubes. Mine have survived 114 degrees this summer in raised table top bed (using a 2-4 inch wood chip mulch) and cold down to 24 degrees this winter. I have tons of worms. I feed them every few weeks and unless plant debris is diseased, I pull things up, tear them into bits and leave them on top of the beds as a mulch for the worms to work on.

I also have put a couple worms into all of my potted plants. I have very happy worms.
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Glad to Hear It

Post  rabbithutch on 2/12/2014, 12:16 pm

Glad to hear that folks in the DFW area and in the central CA mountains are maintaining wrigglers despite heat and cold.  I know that the heat is equally bad in the DFW area and the cold is worse than where I am.
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Re: Raising Worms in Texas

Post  torpedos on 2/19/2014, 9:04 am

i raise my worms indoors. it is a stackable tray. you can do the same with 5 gallon buckets. you dont need that much space. i also did my first worm tube. Hopefully i did it right. I always think that if i have  a raised garden with a worm tube, can it possibly become too filled with worms is a couple of years. is there such a thing as too many worms that it does more harm than good. ?
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Re: Raising Worms in Texas

Post  H_TX_2 on 2/19/2014, 12:50 pm

I would think it would be difficult to get too many worms in an open yet controlled environment like a SFG. It is open so they can get out and go somewhere else if it is too crowded or it food or moisture is scarce. They don't eat the live plants or roots so they are not going to do any harm to your plants.

About the only problem I could see is if something that eats worms discovered that your SFG was an excellent place to dig for worms. Usually within a couple days of spreading new mulch in the front yard, holes will appear from armadillos digging for grubs. I have had a few instances where I found holes in my SFG and I suspect it could be armadillos or something else digging for underground critters.
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Re: Raising Worms in Texas

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 2/19/2014, 1:27 pm

Can't say I have had any issues with Armadillos, LOL!  

I would imagine their population would be somewhat self-limiting.  If there isn't enough food or space they will tend to stop reproducing (if I remember correctly from some of my reading).  I am constantly picking some up out of my tubes and spreading them to other parts of my garden where I think they'll do well.  

I have added one or two to each of my potted plants on my patio and I spot them happily alive and working when I repot or add annuals.  My patio area is on the north side and most pots are in the shade during the summer.

I've also added the extras in to my Back to Eden style beds that have 4-6 inch mulching and they are incredibly happy in there.  The mulch keeps their temps down in summer, warmer in winter and keeps things consistently moist.
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Re: Raising Worms in Texas

Post  sanderson on 2/19/2014, 2:04 pm

@audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote:Can't say I have had any issues with Armadillos, LOL!  

I would imagine their population would be somewhat self-limiting.  If there isn't enough food or space they will tend to stop reproducing (if I remember correctly from some of my reading).  I am constantly picking some up out of my tubes and spreading them to other parts of my garden where I think they'll do well.  

.

So, you are always picking little armadillos out of your tubes!!
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Re: Raising Worms in Texas

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 2/19/2014, 5:47 pm

LOL!   That's what happens when you answer SFG posts before drinking your coffee!!!!
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Re: Raising Worms in Texas

Post  torpedos on 2/23/2014, 9:06 am

@H_TX_2 wrote:I would think it would be difficult to get too many worms in an open yet controlled environment like a SFG. It is open so they can get out and go somewhere else if it is too crowded or it food or moisture is scarce. They don't eat the live plants or roots so they are not going to do any harm to your plants.

About the only problem I could see is if something that eats worms discovered that your SFG was an excellent place to dig for worms. Usually within a couple days of spreading new mulch in the front yard, holes will appear from armadillos digging for grubs. I have had a few instances where I found holes in my SFG and I suspect it could be armadillos or something else digging for underground critters.


how about if the SFG is sealed in the bottom with cloth, the worms cant leave the box. i am thinking of doing it, but i dont know. inground garden i already have the wormtube. but i am weary of doing it on my raised garden. i already have the worms, i have redwigglers. but not any nightcrawlers.
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Re: Raising Worms in Texas

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 2/23/2014, 1:09 pm

I have three raised table tops.  Our summer temps reached around 113 degrees and our winter temps got as low as 22 degrees.  My table tops have a hard bottom and are 30" off the ground.  My worms do amazing in there.  Every time I plant something I see a worm or two immediately in the soil.

I have a good, heavy mulch on the boxes, I tear up any leaves or debris and leave it on top of the mulch (as long as it isn't diseases) as well as feeding them in the tubes and they're happy with what they have to eat and the conditions.  

I believe that worms will self regulate and will not reproduce as much with limited conditions.  After a year where I started with just a pound of worms, I have enough to grab a handful once in a while from the tubes and spread them elsewhere in the garden.
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Re: Raising Worms in Texas

Post  torpedos on 2/23/2014, 8:48 pm

@audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote:I have three raised table tops.  Our summer temps reached around 113 degrees and our winter temps got as low as 22 degrees.  My table tops have a hard bottom and are 30" off the ground.  My worms do amazing in there.  Every time I plant something I see a worm or two immediately in the soil.

I have a good, heavy mulch on the boxes, I tear up any leaves or debris and leave it on top of the mulch (as long as it isn't diseases) as well as feeding them in the tubes and they're happy with what they have to eat and the conditions.  

I believe that worms will self regulate and will not reproduce as much with limited conditions.  After a year where I started with just a pound of worms, I have enough to grab a handful once in a while from the tubes and spread them elsewhere in the garden.

  im sold. i will do it.
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Re: Raising Worms in Texas

Post  rabbithutch on 2/23/2014, 9:16 pm

I will definitely get some red wigglers for my TT beds.

Where I live we have night crawlers that are about 10-12" long.  I have small piles of worm castings or displaced soil in my yard that they make.  Since my beds will be TTs and night crawlers are deep dwellers, I don't think they should be used in the beds. 

Do I have this right or is there something else I should know?

   Cheers!   
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Re: Raising Worms in Texas

Post  Marc Iverson on 2/23/2014, 10:51 pm

@torpedos wrote:
how about if the SFG is sealed in the bottom with cloth, the worms cant leave the box. i am thinking of doing it, but i dont know. inground garden i already have the wormtube. but i am weary of doing it on my raised garden. i already have the worms, i have redwigglers. but not any nightcrawlers.

I've read from a guy who builds wicking boxes not to use cotton wicks unless you want to rebuild your boxes every year (or even sooner), because worms love cotton. So be careful what cloth you might use.
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Re: Raising Worms in Texas

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 2/24/2014, 1:23 am

Very interesting, Marc! I wouldn't have guessed that.
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Re: Raising Worms in Texas

Post  torpedos on 2/24/2014, 9:23 am

@Marc Iverson wrote:
@torpedos wrote:
how about if the SFG is sealed in the bottom with cloth, the worms cant leave the box. i am thinking of doing it, but i dont know. inground garden i already have the wormtube. but i am weary of doing it on my raised garden. i already have the worms, i have redwigglers. but not any nightcrawlers.

I've read from a guy who builds wicking boxes not to use cotton wicks unless you want to rebuild your boxes every year (or even sooner), because worms love cotton.  So be careful what cloth you might use.


the raised bed is made from, i think, a type of landscapers weed block. not sure if it is made from cotton. i gotta check, i dont want the worms to eat my bed.
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Re: Raising Worms in Texas

Post  Yardslave on 2/24/2014, 4:50 pm

I live inland on the central coast of California, where the temps get into the 100's from june to October. My worm bin is a plastic, 4'x4' bin set on some bricks -not raised. I have to keep the bin shaded on the South and top with 2" solid foam insulation, otherwise the worms (reds and Tigers) will ignore their scraps and dive down to the bottom of the bin to keep cool. I keep the bin's kitchen scraps covered with moist finely shredded newspaper to keep the worms cool and happy. As far as my beds go, I will not be adding scraps anywhere near the bed; there's too many raccoons around, and it's too much temptation. Instead, I just add a side dressing of composted manure that the worms gobble up when it's moistened. The bed's are lined with wire to keep the gophers and moles out. If a mole gets in it's bye-bye worms! The moles do circle the beds like a school of sharks, tilling all around the beds gathering up all the stray worms that wander out.
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