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Worm bin?

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Worm bin?

Post  No_Such_Reality on 4/3/2017, 6:55 pm

Rather straight forward question, when is a tray  of worm poo, just poo and when is it compost gold?


I'm pondering this question as I'm starting my seedlings in coconut coir.  Someplace between sprouted and first set of real leaves seems like I should probably give them something 'to eat'.


It's that whole leachate versus compost tea question.  If I take the material from an older tray and soak some, I have a beginning compost tea.  If I simply drain existing water from the tray, that's leachate.

So is the distinction the tray you're currently feeding in is 'poo' and water filtered through it is leachate and any tray past that which is not being actively feed is compost and water through that is 'tea'?

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Re: Worm bin?

Post  llama momma on 4/3/2017, 9:50 pm

I've had worms for a couple of years.  I'll tell you what I know until someone else comes along.

Vermicompost is the material the worms have passed through their system, mixed with other small materials.  People generally say they have castings or the good stuff we put in the garden or steep to attempt to make a nice tea.  It is thought to be wrong to claim you have castings, as this implies purity and it is technically difficult to screen for pure castings. So the correct term is vermicompost, according to Bentley Christie from his web site, Red Worm Composting.

The leachate is the liquid that comes from food breaking down. This drained out liquid is Not considered to be tea.  It is not a ramped up nutritional product, but rather liquid waste from food rotting down, its not something the worms have really worked over.  I've read this liquid is fine to dispose on your flower beds rather than your veggies. 

Vermicompost tea would be the finished material that the worms worked over real well, then whatever methods you choose to make it into tea. There is debate on how to make it, I've seen people make claims of aerating it with fish tank bubblers, others say no that will increase bad bacteria too.  I don't know what the current experts have to say about that.  

I'm no expert but this is my understanding of things. Hope some of this helps and do check out Bently Christie's red worm composting site.  He's been at it for many years.
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Re: Worm bin?

Post  llama momma on 4/3/2017, 10:00 pm

Oh my God I still didn't answer the question!
It is gold as you say when the material is such that only little shreds of paper are left.  You could use it sooner if you want.  Your choice!  Generally you want to see mostly dark material. 
Sheesh I really went off in the other post Embarassed
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Re: Worm bin?

Post  Banned Member on 4/4/2017, 9:23 am

If you buy a gob of fishing worms from the sporting goods store and then release them in your compost, will they not supply you with ample castings without having to do anything else?

We have loads and loads of big fat Earthworms, but the worms they sell for fishing are the type that people can use to make worm boxes.  I don't have the time to add extra work, so will just adding the worms to the compost pile provide me with castings?


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Re: Worm bin?

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/4/2017, 12:48 pm

Don't know how it is where you live but my on ground compost pile is always loaded with worms. I think I get the whole neighborhoods worms, as they flee from being 'fertilized' on in other yards. Very Happy
Build the pile and they will come if they are around.
CC
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Re: Worm bin?

Post  Banned Member on 4/4/2017, 6:52 pm

Rat snakes also like warm piles, maybe because mice like them too.

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Re: Worm bin?

Post  sanderson on 4/5/2017, 3:37 am

Geezer, You could put the red wigglers in your boxes where they can slowly eat the mold and bacteria that grow on the compost. I think it would take a loooong time for compost to grow mold and bacteria for the worms to eat and then pooh.

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Re: Worm bin?

Post  Banned Member on 4/5/2017, 6:57 am

I spent way too much time last night reading about worms.  I discovered that the red wiggler worms that you can buy to make indoor worm boxes are not good for outdoor use in the garden.  
In order to put worms directly in the garden, you have to go with Night Crawlers.

I also learned something I have never heard nor would ever suspect.  Some of the worms in our American landscape smuggled to the new world from Europe when vegetation was shipped here.  They are non-native worms, and they actually disrupt the normal flora in our forest floors.  Their castings favor non-native vegetation over native vegetation.

So, as Gardens Alive says about worms, "it might be a mitzvah to collect them from the woods and take them to gardens."

There is a definitive book on this subject: Long Slim Slimy Ones: The Complete Guide To Worms In Your Garden by Loren Nancarrow and Janet Hogan Taylor from Ten Speed Press in Berkeley, CA.

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Re: Worm bin?

Post  llama momma on 4/5/2017, 3:38 pm

I don't use my red worms in the garden, they stay in the basement bins.  If you do a worm tube and want a gob of native worms, just put a shoebox of scraps in a shallow hole in the yard with the lid at the ground surface. Maybe put a rock or something on it to keep out other wild critters.  Have worm holes on the shoebox sides, check back in a few days or till you see a bunch in there.  I filled my worm tubes this way. Now you're a worm herder. Wink
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Re: Worm bin?

Post  Banned Member on 4/5/2017, 11:30 pm

@llama momma wrote:I don't use my red worms in the garden, they stay in the basement bins.  If you do a worm tube and want a gob of native worms, just put a shoebox of scraps in a shallow hole in the yard with the lid at the ground surface. Maybe put a rock or something on it to keep out other wild critters.  Have worm holes on the shoebox sides, check back in a few days or till you see a bunch in there.  I filled my worm tubes this way. Now you're a worm herder. Wink

I shall try that.  That seems easy enough.

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Re: Worm bin?

Post  ralitaco on 4/5/2017, 11:58 pm

@llama momma wrote:Now you're a worm herder. Wink
lol! rofl
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Re: Worm bin?

Post  sanderson on 4/6/2017, 3:42 am

A few big earth worms found their way into my boxes when they were on the ground. I guess they wiggled up between the wood and the cheap black weed fabric. The beds are now all table tops/elevated off the ground and I raise Red Wigglers directly in the boxes via worm tubes. They are very happy there, producing lots of babies and worm castings. I top off the beds with homemade compost for the winter. In the spring, when I move the remainder of the compost aside, the surface of the MM looks like fine coffee grounds, teaming with RW.

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Re: Worm bin?

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 4/6/2017, 5:55 pm

@sanderson wrote:A few big earth worms found their way into my boxes when they were on the ground.  I guess they wiggled up between the wood and the cheap black weed fabric.
I just watched a worm crawl *up the outside* of one of my 8" high boxes, over the edge, and down onto the MM!

cheers BB\'s happy face
So your worms may have taken the scenic route, rather than going through/between the weed fabric. It's a very wet, dreary, humid day - perfect for wormy adventures. The slugs are out strolling, too. Not a great day for outdoor gardening, but there was a break in the rain for me to get my radish seeds in.
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Re: Worm bin?

Post  llama momma on 4/7/2017, 12:01 am

I put tarps over most of my beds. Bricks around the outside hold it down. Rain will collect on top and there are always live and dead worms in the puddles. My beds are mostly 12 inches tall. It's like vermi-suicide.  I don't know what they are doing up there but its a shame to have all that energy to wiggle up there only to be unable to return to safety. A two foot round puddle could easily have 50 victims.
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Re: Worm bin?

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 4/7/2017, 12:25 am

@llama momma wrote:I put tarps over most of my beds. Bricks around the outside hold it down. Rain will collect on top and there are always live and dead worms in the puddles. My beds are mostly 12 inches tall. It's like vermi-suicide.  I don't know what they are doing up there but its a shame to have all that energy to wiggle up there only to be unable to return to safety. A two foot round puddle could easily have 50 victims.
I think they are driven to explore and expand their territory when conditions allow it... but run into issues with their traction not working properly in puddles.

I've had some success in using 6ft-ish zebra grass stems set diagonally across the bed to create a very low criss-crossed arcs to curve my plastic sheeting (weighed down with bricks outside, like your tarp) and prevent puddles. My landlord planted zebra grass so I can get it for free. You might be able to get it for free as well; some localities don't allow the cut down stems it to be placed curbside with the yard waste, and people want to get rid of it without paying disposal costs...though I think more often in the fall than the spring.
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