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red wigglers and peat moss/worm inn

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red wigglers and peat moss/worm inn

Post  sgeades on 7/6/2010, 2:34 am

This is probably a really dumb question but do red wigglers eat peat moss? My guess is not. Is that right?

Do any of you have any experience with the Worm Inn? Here is a link to the picture:


http://www.rockymountainworms.com/ecom-prodshow/worminn.html

They make it seem like it's virtually work-free.
I'm wanting to start my own worm composting with red wigglers but don't have a lot of time to spend hours harvesting them one by one. Or do you guys find it really doesn't take that long?
What is your favorite set up for vermicomposting?


Thanks!
Shelly

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Red wigglers and peat moss

Post  junequilt on 7/6/2010, 4:56 pm

I don't know if they actually ingest peat moss, but they certainly thrive in it as bedding. Since the rule of thumb is that a redworm will eat "anything that has grown and will rot" and peat moss fits that description, it is possible they do eat it.
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Re: red wigglers and peat moss/worm inn

Post  Retired Member 1 on 7/6/2010, 5:25 pm

Look up the thread titled "Wiggler Hilton" -- lots of great information.

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Thanks for replys..one more question..

Post  sgeades on 7/6/2010, 6:48 pm

So the worm Inn doesn't sound like it work to well as far as I can tell...the wiggler Hilton sounds like a better set up for collecting tea and other things as well.

One more question for who ever can answer it...

Is there any difference in the final product of compost between that from the worms and that of what you make outside in a compost bin? In other words, if I fed my worms the same ingrediants as I put in my outside large composting heap, would the final product be the same?

If it is, then could the worm compost be the final product (besides peat moss and vermiculite) that we put in our Mel's mix? Or are worm castings still only supposed to make up 1/5 of our total compost ingrediants?

Besides mushroom and worm castings what other three ingrediants produce a good compost mix?

Sorry about 1 million questions but I really want to succeed with all this!

Thanks!

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Re: red wigglers and peat moss/worm inn

Post  dmpower on 7/6/2010, 10:13 pm

@sgeades wrote: snip

One more question for who ever can answer it...

Is there any difference in the final product of compost between that from the worms and that of what you make outside in a compost bin? In other words, if I fed my worms the same ingrediants as I put in my outside large composting heap, would the final product be the same?

No. The final product will not be the same. I feed my red wigglers the same think I feed my compost bin outside. Actually outside may get a more varied diet. The texture will be very different. The vermicompost is is dark, and velvety. It is soft and wonderful to handle. Not so much my outdoor compost.

If it is, then could the worm compost be the final product (besides peat moss and vermiculite) that we put in our Mel's mix? Or are worm castings still only supposed to make up 1/5 of our total compost ingrediants?

Yes. It is still made up of many things composted together. But it would take a long time and a lot of worms to use it as 1/3 of the whole mix. You may be able to do the touch up composting with it. That is, when you remove a plant, you can put a hand full of vermicompost back into the soil.

snip

Thanks!

I didn't look in to the worm farms you have mentioned, but I built my own and made it a two - three story deal.
-The bottom is sealed and collects worm tea. It collects extra water and liquids that may seep down.
-The main layer is where the worms are fed. Here I place their food (I actually put it through the food processor first) and their bedding. The bedding consists of shredded newspaper or a combination of paper and peat moss. There a holes i the bottom so exess moisture can drain to the bottom layer.
-When they have lived here for a while and I want to harvest them, I stop feeding them. I then add the 3rd layer, built the same as the second layer with holes in the bottom. I place fresh bedding and start placing their food in the third layer. The little beasties like to travel up and off they go to the next level in search of food.
-When it seems like most of them have moved up, I remove the original bed and do a quick check and move any stragglers to the newer bed.
-I put a lid on the old bed and wait a couple of weeks to let any eggs hatch etc and remove the worms that have hatched.

I will end up with a heavy bucket load each harvest. I use this by the handful to amend my mix.
I hope this wasn't too long.
Good luck
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Vermicompost v. regular compost

Post  junequilt on 7/7/2010, 4:28 pm

As dnpower says, worm bedding (castings) is quite different from regular cook-a-pile compost. One significant difference is the amount of salts you may have in the castings. An material that has passed through the digestive system of an animal or is an animal product will contain some salt. As I understand it, the concentration of salts in a worm bed can be greater than that of an ordinary compost pile unless said pile contains large amounts of animal waste (manure or urine). Even if manure has been used in creating a compost pile, because the pile is usually exposed to the elements over a period of time, much of the salts will leach out. A worm bed may drain, but it's not usually open to the rain, so the salts don't get washed out as much. None of this is bad, but it's a good reason to mix vermicompost with regular compost, and if you put worm tea on your plants, dilute it first to the color of weak tea.

Another much more fun difference is that the wormies don't always eat seeds, and because the vermicompost doesn't cook, seeds are not killed. So you never know what's going to germinate from your castings! I have two tomato plants that germinated from some vermicompost I left out in the yard in a bucket for a week or so. It rained, and the next thing I knew, there be plants! They're now in one of my 2x4 beds and going gangbusters. Both appear to be determinate, and one is a plum.
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Re: red wigglers and peat moss/worm inn

Post  quiltbea on 7/8/2010, 12:08 am

Now I know why there were tomato plants growing in my compost bucket his week. They didn't digest the tomato seeds.
I had filled the bucket a few weeks ago and put it aside. When I went to use it to side-dress some melons and make compost tea, there were tomato seedlings starting in the compost. Unfortunately I couldn't use them this late in the season nor did I have a space for them.
The vermicompost is rich and dark and composts more completely than my compost barrel.

Here's my latest bucket of rich vermicompost.
I have the Can0Worms setup since I couldn't make my own container and it seemed the easier system for me and I love it.

Its here for the summer in the shade of some trees but in the winter I keep it in my bathroom. No odors if fed properly. There are 2 more condo units to put on top if I need them.
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Re: red wigglers and peat moss/worm inn

Post  PeggyC on 7/8/2010, 8:26 am

DMPOWER, do you know how many gallon container you are using? I bought "Worms eat my garbage" and feel like I have read every site on the net about vermicomposting but can't decide what size bin to buy to make my own. I keep my cat's litter box in our unused shower stall and want to put the bin next to it, so there's plenty of room for it. I just keep getting all confused about what size to buy.

I even bought bins one time but then used them to organize some other stuff. :-)
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