Composting ?s - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-17-2010, 07:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I want to start composting. I'm thinking about using trash cans or something similar with holes in it and also using worms. Are there any negatives to using worms? I keep seeing that people use "red feeder worms" for composting. Where do you get these? They would be different from the earth worms already in the garden, right? Can I use earthworms instead? If red worms end up in the garden along with the compost, is there any harm there? (Sorry about all the questions. I'm a total newbie at gardening!)
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Old 07-21-2010, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Bumping! Worms seem to be getting more popular with composters. Are there any disadvantages to using them?
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Old 07-22-2010, 01:33 PM
 
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Hi there. I'm new to Mothering (lurker)

I've been vermicomposting for about a year now. I bought my first batch of red wigglers online. There are many sources for them, you can just do a search and look for the best price. Earthworms will not compost, just the wigglers. I have 2 bins going right now. I'm actually going to "harvest" the compost later today. (I received my 2nd batch of worms from our elementary school after they did a section on composting - I adopted them. )

We're a family of 4 and eat a lot of produce. I needed 2 bins to keep up with us. I just bury the food under the worms/materials and they do their work. I keep my bins in my dining room. You'd never know it, there is no smell. It's been pretty hot around here 90 F - so there is no way they could go outside, plus it gets below zero in the winter. If you can keep them outside, keep them cool and out of the sun.

A great book to read is "Worms eat my garbage." I forget the authors name. It's a great resource. If you happen to get red wigglers in your garden with your compost it won't hurt it at all! I can't get all the worms out of my compost when I'm "cleaning" it, they do reproduce in your bin. The babies are tiny!

Any how, sorry to have written a book. Good luck to you!
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Old 07-24-2010, 03:26 PM
 
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The funkiness is usually the main problem with plastic container compost. Even vermicompost systems have to have a drain off area for the excess moisture to get out. Can you not just do wooden pallets right on the ground? This is free, it's simple, any excess moisture gets soaked right up by the ground, so that's a non-issue.

I have buckets of red wrigglers in my compost. Yes, they are different than earth worms. They eat much much more and really like compost. Earth worms really like dirt. If you have a friend locally with an outdoor compost pile, I'd just go dig in it, and you'll probably find the little wrigglers... they are in nearly everyone's outdoor pile They'll reproduce to just fill the space they're in. If there's not enough food, they stop reproducing, so they pretty much have population control down pat! If wormies get shoveled out with the compost into your garden (which happens here since the worms hang in the middle of the pile - precisely where I dig), the worms still in the bin will just keep on makin babies

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Old 07-29-2010, 01:20 AM
 
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I'm a wormie mom here too. We've been vermicomposting for two years. I bought a worm bin online because initially they were kept in our condo when we had it on the market. I like that my bin has a spigot on the bottom to collect the worm tea, which I think in one of the best reasons to have it over a homemade bin. One of my favorite worm sites is http://www.redwormcomposting.com/ because of the amount of info on his site. Good luck!
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Old 07-29-2010, 12:24 PM
 
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That stuff that drains out is not compost tea, it's not bad for your plants, it's just not full of nutrients or anything. Just my .02 A spout does sound nice though for non-messy drain-off tho

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Old 07-29-2010, 12:28 PM
 
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I think I may be the only person capable of either killing or driving off my worms. I have a bin, and there are no more worms. they're not hiding. They're just not there.

Maybe it got too hot? I didn't know they were heat sensitive. But you'd think I'd find some dead worms. There are just no worms in my box.

I'm a sad sad worm killer.

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Old 07-29-2010, 12:38 PM
 
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Worms decompose VERY quickly, so if they died you would not find any evidence after a few days.

Yes, they are heat-sensitive.

No, you are not the only worm murderer out there, cough cough. I gave up on my worm bin because I'm a friend to worms. I have a compost tumbler, but some day (within the year, I think) I'll have a proper outside compost heap. Then I will smile to think of the home I am providing for worms.

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Old 07-29-2010, 02:21 PM
 
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Worms are heat and cold sensitive. Mine live in my garage, next to my house wall, which is the coolest spot in the summer and warmest in the winter. I wrap the bin in a sheet in the winter. I feed my worms about once per week, and I check on them to make sure the conditions are right.

Check out the link I posted above for good general info or check out a book from the library. Information is your friend!
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Old 07-29-2010, 02:58 PM
 
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Hmm, so I'm trying to decide now where I should move my box when I get more worms.

There is no where inside for them to go. Our inside is overflowing as it is.

So, the choices would be: Screened in porch (DH is not going to like this option because the worm box is ugly), detached garage (probably just as hot as being in the sun), or in a shady spot.

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Old 07-29-2010, 03:28 PM
 
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I would say the screened in porch. Having shade is important, because a bin in the hot sun will get way hotter than in the shade. Another thought is maybe could it be mobile, so you move it on hot days? Providing cool bedding on hot days helps. Also, you can try to add worms to a regular compost bin rather than keepin two separate bins (if you have a compost bin). I occasionally throw worms in my bin when I am cleaning a worm tray out.
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Old 08-10-2010, 01:23 AM
 
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I have compost in garbage bins with holes drilled in the side and bottom. Not the best system but it is better than nothing and I had a bunch of garbage cans i was no longer using (changed garbage haulers who wanted specific bins). So advantages :cheap and it eventually makes compost. disadvantages: smells like crap (literally), hard to rotate (I have to dump it out and mix it up and shovel it back in. its not pretty) it is slow (at least a year for usable compost) and it does not get enough air. So if there is anyway you can get a tumbler or something I would go for that. I hate the whole mixing part. and I don't see how a heap on the ground would be any easier. but whatever. I get good compost every year...eventually. I do add worms to it. night crawlers. when my kids find them in the garden they will take them to the compost bin to live in bliss. or after a hard rain they will save them from the puddles. every time i rotate there are still some there. So I am not killing them. I don't know if they are helping much but I like to think it does.

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Old 08-18-2010, 02:02 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
I have compost in garbage bins with holes drilled in the side and bottom.
I was just working on a similar bin today, now I'm feeling a bit discouraged about starting it up. The hassle of mixing things up in this type of bin didn't really dawn on me I actually cut the bottom off completely with the intention to bury it about 6 inches so soil organisms could interact with the compost and that liquid stuff would get absorbed. I live in an area with lots of wildlife so I really can't risk having a more open pile. I hadn't considered buying worms till I read this thread, but it does snow a lot in the winter so I guess worms are out of the question especially if it's dug in. Hmmm.

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Old 08-18-2010, 11:13 AM
 
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If you can insulate the bin in the winter and shade it in the summer you can still do worms. Making a haystack over the bin in the winter might help.
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