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Old 07-17-2008, 06:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Any other worm bin lovers out there?

We're on our second vermi system. The first one was just a diy one, made out of a rubbermaid bin... didn't work out too well because we didn't really know what we were doing and we overfed and ended up with a mess. I really wanted to give it another shot, and wanted to stick with worms over a conventional compost system, so we set up a larger multi-level "vermi-chalet" so it could handle more of our food waste. I also read tons more about it and now we've got an awesome system going... actually I'm about to harvest a bunch of castings!

I'm really getting into it now and wondering if anyone else on here does it, if you have any tips, etc. I get a kick out of giving them nice "meals" and even cut up the scraps for them and let it rot a bit before feeding to build up the microbial population. I really want to try doing a bokashi bucket and feeding the fermented scraps to my wormies. It might sound nerdy, but I really enjoy watching my waste turn into castings... not only is it great for the planet obviously but it's also made me feel more connected to the whole life cycle of the earth. I know, that sounds really "hippy dippy" but there you go!

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Old 07-17-2008, 11:06 PM
 
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Mememe! I got my worm factory about a month ago and I love it! I'm in a condo and they live on my uncovered porch. I too like to give my wormies special treatment. DH thinks I am nuts, but I use the blender to mush the food up because they like it better - it's usually all gone w/i a week. My first tray is almost full. I'm moving in 3 weeks and I think I'll start a new tray then.

Today was 92 degrees and I could tell it got a bit warm for my worms. Most hung out in the drip tray or on the paper at the top. I think one drowned Any suggestions? Since it is only a month into it, DH is not ready for them to move inside (I told him they could live outside - I figured by late fall I could talk him into an inside spot for winter). I don't have a cover for the porch. I might be able to move them into our storage room for a day or so, but I'm wondering if the change in temp would be too drastic? Tomorrow's supposed to be 94 and I'll be out all day. Our storage room is probably 75 degrees.
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Old 07-17-2008, 11:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Apparently their max heat tolerance is 90 F, so you'll definitely want to do something to help them deal with the heat, or they will start dying. Here's some things I've heard can be helpful if moving indoors is not an option:

-making sure they are under plenty of shade
-lots of damp shredded newspaper in the bottom of the bin and on top of working tray
-if you have empty trays, put them under the working tray and fill with damp crumpled newspaper
-make sure there's lots of ventilation
-take lid off and drape a wet white sheet over the bin
-put frozen water bottles in your bin to keep it cool
-add water regularly with spray bottle

A good place for info, and where I heard of these tips, is www.redwormcomposting.com

The owner writes a blog that has lots of helpful info and tips!

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Old 07-18-2008, 12:31 AM
 
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DH just rolled his eyes when I told him the worms were moving inside until it gets cooler. If I was going to be home, I'd leave them out and cool them other ways, but I don't want to risk it when I can't check on them.

Thanks for the info and the link! I'll add trays to the bottom when I put them back out.

orms:

DH thinks I am nuts

BTW, do your worms have names? Ours are all named Gabriella-Troy, since they are hermaphrodites.
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Old 07-18-2008, 02:12 AM
 
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We have worms! We've had the same wooden box for over ten years, my dh made. Actually we have two, one in the basement and one in the back yard. When we first started it, we had them in the bathroom (our apartment). That lasted until the flies got so bad I was vacuuming them off the windows. Now we have learned how to keep the balance of moisture and adding food/not overloading the bin. The castings are wonderful for the potted plants and the garden veggies!
I'm a worm nerd too!
Granola, what's a bokashi bucket???

My sweetie and I have a lovely little lady 07/02 and 3 cats
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Old 07-18-2008, 10:03 AM
 
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My bin seems to be always wet. I've been adding food that I squish out excess water, but it still seems wet, but not as wet. What is the correct moisture consistency? The worms seem happy though. I can see a lot more than I had a month ago. Also, I have those white worms. I have added 2-4 eggshells per week (crushed in the food). This has cut their numbers drastically, but I still have quite a few. I have not yet gotten any garden lime, because I wanted to keep anythign out I have not researched. Any ideas?
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Old 07-18-2008, 10:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Lillianna View Post
Granola, what's a bokashi bucket???
Bokashi is another composting option wherein you ferment waste materials, to use usually in conjunction with another system, as it doesn't decompose the wastes fully. But some people do bokashi exclusively and then bury the fermented wastes in their garden for a slower release fertilizer. Basically combine your scraps with bokashi mix in a bucket, and allow the mix to ferment for a period of time.

Supposedly it's good feed for worms. It's also great because you can keep the bucket right in your kitchen and keep adding scraps until it's full, and supposedly it doesn't smell bad. So it's a very easy option for someone living in a small space who doesn't want bugs or smell, which are a possibility with a worm bin if you're not doing it exactly right. Also, you can bokashi anything... meat, cheese, etc.

Here's a link with more info: http://www.compostguy.com/bokashi-resource-page/
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Old 07-20-2008, 03:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koofie View Post
My bin seems to be always wet. I've been adding food that I squish out excess water, but it still seems wet, but not as wet. What is the correct moisture consistency? The worms seem happy though. I can see a lot more than I had a month ago. Also, I have those white worms. I have added 2-4 eggshells per week (crushed in the food). This has cut their numbers drastically, but I still have quite a few. I have not yet gotten any garden lime, because I wanted to keep anythign out I have not researched. Any ideas?
You may want to add more dry bedding to help with the excessive moisture. Shred some newspaper (no slick ads, keep color print to a minimum). The moisture consistency of your worm bin should always be similar to a wrung-out sponge.

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." - Mother Teresa

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Old 07-20-2008, 05:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by koofie View Post
My bin seems to be always wet. I've been adding food that I squish out excess water, but it still seems wet, but not as wet. What is the correct moisture consistency? The worms seem happy though. I can see a lot more than I had a month ago. Also, I have those white worms. I have added 2-4 eggshells per week (crushed in the food). This has cut their numbers drastically, but I still have quite a few. I have not yet gotten any garden lime, because I wanted to keep anythign out I have not researched. Any ideas?
I've heard that white worms can be a sign of over-feeding. If you have any suspicions about that, maybe you could adjust a bit. Yeah, I personally would not mess around with lime unless I absolutely had to and researched it beforehand to know what I was getting into.... maybe add some fall leaves if you have some, shredded cardboard and keep adding egg shells every now and then.
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Old 07-20-2008, 07:22 PM
 
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Here is a good link to what your white worms probably are:

http://www.redwormcomposting.com/wor...t-white-worms/

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." - Mother Teresa

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Old 07-21-2008, 04:45 AM
 
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We have one. We started it several months ago and I think it may be ready to harvest some. Unfortunately there is a huge amount of fruit flies out there and I don't want to go out and do it. Every time I open the lid they just fly out everywhere and cover the walls (in the garage). UGH!

Suggestions for the flies?

Also any tips for harvesting?

Allison wife and mom to four. 

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Old 07-21-2008, 12:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have one. We started it several months ago and I think it may be ready to harvest some. Unfortunately there is a huge amount of fruit flies out there and I don't want to go out and do it. Every time I open the lid they just fly out everywhere and cover the walls (in the garage). UGH!

Suggestions for the flies?

Also any tips for harvesting?
For the flies- you can suck them up with a vacuum if there are tons, just to get them out of the way at first. Then maybe set up a trap. There are some diy ones you can google, made out of materials you'll likely have on hand (like a jar, plastic bag and some sugar water). Those can catch tons of them.

Are you adding fruit to your bin? They are attracted to fruit and fruit pulp, so maybe stop adding those for now, or cut back, and if you do add any make sure to bury it well.

As for harvesting- what kind of system do you have? In a bin the best way to do it is to stop feeding in one area until the castings are done and the worms have migrated away, then just scoop it out. If there are still worms in the castings, you can lay them out on some newspaper in a lighted room... they will migrate toward the center of the heap to escape the light, and just scoop off the castings bit by bit as they try to escape the light, then when you've gotten most of it, throw the worms back in the bin. Another option is to take a single layer of garbage bag (cut open), punch some small holes in it, then remove the finished castings with the worms... lay out the garbage bag on top of the bin, pressing it down over top of the bedding in there. Leave the top off, place the harvested castings on the garbage bag and shine a light on it... the worms should bury down back into the bin to escape the light then you have a neat little pile of castings.

If you have a different set up (like a stacking system) there are easier ways to do it, too.
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Old 07-23-2008, 01:43 AM
 
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Another worm lover here

My worms just don't want to leave the finished side of the bin and move over to the fresh side. They are in love with their castings or something! I've just been taking the bin outside in the mornings and slowly taking off the top layer and then bringing it back inside once I'm done. Its pretty low now, but they are still piling up on the finished side. Grrrr. I might need to add a second bin to layer on top to try to convince them to move.

-Amanda
Doula, student midwife, and homeschooling mom to 4
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Old 07-24-2008, 03:41 AM
 
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We've been vermicomposting since mid-May so I am still quite new to the game. So far I really enjoy it I, too, am satisfied cutting my waste into smaller bits for the worms, and let the food rot a bit before feeding it to the little guys.

We live in Texas, it is hot here in the summer. I didn't think the worms would fare well outside or the garage so I brought them inside. The rubbermaid bin that is their home fits quite well under the bathroom vanity. I wasn't sure about ventilation in that area, but the worms seem happy.

For fruit flies I tried keeping a small bowl of vinegar with a bit of dish soap in it next to the bin. That caught some of them. The biggest help, though, came from burying my fruit deeper AND making sure the whole mess wasn't too wet (or maybe my solution to wetness - adding more dried paper strips to the top - was really just burying the food even DEEPER and deterring the flies). At any rate, it worked. WE still have a few flies when I open the bin, but it is nothing like the initial mess I dealt with and they don't fly around unless i disturb the paper inside the bin.

Cheers!
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Old 07-24-2008, 11:57 PM
 
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Ahh, the flies!!
I think they come in on the banana peels and orange rinds. I stopped adding those or put them in the freezer first and this seems to help quite a bit.

Anytime the bin is too warm and moist, the flies breed.

You can also make a fly trap with a small piece of fruit in a jar. Then you cut the tip off the corner of a plastic bag and place the corner in the jar, secured with a rubber band. The flies go in but they can't get out.

As far as harvesting, I usually just take the most composted section out, including worms, when I add it to the garden. OF course, the more worms in the garden, the better for fertilizing and aeration. If you want to put the compost on houseplants, you can kind of push the compost over when you add new scraps. Let it sit for a few days and the worms will move out as other pps have said.

Hippie mommy, maybe the worms are burrowing down because you are doing this outside, in the light?

My sweetie and I have a lovely little lady 07/02 and 3 cats
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:28 PM
 
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I think you're right. I was kind of trying to make them burrow down so that I could get the stuff off of the top. Otherwise when I opened the bin they are all over the place!

I noticed yesterday that they are finally moving over to the new stuff though. I guess it just took them a little time to decide that it was worth inching over there <shrug>

-Amanda
Doula, student midwife, and homeschooling mom to 4
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