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 Post subject: I've got worms
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:35 am 
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So Totally Yiffy

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Red wigglers, that is.

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Has anyone experimented with vermicompost? Any tips/advice/horror stories?


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 Post subject: Re: I've got worms
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:08 pm 
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I made one of these, its in my kitchen. The worms havent died yet. So thats good.
http://www.instructables.com/id/Worm-bin-bag-for-indoor-vermicomposting-and-easy-s/

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 Post subject: Re: I've got worms
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:23 pm 
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So Totally Yiffy

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Interesting. I put them in a rubbermaid tub that I had. I think I added a touch too much water but, as you said, they haven't died yet.


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 Post subject: Re: I've got worms
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:48 pm 
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Try to avoid adding large amounts of onion, garlic, spices, or anything else that has anti-bacterial qualities. The worms rely on microbes to break down the food scraps for them, so anything that is anti-microbial will seriously slow down your bin.
Other than that, fruit flies can be a problem, but you can either use vinegar traps, or freeze/microwave your scraps to kill the eggs. Worms love banana peels, but those seem to be the worst offender as far as fruit flies.

Good luck!!


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 Post subject: Re: I've got worms
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:15 pm 
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I love vermicomposting. Maintaining the worm bin is what I'll miss most about working at the garden store.

Bury their food with shredded newspaper or coco coir. Stay away from citrus too.

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 Post subject: Re: I've got worms
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:46 pm 
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dandirtyapes wrote:
I made one of these, its in my kitchen. The worms havent died yet. So thats good.
http://www.instructables.com/id/Worm-bin-bag-for-indoor-vermicomposting-and-easy-s/

Omg that looks awesome! I want one.

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 Post subject: Re: I've got worms
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:26 pm 
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http://www.redwormcomposting.com/gardening/vermiponics/
So what would you think of vermiponics? My gf is really keen on getting into aquaponics, but of course I'm a bit iffy on the fish thing (she's not entirely vegetarian), and then I ran into this concept. Basically, its an organic form of hydroponics that uses worms (and bacteria) to make the plant food from leftover plant scraps/compost. Its sort of a continuous worm-tea production bin.

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 Post subject: Re: I've got worms
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:22 pm 
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Location: Malaysia/California
Ok, this is a long shot, anybody know where I could get worms in SE Asia? Could I buy them online?

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 Post subject: Re: I've got worms
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:01 am 
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what are your import regulations like? i know for me here there is no way, no how that i could get worms in through the post, for example. and smuggling in my suitcase... well, there are better things (like raspberry canes) to take up space with.
assuming you can do it by post i would talk to the aussie gardeners on the forum.
just for my own curiosity (and geographical closeness) i looked at some things from japan:
you might want to talk to these people and see if you can buy just worms from them-- http://www.topsoiljapan.com/modules/con ... x.php?id=7
at the very bottom of the link is supposedly a place that ships internationally http://forum.gaijinpot.com/showthread.p ... ting-worms

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 Post subject: Re: I've got worms
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 10:23 am 
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teppiedoo wrote:
Ok, this is a long shot, anybody know where I could get worms in SE Asia? Could I buy them online?


You might also have native composting worms available that you could just dig up?

Here is an old gardenweb thread about worms in malaysia: http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load ... 32433.html

http://www.worm-compost-bins.com/?tag=m ... blue-worms there is a worm called Malaysian blue worm that might work for you!

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 Post subject: Re: I've got worms
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 10:37 am 
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Oooh I like the idea of these blue worms myself! I'm paranoid about the invasive qualities of the red wigglers. If you keep your worm bin in a greenhouse/basement/warm place in the winter you can have a worm bin that won't allow escapes. I guess any that make it out in the garden won't survive the winter but that makes me feel better since there are tons of invasive worms out there reducing numbers of native salamanders and drying out ecosystems because there is no organic duff layer.

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 Post subject: Re: I've got worms
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 7:40 pm 
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dandirtyapes wrote:
I made one of these, its in my kitchen. The worms havent died yet. So thats good.
http://www.instructables.com/id/Worm-bin-bag-for-indoor-vermicomposting-and-easy-s/



Are you still liking your worm bag? This looks way easier than the multi level bins. Oh and does it smell? That's what I'm most nervous about.


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 Post subject: Re: I've got worms
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:16 am 
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Bathes in Braggs
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I've just received one of these: http://wormenbakken.nl/wormenbakken/tig ... 3-laden-1/

Doubted a long time about building my own to save some money, but this compact all-in-one package just seemed really convenient, so I went for it. It has three stackable meshed boxes, so by the time the worms have created two boxes of compost and are living/feeding in the top box, the bottom box of compost should be virtually worm free. It fits wonderfully in our small kitchen, right next to our other waste separating/recycling containers.

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 Post subject: Re: I've got worms
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 6:28 pm 
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Tofu Pup

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I just started a worm bin a little while ago (little as in weeks), and they don't seem to be eating any of the food I put in! They're not trying to escape, and I'm going to be adding more aeration holes today and add more newspaper, take out the now rotting food and add only a little of some other things.

There are a few other ideas I had as to why they are not eating, and some questions too. Maybe someone can help?
-How cold can they handle at night? It gets to about freezing in my house at night, sometimes during the day too. We only have a wood stove so we can't keep the house warm without diligence, and I don't want to spend money on a heating pad or anything. But I could be creative if this could be a problem?
-Do they prefer raw over cooked food? Are leftovers acceptable, or should I stick to the raw stuff?
-How many worms can fit in a small space? I got one of those short but very long totes, and ordered about 2 lbs of worms. Eventually I'd like to make a stacking one, but that's a future project. When I eventually make a greenhouse I'll put it in there. I was trying to do the adding food to one section at a time from one side as to collect the castings easier...is this totally unnecessary?

I feel like I'm making a simple thing complicated in my mind. Any advice would be appreciated!


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 Post subject: Re: I've got worms
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 5:54 am 
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Bathes in Braggs
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When we first got our wormbin, it took a while for them to start eating too. They will definitely be less active in a cold environment.

Our worms are in a rather a cold storage space and they don't eat very much either, like two cups of scraps every 2-3 weeks. Just make sure the temperature in the bin itself won't drop below freezing, cause that will kill them. Wrap the bin in some isolating material if you're worried. A little cold does no harm, they just won't eat a lot, kinda like hibernation. I don't know how many pounds of them we have right now, but I guess somewhere between one and two. They are in a small stacking system. If yours are not escaping, they probably have enough space.

I usually don't add new food before the old food has almost disappeared or is at least not recognizable anymore. Cooked food is fine, just make sure it's not greasy or salty. Personally, I try to eat all or most of our cooked food and just feed the worms vegetable peels and occasionally some bread crusts or similar stuff. Especially since they don't eat very much right now, I usually have more raw peels than they can handle. I often let the peels dry on the counter for a bit and then freeze them to make sure they won't hatch bugs in the bin. The freezing also helps to break down the scraps so they compost/get eaten faster.

They seem to love processing unbleached cardboard too, so I tear up a lot of TP rolls and corrugated boxes from online orders for them. They actually seem to go through the cardboard faster than the veggie scraps. The cardboard is also a big help in keeping the moisture level right. Our bin always seems too wet, so I add the shredded cardboard dry and never add any extra moisture.

Our worms crawl all over the bin, whether there is food there or not, so I don't think restricting food to one section will be much use. Your experience may differ though.

Good luck! Worms are useful and fun, but there is a learning curve (they've been with us for 6 months now, and I'm definitely still learning!)

ETA: I see I wrote in the post above that the bin was in our kitchen. It's not there anymore because we got a really bad infestation of fungus gnats that I could not get rid of. I tried, but after two months I decided it wasn't very vegan of me to kill so many insects, and wasn't going to work anyhow, so I moved the bin to our bicycle storage space where the gnats wouldn't bother us. There are still lots of gnats, but I've made peace with them. After all, they are very prolific composters too! That's what I mean about there being a learning curve...

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 Post subject: Re: I've got worms
PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 5:47 pm 
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Tofu Pup

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Thanks for the response-the tp rolls is a good idea! I'll keep what you said in mind, I'm glad it's not just mine that are taking a bit to adjust! I'll be patient. Now that spring is upon us and it'll be warming up maybe they'll be more active.


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 Post subject: Re: I've got worms
PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 10:49 pm 
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despite the passive-agressive phrasing, this question comes from a very non-judgmental headspace - but I am genuinely confused... how does "keeping worms" fit into a vegan's life when the worms are confined in an indoor container and used as little fertilizer-making machines?


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 Post subject: Re: I've got worms
PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 5:16 am 
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Bathes in Braggs
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It's probably not the most vegan thing you can do, but it's not totally unvegan either. I guess it depends on your personal reasons for being vegan. For me, it's about preventing animal suffering and reducing my environmental impact. Although the worms in the bin are being used, I don't think they suffer from being confined if the bin is well kept (they can suffer from inexperience or carelessness of the keeper).

The worms help me to compost some of my waste and use it to fertilize my balcony crops. This reduces my environmental impact and allows me to buy less commercially farmed produce which killed animals during harvesting etc. There are other indoor composting systems, such as bokashi, which don't use animals, but they are less efficient at completely breaking down the waste.

I did not really know what I was getting into when I got our worm bin, and maybe I wouldn't have gotten one if I had thought about it more thoroughly or had know everything I know now. But the worms are with us, they are well established and I've learned to take care of them properly. I don't think they can survive in the wild here, the winters are too cold, so setting them free is not an option and I don't want to sell them or give them away to someone else who might not take good care of them.

I hope that sort of answers your question...

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 Post subject: Re: I've got worms
PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 7:58 pm 
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sort of like "rescue worms" that you saved from the worm shelter... be sure to get them neutered ;)

thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: I've got worms
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 5:15 pm 
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i got a worm bin about 2 months ago, and ordered worm cocoons. i followed the instructions on how to hatch them, and after 1.5 months, i gave up. (they're supposed to hatch after 21 days) maybe the instructions were inadequate or wrong, but they never hatched. (maybe there wasn't enough moisture?) anyway, i joined a local garden swap group on FB, and within a few minutes of posting on there, i got a response, and i just came back home with a scoop of wigglin' wormies. (bonus, i also got some eggshells with my scoop, so i doubt i'd need to add eggshells for a while. i assume it's only for the calcium anyway, in which case, i can just add greens. am i wrong? are they for something other than calcium?)

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 Post subject: Re: I've got worms
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:53 pm 
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If you add greens, be really careful and only add a few leaves at a time, well distributed over the bin, cause they start to produce ammonium VERY quickly and it's toxic to the worms. You can also pre-compost greens in a regular compost heap/bin and add them after they've browned. Personally, I'd get some algae- or rock dust-based calcium to add to the bin. A little goes a long way.

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 Post subject: Re: I've got worms
PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:20 am 
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oh! ok. thanks for the tip. i think i have gypsum for the garden. (that makes sense.) i also would probably only give them the base of the "stem." (but i'll make sure not to give them too much of those at one time either.)

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 Post subject: Re: I've got worms
PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:39 pm 
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I started a Rubbermaid bin in my garage and they were doing well, so I moved them outside where they quickly diet and were over run by earwigs, which creep me out. I'm thinking of starting over in the garage again...

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 Post subject: Re: I've got worms
PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:54 pm 
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i checked under the top cover layer of newspaper just under the lid, and i saw that there were a whole bunch of white teeny tiny rice-shaped bugs crawling on the underside of the newspaper. should i chuck that layer into the outside compost bin every once in a while, or are they coexisting with my wormies? (and what are they? and do you get them too?)

::edit:: it looks like they might be mites, and my bin is too wet. i'll add some dry shredded toilet paper tubes and see if that helps. i'll also replace the newspaper cover layer too. might as well.
http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load ... 32421.html

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 Post subject: Re: I've got worms
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 3:06 am 
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Bathes in Braggs
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The white bugs could be mites or springtails (if they're rice shaped probably springtails, mites are more millet shaped). If your worms and bin are in good condition, they do no harm and actually help the composting process. If the worms are weakened from bad conditions in the bin, the mites may start attacking them, but as long as the worms are healthy, they are not a problem. Excessive amounts of bugs could be an indication that you are putting too much food in there or that it is too wet, but it's not a law of physics.

You might want to read these blogs about mites and their role in wormbins:
http://www.redwormcomposting.com/reader ... questions/
http://www.redwormcomposting.com/reader ... bin-mites/

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