Tag Archives: red wigglers

Turning The Fall/Winter Compost & the Worms are Alright!

Turning The Fall/Winter Compost & the Worms are Alright!

In this later part of the video series, he gets the Geobin to start his next round of composting.

I really liked his homemade bin, so I was surprised he shelled out some cash to get a bin.

He mentioned wanting something portable, durable, mobile, and able to hold material easier.

I think it should live up to that quite well.

He also gets excited about red wigglers, which are always a nice surprise with large compost piles.

Although he had winter temperatures well below zero, he still had red wigglers survive… resilient creatures they are!

 

Why Are My Worms Trying to Escape?

Why Are My Worms Trying To Escape?

I recently got the new Worm Inn MEGA vermicomposting system and a fresh batch of worms, too!

Being the third time around, I was plenty prepared for the first few days of retaining 5 lbs of worms.

It can be tricky to keep the super tiny red wigglers from escaping if they want to…however, you can outsmart them.

The zipper on the Worm Inn leaves the tiniest little gap at the top that the most adventurous of worms may find.  All you need is a piece of tape:

After the first few days, you can remove it…it’s just the initial anxiety period for the worms that most every vermicomposter will experience.

It makes sense though… the worms are being placed in a brand new home after being shipped from large in-ground beds on a worm farm.  The conditions are totally different.  To make this evacuation event as minimal as possible, simply do the following:

1) Have your worm system set up with food scraps, wet cardboard and some shredded leaves in the bottom for up to a week before you receive your worms.  This way, the system is starting to decay in advance and the worms get right to work.  In other words, if their home is immediately appealing, they have no problems staying.

2) Hang a light over the top.  You can also add a bunch of dry bedding material near the top, which discourages worm travel since they like moist conditions.

3)  Put a piece of tape over the zipper.  Tighten the toggles all the way on the bottom of the Worm Inn system and put a piece of tape over that.  Again, after a few days of getting acclimated the tape can be removed and worms will stay put.

 

Worm Inn MEGA Review

Worm Inn MEGA Review

The Worm Inn MEGA is the latest improvement on the original Worm Inn system.

With this system you can turn huge quantities of organic materials into worm castings fairly quickly, without the hassle.

Simply add a layer of shredded cardboard, some shredded paper, a dash of leaves and of course food scraps.  Let the material sit for a week while you order the red wiggler worms for the system.  Anywhere from 3-5 pounds will do.

From there, it’s as easy as adding your food scraps each week and removing fresh castings from the bottom via the drawstring opening.

This system reigns superior over the others simply due to its huge capacity in a footprint of just 20″ x 20″ and its exceptional airflow which prevents it from getting oversaturated.

If you aren’t working with a lot of space and want to compost year round, the Worm Inn MEGA can really make it happen for you.

Helping Your Worms Beat the Heat! Keeping Worm Bins Cool

Helping Your Worms Beat the Heat! Keeping Worm Bins Cool

Smart idea for the summer time!  If you store your food scraps in the fridge before you compost them, then this is a default no-brainer concept.

My basement stays cool or freezing cold all year long it seems, so I’ve never really thought about this so much.

Over at redwormcomposting.com, there’s several accounts of people’s worms surviving at extremely hot and cold temperatures, well above and below the suggested temps for their survival.  Worms are resilient little critters, aren’t they?

Worm Tower of Power – Vermiculture Vermicomposting System

https://youtube.com/devicesupport

Wow, I’ve never seen a stacking system done quite like this before!

I’m tempted to try something like this, since it has such a small footprint and can handle a pretty serious volume of material.

Something like this looks like it would cost under $20, not bad for an item that handles a heck of lot more than the Worm Factory for a fraction of the price…

How to Screen Worm Compost (video)

How to Screen Worm Compost

Here’s a neat video on how to screen worm compost.  Cassandra keeps it simple in this video and has some nice results.  I do pretty much the same thing, except my screen is a repurposed basket with a piece of wire mesh placed in the bottom.

She makes mention of running a fan over the top of the castings when you first harvest them…it’s true- when you first remove your castings and put the worms back, the stuff is so gooey that a screen doesn’t work so well.  Drying them out just a bit will help, although I wouldn’t want to dry them too much and risk losing some of their benefit.

Earthworms in the Compost: It’s a Good Thing.

Back in January I made a brief post about my compost tumbler being full of worms…and by worms I don’t mean red wigglers, but earthworms.

Who cares?

Well, I’ve decided it’s time to pay tribute to earthworms again, because they’re often confused with red wigglers and their purposes get mixed up.

Red wigglers are super resilient (e.g. temperature changes, crowding), live in organic material and have a serious appetite…they make the most sense in a full-on vermicomposting setup- anything from a super cheap/simple worm bin to the popular Worm Factory or Worm Inn options.  If you put them in with a freshly active compost pile, chances are good they’ll be dead right away or leave altogether.

Earthworms, however, may arrive much later in the composting process:

My tumbler has been sitting “idle” for a couple months now and each time I take a peek, I find earthworms in there.  They came up through the bottom of my tumbler and have been burrowing their way through the material, speeding up the end process.  Earthworms are soil dwelling worms that will assist in further breaking down of compost into neutral, balanced soil.  To have soil dwelling worms in my compost seems like a good indicator of the material at this stage.

So if you’re looking in your compost pile one day and see some worms in there, it’s almost certain they’re earthworms- not suitable for efficient vermicomposting, but perfectly normal for improving your near-finished compost.

How do you Empty the Worm Inn? (video)

How Do You Empty the Worm Inn?

I’ve been getting a lot of email regarding how to empty the Worm Inn composting system: How do you get the castings out? How do you keep the worms from escaping? Do you have to screen through all the material you just put in? All questions with super simple answers.

Since worms eat the material from the bottom up, they leave behind their precious castings. As you can see in the video, you simply open the drawstrings and take them out. If you find a worm, you’ve reached the end of your castings and you simply put the worm back in the top of the Worm Inn.

There may be an odd piece of unprocessed material as you dig through the castings, but as with the worms, just put them back in the top and let the worms eat it later.

Simple! I love this thing. This really is the easiest worm system to work with out there.

Envirocycle full of worms???

In the wintertime, I take my composting efforts indoors to pay attention to the worms.  We had yet another uncharacteristically warm day here (if just one more person says “omg i love global warming lol”…ugh ), so I checked out the composter…full of worms!

It had just rained, and the inside was a bit damp…so my guess is that the earthworms were just looking for warm, moist ground and they found it in there.  They also found a lot of stuff they probably weren’t used to, like a Sun Chips bag trying to degrade, and some paper packaging material that I lazily threw in without ripping it up, just for fun.

I seem to get a fair number of emails talking about worms in the composter…these worms are almost certainly just earthworms (sorry earthworms) and not red wigglers, or composting worms.

Another thing worth noting, is that red wigglers are not the best solution for adding to your compost tumbler.  If your compost is in the early stages of degradation and is quite warm, this may harm the worms.  They’re also kind of picky about airflow, and most likely won’t come in the tumbler to start with.  Lastly, they don’t want their habitat being flipped upside down all the time, and if you’re using the tumbler how it should be used, wigglers won’t stick around for long.