Tag Archives: worm bins

How-To Compost with Worms and Solve Common Problems

How-To Compost with Worms and Solve Common Problems

While this video might miss on a few good points, I absolutely love the kid answering all her mom’s questions about what to do next with the worm bin… super cool… but what’s up with the lack of air holes in the bin?

Worm Composting Feeding Tips (video)

Worm Composting Feeding Tips

I just found this web channel called Big Tex Worms, and she has some great videos to check out on the topic of vermicomposting.  You’ll see that my website gets really worm-centric in the colder months as the outdoor methods slow down to a crawl here in the northeast.

This video shows some pretty standard methods for preparing worm feed, but when it gets to Step 4, I was definitely surprised.  I’ve never seen anyone make worm food into balls first, and I wonder what the point is.  I guess they’re handy and represent a fixed amount of material for your worms to digest.

If they don’t start eating it within a few days, that means they might not like it and it’s acidic…so I guess it’s a good way to evaluate if your food source is appropriate for them.

What do you think of the tips?  It’s pretty simple- if you grind your materials up first and don’t overfeed the worms, you’ll be in good shape.

Worm Inn Season is Approaching!

I can’t believe it… over the last few months I’ve practically ignored my Worm Inn system entirely.  It even got to the point where I was afraid to open it up and find that my worms had disappeared (died).  Looks like dumping water on it once or twice a week was enough, and that they indeed ate all the bedding I put in there although I’m sure that was their last priority.

I opened up the Inn, and under the top layer of paper waste was nothing but beautiful castings and tons of tiny worms…so awesome.  Now it’s time to see what they’re made of as I get ready to start giving them heaps of stuff instead of throwing it in the tumbler outside.

Worms surviving and thriving, leaves falling for me to shred and harvest, lower temperatures for cozy sleeping…this is by far my favorite time of the year! 🙂

Why Compost Is Essential to Container Gardens (article)

Recently I was trying to learn more about how to turn my balcony into a healthy, useful garden…and that’s when I found balconycontainergardening.com .  Since I’m a complete newbie when it comes to gardening, I ended up spending hours reading articles on the site, which prompted me to write a letter of kudos to the owner, Cassandra Radcliff.  I also asked her if she’d like to host some articles for my readers. 🙂

I was extremely pleased when she wrote back with a yes, and now she will be periodically contributing guest articles.  I often receive questions from readers pertaining to gardening, so now I hope to address some of those questions while at the same time learning from her in the process.  Below is her first contribution to the site entitled, “Why Compost Is Essential to Container Gardens”.  I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

Why Compost Is Essential to Container Gardens
by Cassandra Radcliff

The best thing that ever happened to my container garden was my worm bin. The red worms that reside on my balcony help me cut down on my kitchen waste (they absolutely love spinach and coffee grounds just like me!). Every week I toss in a bit of food, some water and torn up newspaper, and the red worms reward me with black gold, which contains the castings that they create after breaking down the kitchen waste.

Worm bins aren’t the most attractive things to keep in small-space, but they can help make your container plants healthier and look better. Potting soil is very rich when it comes straight out of the bag, but plants deplete the nutrients quickly in small containers. If you keep finicky plants like roses or certain rare species, you may want to buy special fertilizers, but most plants just need a good dose of worm castings, and they will flourish. With worm castings, plant foliage will be more lush, and flower blooms will be more abundant and showy.

Worms don’t just help plants get more nutrients, they also can help aid in soil health. Consider adding a couple of your red worms to your plant containers. Actually, if you’ve ever added worm castings to your container plants, you probably already have some worms in your plant pots. When you separate the worms from the castings and give their black gold to your container plants, there were probably some eggs in the castings. This is actually a good thing. The worms will burrow in the soil, helping combat soil compaction, aid in aeration (great for plant root health) and they will make the soil slightly more acidic, which is beneficial for most plants.

So if you keep a container garden, cut down on your waste and aid your garden by setting up a worm bin (see “Steps to Vermicomposting” on BalconyContainerGardening.com for more information). It’s cheap, easy and rewarding. And if worms give you the willies, just remember that you’re doing your part to help the environment. And just imagine how much more beautiful your plants will be at their peak during the next growing season!

The Advanced Vermicomposting Facility VERMIC3.2 HD

The advanced vermi composting facility VERMIC 3.2 HD

In Austria, it looks like vermicomposting is picking up momentum!  It’s strange to me though, because they use earthworms instead of red wigglers.

The thermophilic compost is created from alfalfa, manure and straw before being fed to the earthworms to turn into a super fine casting.

Alfred Grand appears to be a pretty stoic dude, doesn’t he?

Worm Cocoons in Vermicompost?

Worm castings are tricky, aren’t they?  They can be soggy and have lots of unprocessed material encased in castings, used in containers to grow stuff, dry out and show what they’re really like.  I’ve noticed that my worm castings that I recently removed from the Worm Inn system dried out in the sun quite fast and revealed a bunch of little purple eggs.

What are these things?  After doing a little reading and talking to the dude Bentley over at redwormcomposting.com, I learned that they were worm cocoons.  So is this a good thing or a bad thing?  I don’t really know.  Reproduction is obviously a good thing.  However, I’m learning that the cocoons may be worms laying more eggs in response to a dry or unhealthy worm system.  They also seem to lurk around the cardboard…but wouldn’t the best place for eggs be inside those corrugated tubes?

My castings seem to harden up in big chunks, and it has to be from the cardboard…I think I’m going to try chilling out on the cardboard for a bit to see if I can make a better end product…I think the worms must be getting bored of eating my cardboard scraps!

Ten questions with Michael Mulvaney, Ph.D.

Hey everyone, stay tuned for my upcoming interview with soil scientist Dr. Michael Mulvaney.  I will be asking him all of your burning questions about (you guessed it) dirt!

Are paper and cardboard destructive to your compost?  Is turning your compost pile really necessary?  Will food scraps high in citric acid destroy your compost pile?

All this and more coming soon.  I can’t wait to hear his replies, this guy really knows his stuff!

Setting Up a Basic Worm Composting Bin

Setting Up a Basic Worm Bin

This is a simple and informative video to get started on your own worm bin…I just found a container in the basement EXACTLY like the one in the video, it must be destiny to start a new bin! I’m definitely going to make a video series of my progress, so stay tuned for that.

Anyway, Bentley has an awesome site, I recommend you check it out…he has more info about worm composting than ANYONE else out there.

Peep it: http://www.redwormcomposting.com .

Worm Composting Introduction (video)

Worm Composting 101

This is a nicely done video showing the basics of worm composting.  Not sure why she has a clear plastic bin, worms are favorable to dark conditions.  Either way, it’s a great video showing what I think will become more popular over the next few years…the finished soil from a good worm bin is insanely good.

It reminds me of kombucha brewing too, once you start it initially, it just keeps multiplying.  It’s not a big investment, either…you can get a pound of red wigglers for between $20 and $30.  Definitely the way to go in the wintertime when you need extra help.