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Red Worm Composting – Welcome!

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Bentley (“Compost Guy”) Christie and I’ve been a crazed worm composting fanatic (or “vermiholic” if you prefer) for more than 13 yrs now. I created this website back in 2006 with the simple intention of sharing my passion with the world. So far so good! Things have certainly progressed since the early days, though, and the website has provided me with an amazing opportunity to get to know a LOT of other “worm heads” from across North America and around the world!

(more…)

Written by Bentley on March 11th, 2010 with comments disabled.
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Outdoor Worm Inn Mega – 5-29-15

It’s been about a week since I set up my new outdoor Worm Inn Mega, and so far things seem to be coming along very nicely!

I didn’t give the worms much time to “chill out” before starting to add food though.

Last weekend, I noticed we had an old spaghetti squash that was starting to go bad (these things last forever – it has literally been sitting in my kitchen since it was harvested from my garden last fall), so I decided to split it in half and add it to the system.

I simply placed the squash halves on top of the upper layer of thatch and grass clippings, then covered up with more loose hay.

Not one to go easy on my Worm Inn systems, yesterday I decided to (more…)

Written by Bentley on May 29th, 2015 with no comments.
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Hay Bale Vermigardening

Early last month, I wrote (excitedly) about my recent discovery of “Straw Bale Gardening” (thanks to a presentation I watched during the Homegrown Food Summit). I made firm plans to try it out this season.

Not long after writing that post, I started “shopping” for local straw/hay bale sources, and even picked up 5 bales to get the ball rolling.

[ASIDE: You know you are a “city guy” when you imagine fitting 5-10 bales in a station wagon. The farm girl who helped me me load up laughed when I had to basically drop-kick the 5th bale, just to get it onto the front passenger seat, and the door closed! lol]

Then I smartened up a bit…

Last Thursday I had 30 bales of hay dropped off in my driveway ($5 a bale, delivered from nearly an hour away. I definitely feel lucky to live in an agricultural zone).

I was officially (more…)

Written by Bentley on May 27th, 2015 with 6 comments.
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My Outdoor Worm Inn Mega

Time sure flies when you’re having fun! Looking back, I just realized that my last Worm Inn Mega blog post wasn’t that long after Halloween (and actually discusses the results of a pumpkin vermicomposting experiment)!

As I (think I) touched on in a later blog post about getting a regular Worm Inn set up on a wooden stand, unfortunately I had to dismantle the Mega I had down in my basement bathroom due to some renovations and an overall attempt to free up some space late last fall.

I’ve definitely been missing that system, though! So much so that I finally decided to do something I never thought I would do – I set up a Worm Inn Mega outside in my backyard!

{Gasp!}

If you’ve been through the RWC Worm Inn Guide, or any of my other blog posts etc on the topic (of Worm Inns as a whole), you’ll probably know that I tend to refer to them as “the ultimate indoor vermicomposting systems” – and basically go so far as to recommend that people NOT keep them outdoors.

Even though I’ve received some positive feedback from customers who have done exactly that, I’ve continued to have misgivings about it. Here are a handful of the reasons for my stance on the matter: (more…)

Written by Bentley on May 22nd, 2015 with 1 comment.
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Grass Thatch Vermicomposting – Update

A couple of days ago I checked up on the bins I added my grass thatch + food waste mix to and was really impressed with how well everything was coming along. As I mention (and show) in the video, the worms have readily moved into the thatch-food zone (they actually did so almost immediately, as a quick check late last week revealed), and the bins smell great!

In all honesty, this makes me want to collect a LOT more thatch so I can have an ongoing supply readily available.

Before closing up the bins I decided to (more…)

Written by Bentley on May 21st, 2015 with no comments.
Read more articles on Home Vermicomposting.

Grass Thatch as a Living Material

Last week while I was raking up some old raspberry canes I’d pruned from my patch, I noticed that a lot of thatch was getting raked up as well. It reminded me that I’ve often included thatch among the potential “living materials” you can add to a vermicomposting system as a way to optimize the process.

This inspired me to collect a bin-full of the material so I could test it out for myself. This certainly isn’t the first time I’ve played around with thatch (and grass clippings). Some readers may recall my “Old Grass Clippings & Thatch as Worm Food” post from last fall.

In all honesty, that last batch of material (from a local lawn bowling club) did NOT (more…)

Written by Bentley on May 15th, 2015 with 1 comment.
Read more articles on Home Vermicomposting.

What Kind of Worms For My Garden?

Question from Jeff:

I live in Topeka KS – Just built three raised bed planters and filled them with top soil from the pasture. Suprisingly the soil is a bit tight and no signs of worms. The veg are doing OK so far but I’d like to get some worms in there and start feed them to loosen and richen the soil– Wigglers, Nightcrawlers, what do you recommend?

Hi Jeff,

This is certainly a topic I have covered on the site in the past – but it’s also probably one of the most common questions/misconceptions overall. So it’s absolutely worth revisiting.

First and foremost, composting worms such as Red Worms and European Nightcrawlers are NOT soil-working worms. Sadly, some (disreputable, in my opinion) worm suppliers have no qualms claiming otherwise – but it’s absolutely not the case. There are some semi-composting species, such as “Jumpers” (Amythas sp) and Lumbricus rubellus, that are much better suited for a soil environment – but I don’t really recommend purchasing them since there is academic research suggesting that they can pose a threat to native ecosystems (especially L. rubellus) in some regions.

You can check out my “Do Composting Worms Pose a Threat as Invasive Species?” article if you’re interested in learning more.

All that being said, the good news is that (more…)

Written by Bentley on May 11th, 2015 with no comments.
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Why Are My Worms Still Roaming?

Question from Steve:

I have to keep a 2 watt led bulb in my bin to keep the worms from exploring our basement. I’ve had them for 3 months now and I would have expected them to settle down quite a while ago. Any ideas?

Hi Steve,

There are a number of factors that can contribute to the likelihood of worms roaming. Let’s take a look at some of the main ones.

1) Worm Species – different species of composting worms have different tendencies to roam. Red Worms (Eisenia fetida/andrei) are, in my experience, the most mellow among them. Once they are settled in they seem to be the least likely to roam excessively (in enclosed plastic bins they will often roam up the sides a bit – but won’t typically try to escape).

European Nightcrawlers (Eisenia hortensis) will also be fairly mellow once settled in, BUT are far more prone to roaming when they are disturbed than Red Worms. Digging around, adding food/water, even just bumping or sliding the bin can result in quite a few Euros wanting to make a break for it.

Blue Worms (Perionyx excavatus) are notorious for their roaming behavior. They don’t necessarily (more…)

Written by Bentley on May 8th, 2015 with 7 comments.
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