February 2011

When to Harvest Vermicompost

In this video I respond to a question from Steve:

When is the best time to harvest vermicompost (i.e., what should it look like, how broken down, etc)? I know that “it depends” and that you have commented on this in the past, but it seems like a common question without a detailed answer.

In typical Bentley Christie fashion, I stick with my “it depends” stance (haha), BUT I do explain WHAT it depends on, and talk in more detail about each of these factors.

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Bentley’s Wormilicious Interview

I just wanted to let everyone know about my most recent interview. This one was with good vermi-friend, and Worm Farming Alliance member, Cassandra Truax. It was literally our first time speaking to one another, and we both admitted to feeling a little nervous ahead of time, but we ended up having a grand ol’ time!

Not so sure about my new title – “granddaddy of worm composting online” – (HaHa) but I certainly appreciated Cassandra’s kind words!

Anyway, be sure to check it out here: Wormilicious Podcast 5

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Composting Worms in Raised Beds

OK – finally getting my reader questions experiment underway! I recently found a very nifty online “screen capture” program called Screenr, which basically lets you make little screencasts that then get posted on Twitter. This is great since it allows me to hit two birds with one stone (actually more than that as I’ll explain in a minute). Not only does it help me to be a bit more active on Twitter (I very rarely post anything), but I also end up with a video I can post here on the blog. I noticed that you can also very easily upload the videos to YouTube as well (another “bird”), and with a handy dandy Twitter-Facebook Page app installed, it should post a link on the RWC Facebook Fan page!
Am I a GEEK or what?!?!

Only problem – for a motor mouth like me – is that the time limit is only 5 minutes! Actually a blessing in disguise since it forces me to present info in a more concise manner!
Let’s just say it took a FEW takes to get this first video finished (and it was still kinda cut off at the end! haha).

Anyway – this is my response to some questions from RWC newsletter reader, Damon. He was wondering about using composting worms in raised beds. As I explain in the video, this is fairly straight-forward – as always (with vermi-gardening) the key is to make sure there are good quality “plant zones” and good quality “worm zones”. Composting worms don’t thrive in regular soil, so you definitely need a sort of hybrid system.

One approach mentioned near the end is the “Worm Tower” idea (see the links to old posts down below). I think this could work REALLY well in a raised bed, and it’s nice and easy to set up. I’m definitely aiming to experiment with this approach next growing season.

Anyway – hope Damon (and others) find this helpful! I can’t promise ALL my responses will be Screenr videos, but we’ll see how everything comes together.

Posts That May Be of Interest
Vermi Tomato Gardening
Worm Towers Revisted
Worm Tower

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“Is it Spring Yet?” SALE

Hi Everyone,
Happy Groundhog Day! I haven’t heard an official report yet, but somehow I suspect “Wiarton Willy” – the famous clairvoyant rodent up here in Ontario – won’t exactly be predicting spring any time soon!! We’ve got a crazy blizzard (with really cold weather) blowing through our region at the moment (and I’m sure many others can commiserate)!

Anyway, I thought it would be the PERFECT day to announce my itty bitty “Is It Spring Yet?” SALE!

In a nutshell…

1) For a limited time you can purchase 5 lb of Red Worms mixed with Euros (approx 60:40 ratio, according to my supplier) for the same price as 5 lb of Red Worms. You will find a new section just below the order buttons (for Reds and Euros).

2) I am also offering 10% off of pretty well everything I have for sale (unfortunately, the one exception is 10 lb Red Worm orders). I have a new shopping cart (nothing fancy, but it should help a bit) and it allows me to create coupons! So, be sure to use the coupon code “FEBRUARY” (no quotes) when you checkout. Again – this applies to all worm orders, aside from 10 lb of Reds, and all Worm Inn orders.

If you happened to be interested in the 5 lb Red/Euro mix, you can actually now get it for $89 and change (delivered) when you use the coupon code.

**UPDATE: The sale has ended and the FEBRUARY code is no longer valid. I am also no longer selling Euro/Red mix**

As mentioned, the last time I offered a Red Worm / Euro mix, while I don’t typically recommend mixing these species in a normal vermicomposting system (over time, Reds tend to outcompete the Euros), they can be great for various vermi-gardening systems (especially if you are using trenches & pits). I’ve continued to find Euros out in my beds ever since dumping some in my trenches a few years ago. They tend to prefer staying further down than the Reds, and just generally seem to be better adapted for a semi-soil type of environment.

My good friend Jeff, who raises Euros, has found them all over his property – even in zones where you wouldn’t normally expect to find composting worms (beneath the lawn etc)! I certainly wouldn’t ever suggest that people simply dump them in the soil and expect miracles, but if you provide them with a nice rich habitat you may find that they end up spreading to other areas on their own.

One other thing to mention about the new shopping cart, by the way. It sends out confirmation emails automatically, and I am still tweaking this system a bit – so if you see any weirdness in these emails you will know why.
For example, if you buy Reds and Euros at the same time (not to be confused with the mix discussed above) you will end up with a repeat of some of the information in the email you receive.

As always, if you have ANY questions, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line!

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Reader Questions Update

Hi Folks,
I’m sure quite a few of you (on the email list) have been eager to see what I have in store for all those questions you guys sent in. Sorry for the delay getting things going with that – still trying to figure out the best way to approach this.

As it stands, I will more than likely use a variety of approaches, just for the sake of keeping things moving and providing people with answers BEFORE SPRING! (haha)

Aiming to get the ball rolling later today.
Thanks for your assistance (with my “request”) and, as per usual, for your patience!

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