August 2012

Euros vs Reds Wrap-Up

This morning I finally got around to counting the worms in my “Euros vs Reds” bins, and I must say that the incredible difference in bedding-processing between these two bins (reported on in my 8-22-12 update – link below) is making a LOT more sense.

As mentioned previously, I decided NOT to count any cocoons this time around (I can only imagine how long that would have taken!) – I simply counted “adults” (those with an obvious clitelum) and “young worms” (those without an obvious clitellum). There was certainly some grey area there, though, with some of the larger “young” worms likely being capable of reproduction, but in terms of a total-worm-population size, there really just no comparison!

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Plastic Worm Bin-08-30-12

Things have continued to move along fairly slowly with my plastic worm bin. Yesterday (when I added food and took the pictures you see below) marked day 55 of the project. Pretty crazy!

Hopefully this at least helps to emphasize my typical recommendation for taking a mellow approach with your new plastic enclosed worm bin. There’s certainly NO chance that I’d “starve” these worms, but it’s during these early days when overfeeding can often cause headaches.

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How Did Your Garden Grow?

Something dawned on me recently. Unlike the past few years, I haven’t really written anything about my “vermi-gardening” (and gardening in general) efforts this season. As such, I thought it might be fun to put together a blog post with some of my pictures, and to invite others to send in some of their pics as well (the invitation to do so was included in a recent RWC newsletter). As it turns out, I only received a few responses, but that’s OK since this is looking like it’s going to be a monster of a post as it is!

If you’ve followed me over the past few years you may recall that I have a bit of an obsession with tomatoes. They are my favorite crop plant by far, and I always try to squeeze as many of them into my various beds as I can. This year I decided to take my tomato-growing even more seriously, making a real effort to:

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Vermicompost Comparison Wrap-Up

I figured I should post one last update for my vermicompost comparison experiment, rather than simply letting it slide quietly into oblivion (LOL). As is often the case with my fun experiments, the actual design of this one really wasn’t thought out all that well, so the results are pretty wishy washy at best.

As you may recall, I moved two plants from each treatment into a larger bucket (containing more of the same soil mix as they were already growing in). It’s safe to say that – while certainly more realistic than growing the plants in tiny pots – growing two cucumber plants in a single small bucket (in mostly hot dry weather) isn’t the best way to promote healthy plant growth.

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Vermicomposting Yard Wastes

An interesting message/question from Sam:

I just finished a large landscaping project where I removed a bunch of
clumps of dirt with weeds and grass in them and put them in a composting
pile. My town is really small and I dont know of any places to purchase
red worms but I would like to start composting as soon as I can. My first
question is do red worms eat/compost grass clippings like from a lawn mower?

Hi Sam,
This is probably something a lot of people have wondered about, so thanks for writing in!

I’m afraid this is a bit of a “good news/bad news” type of situation, though. While composting worms CAN process some yard wastes, including grass clippings, the materials you’ve described are definitely NOT ideal “worm foods”.

For starters, I would personally aim to keep as much soil out of the compost heap as you can (whether for vermicomposting or not). If a lot is added, it will only serve to impede the composting process. In the case of vermicomposting, it’s important to remember that these are not soil worms, so it’s definitely not their preferred habitat material. In moderation it should be OK, provided you’ve already established a good quality habitat for the worms.

Speaking of which…

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Vermicomposting Tools

RWC reader, Brad Irish, recently sent me a photo (and brief description) of the set of “tools” he uses to prepare materials for his Worm Inn. I knew this was something that other “Worm Heads” would appreciate so I asked if I could share it here.

This is what he had to say:

Attached you will find a photo of the tools I use to prepare my
Worm Inn food for my worms by chopping it up using an
ice scraper and a dedicated immersion blender if I want
to puree the mixture. It seems to be working very well in
that my Worm Inn is doing well having started it in the
middle of July with 1 lbs. of worms.

And here is the pic:

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Euros vs Reds-8-22-12

It’s been a little while (a.k.a. THREE MONTHS! lol) since my last “Euros vs Reds Head-to-Head Challenge” post, and it might have ended up being even longer had the bins not caught my eye the other day. Initially, I was really just curious to see how things looked inside. Keep in mind, these bins have basically sat untouched since my last update! Once I opened the bins, though, I knew I had to at least post a quick update for all of you.

The image below says it all! The difference in the degree of processing between these two bins is unbelievable.

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