January 2013

Worm Weight Loss During Shipping

Good question from John:

Hi Bentley, What is acceptable weight loss for worms in transit? I ordered 10 pounds of reds from {Business Name Omitted}. The box came across the p.o. scales at 9# 11 oz. The empty box/bags were 13oz making the worms and peat under 8#. They were shipped Mon and delivered Wed am. The box did not have any air holes for moisture to escape. I want to get into the business and this doesn’t seem quite right. {Business Name Omitted} has not answered my enquiry. Thanks

I actually responded to John already via email, but then decided this should be posted where everyone can see it. (more…)

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Crazy Q&A Podcasts – Session #7

I am back with yet another “Crazy Q&A” session for you!

Today’s Topics

– Why aren’t my Euros getting bigger?
– Do I need to add bedding EVERY time I feed??
– Is vermicompost “organic”?
– What is the most “efficient” worm food (and the one that results in the best vermicompost)?
– How does vermicompost actually work?
– Can Red Worms cross-breed with soil worms?
– Can I use coffee grounds almost solely as a worm food?
– Does having multiple worm bins in a building pose a health threat?
– Do native worms pose a threat to composting worms in my outdoor systems?

Hope you enjoy it!

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Can-O-Worms Craziness

Here is a fairly long – but interesting – email from Leonie:

I have a Can-O-Worms and after listening to your course (well, half way through it at present), I see some glaring mistakes in the (C.O.W.) manual I was previously following.

1.Completely Cover 1st working tray with cardboard before adding bedding material.
2.Add potting mix on top of each feed.
3.Flush with 5 litres of water each week.
4.Use worm fattener:
Chicken layer pelletts 50%
Corn Flour 10%
Lime or dolomite 10%
(Sprinkle once a week)

End results of this all – a wet gooey mess and nearly loosing all my worms. Giving the manual the flick and following your advice instead.

One question. In South Australia we have had a few days over 40 Deg. C. My friends have all lost their entire population – mine just made it through. You mentioned an ice block. Can I just make ice in a container and wrap it in a bag and put inside the bin. Don’t want to add blocks that will melt and make mixture wetter – have added lots of paper and cardboard (dry) to soak up moisture.
PS Manual said to add SOAKED paper and cardboard.

Thanks for great course – will get back to hearing the rest of it.


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Steve’s Awesome Flow-Through Bed

My good friend Steve McGuire (McGuire Organics) just sent me an email letting me know about the new flow-through bed he created from a heavy duty shelving system (each shelf is capable of holding up to 2200 lb).

This thing is WAY cool! You definitely need to check it out.

Here is the link:

Steve’s New Flow-Through

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Better Bedding – Straw or Newsprint?

A question from Arlene:

Which is preferable as bedding: shredded newspaper, or straw? I have access to quite a bit of both.

Hi Arlene,

This is an interesting question – and it provides me with a good opportunity to outline my overall bedding classification system (something touched on in the last podcast, and in the RWC Vermicomposting Guide).

I basically separate bedding materials into two broad categories – 1) Primary Bedding and 2) Secondary Bedding.

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What Will Your Garden Grow?

Back at the end of August I wrote a post called “How Did Your Garden Grow?“. I shared how things had been coming along in my own garden (something I don’t write about enough), along with some “shares” from other people.

Given the fact that it’s “gardening planning season” for many of us (in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere anyway! lol), I thought it might be fun to see what interesting plans people have up their sleeves for the 2013 growing season!

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More Promise for the Vermicomposting Movement

That’s right…it’s a MOVEMENT now! (as Jack Chambers likes to say – the “Underground Movement”)

Long-time vermi-friend, Sharon K., shared a cool article with me yesterday evening. It’s another one on a popular website (just check out the “likes”, “shares” etc and you’ll see what I mean), so I’m pretty excited about it!

Here is a blurb:

Natural β€œWorm” Composts May Help Protect the Future Food Supply

Many are not aware that one of the reasons why the conventional agribusiness food system has emerged as a major threat to your health is because it is (more…)

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