January 2013

Crazy Q&A Podcasts – Session #6

Time for yet another Crazy Q&A Podcast!

I’m actually starting to make a dent in that big ol’ list of questions I have…but yeah, still a ways to go! lol

Today’s Topics

– What is the “best” bedding?
– Finishing off a vermicomposting system before harvesting
– Do earthworms need grit in their gut? If so, how best to provide it?
– Prepared worm feeds (Worm Chow etc)
– Feeding your worms (how to know how much food to add etc)
– How wet is “wet enough”?
– What role do springtails play in the ecosystem?
– Can you re-balance a “sour” bin?

Hope you enjoy it!

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Winter Worm Food Bin – 1-14-13

As reported in one of my VermBin48 (“The Beast”) posts towards the end of December, temperatures in my winter worm food bin dropped quite a bit after I replaced some of the warm leaves/grounds/food-waste with new materials that had been sitting out in the cold (go figure, eh? lol).

Some days later, I finally got around to doing something about it. I mixed alfalfa cubes and molasses with piping hot water – creating a warm slurry – and poured it into the food bin.

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Super Duper Worm Food Tool – Update

This morning I finally got around to trying out my “Super Duper Worm Food Tool” again!
(But no, that image above was not taken today! LOL)

Before putting it to work I made some modifications to the paint stirring blade – namely, I cut out a couple segments so as to (in theory) free up the motion of the blade a bit. I thought for sure that this would be a really challenging task – but was amazed by how easily my hacksaw cut through the metal!

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Crazy Q&A Podcasts – Session #5

It’s been quite some time since my last “Crazy Q&A Session”. Part of the problem was that I was holding out until I “had the time” to get the RWC podcast set up properly (in iTunes and all that jazz).

Finally it dawned on me – “why wait?!”

The “real” podcast format will come at some point – I promise you that. But for now I’m just going to continue doing what I’ve been doing!

Today’s session features some (more…)

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Vermicomposting Featured in the New York Times!

One of my big dreams has always been to see vermicomposting go “mainstream” (and of course to help the process along in any way I can). Well, I don’t think we’re quite there yet (lol), but I must say it’s pretty awesome to see an article on vermicomposting in the New York Times! Thanks very much to Patrick J. for the heads-up on this one – it’s called “Worms Produce Another Kind of Gold for Growers” and was published on December 31st (online – it says the same article appeared in the print version on Jan 1st) and – not too surprisingly – both Sonoma Valley Worm Farm and Worm Power are featured prominently.

Here is a blurb:

Some experts and entrepreneurs hope earthworms can also help with another problem: the growing piles of animal waste from dairy farms and other agricultural operations.

Worm Power, a company in Avon, N.Y., transforms 10 million pounds of manure from a single dairy herd each year — about 40 percent of the cattle’s output — into 2.5 million pounds of vermicompost. Tom Herlihy, a former municipal waste engineer who founded the company in 2003, says it has raised more than $6 million in venture capital and $2 million in grants for research, much of it at Cornell University.

Here in Northern California, Mr. Chambers’s Sonoma Valley Worm Farm produces about half a million pounds of similar compost, an amount he plans to increase in the spring. He loads a long metal bin with cow manure and 300,000 to 400,000 Eisenia fetida, or red wigglers — weighing 300 to 400 pounds. In their wake, the worms leave cattle waste that has been processed into rich and crumbly castings that look like fine peat moss.

Be sure check out the full article here: “Worms Produce Another Kind of Gold for Growers

This is exciting stuff! Can’t wait to see where things go from here!

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The Beast-1-03-13

Just a quick follow-up to my last “Beast” update. It seems those ~16 lbs of coffee grounds etc has resulted in some pretty serious heating in the bin (surprise, surprise! lol). Up near the top, many zones have been reaching temps above 35 C (95 F) – although, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is plenty of cooler habitat down towards the bottom of the system.

In an effort to cool things off AND moisten everything (grounds tends to dry out pretty quickly when overheating), I decided to try something a wee bit different from the norm… (more…)

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