March 2013

Small Trenches and Coffee Grounds

A couple of questions from Kathleen:

What’s the smallest trench that you can use for worms? I have a number of holes dug by my dogs that I would like to fill and be useful at the same time. I can do a little digging to enlarge but physically not able to do much. Is there any hope for the mine field in my back yard?

I’ve been doing a lot of web searching and remember seeing something about “aged” coffee grounds. Is it necessary to age them before adding them to the bin, and, if so, how do I go about aging them?

Hi Kathleen,
I don’t know if I’d say that there is a specific “minimum size” for vermicomposting trenches and pits – but there are certainly some important considerations. Likely the primary factor of importance is your local climate. Do you live in an area that gets really hot? Really cold? Really wet? Really dry? If you deal with one or more of these extremes, you’ll likely need to put a little more time and effort (and thought) into the construction of your pit/trench.

In most cases, it’s likely going to be a good idea to (more…)

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The Beast – 03-12-13

It’s been almost a month and a half since my last VermBin48 update! As you may recall, I ran into some pretty serious Euro migration and leaking issues and ended up completely removing the tarp etc I had sitting down below.

Since then, whether the result of leftover frustration from that experience or my desire to to simply let the bin mellow (and dry) out, I’ve basically been neglecting the VB48 completely. I DID add one sizable batch of food, not long after my last update – but other than that I’ve been focused on other things.

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John’s Passive Worm Harvester

RWC follower, John Claypool, recently wrote me an email sharing his passive approach to harvesting worms from his big bin. I loved the simplicity (and apparent effectiveness) of John’s method, so I asked if it would be ok to share it here.

Here is his description, with pictures:

Make a frame of 1×4 wood that will fit the top of your bin and cover with 1/4″ hardware cloth or other open mesh screen. Place on top of the bin and fill with food that is fine enough for the worms to work easily (I use pulverized horse manure). Cover to keep out light and wait a couple of days. The worms will come up to feed and you simply need to dump the frame onto your table to seperate the worms from the food. I will use this method to harvest my production beds but my trial just this week proved the theory. I guess if you weigh the full tray/food before and after you would have the weight of the harvested worms.

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Man Grows Pot as “Vermiculture Experiment”?

Just came across a rather bizarre article from back in October. It’s about a man in Perth Australia who was arrested and convicted after being caught with 133 cannabis plants (and 1 kg of dried product). He claims it was simply part of a vermiculture experiment!

Here is an excerpt from the article:

Judge Allan Fenbury told Perth’s District Court today he believed the offences were at the lower end of the range of severity, rejecting the prosecution’s argument the number of plants Hartwig had grown was “staggering”.

“I’ve seen a case with 40,000 plants – that’s staggering,” Judge Fenbury said.

He said the fact the trial jury had found Hartwig guilty did not mean they disregarded all of his evidence, including testimony that it wasn’t his intention when he began experimenting with worm castings to become involved in marijuana.

Read the full article here: Thomas George Hartwig’s vermiculture drug experiment leads to jail

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Crazy Q&A Podcasts – Session #10

Today’s Topics

– Re-hydrating dried-out vermicompost.
– Don’t add boric acid to a worm bin.
– Blended foods + dark bedding – how to tell when food has been consumed and vermicompost ready for harvest.
– Can worms break down pesticides and heavy metals?
– Can different foods be mixed?
– Worm biz ideas for a special needs class.
– Keeping a small bin warm with dryer exhaust?
– Even MORE on Black Soldier Fly larvae
– Can a worm bin be started with just cocoons?

Hope you enjoy it!

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Worms for Composting Horse Manure

Here is a question from George:

My wife and I have two horses and 3 compost bins, each 8’x8’x4′. I’ve
been thinking that our compost might be significantly improved by
adding worms, so I’m wondering what your advice might be on this. We
rotate the bins, about 4 months each, so it takes about a year to
complete a cycle. The oldest bin is typically fairly cool, so I think
that it should be able to benefit from worms. Also perhaps bin number
2. Any advice on things to consider, such as the type of worms that
would work best, would be most appreciated.

Hi George,
Sounds like a great situation to me (said Bentley, green with envy! lol).
Pre-composting/aging the manure for a period of time is definitely important, but I honestly don’t think you would need to do it for as long as you have been, once you’ve got the worms involved. The material you have after the second bin is finished would likely be a great starter “bedding” for the worms, but I would likely set up some separate beds for the actual vermicomposting.

Assuming you have some (more…)

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Euros vs Red – 03-05-13

It’s been more than two weeks since I added the worms (3 adult Red Worms + 3 adult European Nightcrawlers) to the new “Euros vs Reds” bin. Yesterday I decided to check on things and to add some food.

This was actually my second time checking on the bin. The first time was less than a week after I added the worms – I basically just wanted to make sure they were all ok. I was able to find all of them at that time, so I felt better about leaving them alone for awhile.

Yesterday I wasn’t able to find all the worms (more on that in a minute), but I did see two cocoons – one from each species. I have little doubt that there are more in there that I didn’t see, but my aim wasn’t to do a formal count. I just wanted to determine whether or not they were starting to lay cocoons

I’m not overly concerned about the (more…)

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