April 2015

Pigeon Manure Vermicomposting Update

I wanted to post a fairly quick follow-up to my “Poultry Manure Vermicomposting” post.

As I expected would be the case, the worms were quite slow to process the pigeon manure I added. But they DID seem to process most of it after about 17 days.

Although it’s a bit hard to see it in the two images below, there was really only a small amount of the (more…)

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How to “Split” a Worm Bin

This video shows how I split the contents of a relatively new worm bin to create two new vermicomposting systems.

Splitting offers a great option for those wishing to expand their “worm herd” rather than simply harvesting the vermicompost and starting fresh in the same bin.

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Will Onions Kill Worms?

Question from Peggy

I put a small container of red worms in my outdoor compost. I went searching for them and I see no worms. Could the onions I had in it killed them?

Hi Peggy,
In all honesty, it is VERY unlikely that you would have killed off your worms simply by having onions in the outdoor composting system. There are numerous other potential reasons for the disappearance that are far more likely in my mind.

I’m not sure what type of system you added them to – but assuming there is any possibility of escape (eg. it is an open heap, or a bin with an open bottom etc), the worms may have simply moved on if the habitat wasn’t to their liking. Outdoor composting bins/heaps need to be set up in much the same way as an indoor worm bin if you want the worms to thrive in them. In my experience, a lot of people tend to (more…)

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Poultry Manure Vermicomposting

For quite some time now I`ve been wanting to try feeding poultry manure to composting worms. It`s a tricky material – not nearly as worm-friendly as something like aged horse manure, for example – but I still think there is a lot of potential for using it as a worm food.

While I don`t think pigeons are technically “poultry” (lol), I was able to secure some pigeon manure recently, and it looks very similar to the chicken manure I`ve seen in the past. So it`s what I`ll be using initially.

Some of the challenges with poultry manure:

  • It is a very dry manure – it definitely needs to be well-hydrated before use.
  • It can have high salt levels, which can be harmful to worms.
  • It is rich in nitrogen and has a very high potential for ammonia release – also really dangerous for worms.

The first thing I did with my bag of pigeon manure was (more…)

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Tiny Tub Challenge – 4-8-15

I checked up on my TTTWC bins again today.

I’m happy to report that I finally have some hatchlings!

Here are the results (not bothering with worm-less tub #2 anymore since it is just for comparison purposes)

Bin #1 – 22 cocoons. 7 Hatchlings
Bin #3 – 32 cocoons. 1 Hatchling

Temperature down in the basement is still around 17 C (~63 F).

All hatchlings are still very small. I was surprised to see (more…)

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Straw Bale Vermi-Gardening?

I have clearly been living under a rock for the past few years! I just got finished watching an awesome session at the Homegrown Food Summit (link may not work by the time some of you are reading this) presented by Joel Karsten all about “Straw Bale Gardening” – shockingly, a concept I’d never even read/heard about about previously (remember that rock? It’s a BIG one! lol).

NOTE: Video above is one I found on YouTube (featuring Joel Karsten). As I discovered, there are LOADS of straw bale gardening videos in general, so you may want to do a search there if this is something you want to learn more about. Joel’s “Straw Bale Gardens” website is also an excellent resource.

Interestingly, I have however toyed with the idea of trying something similar, especially after using (more…)

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Cat Urine in Castings?

Interesting question from Janet:

I have an open bin of worm castings under my flow through bin. I discovered my cat has been using it as a litter box. I am wondering is the urine harmful to the castings or can it still be used in the garden? Also, is it bad to let stored castings dry out? Does this affect the microbial life?

Hi Janet,

I hope you don’t mind that your email made me laugh a bit! I definitely feel your pain – our old cat Monty (who passed on last August) was peeing everywhere during his final months. I didn’t have any low-lying castings bins at the time, but I guarantee he would have “fertilized” them if I did! lol

Getting back to your question…

I would say that it probably depends on (more…)

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