For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Bentley (“Compost Guy”) Christie and I’ve been a crazed worm composting fanatic (or “vermiholic” if you prefer) for nearly 20 yrs now. I started this website back in 2007 with the simple intention of sharing my passion with the world. So far so good! Things have certainly progressed since the early days, though, and the website has provided me with an amazing opportunity to get to know a LOT of other “worm heads” from across North America and around the world!
A question from Jae:
I have a question about whether I should really use the worm leachate and worm castings that have been gathering in my farms. A lot of online articles say worm leachate can be damaging for plants while a lot of other people say leachate is actually quite good. Additionally for worm tea, which I gather is made by diluting worm castings with water has to be used immediately. Is worm tea also something that could work for plants and seeing as we have a lot of castings on our hand at the moment, is there a way to store the worm tea without using it immediately?
This is something a LOT of people wonder about – largely because of all the conflicting information out there. It is also a prime example of one of those vermicomposting topics where “it depends” is likely the most accurate answer (there are lots of topics like that in vermicomposting – haha).
Let’s start with what I feel is “bad advice” – particularly bothersome since it gets spread around by those who have quite a lot of influence. It’s this idea (more…)
Back in the spring of 2008 vermicomposting trenches completely changed the way I look at outdoor vermicomposting and gardening. I (accidentally) discovered the magic of integrated systems – directly harnessing the “power” of worms to boost plant growth.
People have associated earthworms with soil health and plant productivity for ages. It’s no secret these lowly creatures can greatly assist us in our gardening/farming efforts, when healthy populations of them are present. You don’t really need any sort of fancy “system” either – just enrich your soil with lots of organic matter, introduce some local soil worms (if you don’t already have some) and away you go!*
Integrated systems, however, are a completely different (more…)
In case you haven’t “heard”, I was invited to put together a presentation for this year’s Homegrown Food Summit (2019) – the topic: Trench Vermicomposting!
I’ve been a huge fan of the summit ever since it got its start back in spring of 2015. In fact, as some of you may recall, it was thanks to Joel Karsten’s Straw Bale Gardening talk (links to a blog post I wrote on the topic) that I ended up going completely overboard with a crazy hay-bale-vermicomposting-trench project that season.
It’s truly humbling to actually be invited to present at this event – especially seeing my name alongside people like Joel Salatin and Paul Wheaton – and I couldn’t imagine a better topic than vermicomposting trenches for the occasion!
The presentation itself actually needed to be (more…)
A question from Gordon:
I live in farming country and some farmers use silage bales. They are about 2000 pounds of alfalfa and hay. Or I bad tears grain crops that won’t have time to mature. So I am wondering that after the heating time has passed, about 4 to six weeks would it be safe to put worms into the bag? the bag would provide a sealed unit with a stable humidity. If I started with a pound of worms how long would I need to leave them in to consume the feed. I could build a rack to tilt the bag to in some way direct the worms to different areas.
This is a great question. I must admit that – living in a very active agriculture region – I find myself often looking at old rotten hay bales and other heaps of organic matter sitting in fields, imagining what would happen if I added a bunch of Red Worms! lol
The short answer is that many of these farm wastes can indeed be fantastic fodder for vermicomposting systems. But alas, things aren’t quite as cut and dried as that (ok I’ll stop now – haha).
Getting back to the giant-rotten-bales-in-the-field example I gave…
In a situation like this, where the material has been (more…)
The are various reasons for people wanting to be able to raise lots of composting worms. They can be used to stock more systems (to process even more wastes and produce even more castings); they can be used for large-scale projects; they can be shared with others (helping to “spread the worm”); they can be used as a live food or fishing bait – or they can be sold for profit.
Naturally, if you can raise more worms in less space that’s even better!
Back in the “olden days” of the internet (and modern vermicomposting for that matter) a man by the name of Brian Paley wrote an article called “How To Breed, Raise, and Maintain A 100-Pound Stock of Worms in a Single Room“.
It is a very long article – nearly 14,000 words…basically the equivalent of (more…)
Sometimes I think it is very important to see a project/experiment all the way through to completion. Other times…not so much!
Some time ago I reached the conclusion that my cat waste vermicomposting project fell into the latter category.
I’m the sort of guy that really loves to “play” with my active systems (when I’m not busy “neglecting” them, that is – haha) and – quite frankly – playing around with a system containing plenty of “kitty poopies” isn’t really all that much fun.
I see plenty of value in using Red Worms to (more…)
Just a quick update regarding my new(ish) 4 Worm Reproduction Experiment. I decided to check on the systems yesterday evening (Day 70) – and it really hit home that these systems were in serious need of an upgrade. Yes, it’s pretty clear that I’m going to easily disprove the myth about a Red Worm population only doubling in 90 days – but when it comes down to it I’ve definitely been throttling the true population growth potential by keeping these worms in tiny sour cream tubs.
As you can see in the images below, the volume of material in all systems had decreased a fair bit, and things were getting pretty dry up near the top. This was particularly pronounced in the cardboard treatment (3rd image down).