The Power of Worms is MINE!

Worm Power Organic Worm Castings

[insert evil laugh] 😆

This morning I received a very exciting package in the mail! Can you guess what it is?
Yes indeedy, my friends, RT Solutions has sent me my very own 3 lb sampler tub of Worm Power worm castings! I’m so excited, that I just can’t hide it. I’m about to lose control…and I think I like it…like it!

Sorry folks, let’s just say the arrival of my Worm Power caps off a productive and enjoyable morning. SO… I feel good… I knew that I would! SO good…

Ok, I’m going to stop now!

No Cocoons Were Inhaled in the Making of this Photo!

Just to show you how much fun I’m having, I’ve even included a scary (yet goofy) picture of me enjoying the Worm Power ‘bouquet’ – no, I’m not referring to flowers! Fine castings are like fine wine, and the ‘smell test’ is a good way to quickly get some idea of the quality. I was greeted with the rich, earthy aroma associated with high quality garden soil. In case you didn’t know, this smell is actually produced via the activities of ‘actinomycetes’, a group of fungi-like bacteria that play an important role in the (aerobic) decomposition of organic wastes.

Next, we move on to the ‘look and feel’ of the material. High quality worm castings should have a dark crumbly appearance/texture, almost like coffee grounds (can be lighter in appearance if lighter coloured feedstock is used, but should still have a similar texture). Worm Power passes with flying colours in that department. If I remember correctly, they actually let the worms process the material twice (ie. it passes through the flow-through reactor and is then re-added to the top).

So, what exactly am I going to do with all these wonderful castings?

With great power, comes great responsibility…

Stay tuned!

In the meantime, be sure to check out the Worm Power website!

P.S. Compost marketing 101 – if you are selling compost (and related products), don’t just sell ‘soil’, ‘worm castings’, or ‘compost’. Sell ‘Worm Power Gold’! Ok, so that name is already taken…but I think you get my drift!

P.S.S. In case you are wondering about my interview with the guys from Worm Power…rest assured, it is still in the works! [UPDATE: You will find the interview >>HERE<<] [tags]worm power, worm castings, rt solutions, worm compost, vermicompost, compost, soil amendments, organic, fertilizer[/tags]

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Comments

  1. You had way too much fun with this post! You sound like a kid in a candy store. 🙂
    I appreciated the description of what finished casting are to appear like. I’ve thought about getting some at the garden store just to see if what I had was anything close. Do you have a good way to separate castings from bedding and food? Or do they just take everything and call it ‘worm castings’?
    You say they process the castings twice, but I thought worm castings were toxic to other worms? Are the worms to just find the remaining food or do they eat the castings a second time? I can see how this would make for a very consistent pile of worm castings at the end.

    Allen

    • Bentley
    • January 11, 2008

    Haha – yes indeed, Allen!
    WAAAY too much fun. Oh well – I yam what I yam…
    A BIG goofball!
    😆

    You have castings at a local store there? That’s cool
    As for separating castings, the best way is to use some sort of ‘continuous-flow’ system, such as the large-scale flow through reactor that RT Solutions uses to make Worm Power. I should probably write a post about continuous flow systems rather than try to explain it here (thanks for the idea!), but basically these types of systems rely on the worms tendency to follow the highest quality food source.

    In the case of a flow-through reactor bed, you would start by laying cardboard down over the grate floor, then add lots of bedding and food (kinda like setting up a normal worm bin). Once the mixture is ready to go you would add worms. Then you can start adding very thin layers of waste to the top of the composting mass (where the worms are) – perhaps an inch a day or so. Gradually levels in the bed rise, eventually getting close to the top. At this point you can start harvesting from the bottom (cardboard will be completely digested).
    Anyway, thats the basic idea.

    Separating castings from worms in a ‘normal’ worm bin would be a little different. (will talk about this more soon)

    As for processing materials twice, while castings will be reasonably well stabilized after one pass through a worm, there will still be some nutritional value left in them. In the case of a worm bin where castings have not been harvested ever (or for a very long time), keep in mind the fact that they have likely passed through a worm a few times. And yes eventually they will offer no value as food (not sure they would ever actually be “toxic”.

    Anyway, I’ll definitely write more about all this shortly!

    Thanks again!

  2. Hi Bentley!
    Thanks for visiting my blog! I just got my very first worms yesterday and I too am sooooo excited (though I’m going to have to say that you do seem just a tad more exited than me…hee hee). I had originally tried to get worms at a local bait shop, but apparently they do not have set hours in the winter (or any hours??), so I decided just to order 500 red wrigglers from Uncle Jim’s.

    I’ve been adding food scraps and shredded newspaper to my bin for about a week and a half now. I was a little concerned because some of the scraps were getting a bit moldy…. is that a problem? When I added my worms, some of them started climbing up the sides, but by the next morning they had all but disappeared into the bedding/food mix.

    So now I’m wondering…. how do I know if my worms are doing well (or vice versa, how do I know if they are not doing well)? This is all so new to me! I originally had the bin on my back porch, but it can drop down below freezing out there, so I moved it to my basement. My cat is very interested in my worms, by the way….

    Anyway, if you have a chance, any advice/suggestions would be so greatly appreciated. I think I will write another post on my blog with some photos, for my friends to check out (they are mostly back in Chicago and think I’ve gone a bit goofy!) Thanks so much!!
    Joanna

    • Bentley
    • January 12, 2008

    Hi Joanna!
    Thanks for stopping by.
    I’m glad to hear that your worms have arrived and that you had their home ready to go for them (you’re such a nice landlord – haha!).

    Mold on food waste isn’t too much of an issue in my experience – if you have lots and lots of it, this may be an indication that there is too much food in there. Speaking of which, I definitely wouldn’t add any new food for awhile for this very reason (you included food with your bedding when setting up the bin).

    As for worms crawling up the side, there is definitely a certain amount of that that occurs regardless of conditions in the bin (some worms seem to like exploring) – unless of course you have a thick layer of absorbent, shredded cardboard/paper on top (tends to dry up moisture on lid and sides of bin, thus discouraging worms). The fact that your worms moved down into the mass is a very good sign.

    If you see lots of worm up on the walls/lid (underside of lid, that is) or balled up together in a corner somewhere, this is a pretty good indication of something seriously wrong. If they stay where they are that is a good start. Give them a couple days to mellow out, then do a little (gentle) digging around. If they seem very active (retreating from the light etc) and settled in, you are likely in the clear. That said, you’ll still want to be conservative with your initial feedings. Just add a little bit at a time and wait until it disappears before feeding more.

    Hope this helps!

    B.

    • Linda Leigh
    • May 3, 2009

    Howdy Bentley:
    I’ve spent a couple of hours harvesting castings from my small bins, and they look quite lovely. Since I eventually want to sell them, I’m working out how to dry them and do a final sifting so that they’ll be even more gorgeous. I don’t want to sell water to people or charge for mailing water-filled castings…that’s why the air-drying. Since I’m in southern Arizona, air-drying is easy this time of year.

    As the castings are drying, I am finding hundreds of tiny red wigglers – they’re babies and I don’t want to sacrifice them just because they go through my sifter. Got pot worms, too. Sentient beings, unite! Do you have any suggestions for collecting the baby worms as the vermicast is drying? Right now I’m spending about 5 minutes every hour or so just hand-picking them out of the castings. It’s a little time-consuming, though okay for a Sunday.

    Thanks for all of the great information you’re sharing!

    Linda

    • Paul Dolph
    • December 11, 2013

    We are using two old seed cleaners that we found on craigs , One is a drum type and the other is a shaker. They both work well.

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