Vermi-Fertilization System – 07-23-13

Everything seems to be moving along well with my “Vermi-Fertilization & Watering System“. I have four tomato plants and a ground cherry (added as an afterthought) in the bed, and – as you can see if you refer back to my original post – they’ve certainly grown a fair amount.

I have even been enjoying the “fruits of my labors”, in the form of tasty grape tomatoes picked and eaten while going about my day-to-day garden chores (alas this seems to be the fate of most of my early tomatoes! lol).

Since starting the system, I’ve been adding a variety of kitchen and yard wastes – although it’s been more challenging as of late with the jungle of plant foliage growing over the lid of the bin. The worms (and friends) seem to be processing everything pretty readily. Apart from the level of material continually dropping, when I dig down a bit I quickly start to see something that looks more like compost than the original waste materials, along with plenty of worms.

There even seem to be a fair number of worms in the bed itself. With a little bit of digging near the bin today (didn’t want to go too crazy since lots of roots growing there) I quickly found a European Nightcrawler. Previous excavations have turned up Red Worms and various soil worms as well. I have little doubt that there are many more further down where moisture levels are higher.

I am pleased with the results thus far. None of the plants are showing any obvious signs of deficiency, so I think the system is working the way I had hoped it would.

It will be interesting to see how things pan out during the remainder of the growing season.

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Comments

    • David
    • July 23, 2013

    Adding kitchen and yard wastes to this bin, what is to keep it from hot composting and killing your worms? I suppose that as long as the surrounding soil is still hospitable to them, they would just exit the bin while it is too hot and return when temperatures have dropped, assuming that there is still a good food source there after hot composting. If this approach is by design, there may not be a reason to refrain from adding items known to start a thermophilic compost reaction such as green lawn clippings or uncomposted manure.

    • Bentley
    • July 23, 2013

    Hi David,
    Materials have been added gradually over time, so it’s unlikely that the entire contents of the system would have ever over-heated. It IS likely that temps in the upper zone have been high at times (especially before the bin was shaded by the plants), but the worms were likely able to find cooler zones further down.

    • Kim from Milwaukee
    • July 24, 2013

    Well done Bentley!! Beautiful garden you have!

    • Beni
    • July 27, 2013

    Bentley…do you cover the bin so birds don’t eat the worms?

    • Bentley
    • July 28, 2013

    Thanks Kim! The worms certainly help!
    🙂

    ————–
    BENI – The system consists of a plastic garbage can (with lid) mostly buried in the ground, so it would take a pretty smart (and strong) bird to gain access! lol

    • thuan
    • July 30, 2013

    Pulled up my 5 gallon plastic plant pot dog waste “worm tower” because it was getting full. To my surprise, roots from the nearby pumelo tree invaded about a third of the pot. It was a thick root ball! Also surprising was that the dog waste was getting composted by worms faster than I thought it would (no visible waste remaining). So I dumped everything out, sorted the worms and put them back into the pot with some bedding. I had plans to do this every 6 months but it looks like I may have to do this every 3-4 months.

    • Beni
    • July 31, 2013

    Bentley, is the plastic bin a normal size garbage can?….i imagine you cut out the bottom. Also, how much of it is buried into the ground…. a third perhaps?

    • Bentley
    • July 31, 2013

    THUAN – that’s fantastic! Thanks for sharing your update.
    ——–
    BENI – many of the specifics can be found in this post:
    https://www.redwormcomposting.com/gardening/vermi-fertilization-watering-system/
    It is a normal sized garbage can (actually might be considered “large”). Only drilled holes in the bottom. It is likely 2/3 in the ground.

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