Tag: Vermicomposting

Still No Worms
Sat 27 Jan 2007

Entry #1 of 7 on this page (tagged: vermicomposting)

Worms Eat My Garbage

I finished reading the book, Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelhof a little while ago and I'm excited to meet our new worm friends!

I really want the worm bin that was developed by the author, Worm-a-way. It's an 80$ box that has all kinds of ventilation (very important), but the shipping is 30$ more. I wanted to see if I could buy one in town to save a bit of money...

Today, Significant Other rang up the little garden store that's just down the street to see if they had any worm houses. It seemed like the person there was a little bit clueless, but she did suggest Home Depot. I thought that was a good idea, and we headed down there.

Home Depot didn't have any either, but the girl there at least knew what we were talking about. She said they had several requests for worm bins last year as well, and she wished they sold them. She suggested we go to Down to Earth and told us where it was.

Hey, that's a cool store, all kinds of interesting things in there... a garden center and gift shop combined. And they have a worm bin. But it's not the one I want... It looked like this one: Tray Worm Composter and I'm not sure if I want to deal with layers. Plus the trays don't seem deep enough to me.

They called their other store, and it had the round bin Can-O-Worms again, with the layers. Also this one is more expensive, usually over 100$.

The manager suggested we take the Worm Class at the extension office. It's just 25$ and you come home with a homemade bin filled with bedding and worms all ready to go.

A really good deal. Except I don't want to deal with the stress of a real class. Well. We'll see. The first class this year isn't until mid-March, and it's only a two hour class. If I don't have a worm castle by that time, maybe I'll drag SO over there.

Squirmy Wormy Links

  Young Person's Guide to Vermicomposting
(you have to scroll down to the article) All the basic info, and the website it's on is an archive for worm news articles.

  Cornell: Composting in Schools: Worm Bin Info

  Vermicomposting Forum
Haha, the 5th thread down is a question about using used guinea pig bedding for the worms!

  Worm Bins sold at Amazon

  Technorati Tag:

Yay Worms!
Sat 17 Mar 2007

Entry #2 of 7 on this page (tagged: vermicomposting)

Significant Other and I are Worm School Graduates. Yay, we went to worm class this morning and we came home with our new beautiful worm friends! In a very attractive Purple worm bin, no less! Happiness!

The talking part of the class lasted about an hour and a half. They told us everything we needed to know. And then we went and set up our worm house.

Worm bin

The bin is two, 14gal Rubbermaids. The top one is where the worms live. It has four vents along the top, and a bunch of holes in the bottom. The top Rubbermaid sits inside the bottom one, on top of two wood blocks. The bottom Rubbermaid catches the water that leaks out and there's a drain spout at the bottom of that one.

Bedding inside worm bin

Then they put some bedding in our bin. Some leaf litter and some newspaper shreds. It's less than half full, but that's good since I'll be cleaning Tegan the guinea pig's house and then we'll have plenty of shreds to throw in there.

And then our worms! They didn't look very happy when they came out of their ziplock bag... they were probably suffocating in there! But hopefully they will get happy in their new house.

We brought them home and SO ate a banana so he could feed them the peel right away! laughs. And I've got a bunch of stuff I've been saving... some dented cans of chickpeas, dead leaves off my house plants, some leftover flax flour which has been sitting way too long.

The worms are only supposed to eat vegan food, except they kept talking about adding egg shells. This is to keep the bedding from getting too acidic and also provides grit for the worms gizzard. Now, I haven't rescued any hens or turkey girls lately, so this is going to be a problem.

Fortunately, Worms Eat My Garbage says I can use calcium carbonate / powdered limestone instead. I just need to figure out how I can get some of that.

hm. Or maybe I could crush up some shells that I got from the coast when we went last year. I would hate to buy oyster shells, since they kill the poor critters and that's definitely not cool. But the shell fragments I picked up... um, were not being used by anybody. :) I'll have to use a hammer on them, the fragments are pretty thick. maybe in a Tyvek envelope. hm.

Significant Other is going to be adding food pretty much every day. I put a post-it note on the lid, above the area where he's buring the food. And then I'll move it to the next spot for the next week. That way, we can both be on the same page and nobody gets confused!

I am so happy about our worm friends. Landfills make me feel yucky, especially knowing that a huge percentage of the stuff we throw away is organic matter. Our worms are going to help save the world!

More Worms
Tues 27 Mar 2007

Entry #3 of 7 on this page (tagged: vermicomposting)

On Saturday, our worm box was exactly one week old. I took the lid off to feed them and saw loads of little white things on the inside of the lid.

My first reaction was Ewww! haha. Then I looked closer and saw they were all little worm babies! So many! And on the walls of the bin as well. They were everywhere! Cute little worm babies! It's not "eww"... It's "aww!"

We must have gotten lots of cocoons when we got our worms. The cocoons take three weeks to hatch, and two to four babies can come out of a single cocoon. Isn't that weird?

The babies are almost an inch long, and maybe the size of a sewing thread? Hm, maybe even thinner than that. And white. And squirmy! And so many! At least 50 or so! They are so cute!

ha. So anyway. Since they were all hanging out on the bin walls and ceiling instead of being happy in the bedding like they are supposed to be, that means there's something wrong.

I'm thinking it's too wet for them, maybe. So when I clean Tegan's house again tomorrow, I'll put in some dry bedding and that'll help soak stuff up. It still smells good in there, so at least it's not gone terribly wrong.

I just want my little worm friends to be happy!

Worm Report
Sat 7 Apr 2007

Entry #4 of 7 on this page (tagged: vermicomposting)

I was starting to get concerned about the worm babies that were hanging out on the ceiling of the worm box. I'm not sure if they can get down from there, and obviously there's nothing to eat. So on Wednesday, I made an effort to move them into the bedding.

They are too tiny to pick up, directly. I used a piece of newspaper shred and carefully, gently scooped them up. Eventually, they would unstick from the lid, and stick to my shred, and then I'd put her-him into a nice spot in the bedding. I probably moved about 30 or so, before I got tired and frustrated with messing with them.

When I opened up the box to feed them on Saturday, there were only three worms on the lid that were still alive. Probably 10 or 15 that were dead or non-responsive. sad. :( So I'm glad I moved most of them down.

I brought some white vinyl strips home from work. My idea was to x-acto knife some words to stick on the worm box to dress it up a little.

But I needed some words, first. "Worm House" is just so non-poetical. So I hit my Significant Other up for something clever. And he got it!

Wiggle Room

Ha! That is so totally brilliant.

Whenever I go digging in their house, I always see one or two adult worms. And they are Fat, and they wiggle because they don't like the light. I am happy to see them so healthy, but I wonder about the one pound of worms that we started with...

That one pound was a lot of worms, and I think I should be seeing more than just a couple. I wonder if the shock of moving killed them off. Or are they just hiding out at the bottom of their box.

But I always see a baby or two with the adults. And that makes me happy to see the next generation is doing it's thing.

And I'm wishing our box was bigger. I put food in one spot, for a week, and then move on to the next spot. There's room for six spots, but that's only six weeks before we get to the first spot again, and I don't think that's enough time for the food to decompose enough.

So, I'm going to try to add a spot on the long sides, so we'll have eight spots total. Which means eight weeks. We'll see how it looks then, but I don't think that's going to be enough time, either. If it's not composting, we'll have to quit feeding for a while to let the worms catch up.

Which would be a bummer, since we'll be throwing food away again. And throwing things away pisses me off. And it pisses off the earth even more.

bah. But I guess we have a few weeks before I have to worry about that. We just finished our third week.

Too Many Fruit Flies
Sun 27 May 2007

Entry #5 of 7 on this page (tagged: vermicomposting)

Our worm bin, labeled with white vinyl stickers!

The good news: the worms are happy. There are more of them, and there are babies!

The bad news: we have a fruit fly problem.

I think it was May 13th, our box was exactly 8 weeks old. I opened it up to feed the worms and a million flies flew out. I was horrified! And decided to only open the box outside.

But the problem has not abated. There are still flies in the house, and every time the box is opened, millions fly out and millions are crawling around on the top layer of bedding.

Today, the box is 10 weeks old. It's a cool cloudy day, and I've left the box open outside, so hopefully some flies will fly to their freedom and not reproduced with my precious worms. eh.

I'm also doing a bit of research.

I already knew that I wasn't burying food properly... the bedding had started to decompose and was getting thin at the top. The food must be buried so the flies can't get at it. So, I had added more newspaper shreds. Also recommended are a couple of full sheets of newspaper on the top of that. I'll do that when I close the box this evening.

How to Control Fruit Flies and Fungus Gnats was a great article... I learned that banana peels are a big contributor. Not only do bananas have fruit fly eggs already on them when you bring them home, but the smell attracts more flies. Banana peels are a significant part of our worm food, since SO eats bananas almost every day. Maybe I could convince him to eat apples instead... ;)

The article also describes a simple, humane fly trap. I think I'll try that. It says it can capture all the flies in just four days. We'll see how that goes!

And the book, Worms Eat My Garbage suggests not feeding the worms for a couple weeks. This will allow time for the current fly babies to hatch out while not adding anything else to attract more. I was thinking about doing this anyway, to let the worms catch up a bit!

Other thoughts: Venus Fly Trap plants. A frog companion. Asking some spiders to come live with us for a little while. I am a vegan, and thus I'm not going to kill the flies... but I don't mind others eating the flies!

Eco Tuesday: Worm Report
Tues 26 June 2007

Entry #6 of 7 on this page (tagged: vermicomposting)

I looked in at the worms over the weekend and I am quite happy. When the worm box was 10 weeks old, I had to take it outside due to a fruit fly problem. bleh! Also quit feeding the worms at that time; they needed some time to catch up.

The worm box is now 14 weeks old, and under the top layer of newspaper shreds, there is beautiful black dirt. There are a couple gnats walking around, no big deal. When I stirred up the contents, I found worms, worm babies (!) and other good critters. The only things that haven't been eaten up are an avocado shell and pit (which split but did not grow).

So, Yay! I decided I didn't want to separate worms (and babies) from the dirt. So I piled the dirt on one side and filled the rest up with paper shreds, previously used by Tegan the guinea pig. I'll start feeding on the dirt side, and slowly lead the worms to the new side. Hopefully, they'll move out of the dirt in a month or so, and then I can just scoop out the dirt and be done.

During the month that we weren't feeding the worms, we had to throw food away. In the trash. That made me feel bad, and non-environmental because it's so wasteful. The food is not going to decompose in the landfill, it's just going to sit there and take up space.

And that is definitely not going to save the world. But the worms will save the world! So, I'm glad they are back in business.

sunday photo entry
sun 28 Oct 2007

Entry #7 of 7 on this page (tagged: vermicomposting) *Partial Entry*

worm box

Had to play with the worms.


Dig a hole for the worm food, and there's millions of worms! Well, a lot, anyway. I noticed when I was digging around, some carrot tops had sprouted. ha.

Today the worms are getting some onion bits, tomato bits, coffee filters and grounds, tea bags, green bean ends, and an apple that went bad:

worm food

Yay worms.

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