Vermicomposting in the north

arcticiris(1)June 24, 2011

First some bragging. From a pound of worms in February I have a full tote of worm castings and healthy wiggling worms in every corner. I divided the contents among 4 additional totes, plus a small cupful for my major shrubs and fresh plantings.

Now the question. Has anyone on this forum overwintered at least the worm eggs in any way other than inside? I have the feeling I've heard in my zone that even the eggs are unhappy at -40 F or colder. I have the room to overwinter as many totes as I want inside, I guess, but....let me know!

P

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nutsaboutflowers(2b/3a)

You managed to vermicompost outside since February in Zone 1 ?

Wow !

Our worms are strictly indoor worms =:)

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 9:25PM
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nutsaboutflowers(2b/3a)

Oops! I think I read this wrong. You did your vermicomposting in the house, but are wondering if you can also do it outside......

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 11:49PM
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arcticiris(1)

Haha! Yes to your second post!! I have a parental attachment to my worms now. I coo over them, and announce loudly to friends, "I have worms." Frequently I have to clarify--not the intestinal type :-) ...

I don't expect to keep them alive, but it would be nice to put a couple totes outside (maybe mulched?) and be able to give each of my \fave plants a handful of wormcastings full of eggs ready to hatch and get to work.

--P

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 9:00AM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

What kind of worms do you have? Even our regular northern earthworms don't like being frozen, they head below the frost line for the winter. The red wigglers that bait shops sell are supposed to be best for vermicomposting because they thrive in a higher humus environment, and everything I've read says that they have to be kept entirely indoors in our climate.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 11:12AM
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nutsaboutflowers(2b/3a)

arcticiris - What size totes are you using? When you say you have a full tote of castings, is that one of the rubbermaid 68L ones?

You seem to have a lot more worm castings than we do. We started with 1/2 pound worms and have maybe 12 cups or so of castings.

I'm careful who I tell about our worms. Seems some people think it's nuts, LOL !

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 12:14PM
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arcticiris(1)

northspruce--red wigglers, so I guess its a foregone conclusion my worms will be staying inside.

NAF--I started with a pound of worms in February. I had to google the 68L size because that wasn't the type I was using. About 3/4 of that. I read a lot about vermicomposting, including all the posts in the gardenweb forum before I got them. I prerotted the scraps when I could, ground up egg shells for grit, and shredded cardboard and paper for them. I covered everything in a layer of dry shredded paper topped with a piece of cardboard to help regulate the moisture level. I think it worked really well to top off with dry shredded paper--my father-in-law reported his wormbin got too slimy for them even with drainage holes, and that was the difference between them--he ended up just dumping the contents on his yard and being done with it. It also helps my favorite snacks (watermelon and cantalope) are manna to worms too!

--P

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 7:42PM
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nutsaboutflowers(2b/3a)

DH says we have good conditions for the worms.

Maybe they're underfed, LOL ! We'll have to get some cantaloupe and maybe the treat will improve production.

For the record......I don't ever look in the bins. I'm only interested in the end product. =:)

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 8:29PM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

OMG I want worms...

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 11:11PM
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arcticiris(1)

THey are very low maintenance. I don't like them crawling on me so much, unless I have the surgery gloves on :-) !! I also don't usually separate the worms from the compost. I just sort of take a handful off the top (which has the least amount of worms) and toss it in whatever plant's root zone I want to have some tender love. I did use a pound of the castings plus worms in the corn patch.

NAS-- you are fine! I think I just lucked out. BTW I love reading your posts!
--P

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 1:03AM
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nutsaboutflowers(2b/3a)

Northspruce - If you really want worms, it's quite easy. Especially if your DH will do it for you. =:)

We started with 1/2 pound of worms and I have no idea how many we have now. I won't look, LOL ! It's enough trying not to think that there's buckets of worms in your house! There's some people who end up with a few of them getting out of the bins, but we've never had that problem. Treat them right and they'll stay put.

All you need is a couple 68L rubbermaid bins, shredded paper, food scraps, and worms, and that's it. There's a good book, Worms Eat My Garbage, by Mary Appelhof that I think I got from Chapters online. I actually haven't read it, but DH did.

One important hint: If you'd rather not have fruit flies, etc., freeze the scraps first.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 11:02AM
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nutsaboutflowers(2b/3a)

Oh, I forgot.

arcticiris - Eeewww ! There's no way I'd ever ever stick my hand in there........

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 11:04AM
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arcticiris(1)

But NAD! It is sooo cool to see them do their thing! (Although a trowel can give you a good view too..)

My best friend felt the same way, but when she saw the their castings for the first time, she decided to see only their inner beauty and took a pound of worms home. (She's a crazed gardener too)

--P

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 10:43PM
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nutsaboutflowers(2b/3a)

Oh No !

DH just took a magnifying glass to some of our castings because he was curious. There's a bunch of dead babies! He thinks the one bin was too wet for a while. The poor things. The parents are going to hate us. =:(

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 12:16AM
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arcticiris(1)

Nooooo!!!!

Tho kinda funny :-)

--P

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 2:02AM
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