The Burlap Effect

jim08204August 24, 2010

Special thanks to Mendopete for mentioning the use of burlap in bins. I cut a piece, folded it to make 4 layers and laid it on top of my bins. I then added a layer of composted cow manure, fruits and veggies and soaked it with ACVT. Not only do the worms seem to enjoy playing in the burlap, it makes harvesting very easy, as I just lift the burlap up and out and let them all slide off into a tray. - Jim

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
equinoxequinox

I think the The Burlap Effect is caused by the combination of air, moisture, and surface area (in the burlap) for microbes. The stuff does sound magical.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 3:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mendopete

Jim, welcome to th burlap fan club. It will always have a place in my woem systems.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 6:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lkittle(6)

HI All; I done an experiment in breeding worms using burlap to get cocoons that were easy to harvest. Make 12-15 layers folded and stapled and cut one edge so it can be like pages of a book. wet/dampen burlap and put 50 worms in each page and feed with oatmealuncooked just sprinkled lightly with egg shell powder mixed with oatmeal spritz with plant mister. After 8-10 days harvest cocoons. I fed every other day or so. when ever oatmeal was gone.

Here is a link that might be useful: breeding worms in burlap

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 8:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
fam62cc

Where do you get burlap? I found a price of $219.00 for a 12 inch by 12 ft. roll. Seems rather expensive.

Dave Nelson

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 9:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
equinoxequinox

No, no, no. The reason things are packed in burlap is because it is or should be cheap, cheap, cheap. 50#'s of potatoes should be in them. That must be some kind of exclusive designer burlap. But then again even cheese cloth I have seen has been expen$ive. Nothing to do with vermicomposting should be $$$. Designer worms? Cool brands of vermicastings?

Not to do with this post but along the same thought process as far as the peat vs coco fiber debate please include the cost and carbon foot print of shipping. Then tell me about the moral issues when the real facts are known.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 11:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mendopete

Dave, I love using burlap with worms, but I would not consider that price! Find a coffee-maker and hit 'em up. I get organic coffee-bean bags free by the dozen. They are about 12 square-foot of material each. I began using them because they are free, and they replaced old carpet that was rapidly decomposing. I also cover all my compost piles in burlap when they cool down. It is very useful gardening material.
Pete

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 12:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
curt_grow

My local fleet/farm store has used coffee bean bags for under one dollar each and they are big bags. Check out sporting goods stores there is burlap material used to construct hunting blinds. This burlap is printed with camo patterns and comes in a roll about 3-4 foot by 25 foot for about 20 dollars, and while it cost more than used coffee bean bags It surly Is cheaper than Dave found. Keep hunting!

Curt equinox; I agree

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 9:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
fam62cc

I regularly buy bean coffee and snacks at a free trade coffee store. They have lots of burlap bags for sale but I think they ask about $3.75 per bag. I hope I can remember to ask next time I go there.

Dave Nelson

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 11:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lkittle(6)

Hi All; You can find burlap at any good garden center. The one I use sells 25,50,100,200,500 foot rolls 3' wide. I don't use muck just to experiment with for the most part.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 4:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jim08204

lkittle- I like that book idea!

I got mine on Ebay. It's made by Dewitt.

- Jim

    Bookmark   August 29, 2010 at 6:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lkittle(6)

Hi All; I just thought that with the other thread about cocoon harvesting and shipping to friends the burlap might help with some of the seperating out of the cocoons. It also gives a way to see the little buggers more quickly. I got the idea from C Morgans little books the books make a good little infromation liberary. I have all of his books for a referance liberary.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2010 at 7:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)

How long do you leave the burlap with the "goodies" in it for the worms to migrate up into it? I'd like to try it, but I'm wondering how long it would need to sit there for most of the worms to migrate into it.

Deanna

    Bookmark   August 29, 2010 at 3:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mendopete

Deanna, I do not add food to the burlap. I just soak it and lay down on top of the bed. I put food under it. Yesterday I soaked a new bag in AVCT for about 10 minutes, let it drip for a minute, and placed over the top of my older burlap. Today it looked like a pin cushion with worms dangling out of the weave. I usually see mature worms in the material until the cocoons start hatching. This occurs when the material is falling apart.
Pete

    Bookmark   August 29, 2010 at 6:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jim08204

Deanna- I use manure and food on top and the worms are in it the next day. I did two harvests this way. The burlap showed wear on the second, but it looks like I was able to remove about 1/2 the worms out of the bin. - Jim

    Bookmark   August 30, 2010 at 11:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jasdip

I used to use burlap regularly to harvest.
Lay the burlap on top of the new bin. Spread inch or so of vc and worms on top of the burlap under a light and they naturally migrate through into the new bin. Have a coffee or do some housework, come back, scoop the castings into your storage container, spread out some more dirt with worms, and leave them alone again.

The burlap doesn't last long, so I now use an orange bag that large bags of carrots and onions comes in. Works the same easy way for harvesting, and lasts longer.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 4:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
11otis

I was going to mention the good use of burlap again for new worm farmers to catch up but thought bumping this thread would be better.
I'd like to add: maybe another reason why worms like burlap so much to leave their cocoons in, the holes between the weave aided them to shed their cocoons. When it's time to shed a cocoon, just reverse their gear and voila!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 1:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sonshine_07

Ohh I like this. Especially the idea of using burlap for harvesting. I am HOPING to harvest in a month or so. I will ask my favorite coffee shop if they have burlap to spare.

I have an old shopping bag on top of my bin now that is burlap-esque but the worms don't seem to take much notice of it. As far as putting it IN the bin, it sounds like some have used it as a cover and some used it as a lining...I wonder where worms like to leave their cocoons most--at the top, bottom, or middle?

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 6:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hummersteve

Burlap is not easy to find in my neck of the woods. I saw one at lowes and they wanted $17 for it , what is it made of gold.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 7:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mendopete

Still a BIG fan of burlap. Great for breeding, harvesting, adding structure to your bin, or just keeping in moisture. My use has evolved, as the coffee bean sacks are first inoculated with fish prior to use in the bins ;)

I get mine from a coffee roaster/supplier, not a coffee house. My source goes through double-digit bags every day. Unless a coffee house roasts their own beans, they would not likely have sacks available.

Burlap is great and worms love it, but I would not spend much $ for it.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 8:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Joyousfree(6a)

This thread is genius. I'm so glad I found this forum!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 9:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pskvorc(3)

Just want to track thread.

Paul

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 9:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
11otis

mendopete is right about the source for burlap.
Starbucks will NOT have them unless you go to where they are roasted.
There are several coffee houses here around town that do their own roasting. I have to compete with farmers and produce markets for them. Farmers use them to cover their crop against frost and markets use them to cover their products overnight. Once in a while I managed to get about 15 at a time.
However, I think the coffee farmers are switching and use synthetic/weaved plastic sacks instead. Bummer.
I am beginning to become a hoarder. What I don't do for worms, sigh.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 12:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
barbararose21101

Good morning. It is 7:30 am Pacific time. I just want to ask EQ2 if getting burlap at a decent price is worth driving an hour -- each way. ; )
I'll try a little harder closer first, of course. If I make the drive, I could get a lifetime supply. (Craigslist)

Since no one reads all the posts, I'll double up: why do people put VC in bags to make tea ? I like straining it after it's bubbled . And I leave it bubbling for a week or longer cuz I have more VC than I need tea from. The result is that the plastic net that the airstone is in , plus the moving water, breaks down the VC to smooth silty mud. Seems that there isn't much left to put back in the bin if I've retrieved the cocoons. Once in a while a few worms are in the net that hatched and grew in the aging VC. TMI to explain my question why put VC in bags to brew ?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 10:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pskvorc(3)

For what it's worth, if I were to drive an hour one-way to buy ANYTHING, I'd probably get 'a lot' of it at one time in hopes of amortizing the cost of travel over many uses. (Your 'lifetime supply'.) BUT... one would have to have the "many uses" for that concept to be valid.

Not having made any VC tea myself, I can only speculate that the reason for putting the VC in a bag when 'brewing' VCT is to prevent 'agitation' of the contents of the VC.

Again speaking without first-hand experience, I'd think NOT bagging it would better produce the results EYE was after: maximum mixing of VC with all the EXTRA stuff people seem to insist on adding to "VC" tea to make it "good". Like sea weed extract, molasses, etc.

The whole VCT 'thing' smacks of voodoo to me. No offence meant to those that practice that form of voodoo. Clearly it has produced some positive results with respect to plant growth. I just suspect that much of the process is unnecessary to the desired end result, and is practiced more because "the experts said so" rather than "if I don't add component "X", it doesn't work as well".

I wonder what would happen in a double-blind experiment if "regular" compost (NOT worm compost) was fermented with molasses and kelp extract and used as "fertilzer".

I had that 'slap up side the head' by the person that presented the vermicomposting seminar I attended. When I mentioned all the hoops I was jumping through to get "compost", she cut to the point and said: "If it were me, I'd just put the goat manure directly on my garden." The realization of the simplicity of that was a little embarrassing to recognize and acknowledge.

Paul

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 2:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mendopete

Burlap is quite useful in the garden as an organic weed blocker. I have built "lasagna style" garden beds in the fall and covered them all winter with the burlap. In the spring the bed was full of worms and dark rich compost. I would not drive 2 hours JUST for it, unless I got a truckload and could use it.

Regarding "regular" compost tea, it has been used for a long by gardeners. Manure teas are great, I have used them. It is probably done much more often than worm-poo tea.
We have a local garden center that always has "regular" compost tea brewing and available for free to customers. Just bring a few empty jugs and fill 'em up on the porch. They sell concentrated worm-poo tea with additions such as kelp, fish ect. for $20-30/gallon. Expensive Voo-doo

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 4:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
equinoxequinox

barbararose21101 I imagine along the path to the free burlap are other places you need to go to occasionally decreasing the hour each way just for burlap.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 2:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
barbararose21101

Burlap as food:
The bottom is eaten out.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2014 at 1:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
barbararose21101

embedded hatchlings

    Bookmark   September 24, 2014 at 1:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
11otis

Yep, that's how mine look like.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2014 at 6:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
barbararose21101

When I camped (for 5 years ! ) in my Woods on Vashon, I paid $100 for a roll of burlap to stabilize a cut bank. That property is sandy all the way down. Yesterday I retrieved what is left of that roll. It is much coarser than coffee sacks. There is still most of it left.
I can't guess how many feet. Suffice it to say I can't lift it.
Some rodent has nested in it in the (another 5 years) interim.

Under the rhododendrons it should work like bark, or mulch.
But maybe I should cut it to match the carpet set up and make layers or pages for worms. . .

BTW: I don't get any weed control from burlap: all my weeds thrive through it and under it. And it rots fast.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2014 at 8:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hummersteve

I found burlap at menards for $.99 each picked up a few last summer but hadnt used any for my worms till recent in place of a lid on my plastic bins. I was wondering how the change would affect them, they seem fine with it.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2014 at 5:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
barbararose21101

A local Goodwill store had a new, printed, burlap bag for sale for $9.99.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2014 at 1:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
11otis

When adding a new burlap bag to the bin, I soaked it in a bucket of rainwater. The first change the water is sort of dark brown, possibly from the coffee residue. So I usually change at least once. Overnight and worms are all over between the folds/layers.

This post was edited by otis11 on Sat, Oct 11, 14 at 18:45

    Bookmark   October 11, 2014 at 5:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
equinoxequinox

Soaking the burlap in rainwater is an excellent idea otis11. I think the brown is from the burlap. The rainwater brings the love (OK ie really many types of organisms which the environment of the bin can then choose which ones work best in which sequence.) I am grateful you share your experience with us. Your methods seem to work and be time tested. And the hints and tips are always easy and logical while not $$$, the way worming should be.

This post was edited by equinoxequinox on Sat, Oct 11, 14 at 20:19

    Bookmark   October 11, 2014 at 8:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jasdip

I just harvested a couple of bins. Since I don't have any burlap on hand I used the netting bag that onions come in. Works great, in that the worms crawl thru the holes into the new bin, leaving the castings on the net.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2014 at 12:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hummersteve

Ok I have been using the burlap as a cover of sorts for several months now and Ive tried to keep it moist and have even soaked it in water and havent seen any activity with the burlap and Im sure would help if I could keep it moist. But the last few days when checking the burlap bin I have noticed worms going in and out of it . Appears to be large worms medium worms and maybe even very tiny worms. So in spite of my lack of being able to keep the burlap moist they are using it. Maybe some of the natural moisture of the bin is somehow penetrating the bag.

Nowadays when I harvest Im not very careful about saving the worm cocoons some slip by into containers. But with the burlap now being used and I just transfer the burlap from bin to bin and always laying on the top bin appears my herd will grow even more now in spite of my efforts.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2015 at 1:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hummersteve

Pete

OK went for broke, following your lead and others since the worms have determined to use the burlap in spite of its dryness and since the only moisture is from the bin itself. Instead of just having the burlap wading up any ole way I cut to fit, then soaked it down with a watering can and for the first time I have liquid drainage. I opened the spigot on my worm factory and let excess run out. Ended up with a full cup of water. Now ,,, as long as my worms dont run for the hills, I mean they are not used to that much wetness. If this was a new bin I would worry but being established guess Im alright. Im thinking this will be much better for my bins now. Thanks again

    Bookmark   January 21, 2015 at 2:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hummersteve

I havent had the burlap but a short time but Im enjoying watching the worms interacting with the burlap. They are hanging out with the burlap literally. In one bin many are on top of the burlap perhaps they have just crawled thru the fibers. In the other bin not nearly as much dont see any worms on top of the burlap. Should start seeing an upswing in the herd in the coming weeks and months.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2015 at 9:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hummersteve

So is the burlap effect the real deal? View the following and judge for yourself.

In my factory 360 I have 4 layers of burlap and also a tray on top of this so the worms feel ok being on top as you see here. and in between layers. what you cant see are the tiniest of red worms emerging thru the fibers but plenty of maybe breeder worms hanging out in the burlap.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2015 at 12:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mendopete

Burlap is fun to use because it makes the magic happen on top, rather than down below. Worms seem to like to breed there and the cocoons accumulate in the weave. Layered on top, it is easy to observe the wonders of worm reproduction.

Nice pics Steve. I like the look of the 'pin-cushion'. I call that vermi-art!

Happy wormin'

Pete

    Bookmark   February 2, 2015 at 1:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hummersteve

Pete--- Thanks for giving or reminding me about using the burlap quite happy I started using it. The burlap in the factory remains moist most of the time , but in the homemade plastic even with a lid on it tends to dry out and I have to re moisten with a spritzer or even a watering can.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2015 at 1:22PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Help ID the worm?
Bought my little herd a year ago and kind of mixed...
rubyz_gw
Worms for Raised Bed Garden
So I was digging in my raised bed gardens, which are...
susancol
Worried about my worms
I'm in zone 9. Coastal Texas. I have my bin well established...
greenwater87
Coaching Others
Hello, experts! I have offered my sage advice for a...
Merrygardener
The church is not a stone building, but a group of people with legs.
Really long leg, whereas, worms have none. They would...
equinoxequinox
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™