Feeding the worms

jmsOctober 28, 2010

Hello, I'm looking for a way to feed the worms to get a standarized casting every time. I have a reduced space for composting and storage. I have been thinking about using the composted cow manure that you can buy at the home depot per example and wanted to know if some body has tried that before and if there is any advice on how to use it or on how to complement it.

Thanks

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pjames(8/LA)

jms...
The whole idea of vermicomposting is to convert undesirable items (garbage) and convert it into something useful. It makes NO sense to me to purchase anything to feed worms when we are surrounded by food sources in our own homes. I know you have food scraps, paper towels, paper napkins, junk mail etc. That is all good worm food without spending an extra cent.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 5:42PM
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equinoxequinox

Why do you need a "standarized casting every time"?
Would you not want to instead get an excellent casting sometimes and then try to repeat that as often as possible?

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 11:59PM
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mwudan

whenever i read about large-scale VC operations, they seem to all use aged/composted manure as worm feed to keep castings consistent.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 10:54AM
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sbryce_gw

Well, yes, mwudan, but they take it straight from the cow. They don't buy it at Home Depot.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 11:45AM
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mwudan

yeah, i get that, but OP asked about ideas for standardized VC, and whether anyone has tried using store bought manure. why should we care about the particular source of feed he's asking about? it's not like store bought manure is unsustainable (peat moss).

    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 12:15PM
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sbryce_gw

They key to getting consistency in the castings is to feed the same thing all the time. Whether it is manure, or banana peels, it doesn't matter, as long as it is always the same thing.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 1:27PM
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jms

Thanks for the responses. The idea for us to build a worm farm has always been to make it commercially. That is why we want to have a standarized product. At the starting point we don't have space and/or capital to start a big scale operation composting manure ourselfs. Maybe I'm going to fast since I'm still in the process of choosing which worm to grow, but this is one of the things that I have received mixed information on. Supposelly the composted manure at some point looses the nutrient value and needs to be reactivated with other products to start the bacterial process needed by the worms again. Also I have read that the composted manure can be complemented with worm feed, how much? don't know. Maybe somebody who knows wants to share?
Thanks
JMS

    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 1:45PM
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sbryce_gw

To sell the castings commercially, you not only need consistency, you need to certify the quality of the finished product. That pretty much means working with a local farm of some sort, and composting the manure. Worm Power is a large commercial operation that leases land on a dairy farm, and has done well. In my area soil amendments are produced commercially at chicken and turkey farms. Working with a farm gives you a steady flow of high quality feedstock. Farms have to get rid of the manure somehow, so working with a farm would be a win-win.

You will also want to look at this from a business point of view. I don't know of any commercial worm composting venture that has been financially viable. Worm Power has done well, but he owes millions to his investors. You want to make sure you have done your homework and that you have a solid business plan. Start small and grow gradually, so while you learn from your mistakes, your lessons in the school of hard knocks will come with a cheap tuition. You don't want to pay a lot of what Dave Ramsey calls stupid tax.

Check out the Worm Power site and learn all you can. He can't produce it fast enough to meet his demand.

Here is a link that might be useful: Worm Power

    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 2:23PM
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pjames(8/LA)

I was going to mention Worm Power myself. But that is a business that requires a GREAT deal of capital to set up. Most of us here are home composters who might sell a few worms on the side.

My approach to the business angle would be bait worm farming. Far easier to market. There are some major obstacles, here too. But you can do it from the back of your truck/car on the side of the road near a fishing lake for a few extra bucks.

With any enterprise, from money making hobby to a commercial venture, you need to get as much knowledge as possible and have a viable plan. The first part of a viable plan is to reduce expenses.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 5:00PM
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pjames(8/LA)

I posted an idea for a small enterprise on another site:

http://vermicomposters.ning.com/profiles/blogs/cottage-industries-using-worms

    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 5:31PM
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