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New to raising worms, loving the learning process

Posted by bobul none (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 27, 14 at 0:15

Im starting small (real small) with my setup. I've added a photo for all of you. I used to feed storage buckets. I cute long trips out of the bottom one to help keep the two buckets from sticking together, a tough job to separate once the whole setup was up and running. The screen is hot glued all the way around leaving all my little guys hopelessly trapped to fulfill my vermicomposting needs. Its been up and running for jut over a month now and I'm having pretty good results with it. There are around 250 red wigglers in there.

If anyone has any suggestions Im open to any of them.
I wanted to post this as I saw that some feel that the number or worm raisers is evening off and that everyone here on this forum knows what they need to know to keep their worms alive. Well meet the new guy.

(my photo was taken as I added some new food to the bucket and before I had added new shredded newspaper)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: New to raising worms, loving the learning process

I think the worms are having parties and not telling you about them. Your photo is a nice example of the castings left that tell the story of where the worms have been when we have not been watching then. I am confused why the top one inch of the inside of the bucket is perfectly clean. What is that you are feeding them? What are you using for bedding in what amount? Great picture bobul. I enjoyed seeing it. It is interesting the worms we can see have decided the screened area is of interest. Your pocket looks good too. The pocket that still contains the $$$ you could have spent on a system that may not have worked any better than a 5 gallon bucket. Perhaps a second bucket was on top of this preventing even skinny worms from crawling over the top inch of the bucket. Please tell people why the worms are at the screened area of the bucket. Or is that a pail? What is the difference? Oh and your style of writing reminds me of a younger version of a popular poster here. Welcome.


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RE: New to raising worms, loving the learning process

Well I hope that I am being compared to this other member in a good way. Ill take your comment as a compliment.

I work in the food industry so I have an abundance of food scraps available to me. So far the menu has consisted of lettuce, kale, carrots and potato skins. I may have thrown some corn meal in at the very beginning but I'm finding it hard to remember now.

I believe the clean section on the top is due to the lid of the bucket. I cut a hole in the center and screened over that as well. I just had to change out the bucket I was using tonight as I found I had run into a little issue with the worms having the ability to work there way right through the screen that I had put on the two sides of the bucket. I found a few of the worms half in and half out of the bucket, apparently trying to move the party somewhere else. I luckily had another bucket on hand to switch the other one out with.

As for the saving of money, as I stated this is a new project that I have undertaken. This bucket method was a trial to see if this was for me before taking the plunge into and expensive worm condo complex. If this system is productive, I may just stay with it. It was really just a toned down version of the many DIY methods on the internet. Most of which use Rubbermaid Totes in the same manner.

(Not sure why the picture shows up with the bucket on its side in the preview. The photo was taken with my phone and it comes up there facing up the right way.)


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RE: New to raising worms, loving the learning process

I too am a novice wormer. Been at it a whole 4 months now.

I like your setup. I still have two indoor RM tubs with worms (and a jillian other critters) in them, but have decided that I like "outside" and on a larger scale, mo'betta.

I don't care for the RM tubs much, but it's mostly due to learning how to use them correctly and inadvertently inoculating them with lots of unnecessary critters by using unsterilized leaf litter from my yard. I think I will go to your type of setup for my over-winter housing. It reminds me of "Can o' Worms".

Welcome,
Paul


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RE: New to raising worms, loving the learning process

Just another double post...

This post was edited by pskvorc on Sun, Jun 29, 14 at 17:20


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RE: New to raising worms, loving the learning process

Yes a compliment.

Usually I put kitchen scraps of kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, collards etc in the outdoor bin.


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RE: New to raising worms, loving the learning process

Thanks pskvorc

I really don't have the space outside to be able to have nice big worm box. Also it seems here in northern NJ we are either in a deep freeze or in Death Valley like conditions. My yard has very little shade in the areas where I could display a worm box, so I fear I would cook them.

I think the bucket method is a great starter practice. There is more of an investment money wise in the worms than in my setup. I am however really enjoying it so far. Very little up keep. I may move to a larger setup down the road.

Question: I was able to get nearly ten pounds (some for the worms some for my compost bin) of carrot scraps (skins and tops) from my job today. Does anyone find that using a particular scrap or that mixing it up a bit helps yield a better casting? Not sure if I should always use carrot scraps or try and vary what I take home.


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RE: New to raising worms, loving the learning process

I suspect it doesn't matter, but those worming longer than I may have a different opinion. All I would say with certainty is that you will get faster 'breakdown' by the worms if you start the breakdown yourself by pureeing the carrot parts into as fine a slurry as you can.

You don't NEED to do that, but I am quite convinced that the worms don't consume anything that we can actually "see". In other words, it's gotta be pretty darn close to "compost" before worms will "eat" it. Once they pass it through their guts, it's 'different' stuff, and many argue "better" by virtue of having passed through a worm's gut and picking up whatever it may have picked up while there.

My point is: Worms don't actually "eat" anything that isn't already "broken down". You accelerate the process of making "vermi-compost" by accelerating the 'break-down' process. Different folks will have different goals with their worming activity. Those different goals determine how they choose to worm, what level of effort they wish to exert, and where they wish to exert that effort.

Paul


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RE: New to raising worms, loving the learning process

Please tell me you also added 10 pounds of bedding that was not junk mail or white office paper but something tastier. Otherwise the bad thing happens. The timing of that event is usually three months after the start of the bin. Us oldies are not immune from it either, just more embarrassed because we know we should know better.


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RE: New to raising worms, loving the learning process

I agree with Paul in that the more broken down you can make the food the sooner the worms can eat it. I use a juicer that I happen to have and a lot of people may have a food processor of some kind. If you work at food place chances are you at least have access to a machine where you could mulch the food into a nice mush or something close to it. That also helps bacteria break down the food and that really is what the worms eat in the first place. Otherwise it will take a long time for the breakdown process, just sayin.


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RE: New to raising worms, loving the learning process

If you feed watermelon, or cantaloupe, or pumpkin.... you know, stuff that a toothless person can chew (smush up) with the choppers someplace besides in "place".....the wormies will also gum it right away.

Otherwise, either let the foodstuff decompose some, or blend, puree, mince, or chop for faster suitability for worms.

One thought.....if the foodstuff is too finely liquified, it can become an excess moisture prob.

Chuckiebtoo

This is a blenderized concoction of about 10 veggies and 7 or 8 fruits. Or something like that.

The wormies went ballistic over it.


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RE: New to raising worms, loving the learning process

I wuz gonna mention the melons too. Sumpin' magic about them. The worms get after them RIGHT NOW. No mold, rotting, etc. Just instant worm food. Tomatoes seem to be about the same in my limited experience.

Paul


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RE: New to raising worms, loving the learning process

Very good tips. Not sure if I will try the emulsifying any food product right now. It's seems all of the product I'm putting in is being consumed. I'm going by what I read and the YouTube vids I've watched on the topic. I do t remember anything being said about finely chopping up the food. But I can see how that would be beneficial.

My bedding is shredded newsprint. No color advertisements. Just the dark inked stuff. I run it through my cross cut paper shredder and soak it in rain water from one of my rain barrels.

The melon and tomato scraps may be easy to obtain. I may try that in a few weeks.


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RE: New to raising worms, loving the learning process

Not talking about emulsions - mixtures of two liquids of different relative miscibilities - just finely chopped "food".

Following what I read (past tense) MOST places, I started my indoor bins with newsprint put through a cross-cut shredder. I'm still suffering from that "follow the expert's advice". I have abandoned use of paper as "bedding". Each to his/her own, but I will NEVER use shredded paper for bedding again.The only reasons I can see for using it is: 1) to get rid of shredded paper, and 2) to soak up water from an overly wet bin, after which the paper mache is thrown away. (I suppose a third might be masochism.) There are oodles of better materials for bedding in indoor, plastic bins.

I don't get enough melon scraps up here to be more than a novelty. I envy those that can get those scraps readily, because the worms clearly REALLY like them.

Paul


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RE: New to raising worms, loving the learning process

What happens to the shredded newspaper in an established bin (one that's been around for awhile)......it becomes worm food like anything else organic.

If foodstuff recognizable by humans is constantly added, the worms...being somewhat particular in what they prefer to eat...will choose that foodstuff we add (especially melons, and pumpkin, etc) as first choice over newsprint. Even the New York Times.

But if that food supply stops, they will begin cleaning up all the leftovers....including the newspaper (which looks more and more like worm food the longer it's in there).

I've experimented with "well-composted", small shoebox-sized bins. Stopped the fresh food supply, and observed the bin for 3, or 4, or 5 weeks. The worms finish the "well-composted" contents...including the newspaper into a well-er composted, finer, more finished VC.

All activity slows down during this experiment which further verifies the importances of proper care.

Chuckiebtoo


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RE: New to raising worms, loving the learning process

Any thoughts on adding tomatoes as food in a bin. Im thinking it might be too acidic, what say you.


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RE: New to raising worms, loving the learning process

It's a really good practice to mix all foods..including acidics like tomatoes..with others. You know, Diversification.

Chuckiebtoo

Moderation, Diversity, Patience

This post was edited by chuckiebtoo on Thu, Jul 3, 14 at 15:07


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RE: New to raising worms, loving the learning process

Either they eat what you put in, or they don't. Mine eat tomatoes with a fervor no different than that demonstrated for watermelon rind. "WILL they eat it", is another matter altogether. However, I have fed mine pineapple, which is much more acidic than tomatoes, and once it got moldy, they chowed down. If "you" can eat it, E. fetida can eat it.

Paul


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RE: New to raising worms, loving the learning process

I have small white segmented worms ( BSF ?) eating my melon rind. the red wigglers still seems to be healthy.. I added more news print as I think I had too much "white" copy paper bedding. there are "castings"(?) all over the inside of the lid and walls of the bin. Is this normal?


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RE: New to raising worms, loving the learning process

With no intent to be a 'smart-ass'; "What would you do if someone said it wasn't "normal"?

My point is this: You're going to get lots of "advice" on the internet. Many people that give that advice will be SERIOUSLY offended if you don't do EXACTLY what they say to get to their concept of "normal". From my perspective, the most salient part of your post - with respect to your "normal" question - is: "the red wigglers still seems to be healthy". Again from my perspective, there is very little "normal" in worming in plastic containers. Therefore, if "bad" ain't happenin', 'relax, and go with the flow'. On the other hand, if you feel the need to "do something", then DO IT, and see what happens. If the result is "good", good. If the result is bad, don't do that again.

My bins look like "hell" compared to what many "experts" call "right" (TONS of "pot worms" and springtails). Still, the E. fetida (red wigglers) are doing "fine".

Paul


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RE: New to raising worms, loving the learning process

With what little experience I have in maintaining this can o worms, my main objectives are this:
1 - break down food scraps
2 - maintain a healthy bucket where my worms stay alive and reproduce.
3 - produce castings for my plants next year.

So far I have been successfully able to say that I am answering yes to all of these questions. Whatever i have to do to keep on this path I will do. Normal and or not normal.
I will however keep watching YouTube videos on this topic to get the perspectives of others and gain new ideas or easier ways to do things.


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RE: New to raising worms, loving the learning process

What I was trying to say was to have fun with this and don't over analyze what's going on in there. It's a world of its own with many characters all with pivotal roles.


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