Mail Order Worms for Vermicomposting

IMG_0868-1000As part of my fitness program I want to eat better. I started growing basil and chili-peppers and that’s been great. So I need to learn to feed plants now.

I managed to get my hands on some worms last night so I made a home for them. I used an old plastic bin with a sealed lid. I’m going to drill that or do something for ventilation, but for the time being I’ve got it cracked open.

August 7th: I added a piece of cardboard.

Then shredded light balsa wood and newspaper for next layer.

Added the cup of soil that had about 5 red wiggler worms.

Tossed some failed tomato plants (diced to 1/4″). Corn stocks (diced). Failed plant with it’s soil (diced to 1/8″). Chunk of celery (diced).

August 11th: I checked up on them frequently to make sure they were moist, not to hot or cold and no other problems have developed. I dug around a bit with a spoon and was able to find one of the worms. So I have at least one alive. 🙂 This is great, ther’s no smell.

August 20th: My celery must have been eaten by the worms or perfectly composted otherwise as there’s no sign of it when I was fishing around. But I couldn’t find any of my worms either.

Heard of mail order brides? I got mail order worms. Two bags (1/4lb total). It came with some pellets which I’m still figuring out what to do with.

I added the worms to the bin with some finely diced potato and super fine balsa wood chips and paper.

August 23rd: I just had a look around. Lots of worms wiggling in there. Still tonnes of food everywhere. I suspect they’re eating the wood chips as they sit quite deep in the bedding/soil. It doesn’t smell or anything. I’ve been keeping it damp like you would for plant soil. I wonder if I should stop feeding for a while and let them catch up…

August 27th: Today I gave them a two corn cobs (cut to about 2″ chunks). I read they will go crazy on it. I gave them a diced cherry tomato earlier today as well. I checked a few hours later. They were all around it but I haven’t see it disappear yet. I really don’t have a sense of how fast these things eat yet. I also gave them some carrot shavings yesterday. Those I couldn’t find when I went looking for them. So they may have grabbed it. I added a good two inches of shredded paper and decided I’m too impatient. I’ll just leave them for a while and see what damage they can do to the food that’s in there…

October 15th: I went through them today. There is absolutely no smell or flies. They are thriving and there are little baby worms all over the place. So that’s a good sign. Everywhere I dig is a bunch of worms. I have been feeding them coffee, tea, vegetable scraps and egg shell (cleaned). Today I gave them their biggest feeding (1/2 bundle of celery, two large carrots, an apple, a bowl of coffee) all diced. I’ve been burying their food so the flies don’t discover it. Also I keep it just a bit moist. I rarely have to add water.

This is all very encouraging and I think it should be converted to a flow through and I can use the enriched soil to grow basil and stuff. When the soil gets tired I’ll just throw it in the worm bin and get new soil from the bottom.

October 25th: I’ve been feeding them a lot more now that the bin seems to be doing so well. I figure there are more worms plus whatever other processes they depend on is probably spooled up as well. Today I decided to shoot pictures of the baby worms. There are tonnes of them all over the place. I also replaced the bedding since it was getting a little ratty. I should say I added it as the previous bedding will just become food.

It’s pretty clear to me a flow through system is something to consider.  I find that with feeding them and all the poking around I’m doing to check for health and issues the bedding and the compost get mixed up. I can probably be more organized but I think a flow through is the way to go. That’s a system that’s fairly tall and you take soil from the bottom and add food to the top. I will start keeping my eyes open for a tall container.

Related:

Vermicomposting in wiki.

All about vermicomposting.

Local Ottawa Worms

Ontario Worms

Download from Ottawa worm workshopworms

Mail order worms

Info

Worm inn.

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