Worm Farming

Discussion in 'Crops & Gardens' started by Ken Anderson, Jun 30, 2019.

  1. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    Okay, I can see how this is going to work, and I think it will work well for me. Rather than buying a couple of thousand worms every spring to quicken the composting, I released most of the ones that I had in the one bin that I started with last fall, while they still had time to find a warmer environment deep within the pile. When however many I had left in my bin, plus the eggs that were yet to hatch, reproduced by a significant amount, I started a second bin, then a third, and now I have four, but that should take me through until real spring gets here (as opposed to the type of spring where temperatures are still low and there's snow on the ground).

    Once that happens, I can dump all four of my bins into the outdoor compost piles, with the exception of just a few to keep one bin going, releasing some of the worms from that one off and on throughout the summer. Next winter, I think I'm going to try keeping only whatever eggs are in the soil, letting them hatch and become my new crop for the winter. That should allow me to get through the winter without having to have four bins.

    Done correctly, there is no smell and there is no mess. I over moistened the bedding and/or overfed them once this winter, and had a slight problem with fruit flies but that was quickly corrected with a few fly traps and not doing that anymore.
     
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  2. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    I released half of my worms into the outdoor compost pile, so I have only two bins indoors right now. Later, this summer, I'll dump another bin into my other outdoor compost pile, and the rest of them in the fall, to see if I can start a new crop just from the eggs. Maybe I'll keep a couple of adult worms, just in case.
     
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  3. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    I released the last two bins of worms into the outdoor compost pile today. It was so gratifying seeing them frolicking in the outdoors, with big smiles on their faces...
     
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  4. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    I have a couple of worm bins in the house now, starting a new crop to release in the spring. I began out with one small bin, intending to divide it into two once the populations grew but the worms were complaining and threatening to walk. By that, I mean that when I lifted the lid in the morning, there would be multitudes of worms along the inside of the cover and on the sides of the bin, which generally means that they are displeased with something in their environment. During the day, I leave the covers off and, since they don't like the light, they stay beneath the surface and in the bins.

    Trying to figure out what the problem might be can be a problem in itself. I have a gauge to measure temperatures and moisture levels, and both of those looked good. Either something I had fed them had fermented, or there were too many of them, which I didn't think was the case, or there was something else they didn't like. This year, I decided to try two different types of worms in the same bin, which isn't supposed to be a problem, but I don't know; I hadn't done it before. Rather than trying one thing at a time, I decided to try separating the worms into two bins, with some fresh bedding, and different food sources. Separating the two species of worms would be more of a job than I want to take on because I can't tell one from another, except that one species grows to be considerably larger than the other, but I thought that if I gave them all more space to slither around in, they'd lighten up on the complaints. It's been a few days, and so far things seem to be working out okay.
     
    #19
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
  5. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Veteran Member
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    Earthworms seem kind of dumb in my experience. Every summer they seem to migrate onto the concrete sidewalk and are baked into little worm mummies in the sun. Tsk.
     
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  6. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    Yeah, I don't think any of them are likely to become rocket scientists.
     
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  7. John Brunner

    John Brunner Veteran Member
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  8. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    Soon, it will be time to send my worms out into the wilderness of my compost pile. I started out with one bin of worms this fall, and that increased to three through the winter. So, the next warm day, I'll put them out in the compost pile, plus a few in my side gardens, so that they can get to work doing what worms do. They will join all of the other worms that have survived the winter in the center of the compost pile, so perhaps we'll even have some family reunions. What I do is I dump most of all three bins into the center of the compost pile, keeping a few (and, by that, I mean three or four) in a new bin that I have already prepared, along with a small amount of the bedding, which should contain several additional worm eggs, to form the nucleus of next winter's batch. On second thought, I think I'll release all of the worms, retaining some of the bedding - and eggs - so that I can see how that works out.
     
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  9. John Brunner

    John Brunner Veteran Member
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    Pics, please.

    I wanna see some farmed worms. Are they night crawler size or the thin shoelace ones?
     
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  10. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    They're small. The best composting worms are small, probably about shoelace diameter.
     
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  11. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    This spring, I dumped all of the worms that I had raised over the winter into the compost pile. In a fresh compost bin, I added only about a cup full of the bedding from one of the winter bins, which included no worms that were large enough for me to see, expecting that there would be some worm eggs in the bedding that I added to the fresh compost bin. Less than a month later, my new bin has a bunch of worms. I can't count them, of course, but if I lift up some of the bedding anywhere in the bin, I find worms.
     
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