Vermicomposters Unite! Official Worm Farmers Thread

@EastCoastGenetix

Well-Known Member
I am about to try an experiment lol. I'm in a 3x3 with a 3x3 No-Till bed. I just finished my first cycle with No-Till and it went beautiful. I had a learning curve with my LED's but that was a different animal. But anyways, I just bought a pound of red wigglers to split between 3 beds. All my tents are basically identical in setup. But the experiment is trying to compost directly in the beds! I smash down my cover crop when it gets tall and I have noticed a nice thick mat of brown mulch under what's still growing. So I figure if I add chopped scraps when I top dress and smash down the tall cover crop. I could get that brown layer of mulch to form on top. It's just a theory. What say you, worm farmers lol?
 

@EastCoastGenetix

Well-Known Member
i agree with this 100%. a little tiny bit of salt that the plant is going to eat quickly is not going to do much harm to your soil food web. "Synthetic nutes kill the microherd" is a very bold statment. Studies are being done everyday finally. Organics are still not fully understood by the masses but we know it tastes better then hydro grown.
If you are having problems with 100% organics then add some synthetic food so they survive. Thats the number one problem with most organic growers. Were scared to put chems in our living soil therefor we have a def almost always. Add some of what the plant needs and go from there.....
I am lol I search and read the labels of everything. But I would bite the bullet so my plant wouldn't die but definitely sparingly lol
 

raggyb

Well-Known Member
Had a friend do the same. how? mine took care of itself almost. i just had to empty out the bin every once in a while a put fresh paper in there with some table scraps of about any kind.
I don't know! I got all kinds of advice but couldn't figure it out. Maybe I shouldn't put used soil mix in. But I'll remake the bin. For one thing, I'm locking them in somehow with no way to crawl out.
 

raggyb

Well-Known Member
I am about to try an experiment lol. I'm in a 3x3 with a 3x3 No-Till bed. I just finished my first cycle with No-Till and it went beautiful. I had a learning curve with my LED's but that was a different animal. But anyways, I just bought a pound of red wigglers to split between 3 beds. All my tents are basically identical in setup. But the experiment is trying to compost directly in the beds! I smash down my cover crop when it gets tall and I have noticed a nice thick mat of brown mulch under what's still growing. So I figure if I add chopped scraps when I top dress and smash down the tall cover crop. I could get that brown layer of mulch to form on top. It's just a theory. What say you, worm farmers lol?
with my luck the worms would crawl out of the pot and die on the floor.
 

getogrow

Well-Known Member
I don't know! I got all kinds of advice but couldn't figure it out. Maybe I shouldn't put used soil mix in. But I'll remake the bin. For one thing, I'm locking them in somehow with no way to crawl out.
My totes had lids but i never kept them tight. You want them to be able to crawl out , that way you know whats going on in there. IF they are crawling out, then something is wrong and needs fixed asap. Usually its from being too wet/dry or time to take the castings out.
I threw handfuls of soil in there but never a lot. Again, i need to be able to see the newspaper/cardboard and the scraps actually turn into soil vs soil already being in there. also tells me when its time to remove the castings/make new bedding.

I am about to try an experiment lol. I'm in a 3x3 with a 3x3 No-Till bed. I just finished my first cycle with No-Till and it went beautiful. I had a learning curve with my LED's but that was a different animal. But anyways, I just bought a pound of red wigglers to split between 3 beds. All my tents are basically identical in setup. But the experiment is trying to compost directly in the beds! I smash down my cover crop when it gets tall and I have noticed a nice thick mat of brown mulch under what's still growing. So I figure if I add chopped scraps when I top dress and smash down the tall cover crop. I could get that brown layer of mulch to form on top. It's just a theory. What say you, worm farmers lol?
Composting directly in the beds could be bad for the roots. when there is too much microbial activity going on then it takes focus away from the roots and plants and gears towards helping the worms. This is the best i could explain it but there is research to read up on out there.
 

raggyb

Well-Known Member
My totes had lids but i never kept them tight. You want them to be able to crawl out , that way you know whats going on in there. IF they are crawling out, then something is wrong and needs fixed asap. Usually its from being too wet/dry or time to take the castings out.
I threw handfuls of soil in there but never a lot. Again, i need to be able to see the newspaper/cardboard and the scraps actually turn into soil vs soil already being in there. also tells me when its time to remove the castings/make new bedding.
I guess I'll not put soil in next round, that sounds like a good idea to try. I read that rodents eat worms. I wouldn't want to attract mice to worms on the floor. Any thoughts on mice and worms?
 

Northwood

Well-Known Member
I guess I'll not put soil in next round, that sounds like a good idea to try. I read that rodents eat worms. I wouldn't want to attract mice to worms on the floor. Any thoughts on mice and worms?
Mice are omnivores and will eat nearly anything, perhaps even your plants. I suggest keeping mice out of the grow room. lol
 

raggyb

Well-Known Member
Mice are omnivores and will eat nearly anything, perhaps even your plants. I suggest keeping mice out of the grow room. lol
I've only noticed one result i know of mouse probably on my weed. must have eaten a whole bud. he was doing circles on the floor in the basement and i didn't have the heart to kill him. found dead next day. hope i never get that high.
 

Northwood

Well-Known Member
I've only noticed one result i know of mouse probably on my weed. must have eaten a whole bud. he was doing circles on the floor in the basement and i didn't have the heart to kill him. found dead next day. hope i never get that high.
Oh my, poor mousy. We can only hope he died with a huge smile on his face! lol

Well since you have them, the best solution is to add a higher trophic level to your grow. Consider getting a cat or two, preferably a breed that doesn't shed much so you don't have a lot of cat hair stuck to your buds :P

This summer I had a damn rodent tease me with my outdoor grow on the patio deck. It was a chipmunk, and he'd go hide in the big bins I was growing in, but peer out of the foliage while standing on its hind legs. It was the damn cutest thing I think I've ever seen, and I grabbed by phone to take a photo a few times, only to have him duck down again. He was photo shy, which was a shame. It would have been a classic pic! lol
 

raggyb

Well-Known Member
Oh my, poor mousy. We can only hope he died with a huge smile on his face! lol

Well since you have them, the best solution is to add a higher trophic level to your grow. Consider getting a cat or two, preferably a breed that doesn't shed much so you don't have a lot of cat hair stuck to your buds :P

This summer I had a damn rodent tease me with my outdoor grow on the patio deck. It was a chipmunk, and he'd go hide in the big bins I was growing in, but peer out of the foliage while standing on its hind legs. It was the damn cutest thing I think I've ever seen, and I grabbed by phone to take a photo a few times, only to have him duck down again. He was photo shy, which was a shame. It would have been a classic pic! lol
haha, i think my cat was too old to hunt at the time. but i'm thinking of putting the worms in a spot that the cat cannot access. chipmunk got in once too. as long as it's not racoons. mice would like this spot.
 

getogrow

Well-Known Member
I guess I'll not put soil in next round, that sounds like a good idea to try. I read that rodents eat worms. I wouldn't want to attract mice to worms on the floor. Any thoughts on mice and worms?
When i did have bad mice , they never ever fucked with my worm bin. It does have a lid so they wouldnt have much luck anyways. Ive NEVER smelled anything bad in the bin except when i used too many onions. It smelled oiniony for a week ish. i just dont put onions in there no more. Ive put rotted food in there .....cover it up with paper and such and it covers the smell and turns the bad bacteria into good bacteria in a few hours.

When the mice were real bad they were destroying the dirt in my pots to make homes but they never hurt anything really. those are long gone now. None of my dogs have ever cared about the bin either...
 

Northwood

Well-Known Member
None of my dogs have ever cared about the bin either...
Oh boy, this reminds me of something that happened a few years ago. One of my bins was too moist, so I stirred it up to ensure it was aerobic, and left the cover off with the light on. Someone in the house must have left the door to that basement room open when getting something because the next day I found cat turds in there. Damn cat!

I said F it, and just let the worms work on it with a bunch of new material I added. The EWCs were destined for outside ornamental use anyway. Beware the cat.
 

raggyb

Well-Known Member
When i did have bad mice , they never ever fucked with my worm bin. It does have a lid so they wouldnt have much luck anyways. Ive NEVER smelled anything bad in the bin except when i used too many onions. It smelled oiniony for a week ish. i just dont put onions in there no more. Ive put rotted food in there .....cover it up with paper and such and it covers the smell and turns the bad bacteria into good bacteria in a few hours.

When the mice were real bad they were destroying the dirt in my pots to make homes but they never hurt anything really. those are long gone now. None of my dogs have ever cared about the bin either...
ok that's one more vote for not worrying about mice thanks. I knew not to put onions in there, and no garlic, no citrus. Could have been salts in the soil but I don't recall if it was that time when i had salts. I thought the bin was too cold but then probably not. So I can just put a lot of wetted down shredded paper in and veggie scraps and nothing else except for something gritty? That's enough?
 

getogrow

Well-Known Member
ok that's one more vote for not worrying about mice thanks. I knew not to put onions in there, and no garlic, no citrus. Could have been salts in the soil but I don't recall if it was that time when i had salts. I thought the bin was too cold but then probably not. So I can just put a lot of wetted down shredded paper in and veggie scraps and nothing else except for something gritty? That's enough?
Yes sir. thats all ive ever used.
Yes i do throw soil in there here and there but not much. just enough to help them eat and to make my bin a lil bigger. The main bedding is just paper and scraps. (my layer of "grit" was a handful of soil)
My temps ranged from about 50-80f in a basement. They would all collect by the top if something was wrong....soon as i fixed it they would go right back down. It was almost always time to get the castings out.
 

raggyb

Well-Known Member
Yes sir. thats all ive ever used.
Yes i do throw soil in there here and there but not much. just enough to help them eat and to make my bin a lil bigger. The main bedding is just paper and scraps. (my layer of "grit" was a handful of soil)
My temps ranged from about 50-80f in a basement. They would all collect by the top if something was wrong....soon as i fixed it they would go right back down. It was almost always time to get the castings out.
allright alright!. I have to remember this, paper and scraps, paper and scraps...is all I need. So I was thinking of making an indoor bin that's something like this; make 3 square frames with pressure treated 2x6 for the sides to be 3 levels sitting one on top of the other. the top one is stapled over with landscape fabric to let air in. between top and middle is a somewhat fine mesh chicken wire screen. between middle and bottom section is landscape fabric with another chicken wire under it for support it, so only liquid goes into the bottom section. and the bottom sits on a plastic tray. So usually the worms scraps and paper go in the middle bin. But I can put food in the top bin to attract them up and harvest the castings. Also the top bin could be used for sifting worms if the fabric cover comes off. And some sort of cheapo lifting handles on the sides.
 

raggyb

Well-Known Member
Noticed this suggesting copper toxicity should not be a problem in compost soil? Is copper toxicity anything to worry about? I think the new pressure treat chemicals they use AQC should be safer

Although AQC will release as much or more copper into the soil as CCA-treated lumber, Lebow notes that copper's lower toxicity, especially compared to arsenic, raises fewer environmental concerns about using AQC (References 2, pages 7-8). According to Oregon State University Extension Agent Sam Angima, studies of leaching in CCA lumber show that the acidity of composts high in organic matter can increase the amount of copper, chromium and arsenic released from the wood, but the same organic acidity strongly binds these metals to the compost, making it difficult for plants to absorb them (see References 1). Compost from bins constructed of AQC-treated lumber, therefore, are likely to contain relatively high levels of copper, but that copper is less likely to be available to plants grown with that compost. Note, too, that copper is one of the micronutrients necessary for plant growth; as such it is reported in soil tests (see References 3). If you are concerned about copper levels in your compost, use soil tests to monitor copper.
 

4ftRoots

Well-Known Member
I am about to try an experiment lol. I'm in a 3x3 with a 3x3 No-Till bed. I just finished my first cycle with No-Till and it went beautiful. I had a learning curve with my LED's but that was a different animal. But anyways, I just bought a pound of red wigglers to split between 3 beds. All my tents are basically identical in setup. But the experiment is trying to compost directly in the beds! I smash down my cover crop when it gets tall and I have noticed a nice thick mat of brown mulch under what's still growing. So I figure if I add chopped scraps when I top dress and smash down the tall cover crop. I could get that brown layer of mulch to form on top. It's just a theory. What say you, worm farmers lol?
This is basically what I do. I call it composting in place. Just make sure to create little pockets of material throughout the bed. For instance, compost top left, top middle, top right, middle left... ect. It basically creates pockets of nutrients in the soil.
 

Northwood

Well-Known Member
I am about to try an experiment lol. I'm in a 3x3 with a 3x3 No-Till bed. I just finished my first cycle with No-Till and it went beautiful. I had a learning curve with my LED's but that was a different animal. But anyways, I just bought a pound of red wigglers to split between 3 beds. All my tents are basically identical in setup. But the experiment is trying to compost directly in the beds! I smash down my cover crop when it gets tall and I have noticed a nice thick mat of brown mulch under what's still growing. So I figure if I add chopped scraps when I top dress and smash down the tall cover crop. I could get that brown layer of mulch to form on top. It's just a theory. What say you, worm farmers lol?
This is what I do cycle after cycle. After knocking down the tall cover crop in early veg, I usually hold it down by adding all the stems and stuff from my last grow over it. Then I end up layering a hay or straw mulch over that just to keep everything moist below so that the stems and stalks decay faster. All that becomes food for the next grow after. I'm still in veg, and I can't find even a sign of the stems anymore. Then again, it's been an abnormally long veg for me trying to fill a 5X5 with a single plant. lol

Not only will you get a nice brown layer of mulch, but under that you'll develop a humus layer of really dark soil that the baby worms seem to love living in, while the adults tend to hang out a little further down. I've not only kept my worms alive, but have been able to multiply them to whatever numbers the amount of food in my pot will sustain after 7 grow cycles. I'm sure there are literally 10's of thousands of worms living happy fulfilling lives in there right now. Hahaha
 

getogrow

Well-Known Member
allright alright!. I have to remember this, paper and scraps, paper and scraps...is all I need. So I was thinking of making an indoor bin that's something like this; make 3 square frames with pressure treated 2x6 for the sides to be 3 levels sitting one on top of the other. the top one is stapled over with landscape fabric to let air in. between top and middle is a somewhat fine mesh chicken wire screen. between middle and bottom section is landscape fabric with another chicken wire under it for support it, so only liquid goes into the bottom section. and the bottom sits on a plastic tray. So usually the worms scraps and paper go in the middle bin. But I can put food in the top bin to attract them up and harvest the castings. Also the top bin could be used for sifting worms if the fabric cover comes off. And some sort of cheapo lifting handles on the sides.
is your bin for only worms or plants too ?
If just worms , then a single tote with small holes drilled all around it will work.....but it is easier to harvest castings if you stack two of them. The holes on the bottom need to be about an 1/8" ish so the worms can go through um.
Once the one bin is starting to be mostly castings then put then second tote right on top of it with fresh bedding in the new tote.....within a week or two , all the worms will be in the top tote and all the castings will be in the bottom one.

Side note: My bins have never leaked "casting juice" or whatever they call it. i think thats too wet for their taste. (so little to zero runoff)
 

Northwood

Well-Known Member
Side note: My bins have never leaked "casting juice" or whatever they call it. i think thats too wet for their taste. (so little to zero runoff)
This has been my experience as well, although if your bins are leaking it's at least a sign you have drainage and excess liquid/moisture is draining out ;)

I use the nested bin method, 4 bins making up 2 units. The excess 2 lids from the bottom bins are used to hold any awful liquid that might come out. It's never come close to being filled to overflow. Sometimes I have a little puddle inside the lid, but it just dries up in a day or two. Every couple of years I scrape the dried black hard stuff from the lids into the soil in the garden outdoors.
 
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