Vermicomposters Unite! Official Worm Farmers Thread

JustBlazin

Well-Known Member
i have a question regarding using malted barley In my work bag,do i need to mix the barley at a certain ratio with lime or some other ph buffer because the barley is really acidic?,unfortunately i think i killed most of my worms by putting in to much malted barley and just to much food in general.i also believe it was to wet, so i took everything and took out the chunks of uneaten stuff, then put it back in layering in more dry card board and dry canna leaves(none of the chunky uneaten food).
but it seems my worms at least what's left of them are all at the very bottom where the zipper and hole to empty your castings from and when you open the zipper there are always a few dead gooey worms with the live ones and it kinda stink( not sure if the smell is the castings or the dead worms).i can't really find any worms in the bedding? Since it was too wet the first time i haven't really sprayed the top to keep it moist... So the top seems a bit dry, but if i try and get the top moist I'm afraid the bottom will get soggy again.
not sure what to do. Any help or advise would be greatly appreciated
 

CrunchBerries

Well-Known Member
i have a question regarding using malted barley In my work bag,do i need to mix the barley at a certain ratio with lime or some other ph buffer because the barley is really acidic?,unfortunately i think i killed most of my worms by putting in to much malted barley and just to much food in general.i also believe it was to wet, so i took everything and took out the chunks of uneaten stuff, then put it back in layering in more dry card board and dry canna leaves(none of the chunky uneaten food).
but it seems my worms at least what's left of them are all at the very bottom where the zipper and hole to empty your castings from and when you open the zipper there are always a few dead gooey worms with the live ones and it kinda stink( not sure if the smell is the castings or the dead worms).i can't really find any worms in the bedding? Since it was too wet the first time i haven't really sprayed the top to keep it moist... So the top seems a bit dry, but if i try and get the top moist I'm afraid the bottom will get soggy again.
not sure what to do. Any help or advise would be greatly appreciated
I only watered my ‘bedding’ material once when I first got my canOworms tower bin. That was before receiving my worms. Material is supposed to be the consistency of a wrung out sponge, not soaked. If you are using kitchen scraps the material will get added moisture from those feedings. I use a layer of dried leaves so if it does get too moist they can hang out there and it helps to absorb excess moisture. I did not have any adverse effects from adding malted barley. I did add it buried in one clump and noticed it heating up so I removed it and spread it more evenly. Hope this helps.
 

CrunchBerries

Well-Known Member
I replied above, but if you want a detailed discussion on Clackamas Coot's soil recipe, here is an awesome pod. I refer to this often and the host Tad Hussey is pretty cool himself. Here is a 3pt series on here with Clack, listen to some of the others too. I found Dr. Steve Solomon to be helpful talking about soil remineralization. I was chasing Mn problems at the time and he explains that cannabis is Mn sensitive and it's hard to find sources of Mn, like rock dust and kelp don't have enough Mn or Zn.
These podcasts are great!
 
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Rozgreenburn

Well-Known Member
I am new to vermiposting and I have many questions which have been answered here. Thanks to all. I have 1 bin of red wigglers and 2 bins of European nightcrawlers. The reds stayed put in their bin after 2 days, but the Euros [5%] go down and out of the 1/4" holes in the floor. I won't be needing leachate and therefore decided to add bedding and some 1/2 composted food to my bottom bin. Since moisture is under my control, there won't be excess moisture in the bottom. Now the worms who dive into the bottom can flourish and not perish. I only did this in 1 bin so that there can be comparison. Any thoughts? I will note my results in a month or so. Roll on////
 

CrunchBerries

Well-Known Member
I am new to vermiposting and I have many questions which have been answered here. Thanks to all. I have 1 bin of red wigglers and 2 bins of European nightcrawlers. The reds stayed put in their bin after 2 days, but the Euros [5%] go down and out of the 1/4" holes in the floor. I won't be needing leachate and therefore decided to add bedding and some 1/2 composted food to my bottom bin. Since moisture is under my control, there won't be excess moisture in the bottom. Now the worms who dive into the bottom can flourish and not perish. I only did this in 1 bin so that there can be comparison. Any thoughts? I will note my results in a month or so. Roll on////
My first thought was the bedding on the bottom would restrict airflow in the system which is critical to a healthy bin. I’ll let the heavyweights weigh in on this one though.
 

hillbill

Well-Known Member
Lightweight here, been worming for 4 years and love having my own castings! I do feed minerals in my grit which I see some sifting into final castings.
 

raggyb

Well-Known Member
I am new to vermiposting and I have many questions which have been answered here. Thanks to all. I have 1 bin of red wigglers and 2 bins of European nightcrawlers. The reds stayed put in their bin after 2 days, but the Euros [5%] go down and out of the 1/4" holes in the floor. I won't be needing leachate and therefore decided to add bedding and some 1/2 composted food to my bottom bin. Since moisture is under my control, there won't be excess moisture in the bottom. Now the worms who dive into the bottom can flourish and not perish. I only did this in 1 bin so that there can be comparison. Any thoughts? I will note my results in a month or so. Roll on////
my reds would go out the floor too. and...i killed them all through other unknown problems. so my thought is i'd appreciate if you did this test and report back! to answer CrunchBerries concern which i think is valid, but what would i know, is to make it a whole lot of paper like stuff at the bottom to help airation, maybe a raised bottom with holes, a screen top if you don't already, and holes in the final bottom that are only 1/16 diam or maybe less. I know 1/8 is big enough for them to crawl through!
 

CrunchBerries

Well-Known Member
How often would y’all say you feed with dry amendments?
I know this is totally dependent on so many variables, but humor me. My own schedule has been about every 1 1/2 to 2 weeks, but my bin was only started in December with a pound of red wrigglers. My philosophy has been less is more. I am seeing good activity and reproduction.
 

raggyb

Well-Known Member
I know this is totally dependent on so many variables, but humor me. My own schedule has been about every 1 1/2 to 2 weeks, but my bin was only started in December with a pound of red wrigglers. My philosophy has been less is more. I am seeing good activity and reproduction.
by dry amendments do you mean paper, leaves, cardboard?
 

raggyb

Well-Known Member
No sorry. Like what you would add to soil: kelp, alfalfa, barley, neem and karanja etc.
oh gotcha. i hope somebody who knows would answer. but i would think you put in same amounts per volume as what a coots mix would call for if you can estimate that. so smaller portions of that if you want to spread it out over time while the amounts of mass accumulate.
 

loco41

Well-Known Member
I know this is totally dependent on so many variables, but humor me. My own schedule has been about every 1 1/2 to 2 weeks, but my bin was only started in December with a pound of red wrigglers. My philosophy has been less is more. I am seeing good activity and reproduction.
Glad to hear the success man and I fully agree with your philosophy of less is more. I typically only sprinkle some dry amendments every so often, maybe once a month, in between some veggie/fruit scrap feeds. I also don't throw kelp into my bins anymore, not saying it's a bad thing or not beneficial, I just notice that the worms seem to favor things like neem/alfalfa/oats more so than the kelp (my guess is the sodium content in the kelp is a bit on the high side for what the worms like when initially put in there but that's just pure speculation on my part though). My one bin hasn't been "harvested" in over two years, so I try not to go too crazy in that bin with much of anything. I'm sure that bin has a crazy amount of nutrient value at this point.

Every time I get to reading through this thread, I am reminded just how lazy I truly am when it comes to my worms. A little extra effort on my part would probably expedite things and be a bit more "ideal" for my worms, but that's why I dig the organics route, I can be a lazy turd and things still have a chance to work out well.

Worms bunching up in the medium on the side of my bin a sign of anything? Too dry?
I used to notice my worms congregating on the sides of my bins from time to time, but since then I have just been feeding a bit more regularly and that seems to keep them down in the bedding more so. That's why I like to either just throw scraps right on top or barely dig into the bedding a little to lightly cover the scrap, it helps me gauge the amount of food in there. I probably still "under feed" my bins for the most part which probably slows things like reproduction rates down a bit, but every so often I'll give a healthy layer of scraps over the whole top and then cover that all with some compost.

Are you following coot's method and just going with the dry amendments/compost as the "food" source for your bin or do you throw in other things as well? When I harvest my oldest bin, maybe sometime this decade, I think I will read up on coots method a bit more and try doing that one following his way just for comparison sake.

Sorry for rambling on and really not being able to give you some solid advice, just my take on things and how I approach my bins. Wish you continued success though and hope to hear about your trials some more.
 

chernobe

Well-Known Member
I threw in a couple handfuls of everything. A couple weeks later I put an apple in there. When it melted they didn't care for the most part until the last day or two. I figure when they take more of an interest in the food scraps than the dry amendments and don't seem so spread out everywhere it's time to throw in more dry amendments. My first run had no dry amendments only food scraps so I was able to see what they liked and didn't like, how often and how much they would need to eat, etc. I'm pretty new at this too about 6 months or so and have 2 bins going. Lots to learn still. They went crazy for the malted barley like Coot said they would. 2000 more worms should be here in a day or two. Started out with 250 and now guessing somewhere between 500-1000 between both bins? Not too sure but there's lots of them and they seem happy. Awesome thread lots of good info, thanks for sharing.
 

Rozgreenburn

Well-Known Member
my reds would go out the floor too. and...i killed them all through other unknown problems. so my thought is i'd appreciate if you did this test and report back! to answer CrunchBerries concern which i think is valid, but what would i know, is to make it a whole lot of paper like stuff at the bottom to help airation, maybe a raised bottom with holes, a screen top if you don't already, and holes in the final bottom that are only 1/16 diam or maybe less. I know 1/8 is big enough for them to crawl through!
Update on worm bin. So far [2 weeks] and no more worm loss. Since I put food and bedding in the bottom tray, instead of overwatering and collecting leachate, there has been no mass exodus from above and the worms that stay down there act very happy. Happy growing y'all.
 

snowdog203

Well-Known Member
I've got a store bought bin that is doing well, it has red wigglers and pretty much add only spent coffee grounds and ground eggshells. If I do add veg which is rare, now a days I tend to nuke any veg before it goes in the bin, so it doesn't hatch any bugs. I hear coffee grounds are high in nutrients and have never added manufactured/commercial nutrients or minerals. I use a small plastic baby pool, not the inflatable type, to sort the worms out. I like to get as many as I can back into the bin, it is a chore. Been doing it at least a decade. Originally read about vermicomposting in The Reader in the 80's, the article was about a janitor who made a chest of drawers/dresser into a set of worm bins. Glad I finally got around to it. I made a small bucket that collects the grounds in the kitchen and every so often I have to unload the bucket into the top bin of my composter. I get overloaded by spring and have harvested the bottom bin into a 5 gallon bucket (to store for spring) to make room for more coffee grounds in the top bin. I think I remember trying to use paper but it was confusing and pretty much dropped it when I realized the worms thrive just fine without any paper. I think coffee grounds are about the right particle size and wetness for the worms. I've got a dedicated whirly grinder for the egg shells. The harvested compost grew my Auto's very well last year with just vermicompost/(perlite) and soil, outdoors in the ground. Didn't buy or use any store bought fertilizers or minerals.
 

raggyb

Well-Known Member
I've got a store bought bin that is doing well, it has red wigglers and pretty much add only spent coffee grounds and ground eggshells. If I do add veg which is rare, now a days I tend to nuke any veg before it goes in the bin, so it doesn't hatch any bugs. I hear coffee grounds are high in nutrients and have never added manufactured/commercial nutrients or minerals. I use a small plastic baby pool, not the inflatable type, to sort the worms out. I like to get as many as I can back into the bin, it is a chore. Been doing it at least a decade. Originally read about vermicomposting in The Reader in the 80's, the article was about a janitor who made a chest of drawers/dresser into a set of worm bins. Glad I finally got around to it. I made a small bucket that collects the grounds in the kitchen and every so often I have to unload the bucket into the top bin of my composter. I get overloaded by spring and have harvested the bottom bin into a 5 gallon bucket (to store for spring) to make room for more coffee grounds in the top bin. I think I remember trying to use paper but it was confusing and pretty much dropped it when I realized the worms thrive just fine without any paper. I think coffee grounds are about the right particle size and wetness for the worms. I've got a dedicated whirly grinder for the egg shells. The harvested compost grew my Auto's very well last year with just vermicompost/(perlite) and soil, outdoors in the ground. Didn't buy or use any store bought fertilizers or minerals.
that's surprising that worms do fine on mostly coffee. probably a nice pH down for the plants.
 
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