Today Tuesday, April 16th, from 6-8pm at the Alamo Heights Community Garden Texas Red Worms will be with Green Spaces Alliance at 403 Ogden St. Join us for instruction and discussion on worms, composting, and compost tea.
The Spring Fever Festival is Saturday March 23, 2013 at 33 Herff Road, Boerne TX 78006. Kyle from Texas Red Worms will be speaking at 11 a.m. I will be presenting basics of worm composting and answering questions on worm farming. I look forward to seeing you there.
Upcoming events include an April 16th appearance in San Antonio with Green Spaces Alliance. Stay tuned for more details.
Early this week we welcomed 2.5 inches of rain providing some badly needed moisture to my compost piles and inground worm beds. The micro organisms that break down organic waste in compost piles need food, air, and water. In South Texas the missing component of that equation is usually H2O, and with a steady shower over the last couple of days we are back in business. I get asked often “why is my compost not breaking down?” and the answer is usually a lack of water. Keep your piles mixed to increase Oxygen, keep them watered if lacking in rain, and add Nitrogen bearing organic matter like grass clippings and manure to reactivate a pile. Use these winter months to get ready for spring planting and keep those compost piles fed, turned, and moist.
My Jumpers love this time of year and can be at their peak performance. Cooler temperatures and added moisture stimulate hatching of eggs and adults feeding and breeding in top layers of compost that at other times of the year maybe too hot or dry.
Earthworms have a couple of jobs, and depending on your goals you will need to decide what worm is best for you. Earthworms feed on decaying organic matter and produce castings. Worm castings (worm poop) is nitrogen rich, pH balanced, humous that is ready to be absorbed by plants roots immediately. Earthworms are the intestines of the soil and are top soil producers. Beyond soil production, their other job is to tunnel through the ground aerating and mixing the soil as they work. Earthworms are also the “plow of the soil” mixing layers of earth while they eat, tunnel, and deposit their castings. These tunnels allow oxygen and water to reach roots of plants and break up compacted soil for greater root penetration and growth.
Red Worms (eisenia foteida) If your goal is composting and worm casting production, this prolific producer is your worm. Well suited for bin raising, not a candidate for adding directly to soil.
European Nightcrawler (eisenia hortensis) Larger worm that is an excellent for composting and fishing. Well suited for bin raising, not a candidate for adding directly to soil.
Alabama Jumper (amynthas corticis) Large worm that is a powerful aerator. Strong worm that is ideal for adding to garden or soil and can burrow deep in hard packed soil. These worms are deep divers and do a great job of mixing layers of the soil, can be bin raised but are better suited for the soil.
San Antonio, TX 78204
Vermicomposting is the natural process by which red worms process waste and convert it into an efficient natural fertilizer. In this program, Kyle Harrell of Texas Red Worms will show participants how they can take kitchen waste to create a wonderful fertilizer that will enrich their garden soils and plants, all with the help of worms! All paid participants will receive a sample of Villa Finale’s compost and a few red worms to get them started at home. Comfortable dress is recommended. Space is limited – please call Villa Finale Visitor Services to make your reservation.
For more information on Kyle’s work, visit www.Texasredworms.com
A few weeks ago I had noticed a few brown patches from my neighbors yards creeping close to mine. Within a few days affected areas were well into my grass. Upon further inspection of the pattern and damage it appeared to be the dreaded chinch bug. The little critters love dry conditions and love to eat away at the healthy roots of grass. I quickly brewed up some worm tea and made a liberal application to my yard. Within a couple of days, my neighbor and I noticed a difference and are happy to see the grass is on it’s way to recovering.
Worm tea is an all natural inexpensive way to beat back garden and lawn pests, and has saved me loads of money and headaches. The beneficial micro organisms in your actively aerated tea will add life back to the soil and are predacious to many pests attacking lawns and vegetables.
Last Spring was the first time my parents used worm castings exclusively to fertilize their garden. My mom and dad claimed their best tomato crop they can remember. We used a handful of castings with each tomato seedling, and the results were terrific. Even in one of the driest and hottest years on record, the taste, yield, and size of the tomatoes were outstanding.
Worm castings or earthworm manure is the best all natural fertilizer you can get. Beyond Potassium and Nitrogen, worm castings are alive with beneficial microbes. Beneficial bacteria, nematodes, and other tiny beneficials that will add life to plants and soil. You can maximize your castings harvest by brewing compost tea. You will need an aquarium pump, water, castings, and some unsulfured molasses to amplify the effects. Worm castings are the only manure that can be directly absorbed by plants roots. They are perfectly pH balanced and won’t burn up plants like other high in Nitrogen manures.
I have tried several models of flow through systems and continue to tinker to get the results I’m looking for. The idea is for the finished castings to fall through the grate at the bottom of the bin and the worms to work towards the top of the bin.
Materials: square metal tubing, plywood, braided cable, 1.5″ self tapping metal screws, small I beam we found for the base bar to mount winches, and 2 winches (one we salvaged and another from Tractor Supply @$20) for pulling each direction.
We welded a bar to slide along the bottom of the bin to agitate the castings through the grate. I have tried other versions without the cutting bar, and castings tend to get clumpy and stuck. Stay tuned for the big reveal when we add worms and a few finishing touches.