Check out this recent MySa.com article on the wonderful work going on in the King William historic district along the San Antonio Riverwalk at Villa Finale historic site and museum by head groundskeeper Orlando Cortinas. Worms do their part to keep Villa Finale lawns lush by Rose Mary Brudge.
Worms are for more than just fishing. I’ll be at The San Antonio Botanical Garden tomorrow to discuss composting with worms. We’ll be talking about how worms can take kitchen waste from the trash can to the garden and add life to your soil and plants. Soon you’ll be backing up your pickup to scavenge manure piles and livestock stalls to feed your own brood of humus producers, and you’ll be producing some of the finest vegetables and plants around.
Thank you to all who came out to the San Antonio Botanical Garden this weekend. I have included some links and attachments to dig a little deeper into some of the topics we covered on Saturday.
Worm Handout pdf
• Care of worms- what to do when you get your worms.
• Harnessing the Earthworm - by Thomas J. Barrett
Thanks again to all who participated and to Sasha Kodet and the San Antonio Botanical Garden. Let me know if you have any questions, or if I can give you some feedback on your set up.
Orlando Cortinas, Landscape Maintenance Technician for Villa Finale in the historic King William district in San Antonio, TX is doing some tremendous work on the museum grounds. He is bringing this historic property back to life, and working on some exciting organic methods to gardening and landscaping. Orlando has built a beautiful worm composting pit, and another composting bin for leaves, yard clippings, and food waste.
On my tour of the grounds, Orlando showed me his plans for a greenhouse, and compost tea brewer. Thanks Orlando, and the National Trust For Historic Preservation for your purchase with TexasRedWorms.com and the tour of your impressive property.
The first National Trust Historic site in Texas, this former home of preservationist and civic leader Walter Mathis was purchased in 1967. This home originally built in 1876 is now a museum, and a nearly 2 acre showcase along the San Antonio River on former Alamo farm lands.
Brian in San Antonio was kind enough to share some pictures of his worm tubes that he placed under the eves of his home and buried about 18″. He drilled several holes in the bottom 18″ buried portion of the pipe for drainage.
I just wanted to thank you for your help and encouragement starting worm composting. I went ahead and mixed 50-50 cow manure and peat moss in my tube and added a hand full of your red worms, and built a two bin system for the rest of the worms. two worm I added to my potted pineapple plant as an experiment. I figured I’d let the worms settle in for 3-7 days before adding vegetable mater. take a look at my pictures and let me know what you think. thanks again brother. BRIAN
Here are some more pics of his two bin system.
Above: drainage bin to catch excess moisture from worm composting bin.
Let us know if you have any questions about composting w/ worms. Red Worms, European Nightcrawlers, and Alabama Jumpers available at TexasRedWorms.com for composting, gardening, and fishing. For more tips on what to do when you receive your worms check out our Care of Worms section.
For large jobs of sifting worms from castings or compost I use my Texas Worm Harvester, but for smaller jobs I have built a small box sifter. With some scrap materials, and the left over 1/4 inch wire mesh I had I put together this sifter. I have also seen where other worm farmers use 1/8 inch screen, for my use I have found the 1/4 inch to do just fine. Separating worms from castings using this or the harvester method is the first step I take and removes most of the worms are course unprocessed organic matter. I do spend time picking out tiny worms and eggs, but losing a few is not a big deal. Here is a picture of a tiny hatchling that I found while harvesting castings. As you can see, or maybe not, these little guys are hard to find. This little thread of a worm was wiggling which made him easier to see.
This afternoon I began brewing up about 70 gallons of compost tea with worm castings I recently harvested. In about 12 hours my brew will be ready to apply to my plants and yard. If you are in the San Antonio area, and can pick up, I’ll be giving a gallon of actively aerated vermicompost tea away with a TexasRedWorm.com purchase. An application of compost tea will add life to your soil with beneficial micro organisms that will fight disease and pests, as well as, boost your plants growth. Active aeration prevents harmful anaerobic bacteria and other non-beneficial microbial activity. Applying compost tea within a few hours is best, after a few hours the brew begins to go anearobic.
Here’s a link for a recipe.
Be aware of store bought compost tea products claims that are sitting on the shelf. These products will not be aerobic and will not contain many of the benefits (beneficial microbes that require Oxygen) that are associated with actively aerated compost tea.
Spring time means it’s time to plant. The whole family pitched in helping my parents with the garden. My niece and dad are pictured above planting the watermelons. I supplied the worm castings, and a little hoeing to help out.
Worm castings are one of the benefits to raising your own worms. Composting food waste with worms will give you your own organic fertilizer. All natural fertilizer that strengthens roots of plants, improve disease resistance, and makes better tasting vegetables. Check out these links for additional information and benefits from gardening with worm castings.
We’ll be looking forward to some more tasty vegetables from the garden this year.
After several weeks and hundreds of pounds, I have made a few modifications to my worm harvester. The first thing I did was replace the 1/2 inch hardware cloth w/ 1/4 inch screen throughout. The 1/4 inch screen keeps the majority of the worms out of the catch tubs and sends most worms to the end bucket along w/ the larger sized material. I still have to spend some time picking through the worm castings for eggs and baby worms. Using this method I have been able to speed up the process of separating worms from castings considerably.
Another change I made was adding a scrap piece of particle board to the front end to make loading easier and to prevent back flow. The only other modification was to tweak the angle slightly. I have the end pieces bolted so that I can adjust the height, also I can add blocks underneath to change the level.
In this avocado I caught this red worm laying an egg. I grabbed the camera a little late, but you can see the worm and egg that was layed. Red Worms are prolific in good conditions. They are hermaphroditic and have both male and female reproductive organs. The worms will exchange fluid and can lay an egg every 7 days. The cocoons or eggs can contain 4-20+ baby worms.
You can save money, reduce waste, and benefit your plants with a red worm farm. It requires very little effort and space. Your TexasRedWorm starter farm can be kept under a sink, in a closet w/ no smell. Just add your coffee grounds, paper/ cardboard waste, fruit and vegetable scraps, and let the worms do the work. They will turn your trash into a rich natural fertilizer that you can add directly to your lawn or plants.