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Stock Tank Worm Bed

8 Nov

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One of the ways I raise my worms is in 100 gallon stock tanks.  My preference is to start with cinder blocks and a pallet on top of that.   This elevates and makes for less bending over when feeding or harvesting.  The lid doesn’t have to be elaborate and can be a piece of plywood laid over the top of your bin.  For a lid like the one pictured, you will want to use the metal instead of the plastic version.  The reason- heat is trapped by the plastic  and raises the temps in the hotter months.  The metal does a far better job of reflecting the heat.  There are lots of ways to skin this cat and I encourage you to put you own spin on it.  Look for things you have access to already and use what you already have laying around.  You’ll be surprised what you can turn into a worm bed.imageStock Tank Worm Bed

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Worm Farming Heat Hacks

7 Jun

Summer arrived early this year and it’s August in June here in South Texas.   Help your worms beat the heat with a few tips.

  1. Ice bottles.  Partially fill plastic bottles w/ water and freeze.  Add frozen bottles to your worm bins in the morning.  Pick them up and re freeze overnight and repeat.
  2. Shade.  If moving your worm bins in doors is not an option add shade cloth or move to a shady area.  Especially from the afternoon sun.
  3. Keep moist- Add a drip line and/ or keep beds covered w/ mulch or old rug.  Covering will protect worms and help keep in moisture.
  4.  Add insulation –  add more bedding and in ground beds are a couple of ways to keep things from heating up and keep your worms happier in the heat.

These are a few tips to help get your worms through the summer.   Share any ideas or successful hacks you’ve come up with in your part of the world.

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Texas Jumper Eggs and castings run

5 Nov

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In a quick castings run we were able to render 40 gallons and 200 lbs of sifted castings.  Found a bunch of egg sacs. 20-gallon-castings

Rainbow Gardens “OPENING UP MY OWN CAN OF WORMS.”

10 Jun

Thanks to Lisa, Laura, and Rainbow Gardens.  Check out “Opening up my own can of worms”.

Jumper Starter Farm

18 Oct

(Insert your favorite state- Alabama, Texas, Carolina, Georgia) Jumpers are great for mixing and aerating garden soil.  The only commercially available earthworm that is suited for introducing directly to the soil.  Some soil types and raised beds with an abundance of organic matter can potentially support red worms and European NightCrawlers, but if you are dealing with sand, clay, or packed ground Jumpers are the only option.  With that said,  I still recommend raised beds or pit method to get your herd started rather than just cutting them loose.  If you want to populate your yard or garden start with a sweet spotand introduce them a handful or two at a time to other parts of your space.

Jumpers can also be raised in bins just like other species, and I have had a lot of success with this method.   Jumpers tolerate the Summer temps better than red worms but don’t handle sub 40F as well.  Keep in mind all earthworms are composters, will surface to feed and breed.  While earthworms share these characteristics, what makes them differ is their ability and need to tunnel, the range at which they operate, and temperature tolerance.

Jumper starter farm

I have included a couple of pictures of one of our Jumper Starter Farms.  This is designed to ship and gives you a healthy way to start and takes the guess work out of starting from scratch.  We take a sample of our beds (bedding and a few hundred worms of different sizes) to give you a solid start and something you can replicate as your population grows.  When you see small worms and larger ones it’s a good indicator that you have a healthy happy environment that your worms are reproducing in.  Depending on your needs and what you are trying to do, you will want to experiment and introduce worms in your soil to see which methods work best for you.   I would encourage you to focus on one spot and expand a handful or two of worms and bedding at a time when you see your worms growing and reproducing  from there.

Bin Raised Jumpers

Winter Rain Adds Needed Moisture to Compost Piles and Worm Beds

9 Jan

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.

Baby Alabama Jumpers

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.

What type of worm is right for you?

10 Oct

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 gracilis)  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.