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Texas Jumper Eggs and castings run

5 Nov

jumper-eggs

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

Flow Through Worm Bin 2

27 Feb

photo 2

In production since last week this TexasRedWorm Flow Through 2 has been a work in progress for several years.  I have been looking at examples of flow through bins homemade and commercially available for some time.  This latest design is the latest version predated by several prototypes.   This latest evolution has been a success thus far.   I ended up purchasing the metal racks from Costco for about $137.  Easy to assemble and very sturdy, these were a great buy at a good price.  I spent about $70 on hardware (nuts, bolts, screws, washers, 20′ of .25″ cable, and cable clamps).  Key to a long lasting box built around the metal rack, were cypress 2×6’s from TexasDozer.com cut from my dad’s saw mill.  Cypress will not rot and in it’s natural state (no chemicals used to preserve the wood)  and will not leach out anything harmful to the worms or castings.

photo 5The cutting diamond bar was fabricated out of scrap and square tubing for the guides.  This will be pulled with winches mounted to both sides of the rack to cut and harvest castings from the bin.

photo 1Two mason tubs purchased at Lowe’s for around $13 each rest on the bottom rack just below the flow through bin to catch castings.  The bottom of the bin was lined with newspaper and worms and compost were added.  We will let the worms go to work for several weeks feeding compost as needed.  Over the next few weeks the newspaper will break down and the bin will be ready to harvest.  For the initial harvest, remove by hand the newspaper from under the screen.  Use the winch from one side to move the cutting bar across the bottom of the bin one time.

Harvesting Worm Castings w/ a Homemade Sifter

23 Mar

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.

Texas Worm Harvester (part 4)

10 Mar

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.

Texas Worm Harvester (part 3)

8 Feb

The sun was shining and the arctic blast of 2011 broke this weekend for the first run of the Texas Worm Harvester.  I ran a couple hundred pounds of compost through the rig and had some good results.  I had enough time to run a few of my red worm bins with the same success.  I put together a fairly rough video of the project, and welcome any questions.  Let me know if I can help you with your very own version.

Texas Worm Harvester (part 2)

5 Feb

Just about to have v.1.0 of the Texas Worm Harvester in operation.  This one isn’t going to win any beauty contests or craftsmanship awards, but I think it’s going to get the job done.  All the lumber I used was left over from previous projects, and I had to buy just a few bolts and nuts. I still have to finish attaching the hardware cloth, but thought I would share a couple of shots before it’s in production.

We are expecting a break in this “cold for Texas” snap and are planning on temps in the low 60’s tomorrow.  My SuperBowl weekend plans are set, and harvesting some worm castings is at the top of the list.

Texas Worm Harvester

1 Feb

I have spent several months researching worm harvesters, and looking at designs.  I began construction on mine yesterday.  Thanks to Bruce at wormcompostingblog.com for sharing his plans on his drill powered model.

The most expensive materials I have purchased are two plastic tubs at $12.51 each, and rolls of 1/4″ and 1/2″ galvanized hardware cloth at $17.97 and $16.97 respectively.

I have some empty syrup tubs on hand from feeding cows that I used some tin snips to cut the bottom out of that will serve as the end pieces of the tumbler.  I will wrap the hardware cloth around these.

I had a 3/4″ piece of galvanized pipe that will be my center axle.  The struts are 2X4 pieces cut to fit the tubs, that will stabilize the turning of the axle.  I pre-drilled and attached with a lag bolt.  The other pieces of galvanized pipe and 90 degree elbows I had to purchase to make the crank.

Stay tuned to see how I built the housing and rest of the Texas Worm Harvester.