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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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Garden Fest this weekend in Boerne, TX

15 Sep

Join TexasRedWorms.com at 10:30am in Boerne, TX to learn more about worms.

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How do I get rid of ants?

5 May

A frequently asked question I get from worm farmers and gardeners is, “How do I get rid of ants”?  Ants can be attracted to the food waste in your compost pile or worm bed.  The good news is that a healthy compost pile or worm bed is going to have a lot of beneficial bacteria and microbial activity that the ants won’t like.  So in most cases they are there for the food scraps, and will move along shortly.  If they don’t move along and decide to set up shop, or you just want them gone, I recommend diatomaceous earth.  Food grade Diatomaceous Earth or (DE)  are  finely ground remains of tiny ocean critters called diatoms.  DE can be sprinkled around any area where you want to get rid of insects or other segmented bodied critters.  The tiny powder kept dry will stick to the ants or other bugs and make tiny cuts that will dry them out and kill them.  Wet DE won’t stick, so keep your powder dry.  Also, be sure to get food grade and not pool grade DE.  Pool grade is super fine and can be dangerous when breathed in.

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DE is natural and won’t harm your worms or you.  Other ant killers that contain chemicals might be harmful to your worms.

 

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Maggots in my worm bin?

30 Apr

Below is a picture from a customer who asked the question, “What are these in my bin and are they harmful to the worms”?  These are probably black soldier fly larvae.  They are a little unsightly, but are good composters in their own right and are not harmful to your worms.  These tend to show up in my manure piles when the weather heats up.  I will remove them most of the time from my worm bin if they show up, but it is not necessary.

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Weekend Worm Workshop Saturday 10/19 @ 33 Herff Road, Boerne, TX

17 Oct

Fall Garden Fest

TexasRedWorms will be in Boerne, TX this Saturday the 19th at 33 Herff Road, Boerne, TX.  We will be there to talk about composting with worms, setting up, and other how to information.

We’ll be there from 10am-11am Saturday morning.

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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.

Bin Raising Alabama Jumpers

9 Nov

Above is a pic of one of my Alabama Jumper bins.  Worms are feeding on my DIY Worm Chow and some pumpkin.

Alabama Jumpers are best suited for tunneling, aerating, and mixing the soil.  They can be raised in bins like your other composting worms (red worm and european nightcrawler).  I set my bins up with a few inches of clay soil on the bottom to make the worms comfortable and try to replicate their natural home.  Next, I add several inches of compost that will provide the organic matter they will feed on.  In a worm bed or bin the second generation will flourish if conditions are right (moisture and food).  Having been born in the environment worms will adapt much better from birth and be happy in their new home.  When introducing Alabama Jumpers into a new environment (bin or bed), start with an ample supply of the medium that you harvested them from to ensure a greater chance for success.