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Keys to worm farming success.

14 Feb

A proper set up, and a little planning is all you need to be a successful worm farmer.  In no time you’ll be making more bins, and harvesting valuable castings for your soil and plants from garbage that your family produces.  Red worms are rapid breeders, and can lay an egg every 7 days.  Because they breed so fast in good conditions, focus on their environment, and you will have more worms than you know what to do with.  I started 4 years ago with a medium sized drink cup worth of worms that wasn’t even full.  I sputtered for a bit until I dialed in the right conditions for their bin.  Soon after I got it right and 1 bin became 2 and there is no telling how many worm beds and bins I have started.  So how many worms you start with is not important, but how you start is critical for success.

On another note, I harvested the castings from one of my starter (shoebox size) farms this weekend that I started on 11/28/10 with 10 eggs.  This experiment proved that a healthy bin will produce great results.

For first time worm farmers I recommend my starter farm $40 that will give you a headstart on producing castings and more worms than just purchasing a pound of worms. An established environment with reproducing worms from egg to adult, and will out produce a worm purchase alone.  Worm farming is easy, but you must get a few things right.  The right kind and amount of food, the right temperature, the right moisture, and the right amount of room.  BIns should mimic their natural environment, a cool, dark, moist space with decaying organic matter.

The starter farm in most cases,will need to be split in about a month.  Splitting bins when they grow out of their current one is important, because when conditions are right the only limit to the worms reproduction is space and available food.

I recommend keeping the starter bin as a breeding bin, and starting new bins from your harvest.  When you have a bin that is producing, you can then experiment with other set ups (larger bins, worm beds, pits, trenches, worm towers,and more) .

Have fun, and Happy Valentine’s Day.

4 redworm experiment

15 Dec

Inspired by Bentley Christie’s 4 worm experiment where his 5 1/2 month experiment with 4 mature worms rendered 12 adults and 94 juveniles.  I began a similar experiment of 2 bins with 4 worms and my normal bedding.

11-14-10 I set up up two starter bins w/ bedding and 4 mature red worms.

12-5-10 Three weeks into the experiment I did a pretty good count in one of the bins and was able to find the 4 original worms and 4 juveniles.  I was also able to find a few cocoons.  I could have easily missed counting due to the small size of juvenile worms .

From everything I can gather a mature worm can produce an egg sac every 7 days, and reach sexual maturity in 60-90 days. The two main variables I would like some data on are:
1) time it takes a cocoon to hatch?
2) number of worms in cocoon?
I have read cocoons can hatch 3-30 baby worms, and assume healthier worms in ideal conditions will hatch more.  Accurate numbers will require accurate counting, and isolating variables.

I recognize that calling this an “experiment” is a bit of a stretch but wanted to see what would happen.

Why are all my worms at the top of the bin?

10 Aug

I had someone ask the other day about why there worms were lined up at the top of their bin?

Worms should be dispersed throughout your bin when conditions are right.  So chances are there might be an issue with your bin if you see this.  Red worms like it moist, but don’t drown them.  If the bin is outdoors make sure the soil is well draining, and that rain will not collect.  Temperature is the other big factor in my experience.  See The right temperature for worms for more info.

For an in depth look at the 3 rights of worm farming check out this link.

Can I keep my worms indoors?

24 Jul

Bins are fine indoors, and the starter “shoe box” size is great for under the sink.  It’s odorless, bugless, and great for putting your table scraps right in.  I keep some in large rubbermaid tubs in a bathtub that is rarely used hidden by the shower curtain. As long as my wife doesn’t see, the little fellas are welcome inside.  Shhhh! don’t tell my wife.

To keep them “bug free”  or at least to keep the fruit flies away simply drape an old sheet over your bins.  This won’t restrict airflow, and will keep the fruit flies out.

If you are feeding properly, not overfeeding, it will smell like sweet earth or at least be contained in your bin.  Overfeeding can be remedied by simply taking some food out, or adding shredded cardboard or paper products.

Red Worm Farming Tips

21 Jun

Red Worm Farming tips:

•Keep farm in a dark place or all day shade if outside.

•Add bedding (shredded newspaper/cardboard) to eliminate smell, and soak up moisture and prevent mold and fungus.

•Keep worms moist 60%-80% (food scraps will usually provide enough moisture).

•Every few months, harvest the castings for plants and excess worms to start a new bin for yourself or a friend.

•Happy worms will churn through waste and be prolific breeders. Eggs sacs, juveniles, and mature adults will be present.

•Worms are hardy critters, but need to be protected from extreme temperatures and sunlight. 40F-80F

•Feed worms eggshells, cardboard, paper, fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, yard clippings, aged cow, chicken, rabbit, or horse manure.

•Avoid feeding worms dairy, meat, grease, dog or cat feces.