Tag Archives: compost

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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Robert’s European Nightcrawler Bed

20 Dec

I am looking to have a storage building built on my property and called a local builder that I came across at http://www.bbarns.com.  After talking a few minutes, we realized we had met earlier.  Turns out a year or more ago, Robert got a pound of European Nightcrawlers from me.  In addition to talking storage building construction, Robert talked all about how well his worm bed was doing and sent me this great pic.  Not only does he have a great looking worm bed, but his vegetable garden is the envy of the neighborhood.  Thanks for sharing, Robert.

Robert's ENC Bed

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.

Composting with Red Worms 10:00am this Saturday at the San Antonio Botanical Garden

20 Jul

Join TexasRedWorms.com at the San Antonio Botanical Garden this Saturday, July 23 at 10:00 am.  We will be teaching how to set up your own red worm composting bin, and how to compost with worms.  Learn how to turn your kitchen waste into rich worm castings that will condition the soil, and fertilize your plants naturally.

Composting with Red Worms

 10 am—noon. Start turning your waste into rich worm castings for your garden and plants. Red Worm composting from
TexasRedWorms.com will show you how to make your own worm bed and bin, how to feed, care for, and harvest your own steady supply of worm castings. Limit 30 participants. Fee: $20. To register, please contact Sasha Kodet at 210.207.3270 or sasha.kodet@sanantonio.gov.

Red Worms vs. Nightcrawlers for Composting. What’s the Difference?

15 May

Red Worms (Eisenia fetida)European Nightcrawlers (Eisenia hortensis), and African Nightcrawlers (Eudrillus eugeniae), are all excellent composters.  These worms vary in size, w/ Red Worms being the smallest and possibly the least picky.  Red Worms ease of care and ability to handle a wide range of temperatures make them a popular composting worm.

European and African Nightcrawlers are larger worms.  European Nightcrawlers are popular w/ fisherman, due to size.  You’ll find their larger cousin (Canadian Nightcrawler) in bait shops, as well.  European Nightcrawlers can be used for composting, but thought to be less efficient than Red Wigglers or African Nightcrawlers.

African Nightcrawlers are a tropical worm that thrive in warmer climates, need to be kept in temperatures above 70F and will start to die off at 60F.  They are the choice for many commercial worm casting producers that have access to climate controlled facilities.  All three species or varieties can be prolific in the right conditions, and make excellent composting worms.

Red Worm Composting at Historic Preservation Site in San Antonio, TX

11 Apr

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.

Make your own worm pit.

25 Mar

Due to a lack of morning or afternoon sun, I had a difficult time growing anything in this flower bed.  What began about three years ago as a compost pile would be converted into a worm pit.

First, I dug out some of the existing soil that was mostly clay and caliche (rock).  I dug out about 18″ and began filling w/ organic matter.  I began adding coffee grounds, horse and cow manure, grass clippings, leaves, and other vegetable waste.  I didn’t add worms until about this time last year.  Adding the worms at this point,  gave the organic matter plenty of time to break down, and provide a rich environment for the worms.  The worms have flourished and every handful yields a good many worms.  I have continued to add compost material, and water as needed to keep the bed moist.  Over the last month or so, the live oaks have given us a ton of leaves, and I have added them to the top layer as a mulch.   You can use newspaper, hay, or other kinds of mulch to keep the worm bed from drying out.  A layer of mulch will also keep the worms cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  This particular worm pit I am raising Alabama Jumpers, but is suitable for other species, red worms, European nightcrawlers, and African nightcrawlers.