Tag Archives: outdoor worm pit

DIY Worm Trough

28 Apr

I had been thinking of building a feed trough style worm bed for some time.  I found some plastic 55 gallon drums on Craigslist.  My dad had some pine 2X4s cut from his saw mill, and we were in business.  We began by cutting the 55 gallon plastic drums in half w/ a skill saw.

Materials: (2X4s, plastic 55 gallon drums, 3 inch wood screws, roofing screws, Thompson’s water seal)

Next we cut the 2X4s to border the open 1/2 end of the drum.  We used 3″ screws to piece the wood together, and galvanized roofing screws to secure the barrel to frame.  The height off the ground, we sized to about waist high for ease of use and for clearance underneath.
We had enough time and materials to build 3 bins.  When finished, I sprayed some wood preservative on the untreated pine, then I added compost and worms.  These bins are kept in a shaded area, and covered with plastic lids.  I set up a bin for each species we raise (Alabama Jumpers, Red Worms, European Nightcrawlers)
Thanks to my dad (pictured) for the pine, and skilled labor.

Add Alabama Jumpers, Red Worms to your soil or raised bed.

19 Apr

When your worm order arrives here is one way to add them to your garden, raised bed, soil.  Your TexasRedWorms.com farm is a great place to raise your worms, but soon you will need to harvest the worms in order to make room for more.  You can use all or a portion of your worms.  In this example I am adding a box of Alabama Jumpers or as I like to refer to them “Texas Jumpers” to a raised bed I have prepared.

1. Choose a location preferably a shady spot that you can keep somewhat moist.  If you are adding to a full sun area be sure to cover with a few inches of mulching material to protect from the sun and to retain moisture. Leaves, newspaper, straw will work fine.  Morning or evening are the best time to add your worms.

2. Pre-wet the area you have chosen to prepare a nice moist environment for your worms to settle in.

3. You will need to dig a small hole about the size and depth of the box or container of your worms and contents.

4. Empty contents worms and compost into the hole.

5.  Cover with a section of wet newspaper.  This will keep the worms cool and protected from drying out giving them an opportunity to settle in to their new home. The Alabama Jumpers will eventually spread out on their own.  Red Worms and European Nightcrawlers will stay were they are fed and are not going to spread like the tunneling Jumpers. In the event you are adding Red Worms or European Nightcrawlers you will add a handful of kitchen scraps to the same location you placed your worms every few days.  As your worm population grows you will learn how often to feed based on how fast they work through the organic material.  The Alabama Jumpers are great for aerating and fertilizing the soil.  Red Worms and European Nightcrawlers are better composting worms.

For added protection I covered the newspaper with some leaves.  This method is one I have used with success, I have included some other similar worm bed set up links I have used.  Have fun and send us ideas.  Let us know if you have any questions.

Worm Tubes, Worm Pit, Outdoor Worm Bed, Flow Through Worm Bin.

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.

Alabama Jumpers in Texas

28 Mar

I have been experimenting for a little over a year with the Alabama Jumper, sometimes referred to as the Georgia Jumper, or in this case Texas Jumper. The scientific name of which being Amynthas agrestis.  Now that that’s out of the way, this Jumper isn’t even originally from Alabama?   As a matter of fact, it is believed to hail from Asia.  How about that?  This aggressive and super strong worm can and will jump right out of your hand.  This super strength makes it a powerful tunneler, and allows it to burrow through some of the hardest packed clay soil.  This worm is a hot item, and is in high demand by gardeners everywhere for these reasons.  European nightcrawlers, African nightcrawlers, and Red Worms, are all great, but the Alabama Jumper can go to work in clay and sand unlike the other varieties.  I have experienced it’s power first hand, and been amazed at it’s strength and ability to work through some hard soil.  In San Antonio, we’ve got some pretty tough clay, and I have seen these Jumpers perform mightily in it.  I too have read all the hype about this worm, and it is the real deal.  The Alabama Jumper is great for people that want a worm to go to work in their soil, garden, or flowerbeds.  For composting, producing castings, or fishing I would recommend the others.

I have been trying various methods of raising the Alabama Jumper for over a year, and have had success with raising them in bins, as well as, worm beds or pits.  They are reproducing in both environments, and I have a limited amount available for sale.  Call for availability.

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.

Flow through Worm Bin

3 Jan

Inspired by Bruce’s flow through worm bin design at wormcompostingblog.com, and Cassandra Truax’s podcast interview w/ “worm dude” Jerry Gach.  I had some plastic buckets laying around, and decided to build a couple for myself.

I cut out the hole w/ tin snips.

Holes were spaced 1.5″ apart to thread weed eater line through using a 1/8″ drill bit.

The first layer (6 sheets of damp newspaper).

Next, I added some red worms, and layered some partially finished compost for bedding.

I will add food scraps to the top and cover with some cardboard.  The idea is that in a few weeks the worms will continue to work their way to the top and the finished vermicompost will flow through the weed eater line to be harvested from the bottom of the bin.

Be sure to add a little sand to your Red Worm bin.

22 Nov

When setting up a new bin it is helpful to add a handful of sand.  This will help aid in the red worms digesting of food.  The sand will provide the necessary grit in their gullet to help them grind food.  If you are setting up an outdoor bin pick a shady spot with sandy soil if possible.  The sand will not only help your worms but, provides excellent drainage, as well.

TexasRedWorms.com starter farms are complete systems that contain everything you need in an established environment that includes bedding, food, red worms, and castings.  We prefer to sell and ship worms this way, especially for beginners.  We want to take the guess work out of starting your farm, and ensure your success as a red worm farmer.

Outdoor Red Worm Farm

12 Oct

Red Worm farming is fun, easy, and helps you convert food wastes into rich natural fertilizer for your yard, plants, and garden.  Red worms are prolific and with time a handful of worms will grow exponentially.  I have build worm beds, pits, containers of all shapes and sizes and this weekend tried something new.  We had an old chicken coop that I converted into an outdoor bed.

This old chicken coop is a great spot for a worm bed.  Protected from direct sun and wind with a sandy soil base that will ensure good drainage.  I tilled up an area of about 10′ X 10′ and added a few loads of aged cow and horse manure to about 6″ depth.  Next, I ran a soaker hose over the bed and wet down the manure.  Last, I added about 2lbs. of bed run worms to start.

Things to consider when preparing a worm bed:

Protection from sun and extreme temperatures – (tin roof and three sided wall, and  at least 6 inches of bedding)

Moisture – Add depth of bedding and provide adequate watering. (6″ of aged manure and soaker hose, can cover with old carpet, plywood, or tarp)

Drainage – (sandy soil or sand base will keep water from collecting and drowning worms)

Bedding and Food- (partially broken down compost and aged manure are excellent for red worms)

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.

10 minute Red Worm Setup

28 Jul

We had some local customers ask me to come help set up their worm bed.  I delivered the worms and helped them set up their own worm bed in about 10 minutes.  We found a nice spot in one of their flower beds, grabbed a plastic pot, some post hole diggers, and went to work.  I dug a hole large enough to bury the pot, placed the pot inside with the bottom cut out, put the worms in with bedding and food, and placed the lid on top.  This took about ten minutes and now Dave and Patty have their own TexasWormFarm.com worm bed.