Tag Archives: vermicomposting

Michael’s Rabbit Hutch Worm Bed

23 Jul

Thanks to Michael in Cypress, TX for sharing the pictures of his rabbit hutch and worm bed design.  Great work and thanks for sending.

photo3 photo4 photo photo2

Advertisements
Image

Red Mites and Red Worms

16 Jul
Red Mites killing a red worm

Red Mites killing a red worm

Red mites on watermelon rind.

Red mites on watermelon rind.

I’ve encountered these red devils before but not at this level.  Unlike most visitors in your worm bin, these guys are parasites to worms.  (see top picture).  Red mites flourish and can become a problem in a bin that is too moist, has too much food, or too acidic.  Don’t panic if you have a few mites, but a bin that is has been neglected and unkept in these conditions can pose a problem.  My outbreak was caused by overfeeding before we headed out for our July 4th vacation, and was left to fester for more than a week.  Getting rid of a red mite infestation can be a challenge.

I’ve tried several methods and have shown below a little experiment I began today.  I scraped the top of some red mite infected bins and partially filled some small shoebox containers.  From Left to Right in pic below 1. control 2. diatomaceous earth 3. watermelon rind 4. agricultural lime.

1. The control bin will be left open and scraped from time to time to see how long it takes to get rid of the red mites.

2. Diatomaceous Earth has been applied to top of #2.  DE needs to be kept dry in order for it to stick to bugs and make tiny cuts that will dry them out and kill them off.

3. Watermelon rind placed on top to attract red mites and discard.  I will replace with a new one and repeat and see how this does.

4. Ag Lime dusted on top.  Ag lime is alkaline and will hopefully bring the acidic bedding closer to neutral.  The high alkalinity concentrated on the top should burn up the red mites and not harm the worms.

4 methods for getting rid of red mites

These methods have been used before and should all work.  I just kind of wanted to see them head to head.  We’ll see how this turns out.  The good news is most of the red mites have been dismissed without harming too many of my bins and worms.  Additionally, I learned a valuable lesson about overfeeding, and next time I’ll use more composted manure and less of my worm chow mix.  My mistakes were 1. overfeeding 2. too wet 3. too much peat moss and too little composted manure (which made my bedding a little acidic) 4. My infected bins were unattended for a week.  Had I caught them sooner it wouldn’t have been much of an issue.

 

Join us for worm composting and compost tea talk at the Alamo Heights Community Garden

16 Apr

Today Tuesday, April 16th, from 6-8pm at the Alamo Heights Community Garden Texas Red Worms will be with Green Spaces Alliance at 403 Ogden St.  Join us for instruction and discussion on worms, composting, and compost tea.

Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 9.15.41 AM

Worms new home

11 Apr

From Mike in San Antonio:

“Bro thanks a million!!! Very excited about my worms.  Almost turned around and bought more! LOL. Here are some pix.

Very excited about my Garden.”

Thanks for sharing!

photophoto-2photo-1

Spring Fever Festival March 23, 2013. 33 Herff Road, Boerne TX 78006.

12 Mar

The Spring Fever Festival is Saturday March 23, 2013 at 33 Herff Road, Boerne TX 78006. Kyle from Texas Red Worms will be speaking at 11 a.m. I will be presenting basics of worm composting and answering questions on worm farming. I look forward to seeing you there.

Upcoming events include an April 16th appearance in San Antonio with Green Spaces Alliance.  Stay tuned for more details.

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.

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.