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 Post subject: Basement Squirm
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:58 am 
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Location: Upstate New York
Well the basement red wiggler squirm (18g Sterlite bin) is doing well. Now all of the worms came from the outdoor EarthMachine compost bin and were all skinny (young) worms. I suspect that the fall weather brought on a new generation. It will be interesting to see to what extent these little guys grow and if they will further populate the bin.

They've had a fair amount of potato peelings as well as some left over carrots, broccoli and some coffee grounds...not to mention a bit of rabbit droppings mixed with some pine shavings, hay and some spilled alfalfa pellets.
The bin began with unfinished compost from the bin. In addition to all of the scraps, I'm using dried grass clippings for bedding material (along with hay and wood from the rabbit hutch).

The basement is down to about 55-60F now. I have a warming pad (off) under the wigglers, but don't know if or when I'll plug it in as they seem fine at this temperature.

The NANC's are in another 8g bin. Although the worms are doing well, this is a holding bin for turtle food and I don't expect any breeding. I'm using an Agway Peat that's not like peat moss, but more like composted manure. It's very dark and rich looking and appears the same as what the bait shops use. The worms seem to do very well in it.

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 Post subject: Re: Basement Squirm
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:43 am 
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For the NANC's, I occasionally peel back the dried grass cover, sprinkle the surface with corn meal, sprinkle with water, then recover.

The wigglers just get veggie left overs and pellets from the rabbit hutch. I'm careful not to include much rabbit urine as this seems very strong - the really wet rabbit bedding goes into the outdoor EarthMachine bin. I've seen some youtubes of folks using a food processor to puree veggie waste.
Although I may cut some things into smaller pieces, most just gets buried in the bedding. I figure it will break down quick enough. I may make an exception for egg shells as I say some video's where there was finished compost 'littered' with large pieces of egg shells.

Well, I try to hand out here a while longer, but it seems pretty empty here. All the old wormers have retired I guess.

If you read this, what are your vermicomposting activities?

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 Post subject: Re: Basement Squirm
PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:23 pm 
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Location: Canada
your not completely alone. there is at least one lurker still lurking.

the outdoor bin got transferred to the winter rm's bins a while ago. there were fewer frozen worms than last year but some still got stuck to the scraper i was using.

i always feel a bit bad but it's for the good the greater squirm.

they are currently being neglected in the very cool porch which is fine cause they haven't been fed in a long time. last i checked them only one bin was in any sort of distress. a bunch of worms decided to move into a catchment bin. nbd i just switched out the lower bin and started a new bin with the migrant worms. i always seem to be making new bins with migrants or scrapings or screenings or w/e odd worms get collected here and there.

maybe sometime in the new year i'll get to emptying the rm's of vc and moving the herd into new bedding.

anyway - gone for now

:)


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 Post subject: Re: Basement Squirm
PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:08 pm 
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If you read this, what are your vermicomposting activities?

I'm still at it.

This year, I started purposefully collecting my own coffee grounds and tea leaves for the compost. I save it up in a large creamer canister, and when it gets full, they get the contents. The worms love it. Before I pour it on the bin, I mix a few tablespoons of corn meal into the stuff.

I still juice, and the pulp from that has been feeding my worms for more than 20 years - it's how I got started. I hated to just throw out that pulp.

Recently, I bought some coconut coir. I've heard about people using this for bedding, and thought I'd try it. Also, I sell a few pounds a year, and I plan to use this as filler for outgoing worms so they can be comfortable on their way to their new home.

Mostly, it's the day-to-day routine of bypassing the garbage as much as possible and feeding the worms instead.

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 Post subject: Re: Basement Squirm
PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:09 pm 
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Glad to see there are a few ghost wormers remaining! Prolly a few more lurkers if we could just get them to speak up!

I've heard of using chopped coconut for bedding, but like Canadian peat moss, you have to pay and although I sometimes have, I try to make it completely recyclable - although I much prefer grass clippings and leaves over newspaper - although shredded paper works well to as long as it's not the high clay glossy pages.

The outdoor EarthMachine bin is all food and rabbit bin waste although there's a fair amount of pine shavings mixed in with the rabbit droppings (along with a little hay and some alfalfa pellets.

Right now the squirm seems to be doing well but again these are skinny little guys - I hope they grow and fatten up - time will tell.

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 Post subject: Re: Basement Squirm
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:45 pm 
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I really love leaves for bedding. I don't have a way to shred them, so I put them in whole, but after a few weeks, the worms have broken them down into loamy goodness. Soft and turnable, too.

As far as recycleable, I've been trying to use more of my pine needles. My 2 trees shed a ton a year, and it takes the worms 2-3 years to break down a batch - they run quite behind. I may start a pile to precompost and see if that shortens the time in the bin.

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 Post subject: Re: Basement Squirm
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:36 am 
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I tend to steer clear of pine needles, although the worms get a fair amount of pine shavings from the rabbit hutch which are also pretty slow to break down. I think the needles are acidic and really tough to decompose - better left to a conventional hot compost pile with ample greens.

I don't chop the leaves anymore than the mower did to collect them and sometimes they're just collected fallen leaves that I'll give a mush as I add to the bin. In outdoor heaps, they just get dumped from the mower bags. They might be better/quicker all chopped up, but it works.

This makes me think of food prep. I was watching some youtubes where some people go to extremes in prepping worm food. Saving batches, chopping up and running it through a food processor to make a puree to spread on top of the bedding. As I clearly found from my outdoor EarthMachine compost bin, worms do really well without all the fuss. Veggy scraps and rabbit droppings/bedding are just tossed in with no special treatment. Slower to break down, but this process isn't really a race.

So to any lurking readers, how to you prepare foods to feed your herd???

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 Post subject: Re: Basement Squirm
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:15 pm 
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The most i've ever done is store stuff in the freezer.

I've used calcium to nuetralize some acidic food-stock once.

For bedding i try to find good old deposits of leaves. Last spring i layered leaves with cardboard sheets. The cardboard got beat up good with a claw-hammer fisrt. I used dry grass once. It took a few years for the clumps of grass to breakdown.


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 Post subject: Re: Basement Squirm
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:59 am 
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I heard that freezing stuff, especially fruit can thwart fruit flies. I don't have much fruit going to the basement. I do have (I think) vinegar flies in the outdoor bin in summer, but I just tollerate them as with the many other critters that populate the EarthMachine bin(s).

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 Post subject: Re: Basement Squirm
PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:28 am 
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I think the needles are acidic and really tough to decompose - better left to a conventional hot compost pile with ample greens.

Yes, they are tough to decompose, but I have a lot of them, and in a continuing supply. I can't stand to just let them go to waste, so I keep trying to devise ways to incorporate them into my vermicomposting. They're there, like veggie scraps and eggshells, and part of my home ecosystem.

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 Post subject: Re: Basement Squirm
PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:48 pm 
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So to any lurking readers, how to you prepare foods to feed your herd???

I really don't "prepare" things. I toss things in, sometimes I'll bury it in the bedding, but mostly I'm pretty mindless about it. The only thing I do prepare is about once a week I'll make a dough ball of corn meal and water and bury it in the bin. The worms love it, and it seems to boost the population.

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 Post subject: Re: Basement Squirm
PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 5:45 pm 
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Priswell wrote:
So to any lurking readers, how to you prepare foods to feed your herd???

I really don't "prepare" things. I toss things in, sometimes I'll bury it in the bedding, but mostly I'm pretty mindless about it. The only thing I do prepare is about once a week I'll make a dough ball of corn meal and water and bury it in the bin. The worms love it, and it seems to boost the population.


I just my try that.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:55 am 
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Hi;
I have two 16-Gal. Rubbermaid-type plastic bins. My problem is that we produce a lot more food waste than the worms can process, so a lot of it ends up in the freezer. Freezing and thawing breaks down cell structure, allowing the worms / microorganisms to process the stuff faster. Now, I don't have an actual garden, just a large porch/patio area so I can't just create a large Compost pile and throw all my food scraps there. In addition, I also want the worms to be able to deal with the food as soon as possible, so I take the thawed food waste (Fruits & Veggies) and run it through my Food Processor (My food processor, not my Wife's). At the same time, I mix in Bunny Poo, Coffee grounds, powdered Eggshell, whatever.. I then mix the resultant goop with shredded corrugated cardboard.
Before feeding, I move all the castings (with worms) from one side of the bin to the other and then layer the new food in the now empty section. Within a week or two it's finished whatever composting action is happening (the interaction between the liquid-ey food waste and the dry shredded cardboard) and the worms move into the new material. This allows me to harvest the castings from the side vacated.

Shaul


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 Post subject: Re: Basement Squirm
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 12:31 pm 
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Shaul,

Sounds good. I think you're smart to mix that blended food in with cardboard so it will be in a better moisture range. The good news is that after a while, your worm population will (finally) meet your garbage/food waste output. Be sure to allow enough time for the majority of the baby worms to hatch and move into the new food space before you harvest your compost.

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 Post subject: Re: Basement Squirm
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:42 am 
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Priswell wrote:
Shaul,

Sounds good. I think you're smart to mix that blended food in with cardboard so it will be in a better moisture range. The good news is that after a while, your worm population will (finally) meet your garbage/food waste output. Be sure to allow enough time for the majority of the baby worms to hatch and move into the new food space before you harvest your compost.


I saw an interesting tip on youtube...
First let me say, at least for bins, when separating, I usually scoop off the top 6 or 8 inches into a prepared new bin. There are always a few stragglers in the bottom of the old bin, but just a few that get hand picked.

A fellow on youtube prepares a new bin with bedding, then applies a good layer of food, then dumps the old bin contents into the new one. The food done under causes the worms to go down, so in a few days he just skims the finished compost off the top.

It does deserve mentioning that 'finished vermicompost' may contain may, many cocoons, so we need to be careful to let these hatch. I guess the best way is to reserve the finished compost, keep moist. with a layer of food and cover until we're sure we've harvested all of the youngster worms.

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 Post subject: Re: Basement Squirm
PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:36 pm 
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Abbeysdad wrote:
Glad to see there are a few ghost wormers remaining!


It sounds funny however these worms are very good friend when it comes to gardening. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Basement Squirm
PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:19 am 
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Hmm ghost worming. I could be ranked in there. I have two compost bins complete with red worms that got there all by themselves!

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 Post subject: Re: Basement Squirm
PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 10:20 am 
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The worms just jumped in the bin!?!?!
I have a couple of EarthMachine compost bins now both on the side of the garage. Seeded once long ago with worms, even when emptied to use in the garden, the worms keep coming back season after season. I believe the soil below contains enough worms and or cocoons to repopulate the bins over and over.

GreenLarry wrote:
Hmm ghost worming. I could be ranked in there. I have two compost bins complete with red worms that got there all by themselves!

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 Post subject: Re: Basement Squirm
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:06 pm 
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I set up a wire composter in my back yard yrs. ago for my yard waste. Never realized until last year that it contains lots of worms. I always thought the leaves were processed by pill bugs and other bugs and maybe a few worms. It was full with autumn leaves once, now it's only 1/2 full, cut down 2 maple trees when they died. Can't figure out the species of the worms, though. So now I feed that composter too, with "vermin free" worm food. I doubt I will ever harvest VC from this. It look like such a big undertaking, dis-mantelling the wire enclosure but no room to set it up next to where it was to start anew. Still have to put the top 18" somewhere to get to the goodies.


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