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Anyone into vermiculture?

By Zoohome7
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1

I've been composting my entire life. Well, I don't mean me personally. I learned it from my grandmother and my dad. I didn't realize there was a way to compost without worms ... silly me.

My daughter wants to start a worm farm, so I've been shredding non-inked cardboard. We'll see how that goes.

I use compost a lot, usually about 30% compost and 70% dirt. Everything seems to grow fine. I've never had any problems with smells, but I don't put meat products or any food that has been cooked (steamed veggies is OK) in the pile and always cover it to help keep the critters out of it.

AstralSmoke Level 8 Sep 10, 2018

I think i adventured too much with different foods. Other than egg shells, I have never placed animal byproduct, oils, citric or salt. But i think something else plus lack of paper made it unbalanced.
Im taking @freeofgod advice and cleanout my worms, rinse the bins and start again.

@Zoohome I would think raising worms in an enclosed container would require a little more care. Making sure they have food and a constant moisture seems crucial. @freeofgod seems to know what she is talking about and I'm sure it would be beneficial to follow her advice.

2

I have two, small, cold frames without a bottom in them. I only put raw fruit and veg scraps,, and coffee grounds. I keep an empty coffee canister on the counter for used filters and grounds. I store empty egg shells in the carton. When the containers are full I empty them into the bin. Worms work their way up from the ground to work the earth. They only time I've had a compost pile sour is when someone accident put cooking oil or vegetables in them. That happened twice. It's obvious when one has soured. The earth starts stinking instead of smelling like fresh, earthy, dirt. And the good worms and insects die to be replaced with blow flies and gnats.

freeofgod Level 8 Sep 9, 2018

Thank uou. Maybe i put something passed the prime time and didn't workout right

@Zoohome Veg/fruit dates don't matter. Egg shells and coffee grounds are excellent material. I've been cold composting for thirty years. I tried a hot heap once but they are labor intensive and don't leave much room for error.

1

I have a composting worm bin for some years now but don't spend a lot of time thinking about it

btroje Level 9 Sep 9, 2018

Have you ever had fly/maggot problems?

@Zoohome not at all. I only put vegetable scraps in it. I have a lot of other animals that make manure piles. Maybe they just go that direction

@Zoohome , you usually only have that problem if meat, grease, or something cooked has been thrown in the heap.Then you need to scrap it and start again.

1

RAISES HAND

I've had my Worm Factory for about a year.

[naturesfootprint.com]

2

I have an open compost pile that attracts the native worms and blue fly larva.The blue fly larva will consume almost anything in a few hours, including dead animals, so I never went beyond just looking at it.

glennlab Level 9 Sep 9, 2018

My outdoor compost is a little neglected.
I don't know the blue fly. I had the black soldier fly in my worm bin once. I was able to eliminate them.

@Zoohome I compost most everything organic. When I was still doing taxes, all my shredded paperwork went into the compost, oil/grease from cooking, leftovers, freezer clean out, yard waste. I keep the yard waste on one side, then use it to cover the other waste. During the spring and summer when I add new material, it looks like the ground is alive. During the falland winter, it is much slower with just the earthworms and yeast.

@glennlab no smell?

@Zoohome none, I alternate layers of leaves/wood chips/pine bark mulch with a layer of organic wet. Once the blue flies mature (late August) I start adding a mixture of sugar water with dissolved yeast and a pinch of salt. The yeast will break down the sugars and starches to more usable foods for the bugs and microbes. I also have a lot of plants in pots, so at the end of the season, I add that dirt back to the pile. Its one of the few things I remember to water at least once a week when we don't have rain.

@glennlab do you make your own mulch?

@Zoohome , if it doesn't smell like dirt it's soured. T.here shouldn't be flies other than an occasional fruitfly. I think there is an article on line from the farmers almanac about composting. If there's anything I can help you with message me. I'll be happy to help.

@Zoohome yes and no, when they trim trees in my area, I'll normally get one or 2 truckloads of green wood chips with all the greenery mixed in (that 2.5 to 5 tons). 15 years ago I had 25 tons spread in my front yard and another 30 tons in my back yard to build up the soil. I composted that in place. My compost pit is the old base to my son's tree house. (8X smile027.gif In years when I can't get wood chips, I use landscaping pine bark mulch(should be about nickle to dime size pieces) that I place loosely around the plants about 3-4 inches deep. I have very alkaline soil so all my amendments are acidic. In the past I have used shredded newsprint, when I worked at the newspaper, I would bring the roll butts home and run them through the shredder. When hay is cheap, I've used hay and even gone to the feed store and cleaned up their spilled hay since it can't be used for animal feed anymore. Basically if it's organic and not poison, I use it.

2

I had a worm compost bin years ago. I loved it. We named the worms Fred - all of them. Sadly, for a treat, I fed them a chopped up bouquet of cut flowers when they were no longer viable. I didn't know that cut flowers are filled with preservatives. In less than 2 weeks, there was not a single living worm in my bin. I was so grief-stricken I haven't wanted another bin since.

pixiedust Level 8 Sep 9, 2018

That's so sad. I did not know about cut flowers. It makes sense. A couple yea ts ago, I almost killed all my worms when I decided to place shavings inside. They were jumping out of the bin in desperation.

@Zoohome Oh, the poor little darlings.

1

I have a worm bin in my pantry. I've had it for maybe 5 years.

HippieChick58 Level 9 Sep 9, 2018

My bin is active, but I can't figure out how to get it balanced so i can eliminate all the other residents. My current problem is a little fly, it might be fruit fly. Inside bin I have small white larvae, not sure they are from the same fly, most likely. Then the surroundings of the bin, became a spider community to feed off these flies.

@Zoohome I have never had that issue. I use shredded newspaper as bedding, and then just keep tossing in vegetable scraps, used tea bags. Seriously, it is so low maintenance it amazes me. There are some good websites and books, maybe time to research.

@HippieChick58 I have researched... I wish I could fi d someone to exchange experience and solutions.
I bought a shredder to make sure I put enough shredded paper with the scraps. One thing I think I did, was lack of carbon/fiber/dry food

1

I am not currently doing it but I plan to in the future.

JenBeberstein Level 7 Sep 9, 2018

It's worth it. I love my bin. I'll love even more if I figure out how to balance the environment
Lol

@Zoohome dried leaves are the best dry material you can use. Black and white shredded paper can be used too. Dry material is supposed to make up 80% of the compost. I only mix mine 50/50 until I'm getting ready to use it. Then I add up to 80% leaf material. As long as you don't put ANYTHING cooked or processed in the mix it will be fine. You can always correct for to much/little moisture.

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