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lkdj2003
29-05-07, 03:36 PM
Worm Farming Reference Data
NPK Nutrient values for some common worm foods

High N:
Blood Meal (NPK 13-1-0)
Coffee grounds (NPK 1,99-0,36-0,67)
Felt (NPK 14-0-0)
Hair (NPK 14-0-0)
Tea grounds (NPK 4,15-0,62-0,4)
Worm Meal (dried & ground worms) NPK 10-1-1
Greens, leaves & meals, alfalfa, stinging nettle

High P:
Bone Meal generic NPK 4-21-0,2
* steamed NPK 13-15-13
* burned NPK 0-34,7-0
Shrimp Waste NPK 2,87-9,95-0
Tea Leaves ash NPK 0-1,66-0,4
Wheat bran NPK 2,65-2,9-1,6
Oats, Chicken Manure

High K:
Banana skin NPK 0-3,08-11,74
Molasses NPK 0,7-0-5,32
Potato skin NPK 0-5,15-27,5
Wood Ash NPK 0-0,15-7,0
Wood ash (broadleaf) K 10%
Wood ash (coniferous) K 6%
Alfalfa, ashes, potato wastes, peel & skin (-ashes, too)

High Calcium:
Poultry manure (0,5-0,7% dry), dolomite lime, egg shells, bone meal
Note that its usually thought that worm castings is high in calcium (perhaps with the presumption that lime or eggshells are added during the process).

High Iron:
Stinging nettle (Also high N)

High Magnesium:
Dolomite lime, poultry manure, epsom salts


Vermicomposting by Numbers

Facts from a technical compost quide, section 'Vermi-stabilization' (of composted communal waste). (Komposti, WSOY 1984).

They are talking about the red wriggler Eisenia Fetida:



Optimum pH range 5-8. The worms die under pH 4,5 and over pH 9.

Optimum Humidity 80-85%.

Dissolved salt leves should not exceed 0,5 % (5000 ppm?). Ammoniumacetate is toxic to the worms when concentrations exceed 0,1% (1000ppm).

Greatest growth rate in temperatures between 20 and 25 C degrees, greatest feeding rate in 15-20 C degrees. Temperatures above 37 C degrees cause worm deaths. Can adapt to live in temperatures close to 0 C degree.

"Its been theorized that with optimum temperatures and sufficient food source the worms would achieve maturity in 5-9 weeks, meaning that a population of 100 worms could produce an offspring population of 250 000 worms in a year."

"..up to 20% of the waste materials weight can become wormbiomass ." (worm biomass is the worms themselves, not the worm castings)

"The will never be a problem with overproduction of worm- biomass, as the worms can always be dried and ground to produce a plant fertilizer. The NPK value of the dried worms is approxemately 10-1-1. The worm-biomass also contains 0,8% sulphur, 0,6% calcium, 0,3% magnesium and minerals that benefit the growth of plants."



Worm Species Data

Eisenia fetida (foetida)/Eisenia andrei
Common names: redworm, tiger worm, manure worm

Maximum reproduction under ideal condtions:
3.8 cocoons per adult per week
83.2% hatching success rate
3.3 hatchlings per cocoon
Net reproduction of 10.4 young per adult per week

Maximum growth rate under ideal conditions:
32-73 days to cocoon hatch
53-76 days to sexual maturity
85-149 days from egg to maturity

Temperature requirements ?C (?F):
Minimum 3?C (38?F)
Maximum 35?C (95?F)
Ideal range 21-27?C (70-80?F)

Eisenia hortensis (Dendrobaena veneta)
Common names: Belgian nightcrawler, European nightcrawler

Maximum growth rate under ideal conditions:
40-128 days to cocoon hatch
57-86 days to sexual maturity
97-214 days from egg to maturity

Temperature requirements ?C (?F):
Minimum 3?C (38?F)
Maximum 32?C (90?F)
Ideal 15-21?C (60-70?F)

Heat tolerance is dependant on moisture level. This worm is very tolerant of environmental fluctuation and handling, but has a slower reproductive rate and requires very high moisture levels, relative to other worm species.


Other common composting worm species

Bimastos tumidus - often found in compost piles, tolerates medium C:N ratios and cooler temperatures better than Eisenia foetida , multiplies rapidly in old straw and spoiled hay, hardy to Z-5 and will survive in ordinary soil conditions hence once established it would survive without extensive preparations. Earthworm Ecology and Biogeography in North America

Eudrilus eugeniae: (African nightcrawler) do well but cannot withstand low temperatures.(composter or surface worker species)

Lumbricus rubellus: (common redworm or red marsh worm), used in Cuba's vermicomposting program, (composter or surface worker species), native to U.S.

Lumbricus terrestris: nightcrawler, native to U.S. Not suitable for vermiculture.

Perionyx excavatus: (Asian species) do well but cannot withstand low temperatures. (composter or surface worker species).

lkdj2003
29-05-07, 03:38 PM
The Two Golden Rules Of a Worm Farmer

1. Know Your Limits

A worm farmer must know how much of feed and what kind of foods and wastes a worm bin can process. Overfeeding is basically the only thing that can kill off the worms (too high protein levels -> composting or 'sour bin disease'). Salt, pesticides and drugs can also kill off worms. So know the limits for food intake and experiment carefully.


2. Leave it alone

Leave them alone - they like it like that. If you really must work on worm farming, just start a NEW bin. Or how about another spliff of the sweet flavoured worm casting grown..


Do you need to mist a worm bin from time to time to keep it moist?

Not really, as the vegetable waste seems to contain enough moisture to keep things moist and juicy. Sometimes one has to add a little water.

But a worm bin should contain a lot of moisture. A 50% to 85% saturation (of the full saturation) favours the worms growth, digestion and breeding. If a bin gets too dry, one can add water by spraying or sprinkling (or however).


What if it gets too soggy in there?

Often a worm bin gets too moist. But if you add the a newspaper on top, in two, three days it will soak up the excess moisture and can be removed. Repeat until desired moisture content has been achieved.


Do you cover a worm bin or does it need some light?

Yes, all my bins have covers or lids. A worm bin doesnt need any light, in fact worms are afraid of light and will avoid it. Most worm species are very adventurous and will roam around for no particular reason, and if my bins didn\'t have lids they might leave for excursions.


Do you move your bin around from time to time or just leave it alone? Do you turn the bedding?

Its best to leave it alone. Worms move the bedding and castings about. Turning or moving isn't needed, and might bother the worms... but Im a nervous little chimp so I 'dig in' at times to see whats going on.


What are the conditions that will cause them to die off?

Worms will produce castings in a very wide window of environmental conditions.

Freezing or human fever temperatures will cause worm deaths. They also need oxygen to breathe, and they do not like poisons or pesticides, although they can eat many things like motor oil.

Most often a worm bin will die off because of inadequate ventilation or because the organic waste starts to 'heat up' from the bacterial action, cooking the worms.


There are mites in there! Do I need to DDT the house to protect my plants?!

No. The mites in a worm bin are either decomposers or predators and do not eat plants (if they were after plants they would not survive in the bin).

Worm farm/bin mites can be controlled by lowering the moisture levels, and are often a sign that the farm/bin is too moist. Red and brown mites are usually predators, some even attack the worms and suck their blood. Usually mite populations in the bins are not a problem, and will die off the farm/bin is no longer being fed.


What are those strange insects in the bin?

It is common to come across fruitflies, Mites (Acarina), threadlike white worms (Enchytraeidae), springtails (Collembola) and sow bugs (Isopoda). Outdoors an unprotected bin will attract worm-eating pests like land planarians, rodents and birds, so suitable measures should be taken.


How often do they reproduce?

Worms will start reproducing as soon as they are mature. The reproductive cycle for composting worms is about 100 days.

A worm population can grow exponentially in size given enough room and nutrients. I find its quite easy to double population size very 4 months.

lkdj2003
29-05-07, 03:42 PM
When to harvest?

The finished worm castings are normally like a dark brown muddy paste. There are no other visible decomposer insects present, and the worm population also has usually started to decrease in size, imho. This happens usually one or two months after I stop adding more food in the bin. Note that I am talking about non-juiced/ground foods here.


How do I/you/we harvest castings? - god shave the queen

There is the Scoop-Off-Thin-Surface-Layer-While-The-Worms-Head-Downwards-In-The-Bin-technique.

A handy one, especially for harvesting worms, is the Lure-The-Pink-Wriggly-Workhorses-Into-A-Disposable-Plastic-Box-With-Sum-Fresh-Banana-Peels-tech, this takes 2 or 3 rounds before basically all over 2 week old worms are harvested.

The first one above is ok for small bins. The second one will work with larger ones, but you will need to add more plastic-box-trap-containers if the bin is large.

For big jobs, its best to use a worm harvester made of stainless steel screen. Its basically slightly tilted rotating cylinder made of screen with a 'solid wall' end that you gradually dump the bin contents into. The processed caste falls to the collecting box under the harvester, while the worms roll downhill inside the cylinder into the solid-walled 'collector'.


Is there any way to get everybody out of the castings before they're harvested? -Lumbo

Yes, in my opinion there is. Food lures! The worms will go after moist white bread or banana peels like a rasta for ganja!!

As worms can use their sense of smell to track down worm-treats, and move actively after foods, using food lures works very well, especially so in a mature bin where fresh food availability is low.

Combined with some kind of simple mechanical trap this works very well, and very few worms will stay behind.

A wormer by the OG name of 'Aprilfool' introduced this simple concept:


The method that I use for seperating worm from the bin is something I call worm wrangling. When the bin is about two months old I don't feed them for a week or two then place a slice of bread on top. In a day there are hundreds of worms under the bread that are easily scooped with a trowel and placed in a new bin. I do this for a week. Then I leave the rest of the worms to finish the food that left in that bin. In about another two months there are few worms and all castings, in that bin.

I have four bins.

In a tray system, or a box-in-a-box type of worm bins (where the outer box acts as a leachate-juice tray) one can simply add the food lure in a empty tray and after some days most of the worms will be in that tray, and can be collected. Repeat once or twice and you should have helped almost all hatched worms in the bin to emigrate.

Or one can simply bury some kind of empty container so that its mouth is flush with the worm castings surface and drop a worm treat in the container - since the worms have easy access to a fresh food source they will congregate in the container.

Remember to keep things moist so that worms and their food lures wont dry up.

There are other ways - like you mentioned, drying the vermicaste will motivate the worms to find more hydrated surroundings. I guess one could use citrus peels as a repellent to drive them out.

Of course, getting the cocoons (the worm eggs) out would require hand sorting or a mechanical cocoon separation machine.


I wonder how long the new generation would survive in pure castings. maybe you could let it sit until they die-off. - SatGhost

Well, many worm farming guides and companies say that the worms will eventually die in 'finished' worm castings.

I have not seen this happening in 'finished' worm castings. Also Mary Appelhoff, 'The Worm Woman', US worm movement 'spokesperson' says that worms will survive indefinitely in worm castings. I think that well made worm castings will always contain at least few worms, unless separated mechanically or otherwise.

lkdj2003
29-05-07, 03:46 PM
How to use worm castings in a soil mix?

Worm castings can be used in a multitude of ways - mixed into a soil mix, a soilless mix, or as a tea or slurry.

Usually worm castings is thought of as an additive. Recommendations vary wildly, but I would recommend adding one tenth to one fifth in any organic mix (10-20%).

Top dressing with worm castings would work well, too, especially with indoor containers. Making a worm castings tea by steeping the castings in clean well aerated water makes for a life giving plant-nutrient. I recommend filtering worm tea before use and returning the dregs into the worm bin after a couple of rounds.

One can use plain worm castings as a growing medium, and in my experience it works very well. But usually finished worm castings tends to be mud-like in consistency, and needs something to aerate and lighten up the texture. Perlite and expanded clay work very well for this. 50% of expanded clay (multiple size) and 50% worm castings makes for a nice quick-n-dirty primo soil(less) mix.


The Classic Shabang Mix

"The mix that I recommend is basically nothing but castings and drainage. I used to cut it with all sorts of things, including soilless peat-based mixes like pro-mix.. but then you're introducing a source for pH problems-- especially when others try and duplicate it but can't find the right brands then substitute with a peat-mix that is too acidic. So down to the bare basics of a mix:

40% castings
30% perlite
30% vermiculite"



Quoted from \'shabang\'s

102% Hyper Veg Mix by Aallonharja


* 25% coco peat
* 25% expanded clay
* 50% worm casting
* 2% alfalfa meal pellets
* 1/4 tablespoon of dolomite lime per liter (1 per gal)
* lemon juice (or 8% citric acid solution)
* seaweed extract according to taste
* silicon nutrient additive

Note:

- This is a guideline, not a recipe. Know your ingredients!

- If things get too sticky, muddy or water retaining with the worm castings, add more coco peat, peat, perlite or expanded clay.

- The stretching due to alfalfa can last up to 5 or more weeks.

- For alfalfa meal pellets 2% is a careful estimate. More can be used if the plants can take it.

- This mix should last about 4 weeks, ie. supply the plant with nutrients during the vegetative period, PK and N+Mg+Ca additive may be needed in bloom.


Meek Flowering Mix

* Worm castings, from bin fed with fruit and vegetables and peels (High K, Medium P)
* Optionally in the first 4 weeks of flowering, add as needed:
Pinch of dolomite lime or epsom salts
Pinch of gypsym
Pinch(es) of clean, pure wood ash


Mix in a bucket of water, and filter solids. Water during flowering.



Note:

- This is a guideline, not a recipe. Know your ingredients!

- Yields very vivid aromatic tones

- Basically a high K + P + Mg + Ca + S solution - all thats needed in bloom.

- N supplementation may also be necessary.


Oh also, you could talk a bit about Casting Tea aswell.

Well I've usually simply spooned some more or less finished castings into a cheapo nylon stocking and dumped that in a bucket and a reservoir.

A surefire way would be using 100% finished worm castings with a high quality filter material, and place that in a bucket with water, aerate the water for 48 hours, and then use that water for watering, provided it didnt contain visible pests and didnt smell like rotten fish (aerobic teas shouldnt smell bad in the first place).

lkdj2003
29-05-07, 03:50 PM
What is composting?
The composting process involves the decomposition of organic material by bacteria, mixtures of nitrogen-rich materials (Greens) with carbon-rich materials (Browns).

How is compost used?
Compost can be applied in a number of different ways.

Mixed in as an amendment to topsoil

Top dressed for slow release and mulching benefit,

Organic "tea" as a root feed or foliar spray.

Some composting benefits:

Reduction in diseases and wilts

A slow release of nutrients,

Moisture conservation.

Sterilization

Promotes a greater diversity of soil organisms

Composting Basics
· Hot or Cold. Slow or Fast. Pile it and Let it Rot or Turn and Tend Regularly. The options are endless. This is the method that is most commonly used and is one of the most foolproof.

Pile in your ingredients and nature takes it from there. The amount of care and work you put into the process determines your results somewhat, but even if you do nothing time will eventually reduce the pile to compost.

· A bin size of 3' x 3' x3' is said to be the minimum to get things to heat up for the best results. A hot pile is NOT required for the materials to break down. Heat does speed up decomposition, but requires more frequent turning and water. Microorganisms cause breakdown at temperatures between 50F and 158F. One reason for hotter temperatures is to kill any weed seeds that may be present.

· Moisture and air are also necessary for composting. The hotter the pile, the more often it should be turned over to let air in. Heat dries out the pile quicker. In hot & dry climates you may want to wrap something around open compost piles. Covering the pile is a personal choice but a top of some kind will prevent rapid drying out of the pile and help to reduce leaching out of the nutrients. The location of a compost pile in sunny or shady areas of a yard does not really matter. The heat build up is provided by the microbial activity going on inside.

Common composting containers:
What is the best “bin” or container to compost in? The first question should be - what do you want to do?

Look at what materials you want to get rid of or have access to, and how much compost you want or need. Once you know what materials you have available or can scrounge you can decide on what type of bin is appropriate.

A variety of manufactured bins are available; many do not work any better than cheap do-it-yourself types. There are many informational sites that have detailed drawings for building any type of setup you might need.

Pallet Bin
The cheap way to get started could be a square bin made of salvaged wooden palettes wired or screwed together. Pallets are easy to come by and make sturdy containment areas.

Wire Mesh Bin
Round bins made of hardware cloth are also very simple, cheap and effective. Diameters of three to five feet are best. Just get some sturdy utility fence material and form it into a cylinder. Use some zip ties or just twisted wire to hold the ends together. You can line the inside with breathable landscaping fabric or even plastic sheeting to help retain the moisture. Fold the top edge over and secure it with clothespins or binder clips or even staples.

Rotating Tumbler
Tumblers advertise quick and easy composting, but often beginners have problems with them. For best results, tumblers require filling, and carefully measuring the moisture and green/brown ingredients. They are a poor choice to start with unless you are willing to devote considerable effort to monitoring the inputs. After some experience you may choose to add a tumbler as an addition to your efforts.

Odors and animal pests are often a source of worry for beginners but proper understanding can eliminate problems. A proper balance of browns mixed in with the greens will keep the pile from smelling sour.

What should I add to my compost?

How much stuff should you put in?

Well I would say as much as you can. Put about a 50/50 green/brown mix to get a well rounded compost. When a compost pile is hot it is just the bacteria and such decomposing the materials. This is a good thing but is not necessary. You might want to turn your pile a little bit less so the bacteria can have a chance to decompose all of the available materials.

Should you add water?

Yes, as long as the pile is not "soaked" but "evenly moist". When the pile heats up some of the moisture will be lost, so you might need to keep it moist.

What about Worms
What type of worms you should use? The answer is, red wigglers or night crawlers. Both of these worms are very abundant through bait and tackle shops, gardening centers, and gardening catalogs. Although the compost pile may become "hot" (most of the heat will come from the middle part of the pile), this should not be a problem to the worms, since they prefer the bottom of the pile. Periodically adding water to the pile also keeps the pile at a nice temperature for the worms. You can add worms straight to the pile.

(erliquin) Worm farms are different in design to composting bins, tumblers and heaps. It's a different ball game to standard composting which can be aerobic composting i.e. as in tumblers or anaerobic composting i.e. as in solid walled and lid fastened bins.

They're about building up numbers of worms to veritable waste gobbling armies and delivering a steady and easily harvested volume of worm castings and/or worm castings tea.

Water to a worm farm is best as a flood every 4 weeks or so. It mimics the cycle of a good down pour and that means the worms all surface to avoid being drowned. This can be observed after any thunderstorm in the garden.

Worms of course breed if they come in contact with each other, so when they hit the surface they have an orgy. A couple of months later, many new worms are to be seen. The more immediate gain is of course the commensurable return of worm castings tea to the volume it was flooded with. Obviously flooding too regularly will result in an anaerobic compressed and water saturated profile, that's deadly to worms because they respire.

Generally speaking, organic kitchen wastes such as vegetable peels along with left over macaroni (spaghetti, noodles ect), boiled and cooled to room temp rice along with left over stale cereals soaked in water and again the same with pre-soaked and shredded newspaper, will all give the sufficient moisture required in a worm farm without additional water needed. After all, they're approx. 90% water by weight. Even without a periodic flooding worm castings tea will collect in abundance. In short most of the weight in waste is simply water.

On the whole, a worm farm should be a steady temperature and a cool one at that. I've found good worm activity at temps that range from 15C to 25C. Spring and Autumn temps are optimum, with winter slowing their feeding and their breeding. Summer can mean a population die-off if it clocks over 35C in the farm IME. Don't park it in the sun. Easy enough to tell, just leave a thermometer in the waste and come back 15 mins later to check. If too hot, flood it and don't add more food as vermicomposting is not standard composting. Excessive wastes in a worm farm in summer will crank the heat. I'm not concerned about temps on the whole, it runs as is and runs ok.

I also find it improves your population by adding "wild" worms (red wrigglers or tigers) to your farm. Easy enough to find in the garden if you use hay as your mulch of choice which is the mulch of choice in permaculture. IMO wild worms tend to have vigour. Other people may differ in view, but this is based IME on worm populations now over a decade old that have benefited from wild additions. Further to the point, you can cop population die-offs due to too low a pH and due too to heat. Some seasons will play havoc i.e. cold winters or hot summers. Keep the pH close to neutral with a dusting of dolomite and then flood. Just part of the monthly schedule. You'll have to do that if you use run citrus and potato waste.

Worms reproduce quickly when grouped in close contact mass. You're after fast reproduction rates, hence the floods to cause super congestions of the population periodically and therefore increase the breed rate. Fast breed rates = more biomass eating the waste = fast output of castings and tea.

When I spoke of using "wild worms", I'm speaking about getting red wrigglers or tigers and I also said, if you run a garden with hay, you will have them ongoing...free and abundant. Using anything else will fail, soil worms (greys and pinks) will die out on a diet that's 100% organic. You will over the years with your worm crew get die-outs for a number of reasons (things can go wrong) and topping up your numbers free from the wild populations in your garden is good option. I've done it past.

As for adding worms to compost, if the compost pile is cool they'll survive. But IME, I've never had an outdoor compost pile cool as I speed it up with high N manure to break the carbon materials down. It steams in winter. Fast break down. Add worms into that inferno of ammonia and they'll die. You can only add them with success to the lower materials.

Adding Soil
Also it is a good idea to add some soil to the green/brown mix. There is not a set amount, but I would say 1/3 - 1/5 of the pile should be soil. If I had a 20 gallon bin full of greens/browns, I would add 6-4 gallons of soil.

(Erliquin) It's also a good idea to put a soil layer of 3 to 4 inches on top of a compost heap in i.e. say a cinder block walled format, so ammonia doesn't readily escape and therefore lose valuable nitrogen. If you want some info on that, David Hodges, Natural Farming & Gardening in Australia is a good source.

lkdj2003
29-05-07, 03:58 PM
BTW, a side line to the ^above that works in creating rich soil fast out of poor soil is burying hay bales side by side. Simply excavate off the top 4 inches of poor soil, lay the bales out side by side until all the zone is complete. Then remove the twines (most important as forking a garden later with twines in the ground is near impossible) and then cover in the soil you excavated. In 12 months, you will have a foot deep of top quality black soil teeming in worms and other soil life, ready to give you power results. A single hay bale at £4 buried in the ground will in 12 months give you thousands of reds or tigers worms for free.

If you want to increase the soil depth zone, fork it into smaller zone. This could lend to the guerilla growers or folks who like to save their backs, where planning in advance coupled with light weight bales is better value than lugging in imported soil. You can make it on site with nothing more than rainfall and time. Worms show up by themselves.


Good browns
· Black and white newsprint (preferably shredded - goes quicker - and preferably printed w/ soy-based ink - no heavy metals...)
· Brown paper bags from grocery store
· Torn/shredded cardboard: brown boxes, brown packing tubes, toilet paper and paper towel rolls, tubes egg cartons (avoid printed, glossy or refined looking boxes, etc: cereal boxes would be bad, generic brown shipping boxes good)
· Aged twigs: break 'em up as small as you can
· Aged wood chips (smaller and older the better)
· Sawdust from untreated lumber (check with a lumber yard)
· Straw
· Dried grass: either mow and dry or rake up dead grass from the lawn
· Dead leaves (though not those from diseased plants)

Greens
· Grass clippings: These will mat together, so mix well with the browns as you add to the pile)
· Plant material: Don't add plant material from diseased plants as some of the diseases may survive the composting process.
· Coffee grounds: Your own or call the local coffee house/diner to collect theirs.
· Kitchen scraps: Very seedy items need to be composted in hot piles to avoid having many volunteer plants sprouting. Also anything that will root such as potato skins and onions unless they're very finely chopped or mashed in the processor.
· Cornhusks are good greens. Many grocery stores will put a garbage can by their corn displays; this "garbage" is often free for the asking.
· Barnyard animal manures: Cow, horse, chicken, goat, sheep, and rabbit are good. Again, bury these well to avoid unwanted visitors (especially flies...). NEVER use dog, cat, or human manure/feces as they may contain pathogens or diseases that could be harmful.
· Green "manures": Alfalfa hay, vetch, winter rye, several legumes and clovers are good sources of Nitrogen either as cover crops for the garden (during winter) or cut and put in the pile.

Some "Don't Ever Add to Compost" items
· Never to add dog, cat, or human solid wastes.
· Greases, oils and fats are not good.
· Ashes from barbecue charcoals. Wood ashes are OK in SMALL amounts but BBQ coals like Kingsford contain many bad things
· Seeds: Though some seeds are killed (or sprout and then are killed) in the composting process, don't test your luck.
· Diseased plant parts: Several organisms which cause disease can survive the composting process
· Pesticides, fungicides and herbicides

(Erliquin)
If the aim is waste management, and the resulting compost is simply used on ornamentals, not Cannabis nor food crops, then point 1 & point 2 can be done. You can even set up an outdoor worm farm to specifically waste manage the cat & dog shit problem. Worms eat shit pure and raw and with gusto.

As for food waste oils and fats, my main way of dealing with that is to sprinkle it lightly over mulched hay zones in the garden and it does break down. Beats putting it in a milk carton to the garbage bin where it will ultimately end up producing methane gas in landfill anaerobic conditions - a gas 100 times more "greenhouse effect" than Co2.

Other Tips:

When do I know when it is ready?

Well most of the matter will be a dark, rich soil. Now not all things decompose as fast as others. Vegetable matter will decompose before twigs will.

Can I speed the process up?

Yes, you can add worms to the pile. Worms eat several times their own body weight a day, and they also provide worm castings. There are some "compost accelerators" on the market, but I do not have any experience with them. I think once you add worms to the pile you will notice a dramatic increase in the output of your pile.

(Erliquin)
You can only add worms to a compost heap in the lower tiers where it is cool and already composted. Adding worms to above layers will either kill them in heat or ammonia. Made that mistake

How else can I use compost?

Well you can add the compost straight with the soil. Compost is a pretty "light" fertilizer and you may want to add some other ferts. with it. You can include bone and blood meal, bat and sea bird guanos, or even ground up kelp to make the soil more complete.

Compost Maintenance
Since not all things decompose at the same time you may need to "sift" it. All you need is some 1in. x 1in. screen and some 2x4s. Dump or shovel the pile onto the "sifter".

Push back and forth on the composted material. All of the compost will fall through, while the non-composted material will stay on top of the screen. Dump the non-composted material back into the pile so it can decompose. Do this until you have done the complete pile.

(Erliquin)
I would use a fork and not a shovel when moving compost. If there is a worm population in the pile, you don't want to chop the population up. As a side note: Contrary to popular belief, worms do not double in numbers if chopped. Meaning, chopping up worms slows down their reproduction rate. Besides, compost can often contain a lot of roughage (material still in decomposition) and it's hard to get a shovel into it.

D
02-07-07, 10:37 AM
That was an excellent read, this forum is full of info!

Cheers LK :joint:

lkdj2003
06-07-07, 12:56 AM
That was an excellent read, this forum is full of info!

Cheers LK :joint:

No prob's

Thanks :smokie:

Bitterfly
06-07-07, 01:21 AM
yeah mate awesome info, only read the first one but well sweet all the same, always wondered about makin yer own ferts

Midnight Toker
24-07-07, 10:39 AM
So these worms ...

what strain are they & do they smoke well ??? :rvmp:

lkdj2003
25-07-07, 12:01 PM
So these worms ...

what strain are they & do they smoke well ??? :rvmp:

There red widows (they are widows after you toked there partner) and they are only any good to smoke in a bong..... :stoned-smilie: http://www.thctalk.com/cannabis-forum/images/icons/icon10.gif

lala124
28-11-07, 06:30 PM
Really great writeup Lk. Gonna do this for my grow next year.

Growz
28-11-07, 08:21 PM
Aye a agree, Great post LK really good read/info

:joint:

popefull27
04-06-08, 02:15 AM
You can smoke worms?

MXMAD
04-06-08, 11:07 PM
You can smoke worms?

Yer they need to be dry tho :stoned-smilie: :rvmp:

popefull27
04-06-08, 11:40 PM
yum,ill try that some time:puke:

bubbs
05-06-08, 05:42 AM
from what ive heard the high is excellent :p

daggaman
31-10-08, 08:03 PM
I like the sound of natural organic growing methods.

Must give a nice deeply chilled and spiritual smoke.

uk ftw
01-02-10, 10:36 AM
yep,enjoyed reading that very intresting and i will be using this to help me in my outdoor grow this year.

thanks

Ganesha
02-02-10, 10:08 PM
yep,enjoyed reading that very intresting and i will be using this to help me in my outdoor grow this year.

thanks

Lots of stuff about it here, You don't have to farm the worms yourself, you can collect worm casts all over the place for free. Parks, playing fields, even your own garden of you have a reasonably sized lawn. Nature's goodness there for the taking. Your plants will love you for it & reward you appropriately! :) :joint:

silverbackbud
29-04-10, 06:28 PM
whats the coffee grounds-you gave 4 values. cheers

shiringomez
18-08-10, 07:55 AM
The Two Golden Rules Of a Worm Farmer

1. Know Your Limits

A worm farmer must know how much of feed and what kind of foods and wastes a worm bin can process. Overfeeding is basically the only thing that can kill off the worms (too high protein levels -> composting or 'sour bin disease'). Salt, pesticides and drugs can also kill off worms. So know the limits for food intake and experiment carefully.


2. Leave it alone

Leave them alone - they like it like that. If you really must work on worm farming, just start a NEW bin. Or how about another spliff of the sweet flavoured worm casting grown..


Do you need to mist a worm bin from time to time to keep it moist?

Not really, as the vegetable waste seems to contain enough moisture to keep things moist and juicy. Sometimes one has to add a little water.

But a worm bin should contain a lot of moisture. A 50% to 85% saturation (of the full saturation) favours the worms growth, digestion and breeding. If a bin gets too dry, one can add water by spraying or sprinkling (or however).


What if it gets too soggy in there?

Often a worm bin gets too moist. But if you add the a newspaper on top, in two, three days it will soak up the excess moisture and can be removed. Repeat until desired moisture content has been achieved.


Do you cover a worm bin or does it need some light?

Yes, all my bins have covers or lids. A worm bin doesnt need any light, in fact worms are afraid of light and will avoid it. Most worm species are very adventurous and will roam around for no particular reason, and if my bins didn\'t have lids they might leave for excursions.


Do you move your bin around from time to time or just leave it alone? Do you turn the bedding?

Its best to leave it alone. Worms move the bedding and castings about. Turning or moving isn't needed, and might bother the worms... but Im a nervous little chimp so I 'dig in' at times to see whats going on.


What are the conditions that will cause them to die off?

Worms will produce castings in a very wide window of environmental conditions.

Freezing or human fever temperatures will cause worm deaths. They also need oxygen to breathe, and they do not like poisons or pesticides, although they can eat many things like motor oil.

Most often a worm bin will die off because of inadequate ventilation or because the organic waste starts to 'heat up' from the bacterial action, cooking the worms.


There are mites in there! Do I need to DDT the house to protect my plants?!

No. The mites in a worm bin are either decomposers or predators and do not eat plants (if they were after plants they would not survive in the bin).

Worm farm/bin mites can be controlled by lowering the moisture levels, and are often a sign that the farm/bin is too moist. Red and brown mites are usually predators, some even attack the worms and suck their blood. Usually mite populations in the bins are not a problem, and will die off the farm/bin is no longer being fed.


What are those strange insects in the bin?

It is common to come across fruitflies, Mites (Acarina), threadlike white worms (Enchytraeidae), springtails (Collembola) and sow bugs (Isopoda). Outdoors an unprotected bin will attract worm-eating pests like land planarians, rodents and birds, so suitable measures should be taken.


How often do they reproduce?

Worms will start reproducing as soon as they are mature. The reproductive cycle for composting worms is about 100 days.

A worm population can grow exponentially in size given enough room and nutrients. I find its quite easy to double population size very 4 months.

Worm farming is a science in itself. For the worm farming soil should be moist but not too wet and also ensure a cool shady place. Ensure the temperature stays between about 55 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit becasue worms must be kept at a comfortable temperature or they will die.

Reefer_Madness
28-08-10, 01:36 PM
I have a wormery its great for use on my allotment but i was wondering can i feed them the trimmings from my ganja plants?

kimbo420
05-10-10, 08:56 PM
very interesting as I was already thinking of that. My local zoo gives away what they call zoo poo but would smell be an issue indoors in a bin or just stick with my leftover and peelings.

dbuk
22-12-10, 07:12 PM
just posting around so i can look at peoples pics...........thanks

RonDogg007
22-04-13, 09:51 PM
What is composting?
The composting process involves the decomposition of organic material by bacteria, mixtures of nitrogen-rich materials (Greens) with carbon-rich materials (Browns).

How is compost used?
Compost can be applied in a number of different ways.

Mixed in as an amendment to topsoil

Top dressed for slow release and mulching benefit,

Organic "tea" as a root feed or foliar spray.

Some composting benefits:

Reduction in diseases and wilts

A slow release of nutrients,

Moisture conservation.

Sterilization

Promotes a greater diversity of soil organisms

Composting Basics
· Hot or Cold. Slow or Fast. Pile it and Let it Rot or Turn and Tend Regularly. The options are endless. This is the method that is most commonly used and is one of the most foolproof.

Pile in your ingredients and nature takes it from there. The amount of care and work you put into the process determines your results somewhat, but even if you do nothing time will eventually reduce the pile to compost.

· A bin size of 3' x 3' x3' is said to be the minimum to get things to heat up for the best results. A hot pile is NOT required for the materials to break down. Heat does speed up decomposition, but requires more frequent turning and water. Microorganisms cause breakdown at temperatures between 50F and 158F. One reason for hotter temperatures is to kill any weed seeds that may be present.

· Moisture and air are also necessary for composting. The hotter the pile, the more often it should be turned over to let air in. Heat dries out the pile quicker. In hot & dry climates you may want to wrap something around open compost piles. Covering the pile is a personal choice but a top of some kind will prevent rapid drying out of the pile and help to reduce leaching out of the nutrients. The location of a compost pile in sunny or shady areas of a yard does not really matter. The heat build up is provided by the microbial activity going on inside.

Common composting containers:
What is the best “bin” or container to compost in? The first question should be - what do you want to do?

Look at what materials you want to get rid of or have access to, and how much compost you want or need. Once you know what materials you have available or can scrounge you can decide on what type of bin is appropriate.

A variety of manufactured bins are available; many do not work any better than cheap do-it-yourself types. There are many informational sites that have detailed drawings for building any type of setup you might need.

Pallet Bin
The cheap way to get started could be a square bin made of salvaged wooden palettes wired or screwed together. Pallets are easy to come by and make sturdy containment areas.

Wire Mesh Bin
Round bins made of hardware cloth are also very simple, cheap and effective. Diameters of three to five feet are best. Just get some sturdy utility fence material and form it into a cylinder. Use some zip ties or just twisted wire to hold the ends together. You can line the inside with breathable landscaping fabric or even plastic sheeting to help retain the moisture. Fold the top edge over and secure it with clothespins or binder clips or even staples.

Rotating Tumbler
Tumblers advertise quick and easy composting, but often beginners have problems with them. For best results, tumblers require filling, and carefully measuring the moisture and green/brown ingredients. They are a poor choice to start with unless you are willing to devote considerable effort to monitoring the inputs. After some experience you may choose to add a tumbler as an addition to your efforts.

Odors and animal pests are often a source of worry for beginners but proper understanding can eliminate problems. A proper balance of browns mixed in with the greens will keep the pile from smelling sour.

What should I add to my compost?

How much stuff should you put in?

Well I would say as much as you can. Put about a 50/50 green/brown mix to get a well rounded compost. When a compost pile is hot it is just the bacteria and such decomposing the materials. This is a good thing but is not necessary. You might want to turn your pile a little bit less so the bacteria can have a chance to decompose all of the available materials.

Should you add water?

Yes, as long as the pile is not "soaked" but "evenly moist". When the pile heats up some of the moisture will be lost, so you might need to keep it moist.

What about Worms
What type of worms you should use? The answer is, red wigglers or night crawlers. Both of these worms are very abundant through bait and tackle shops, gardening centers, and gardening catalogs. Although the compost pile may become "hot" (most of the heat will come from the middle part of the pile), this should not be a problem to the worms, since they prefer the bottom of the pile. Periodically adding water to the pile also keeps the pile at a nice temperature for the worms. You can add worms straight to the pile.

(erliquin) Worm farms are different in design to composting bins, tumblers and heaps. It's a different ball game to standard composting which can be aerobic composting i.e. as in tumblers or anaerobic composting i.e. as in solid walled and lid fastened bins.

They're about building up numbers of worms to veritable waste gobbling armies and delivering a steady and easily harvested volume of worm castings and/or worm castings tea.

Water to a worm farm is best as a flood every 4 weeks or so. It mimics the cycle of a good down pour and that means the worms all surface to avoid being drowned. This can be observed after any thunderstorm in the garden.

Worms of course breed if they come in contact with each other, so when they hit the surface they have an orgy. A couple of months later, many new worms are to be seen. The more immediate gain is of course the commensurable return of worm castings tea to the volume it was flooded with. Obviously flooding too regularly will result in an anaerobic compressed and water saturated profile, that's deadly to worms because they respire.

Generally speaking, organic kitchen wastes such as vegetable peels along with left over macaroni (spaghetti, noodles ect), boiled and cooled to room temp rice along with left over stale cereals soaked in water and again the same with pre-soaked and shredded newspaper, will all give the sufficient moisture required in a worm farm without additional water needed. After all, they're approx. 90% water by weight. Even without a periodic flooding worm castings tea will collect in abundance. In short most of the weight in waste is simply water.

On the whole, a worm farm should be a steady temperature and a cool one at that. I've found good worm activity at temps that range from 15C to 25C. Spring and Autumn temps are optimum, with winter slowing their feeding and their breeding. Summer can mean a population die-off if it clocks over 35C in the farm IME. Don't park it in the sun. Easy enough to tell, just leave a thermometer in the waste and come back 15 mins later to check. If too hot, flood it and don't add more food as vermicomposting is not standard composting. Excessive wastes in a worm farm in summer will crank the heat. I'm not concerned about temps on the whole, it runs as is and runs ok.

I also find it improves your population by adding "wild" worms (red wrigglers or tigers) to your farm. Easy enough to find in the garden if you use hay as your mulch of choice which is the mulch of choice in permaculture. IMO wild worms tend to have vigour. Other people may differ in view, but this is based IME on worm populations now over a decade old that have benefited from wild additions. Further to the point, you can cop population die-offs due to too low a pH and due too to heat. Some seasons will play havoc i.e. cold winters or hot summers. Keep the pH close to neutral with a dusting of dolomite and then flood. Just part of the monthly schedule. You'll have to do that if you use run citrus and potato waste.

Worms reproduce quickly when grouped in close contact mass. You're after fast reproduction rates, hence the floods to cause super congestions of the population periodically and therefore increase the breed rate. Fast breed rates = more biomass eating the waste = fast output of castings and tea.

When I spoke of using "wild worms", I'm speaking about getting red wrigglers or tigers and I also said, if you run a garden with hay, you will have them ongoing...free and abundant. Using anything else will fail, soil worms (greys and pinks) will die out on a diet that's 100% organic. You will over the years with your worm crew get die-outs for a number of reasons (things can go wrong) and topping up your numbers free from the wild populations in your garden is good option. I've done it past.

As for adding worms to compost, if the compost pile is cool they'll survive. But IME, I've never had an outdoor compost pile cool as I speed it up with high N manure to break the carbon materials down. It steams in winter. Fast break down. Add worms into that inferno of ammonia and they'll die. You can only add them with success to the lower materials.

Adding Soil
Also it is a good idea to add some soil to the green/brown mix. There is not a set amount, but I would say 1/3 - 1/5 of the pile should be soil. If I had a 20 gallon bin full of greens/browns, I would add 6-4 gallons of soil.

(Erliquin) It's also a good idea to put a soil layer of 3 to 4 inches on top of a compost heap in i.e. say a cinder block walled format, so ammonia doesn't readily escape and therefore lose valuable nitrogen. If you want some info on that, David Hodges, Natural Farming & Gardening in Australia is a good source.

Eye eye grandad! Trouble is with testing Ph daily is I'm a bit worried lifting the inner out the waterfarm so often will stress my girls??? Do u think if I was to run a 2m piece of air line down the ressa indicator tube and siphon a metre up the tube transfer it to a cup would I get an accurate EC/Ph reading off that do you think???

Sent from my GT-I9000 using Tapatalk 2

RonDogg007
23-04-13, 07:26 AM
Don't know how the hell my reply to my own thread ended up here.apologies!

Sent with good vibes,

FoxyLady
23-04-13, 07:48 AM
Don't know how the hell my reply to my own thread ended up here.apologies!

Sent with good vibes,

Maybeeee a stoner moment RonDogg007 ;)


From deep inside my den.....

Cuda
02-05-13, 03:06 AM
When to harvest?

The finished worm castings are normally like a dark brown muddy paste. There are no other visible decomposer insects present, and the worm population also has usually started to decrease in size, imho. This happens usually one or two months after I stop adding more food in the bin. Note that I am talking about non-juiced/ground foods here.


How do I/you/we harvest castings? - god shave the queen

There is the Scoop-Off-Thin-Surface-Layer-While-The-Worms-Head-Downwards-In-The-Bin-technique.

A handy one, especially for harvesting worms, is the Lure-The-Pink-Wriggly-Workhorses-Into-A-Disposable-Plastic-Box-With-Sum-Fresh-Banana-Peels-tech, this takes 2 or 3 rounds before basically all over 2 week old worms are harvested.

The first one above is ok for small bins. The second one will work with larger ones, but you will need to add more plastic-box-trap-containers if the bin is large.

For big jobs, its best to use a worm harvester made of stainless steel screen. Its basically slightly tilted rotating cylinder made of screen with a 'solid wall' end that you gradually dump the bin contents into. The processed caste falls to the collecting box under the harvester, while the worms roll downhill inside the cylinder into the solid-walled 'collector'.


Is there any way to get everybody out of the castings before they're harvested? -Lumbo

Yes, in my opinion there is. Food lures! The worms will go after moist white bread or banana peels like a rasta for ganja!!

As worms can use their sense of smell to track down worm-treats, and move actively after foods, using food lures works very well, especially so in a mature bin where fresh food availability is low.

Combined with some kind of simple mechanical trap this works very well, and very few worms will stay behind.

A wormer by the OG name of 'Aprilfool' introduced this simple concept:


The method that I use for seperating worm from the bin is something I call worm wrangling. When the bin is about two months old I don't feed them for a week or two then place a slice of bread on top. In a day there are hundreds of worms under the bread that are easily scooped with a trowel and placed in a new bin. I do this for a week. Then I leave the rest of the worms to finish the food that left in that bin. In about another two months there are few worms and all castings, in that bin.

I have four bins.

In a tray system, or a box-in-a-box type of worm bins (where the outer box acts as a leachate-juice tray) one can simply add the food lure in a empty tray and after some days most of the worms will be in that tray, and can be collected. Repeat once or twice and you should have helped almost all hatched worms in the bin to emigrate.

Or one can simply bury some kind of empty container so that its mouth is flush with the worm castings surface and drop a worm treat in the container - since the worms have easy access to a fresh food source they will congregate in the container.

Remember to keep things moist so that worms and their food lures wont dry up.

There are other ways - like you mentioned, drying the vermicaste will motivate the worms to find more hydrated surroundings. I guess one could use citrus peels as a repellent to drive them out.

Of course, getting the cocoons (the worm eggs) out would require hand sorting or a mechanical cocoon separation machine.


I wonder how long the new generation would survive in pure castings. maybe you could let it sit until they die-off. - SatGhost

Well, many worm farming guides and companies say that the worms will eventually die in 'finished' worm castings.

I have not seen this happening in 'finished' worm castings. Also Mary Appelhoff, 'The Worm Woman', US worm movement 'spokesperson' says that worms will survive indefinitely in worm castings. I think that well made worm castings will always contain at least few worms, unless separated mechanically or otherwise.

Why man. Surely they would make more money from "dam" quality weed!!!

Flowering C99 (http://www.thctalk.com/cannabis-forum/showthread.php?t=92482)
Bonsai Experiment (http://www.thctalk.com/cannabis-forum/showthread.php?t=92551)
First Hydro Grow - Coming Soon (http://www.thctalk.com/cannabis-forum/showthread.php?t=95365)

PhilZenMaster
04-05-13, 06:43 AM
Thanks for the excellent information!
I started a worm farm 5 weeks ago with 500g of Dendros, and they are munching their way through some seedling and cutting compost. I add chopped fruit and vegetable peel, egg shells and the occasional slice of bread to the compost and the worms are thriving. I'm curios by nature so I've been moving the soil to see what the worms are doing, now that I've read this thread I have learned it is better to not disturb them, so thank you for the vital information!

stonedkiwi
04-05-13, 06:59 AM
I use all the time but lazy I buy them . But after reading keen to have a go thanks

Mr. Don Keidik
28-05-13, 10:57 AM
do you think it will be a good idea to dig out some worm containing dirt from my garden and take it to my guerrilla plot ?

Mr.UnclePen
27-07-13, 02:19 PM
the information on the worms is great, i don't use them now bc i'm going veganic but it certainly is helpful if you'd like to use them. for example, not having the compost too hot for them to thrive in.

MrG
28-07-13, 01:37 PM
When to harvest?

The finished worm castings are normally like a dark brown muddy paste. There are no other visible decomposer insects present, and the worm population also has usually started to decrease in size, imho. This happens usually one or two months after I stop adding more food in the bin. Note that I am talking about non-juiced/ground foods here.


How do I/you/we harvest castings? - god shave the queen

There is the Scoop-Off-Thin-Surface-Layer-While-The-Worms-Head-Downwards-In-The-Bin-technique.

A handy one, especially for harvesting worms, is the Lure-The-Pink-Wriggly-Workhorses-Into-A-Disposable-Plastic-Box-With-Sum-Fresh-Banana-Peels-tech, this takes 2 or 3 rounds before basically all over 2 week old worms are harvested.

The first one above is ok for small bins. The second one will work with larger ones, but you will need to add more plastic-box-trap-containers if the bin is large.

For big jobs, its best to use a worm harvester made of stainless steel screen. Its basically slightly tilted rotating cylinder made of screen with a 'solid wall' end that you gradually dump the bin contents into. The processed caste falls to the collecting box under the harvester, while the worms roll downhill inside the cylinder into the solid-walled 'collector'.


Is there any way to get everybody out of the castings before they're harvested? -Lumbo

Yes, in my opinion there is. Food lures! The worms will go after moist white bread or banana peels like a rasta for ganja!!

As worms can use their sense of smell to track down worm-treats, and move actively after foods, using food lures works very well, especially so in a mature bin where fresh food availability is low.

Combined with some kind of simple mechanical trap this works very well, and very few worms will stay behind.

A wormer by the OG name of 'Aprilfool' introduced this simple concept:


The method that I use for seperating worm from the bin is something I call worm wrangling. When the bin is about two months old I don't feed them for a week or two then place a slice of bread on top. In a day there are hundreds of worms under the bread that are easily scooped with a trowel and placed in a new bin. I do this for a week. Then I leave the rest of the worms to finish the food that left in that bin. In about another two months there are few worms and all castings, in that bin.

I have four bins.

In a tray system, or a box-in-a-box type of worm bins (where the outer box acts as a leachate-juice tray) one can simply add the food lure in a empty tray and after some days most of the worms will be in that tray, and can be collected. Repeat once or twice and you should have helped almost all hatched worms in the bin to emigrate.

Or one can simply bury some kind of empty container so that its mouth is flush with the worm castings surface and drop a worm treat in the container - since the worms have easy access to a fresh food source they will congregate in the container.

Remember to keep things moist so that worms and their food lures wont dry up.

There are other ways - like you mentioned, drying the vermicaste will motivate the worms to find more hydrated surroundings. I guess one could use citrus peels as a repellent to drive them out.

Of course, getting the cocoons (the worm eggs) out would require hand sorting or a mechanical cocoon separation machine.


I wonder how long the new generation would survive in pure castings. maybe you could let it sit until they die-off. - SatGhost

Well, many worm farming guides and companies say that the worms will eventually die in 'finished' worm castings.

I have not seen this happening in 'finished' worm castings. Also Mary Appelhoff, 'The Worm Woman', US worm movement 'spokesperson' says that worms will survive indefinitely in worm castings. I think that well made worm castings will always contain at least few worms, unless separated mechanically or otherwise.

Welcome as always fella:)
Pull up a comfy one.

MrG
02-10-13, 10:45 PM
How to use worm castings in a soil mix?

Worm castings can be used in a multitude of ways - mixed into a soil mix, a soilless mix, or as a tea or slurry.

Usually worm castings is thought of as an additive. Recommendations vary wildly, but I would recommend adding one tenth to one fifth in any organic mix (10-20%).

Top dressing with worm castings would work well, too, especially with indoor containers. Making a worm castings tea by steeping the castings in clean well aerated water makes for a life giving plant-nutrient. I recommend filtering worm tea before use and returning the dregs into the worm bin after a couple of rounds.

One can use plain worm castings as a growing medium, and in my experience it works very well. But usually finished worm castings tends to be mud-like in consistency, and needs something to aerate and lighten up the texture. Perlite and expanded clay work very well for this. 50% of expanded clay (multiple size) and 50% worm castings makes for a nice quick-n-dirty primo soil(less) mix.


The Classic Shabang Mix

"The mix that I recommend is basically nothing but castings and drainage. I used to cut it with all sorts of things, including soilless peat-based mixes like pro-mix.. but then you're introducing a source for pH problems-- especially when others try and duplicate it but can't find the right brands then substitute with a peat-mix that is too acidic. So down to the bare basics of a mix:

40% castings
30% perlite
30% vermiculite"



Quoted from \'shabang\'s

102% Hyper Veg Mix by Aallonharja


* 25% coco peat
* 25% expanded clay
* 50% worm casting
* 2% alfalfa meal pellets
* 1/4 tablespoon of dolomite lime per liter (1 per gal)
* lemon juice (or 8% citric acid solution)
* seaweed extract according to taste
* silicon nutrient additive

Note:

- This is a guideline, not a recipe. Know your ingredients!

- If things get too sticky, muddy or water retaining with the worm castings, add more coco peat, peat, perlite or expanded clay.

- The stretching due to alfalfa can last up to 5 or more weeks.

- For alfalfa meal pellets 2% is a careful estimate. More can be used if the plants can take it.

- This mix should last about 4 weeks, ie. supply the plant with nutrients during the vegetative period, PK and N+Mg+Ca additive may be needed in bloom.


Meek Flowering Mix

* Worm castings, from bin fed with fruit and vegetables and peels (High K, Medium P)
* Optionally in the first 4 weeks of flowering, add as needed:
Pinch of dolomite lime or epsom salts
Pinch of gypsym
Pinch(es) of clean, pure wood ash


Mix in a bucket of water, and filter solids. Water during flowering.



Note:

- This is a guideline, not a recipe. Know your ingredients!

- Yields very vivid aromatic tones

- Basically a high K + P + Mg + Ca + S solution - all thats needed in bloom.

- N supplementation may also be necessary.


Oh also, you could talk a bit about Casting Tea aswell.

Well I've usually simply spooned some more or less finished castings into a cheapo nylon stocking and dumped that in a bucket and a reservoir.

A surefire way would be using 100% finished worm castings with a high quality filter material, and place that in a bucket with water, aerate the water for 48 hours, and then use that water for watering, provided it didnt contain visible pests and didnt smell like rotten fish (aerobic teas shouldnt smell bad in the first place).

Seriously. This is what came up when I clicked reply with quote:confused:


Anyway yeah, pretty much just the upper leaves.

mellowed
02-10-13, 10:48 PM
I always get this randomly quoting as well mate. You on tapatalk still? ?

KrazyDave
19-10-13, 11:36 AM
Worm Farming Reference Data
NPK Nutrient values for some common worm foods

High N:
Blood Meal (NPK 13-1-0)
Coffee grounds (NPK 1,99-0,36-0,67)
Felt (NPK 14-0-0)
Hair (NPK 14-0-0)
Tea grounds (NPK 4,15-0,62-0,4)
Worm Meal (dried & ground worms) NPK 10-1-1
Greens, leaves & meals, alfalfa, stinging nettle

High P:
Bone Meal generic NPK 4-21-0,2
* steamed NPK 13-15-13
* burned NPK 0-34,7-0
Shrimp Waste NPK 2,87-9,95-0
Tea Leaves ash NPK 0-1,66-0,4
Wheat bran NPK 2,65-2,9-1,6
Oats, Chicken Manure

High K:
Banana skin NPK 0-3,08-11,74
Molasses NPK 0,7-0-5,32
Potato skin NPK 0-5,15-27,5
Wood Ash NPK 0-0,15-7,0
Wood ash (broadleaf) K 10%
Wood ash (coniferous) K 6%
Alfalfa, ashes, potato wastes, peel & skin (-ashes, too)

High Calcium:
Poultry manure (0,5-0,7% dry), dolomite lime, egg shells, bone meal
Note that its usually thought that worm castings is high in calcium (perhaps with the presumption that lime or eggshells are added during the process).

High Iron:
Stinging nettle (Also high N)

High Magnesium:
Dolomite lime, poultry manure, epsom salts


Vermicomposting by Numbers

Facts from a technical compost quide, section 'Vermi-stabilization' (of composted communal waste). (Komposti, WSOY 1984).

They are talking about the red wriggler Eisenia Fetida:



Optimum pH range 5-8. The worms die under pH 4,5 and over pH 9.

Optimum Humidity 80-85%.

Dissolved salt leves should not exceed 0,5 % (5000 ppm?). Ammoniumacetate is toxic to the worms when concentrations exceed 0,1% (1000ppm).

Greatest growth rate in temperatures between 20 and 25 C degrees, greatest feeding rate in 15-20 C degrees. Temperatures above 37 C degrees cause worm deaths. Can adapt to live in temperatures close to 0 C degree.

"Its been theorized that with optimum temperatures and sufficient food source the worms would achieve maturity in 5-9 weeks, meaning that a population of 100 worms could produce an offspring population of 250 000 worms in a year."

"..up to 20% of the waste materials weight can become wormbiomass ." (worm biomass is the worms themselves, not the worm castings)

"The will never be a problem with overproduction of worm- biomass, as the worms can always be dried and ground to produce a plant fertilizer. The NPK value of the dried worms is approxemately 10-1-1. The worm-biomass also contains 0,8% sulphur, 0,6% calcium, 0,3% magnesium and minerals that benefit the growth of plants."



Worm Species Data

Eisenia fetida (foetida)/Eisenia andrei
Common names: redworm, tiger worm, manure worm

Maximum reproduction under ideal condtions:
3.8 cocoons per adult per week
83.2% hatching success rate
3.3 hatchlings per cocoon
Net reproduction of 10.4 young per adult per week

Maximum growth rate under ideal conditions:
32-73 days to cocoon hatch
53-76 days to sexual maturity
85-149 days from egg to maturity

Temperature requirements ?C (?F):
Minimum 3?C (38?F)
Maximum 35?C (95?F)
Ideal range 21-27?C (70-80?F)

Eisenia hortensis (Dendrobaena veneta)
Common names: Belgian nightcrawler, European nightcrawler

Maximum growth rate under ideal conditions:
40-128 days to cocoon hatch
57-86 days to sexual maturity
97-214 days from egg to maturity

Temperature requirements ?C (?F):
Minimum 3?C (38?F)
Maximum 32?C (90?F)
Ideal 15-21?C (60-70?F)

Heat tolerance is dependant on moisture level. This worm is very tolerant of environmental fluctuation and handling, but has a slower reproductive rate and requires very high moisture levels, relative to other worm species.


Other common composting worm species

Bimastos tumidus - often found in compost piles, tolerates medium C:N ratios and cooler temperatures better than Eisenia foetida , multiplies rapidly in old straw and spoiled hay, hardy to Z-5 and will survive in ordinary soil conditions hence once established it would survive without extensive preparations. Earthworm Ecology and Biogeography in North America

Eudrilus eugeniae: (African nightcrawler) do well but cannot withstand low temperatures.(composter or surface worker species)

Lumbricus rubellus: (common redworm or red marsh worm), used in Cuba's vermicomposting program, (composter or surface worker species), native to U.S.

Lumbricus terrestris: nightcrawler, native to U.S. Not suitable for vermiculture.

Perionyx excavatus: (Asian species) do well but cannot withstand low temperatures. (composter or surface worker species).

Im sure you will mate. They look like right beauties already.

http://i.imgur.com/t5mAHez.gif

Mainlining Diary/Tutorial in progress - http://www.thctalk.com/cannabis-forum/showthread.php?t=105084

2times
15-05-14, 06:28 AM
awesome read. im in the middle of making a wooden compost bin out back,
and already have a worm bin inside.
but yea very descriptive.