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ROCKSTEADY6

Homemade Worm Farm Advice

29 posts in this topic
1 minute ago, ROCKSTEADY6 said:

 

Ok cheers Jim I will hold off putting any coir in until a later date. Funny the microbes are going for the glue not the cardboard. I have already spread the worm food out across the whole thing but thanks for the tip, will use one corner in future feedings. 

It is just to get you started mate you can spread it over the surface when they multiply. Atm you just want them eating and breeding as the colony grows they will spread out on there own and if the grub is all in the one place it is easier imho

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When I mentioned the carpet BTW that's not for them to live in. Just chuck an old piece over the box when the cold sets in as an extra layer of insulation. 

 

As said, don't feed em too much. They'll munch the soil anyway. If you give them too much food it'll rot and you'll start having issues. Mine live in cow manure compost and they eat virtually nothing. A few bits a week is more than enough. The compost is both the living medium and the majority of their food 

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20 hours ago, Sargares said:

When I mentioned the carpet BTW that's not for them to live in. Just chuck an old piece over the box when the cold sets in as an extra layer of insulation. 

 

 

I think I know what you mean. Do you mean lay it on top inside the box (where the whole piece of cardboard is) or over the top outside of the box? Here she is in all her glory. 

 

large.IMG_20190910_093330_compress20.jpglarge.IMG_20190910_093350_compress87.jpg

 

 

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mate maybe soak the cardboard if you havent already

 

the ground eggshell are for grit that helps the worms digest a few coffee grounds as well wouldnt hurt, mate wash te eggshells well, and heat them in the oven for a while (I heard you can get salmonella from dodgy eggshells:fear: lol)

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10 minutes ago, Jimboo said:

mate maybe soak the cardboard if you havent already

 

the ground eggshell are for grit that helps the worms digest a few coffee grounds as well wouldnt hurt, mate wash te eggshells well, and heat them in the oven for a while (I heard you can get salmonella from dodgy eggshells:fear: lol)

 

Ok no worries. I hadn't done any of that. I understand they like it damp but as I don't have drainage holes in the bottom I worried about adding too much. Will give it a bit of water now. Coffee grounds I have but is this treated as food or just grit as you put? Washing egg shells it taking this worm farming to extremes Jim but I like it. 

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4 minutes ago, ROCKSTEADY6 said:

 

Ok no worries. I hadn't done any of that. I understand they like it damp but as I don't have drainage holes in the bottom I worried about adding too much. Will give it a bit of water now. Coffee grounds I have but is this treated as food or just grit as you put? Washing egg shells it taking this worm farming to extremes Jim but I like it. 

I would put the coffee grounds and eggshells down as a digestive aid, The eggshells will add also a source of calcium to the finished product. I just put the eggshell warning in because I do it  lol 

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Thought I would finish off my worm farm pictures in case there is anymore good advice for me. I added the tap on the bottom of the bin today that will hopefully allow me to extract some good liquid from the bin. I used a stocking over the tap exit and then large ballast then smaller ballast. I have no idea if this is going to work or not as I haven't seen this style really more the stacking kind. 

 

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Sorry to piss on your chips but you want the tap at the very lowest point. Your going to have an awful lot of leachate sat in the bottom going sour before you can even think about getting any out.

 

Fwiw a well run worm bin shouldn't produce too much leachate if any at all. When I first started I had a bit but once the bin settles I get very little to the point where I can't actually collect it.

 

My large worm bins I use large wheelie bins. They are kept in my workshop and just have holes drilled in in the bottom for drainage. Rarely do I ever have anything other than a damp patch under the bin but I'm pretty strict on not letting it get too wet as you get overrun with white worms and your composting worms won't like it. 

 

A good idea might be to tip the box so the tap is below the medium as much as possible

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5 minutes ago, blackpoolbouncer said:

Sorry to piss on your chips but you want the tap at the very lowest point. Your going to have an awful lot of leachate sat in the bottom going sour before you can even think about getting any out.

 

Fwiw a well run worm bin shouldn't produce too much leachate if any at all. When I first started I had a bit but once the bin settles I get very little to the point where I can't actually collect it.

 

My large worm bins I use large wheelie bins. They are kept in my workshop and just have holes drilled in in the bottom for drainage. Rarely do I ever have anything other than a damp patch under the bin but I'm pretty strict on not letting it get too wet as you get overrun with white worms and your composting worms won't like it. 

 

A good idea might be to tip the box so the tap is below the medium as much as possible

 

Cheers Blackpoolbouncer for the tips. The hole for the tap is actually drilled at the lowest possible point. It sits about 5mm off the base of the bin. It is as low as i could get it whilst getting a flush fit as the bin starts to bend. I also wanted to try and keep the bin relatively dry, even though i know they like it wet. I figured i could raise the opposite side to the tap, pour a bucket of water in there or two, and that would wash out some of the leachate. I didn't want drainage holes on the bottom as it will leak out all over the place. This is all new to me so just learning as I go. Do you think that might work or still crap? 

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I think it will be fine. 

I can see why you drilled it in such a way. 

 

I wouldn't go pouring buckets of water in my bin is all im saying though.

 

 

If your bins moisture is just nice and you go pouring a bucket of water in there you worms are gonna try and jump ship I imagine. Mass exodus. 

 

Treat your worms nicely

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1 minute ago, blackpoolbouncer said:

I think it will be fine. 

I can see why you drilled it in such a way. 

 

I wouldn't go pouring buckets of water in my bin is all im saying though.

 

 

If your bins moisture is just nice and you go pouring a bucket of water in there you worms are gonna try and jump ship I imagine. Mass exodus. 

 

Treat your worms nicely

 

Ok thanks, i appreciate you looking in as i know this is your forte. To be honest the more i read about worm leachate, and hear, the less enterprising it sounds and the more i think i will just mix the worm castings with soil for normal use. I thought I was already treating my worms nicely but yes i will. 

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Worm leachate is a bit of a non thing for me. Carrys potentially harmful nasties and I don't collect it in enough abundance and I make a fair bit of ewc.

 

I just use my ewc for top dressing. Mixing into potting mixes and making compost teas really. 

 

Good luck. You will soon get to learn the habits of them and when they are happy. 

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Try and understand the environment composting worms really thrive in. 

 

Things they can’t stand is any standing water or plant juices in any environment they have access to, as they quickly become anaerobic.

 

It is best for compost type worms to be in a very free draining aerobic environ so any excess moisture drains away quickly otherwise any saturated bedding quickly becomes toxic to the worms.

 

Having one bin with no sump needs the whole base to be covered with gravel to at least 4 or 5 inches above the tap level even so the inch or so of drainage liquid to the tap level will rapidly become toxic to plants and anaerobic full of very nasty bacteria the noxious gasses will rise through the medium to the worm level making them ill. once you get to this state you need to dispose of the leachate best down a sewer or land drain.

 

IMHO you would do best to drill very small holes in the base of your container so it can drain into a tray with a tap in it, that way the leachate can be used diluted for  feeding plants as long as its drained regularly even so it can be very variable in its value, its better to dispose of it.

 

Aerated brews made from well made worm compost are a very different thing supplying a very small amount of nutrients and good beneficial  microbes/fungi.

 

The best worm compost is made in a stacking system where you have a top bed where the worms are actively processing food waste, a tray below where the worms have finished processing  the food waste and below that a tray that catches any excess moisture or leachate, it is a continues cycle.

 

While you can use very small amounts of spent compost in the bedding and tiny amounts of paper and cardboard, compost worms are not good at reprocessing either of them.

 

It is much better to put products like this through a hot composting scheme, grass mowings are best used here as well as the nitrates they hold stimulate the bacteria and fungi that break down cellulose into  the first stages of plant usable compost, compost worms do not naturally move in to this breakdown cycle until the all of the micro heard have broken down the lignin and other material into a medium that is a super food for the worms to process.  They are the final process in garden composting  enriching  the compost many times over.

 

In nature compost type worms live mainly in the forest litter layer below the current leaf fall working on previous years  decaying leaf fall that fungus after bacteria have made it easier to digest, in a worm farm we make a litter that is much richer and decay fungus  rapidly start to break down the worms in turn eat the decaying  material, a little rock dust helps them digest, but even with thousands they can only process a little at a time, remember they are not burrowers and mainly surface litter cleaners, the only time you see them at any depth is in well made open textured garden compost that has just the right moisture content, if to wet or dry they won't be there.

 

I hope this helps you in your quest.

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Thank you @oldtimer1 I really appreciate you taking the time to write that response. Just to explain my line of thinking for the bin. I was trying to avoid drilling holes in the bottom of the tub as I had planned to wheel the bin inside during Winter and that one might be too hard to convince the wife on. It's quite large too. I understand outside in Winter would make them hibernate and not really be productive. It seems holes in the bottom of some kind are needed. I was using the old grass clippings on top to try and dissuade gnats and flys moving in and not really as worm food but if this is a bad idea then I will stop. It was cut two weeks ago and taken from a composting bin. Ideally I did want the worms to eat the lawn clippings after they have composted a little, again is this a bad idea? I understood it was high in N, therefore after the food chain, beneficial. 

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