Worm Farming.

Discussion in 'Hobbies' started by yanks26, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. spookyevilone

    spookyevilone Crazy Quail Lady

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    Oct 5, 2008
    Minneapolis
    I raise redworms and mealworms. The mealies are for the birds, the redworms are for the cats [​IMG] I hatehatehate cleaning a catbox, so a few years ago, I bought some rubbermaid totes and about 3000 redworms and started an experiment.

    Put in some nice loamy compost, added worms and some kitchen veggie scraps. Switched from clay litter to pine litter. When the litter box was ready to be changed, I dumped it all into the worm bin and added a layer of kitchen scraps and then another layer of dirt from the back yard. In about 3 weeks, they'd composted everything. That was too long to go between catbox changes, so I set up some other bins and started a rotation. I now have six bins that compost cat litter and four that froze outside.. oops.. that compost the bird cages.

    When I have a tote full of worm casings, I put another tote on top of it with kitchen scraps and some loam, and wait for the worms to crawl up into it. Then the compost gets dumped into black garbage cans outside and left in the sun to heat sterilize. After a week, I dump 'em in the garden. The vegetables and herbs grow really really well.

    Last year, I had too much to use myself, so I heat sterilized it and put it in plastic baggies and put it on CraigsList for $5/2lb bag. I sold all of them the first two days and made about $400. Each of my bins weighs about 30lbs when full, and I have 5 of them going at any one time. I sold about 3 bins worth.

    It's made life much easier with catbox changes. It's not really a profit making thing for me. Usually I use my compost, or my friends do. It's an awful lot of work, so if you factor in the time I spend taking care of the bins, it's not actually a profit. That being said, the money was nice.
    -Spooky
     
  2. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    Get yourself some rabbits/hutches. Put bins underneath to catch the manure. Throw on some redworms, and you'll soon have all the redworms you'll ever want.
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Sorry to be dense here, but if the liquid that drains out is that smelly, does that not make a smell in the basement? At least when you empty the liquid from its reservoir? DH is *really* picky about these things and money would have to be spent to start a worm bin, so I am really paranoid...

    Thanks,

    Pat
     
  4. eggzettera

    eggzettera Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have posted this here many times so if you get a sense of deja vu.....

    My worm bin is just a rubber maid bin with holes drilled into the sides for ventilation, I just used the largest drill bit I had. Err on the side of too many, the worms if they are happy will not try to escape (they do not like light). If they do try to escape your bin has some kind of problem......

    Some people make a worm bin out of 2 – 5 gallon pails that can fit into each other. Drill holes in sides again, so that when they are nested the align up. The top bucket also gets holes drilled into the bottom so the leachate can drain into the bottom one. You still need the lid.

    Leachate & Tea are NOT the same thing. Many people assume that this is “castings tea” and will collect it and use it on their plants. Some also add water occasionally to increase the amount of liquid that runs through the vermicomposting bin. Unfortunately, this liquid is not castings tea, but leachate. When a liquid seeps through a material containing decomposing organic matter, some of that organic matter is carried along in the water. When it leaves the system, carrying with it undecomposed organic matter, we call it leachate. Now, water does not allow enough Oxygen to diffuse into it to support aerobic microorganisms, and so anaerobic micororganisms are encouraged. These anaerobes produce some undesirable byproducts that are not good for plants. Our nose warns us of the presence of anaerobes’ byproducts — anaerobic decomposition stinks!

    Vermicompost, by its definition, contains some decomposing organics, some aerobically-decomposed organic matter, and vermicastings. The longer the worm bin remains aerobic and with a large population of redworms (or another composting species), the higher its content of worm castings will be. This is what we want our worm bins to produce. Castings tea is the liquid we create when we soak worm castings in water.


    The bottom layer I just have non-biodegradable packing peanuts (the biodegradable dissolve in water) round 3-4 inches worth. This is the area where the leachate will collect – do NOT mistake this for TEA – tea is different. Then you add the layer of bedding = shredded paper soaked in water then “squeezed dry – or just spray with water for the same “dampened” affect. Then you just start tossing in.

    Bedding is where they will ALL congregate if they do not like if they do not like their environment. Its natural to see some there but just some – not all.

    You would want to set this up a week or 2 before you get your worms. Remember that they do not eat what you throw in there – they eat what grows on what you throw in. So if you throw in an apple and you see them on the apple they are not eating apple but what is growing on it.

    Worm Favorites include: Banana (whole or just the peel) & cornmeal – from what I have observed I think the cornmeal is some kind of aphrodisiac – don’t ask.....OK fine...usually they mate “normally” but I have witnessed what can only be explained as an orgy & I truly do attribute this to the cornmeal. I got them before I got chickens and was obsessed with them. I tackle life one obsession @ a time. If you fish you can make a small bin and feed them predominately garlic & you will have some killer garlic verm’s.

    Dislikes: Same as chickens – citrus & salt

    Then throw in the worms and put on the lid. Its very easy to over feed to begin with – wait till they move into the “newest” area before you add more. Your population has not established itself yet. When you do go to add more do the same thing – bedding & ?.....you know whatever, you will find yourself slowing adding more and more @ a faster rate as your population increases.

    A healthy bin should smell kind earthy.

    Some people make a worm bin out of 2 – 5 gallon pails that can fit into each other. Drill holes in sides again, so that when they are nested the align up. The top bucket also gets holes drilled into the bottom so the leachate can drain into the bottom one. You still need the lid.

    Problems:

    Bin smells funny – either its too wet or overstocked with food. If too wet then add in dry shredded paper to absorb. If overstocked – then remove extra food preferably anything with no mold on it yet and add more “bedding”.

    Fruit Fly Infestation: Is very common, too avoid I freeze any & all uncooked veggies & fruits first then throw in the bin, I think this also helps speed up the decomposition process.
    If you get an infestation in you bin, put Apple Cider Vinegar in a saucer & put in the bin – they will be drawn to it & then drown.

    HTH
    N
     
  5. yanks26

    yanks26 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Connecticut
    Will cat litter work even if its coated in cat sand? will the cat sand from the box be harmful to the worms?
     
  6. spookyevilone

    spookyevilone Crazy Quail Lady

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    Oct 5, 2008
    Minneapolis
    Quote:I don't know. I don't use sand. They don't digest gravel, though, so I'd imagine probably not? If you switch to pine, alfalfa, corn cob, etc bedding, they'll eat it and the kitty waste too. There's nothing from your cats that can hurt the worms, but I don't know about sand - might be a problem digesting it.
    -Spooky
     
  7. onebuggirl

    onebuggirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You are not suppose to put cat litter or poop in your compost especially if you are using the compost in your veggie garden. You can actually contract some diseases/parasites from cat poop!
     
  8. Scrambled Egg

    Scrambled Egg Flock Mistress

    Aug 29, 2007
    Fayetteville, NC
    Quote:Sorry to be dense here, but if the liquid that drains out is that smelly, does that not make a smell in the basement? At least when you empty the liquid from its reservoir? DH is *really* picky about these things and money would have to be spent to start a worm bin, so I am really paranoid...

    Thanks,

    Pat

    No, good question..actually you don't smell it in the bin but that spigot allows you to drain it out..THEN you smell it...it is contained in that bottom tray otherwise and you won't smell it...draining it and you will and it is bad. Give it a go, it's pretty easy really and your garden will love the castings and the "tea"!!

    oh, and yes, smom, that is a resin bunny planter beside my jasmine bush!
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2009
  9. Opa

    Opa Opa-wan Chickenobi

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    Howell Michigan
    When the worms have exhausted everything from the tray they are in the move up to the next tray is my understanding of how it works.
     
  10. Scrambled Egg

    Scrambled Egg Flock Mistress

    Aug 29, 2007
    Fayetteville, NC
    Quote:Yeppir, that's right..course I'd be hard pressed to call anything you say while using that avatar wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     

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