Monday, July 11, 2016

I am a worm farmer!

Well, as you know I have been trying to fit my new compost tumbler into my composting schedule.  You are supposed to stop topping it up at some stage and then let it finish off before transferring to the stand alone compost bin.   The thing is that I am not sure what to do with the kitchen waste that accumulates while the tumbler batch is processing (about 4- 6 weeks.)   I have lots of leaves, and they seem to take forever to break down too!  The kitchen scraps compost down quickly but the leaves take ages....So I keep adding to the tumbler, and it is in fact now getting rather full and a bit heavy, so something had to be done. This is what it looks like.


 and inside:

A worm farm, everyone suggested....  I have only ever heard of one person with a worm farm in this climate.  Recently though, I saw an honesty stall with bottles of worm wee.  Hubby looked the other way when I went to put my coins in the jar and pick up a bottle.  He certainly didnt offer to take it out of the car when we were unloading.... just saying.  I dont think talk of worm poo or worm wee is one of his favourite subjects.  Soooo... I eventually discovered who owns the worms farms, and it is someone I know!
On the way into Town on Sunday the plan was to go and pick up a handful of worms - I had a nice little turquoise bucket, with some shredded newspaper in the bottom.....

  Mr Worm sat down in front of one of his two worm farms and said "I want to give you this whole tray"....Oh no, I said, I just want a handful - just to get started you know.  I only have an inground bucket - just this size, see - and I heard they grow like mad when you feed them..... With his bare hands he began to scoop out mounds of worms, and poo,... and rotting vegetables, into my perfect little turquoise bucket....  I should have offered to help him - he is an elderly gentleman after all, but I couldnt get past the fact that he was doing this with his bare hands.....I placed the oveflowing bucket into a huge plastic bag and placed it in the back of the car.... Hubby's eyes grew huge - "ummmm maybe we can pick that up on the way out of town?"  We left my package there, gave Mr Worm a lift into town,  and did our bit of shopping..   On the way home all the windows were open and I noticed Hubby was doing his best not to breathe unless he had his head out of the window - a bit hard since he was driving....
So, at home I filled the in ground bucket with the mixture, gave it a lid, and some shade,





The in ground system is also a two layer system.... when it is looking full you place another bucket with holes in the bottom and up the sides on top.  I add shredded paper and food and then they  migrate into the top layer leaving the castings in the lower bucket. then I can remove the castings and place them into the maturing compost to enrich it. ...  these worms are taking over my life and it seems as though I have ended up with multiple worm houses... I for one am glad though that I purchased some plastic gloves!

Updated July 2016

21 comments:

  1. Oh, wow, you are really involved in this process! Good for you. I don't have any knowledge of worm farming, though we do have a neighbor who makes a good living selling worm casting fertilizer. Maybe with more time and a larger 'herd' of worms, you could sell them too? I had such a smile on my face reading about your husband's less than enthusiastic take on this project. I look forward to seeing your future posts on this fascinating topic.

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    1. Oh Karen I dont have that much room, or the desire to get that involved with them. :) I must admit though that every day after work I have gone out to check on the babies.

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  2. People here have successful worm farms but they do not look like yours. Two trays stacked and a lid. They use those those styrofoam boxes from a supermarket or restaurant. You need an inner soft lid, an old towel or something. The lady on the ABC gardening show often demonstrates how to do it. Those black plastic pots should work the same. I am sure you will be very successful.

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    1. Louise Michie,
      I didnt want to go out and buy anything new, or have stacked trays taking up space, so thought I would try this idea.

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  3. We once bought a box of worms and put them in a styrofoam box with newspaper cuttings, food scraps, etc, but they didn't survive the following summer...I too wouldn't touch them without gloves!

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    1. Sami,
      Yes one of the reasons I like the inground ones is that they would be insulated from the heat - I am a bit worried about them drowning in the rainy season though, so maybe making an above ground layer would help with that.

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  4. Worms are on my to do list but I need to learn about them first...I too have purchased worm wee at the markets. Your hubby sounds like my kids, they were disgusted! :) Keep us posted on the progress.

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    1. I have been researching sytems for ages, but nothing beating diving in and trying it out firsthand. My grandchildren went and had a look, but I noticed both of them held their hands behind their back and peered in :)

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  5. Hello Mrs.Worm, it's nice to see you getting involved in worm farming, I'm sure you'll make a good job of it.
    Who knows, maybe hubby may become interested as times goes by....smile.

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    1. I am still not sure about it - oh no! no chance of him ever going near them.....

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  6. Well girlfriend you are a better composter than me! I've thought a long time about getting worms but somehow haven't gotten around to it... yet! You have inspired me I must admit so after we find the new place we are going to move to... and of course move I will be installing some worm houses in my to be garden! Thanks for the inspiration and the funny asides of your hubby's response to the wormy adventure :D
    Hugs,
    Beth P

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    1. Beth,
      So glad I inspired you! not sure I know what I am doing yet....

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  7. Oh come girl, worms are a gardeners friend making marvelous soil, not squiggly critters living in their own excrement. Take off those gloves and get in touch (literally) with the earth!

    I just got a new puppy and I'm wondering if worms might take more care and attention. I'm sure once you get their homes sorted, it will all become an easy process of topping up their food on the way to the compost bin and draining their wee (which really isn't wee at all, so let's call it "tea") on the way to feed your plants.

    Well done and good luck with your new pets.

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    1. Laura!!!
      good to hear from you again - I miss your blog. I hope it does eventually become commonplace. Nobody seems to be doing quite the same setup as me. I dont have any way of collecting the tea - it is self draining into the soil :) Enjoy your new puppy :)

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  8. I understand that your worms will be working on your kitchen waste as you wait for your tumbler compost to break down, but here is a little suggestion for disposing of compost in the summer if you don't have too much of it. I just dig a hole between perennials or wherever there is some space in the garden and I pop the kitchen waste in the hole, cover it back up and before you know it, it has turned into earth.

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    1. Jenny - I do that with our prawn shells, and it is surprising how quickly that breaks down. I think I have too much kitchen scraps to do that though - I really do have a tiny yard.... I had to giggle when you said summer, since it is always summer here in the tropics.

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  9. This is totally new for me.
    But the fact is that worms are everywhere in my garden and so its a bit difficult to fathom why anyone want to get more worms unless for fishing.
    I guess that the thing with gardeners.
    We go crazy over matters such as these - when I find a worm, I carefully pick it up and put it in my compost bin..
    So I guess - its very much the same with most gardeners..
    Worm being a friend..
    And good luck with your new farm.
    Hope you get a great numbers of them to help your garden.

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    1. James,
      these are red wriggler worms (yes the kind you use for fishing) not regular earthworms. They live in rotting matter, not in the soil. Evidently they break kitchen scraps down into castings which are very high in nutrients.

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  10. I have compost tumblers just like yours. Two of them. When one fills up, we don't add any more material to it, we just concentrate on turning it regularly until compost is ready to use. While that's happening, we are filling up the other one. We also have a worm farm. Together, the worms and the compost bins take care of our kitchen scraps. The worm castings and worm wee from our worm farm is used regularly on the garden...magic stuff!

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    1. Oh I would love to have another tumbler, because at the moment I have been transferring some compost into the standing one by bucket loads. That sounds like the perfect system.

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  11. Fantastic! I need to re-start ours. That is a long overdue task. Happy worm poo farming :-)

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