Thursday, January 15, 2015

One year in, an update on my in ground worm buckets

I realized lately that when things are flowing nicely I really dont think about them much.  Point in case is the worm buckets that I started out back in November 2013.
You can read about that here: My start in worm worm farming. Just over a year now, so they have run the cycle through a wet season and a dry season.
I also put some little worm tubes into the wicking beds, but they dont seem to do very much, although I place a few bits of fruit or some scraps into them every now and again.  They might need to be emptied out and re-filled.....

 The in-ground worm buckets on the other hand - oh my!  they are a wriggling mass of healthy fertilizer manufacturers! Here is the one bucket in the sweet potato bed.


I think two are just perfect in my little garden, as I like to have kitchen scraps to put into my compost tumbler as well.  Since I started the buckets I notice the same tiger worms in my compost tumbler, so not sure how they migrated there, but they do make sure it all gets broken down very quickly, and it stays lovely and moist.



I like to collect the kitchen scraps in a newspaper package and then just place it into the bucket.  The worms find their way in and I dont have a problem with other insects like flies or cockroaches.  I also generally have a layer of shredded newspaper on the top of the bucket.   There is always a lot of talk about supplying bedding, but I reckon the shredded newspaper serves that purpose.



I am not sure what all these little white spots are? - are they worm eggs or baby worms?  I think I have the right mix of creatures, bedding and rotting food, as it never smells and I dont have fruit flies or vermin.



 Recently I "harvested" the castings from one bucket and spread it around my hungry plants.  One extra bucket goes back and forth between the buckets as the top layer.  So now the bucket in the perrenial bed has an empty bucket placed on top of the bucket in the ground.  I slowly start to add my little newspaper wrapped food packages, and the worms migrate up to the top layer, leaving behind nice worm castings. The top bucket then becomes the new bottom bucket. I normally just add a few shovelfuls under the mulch to pots, or any plants I feel need a bit of a boost. I dont collect any leachate as that just naturally flows into the ground around the buckets.  I have also used some of it to make a worm casting tea to spread the goodness around.



As the wet season is here I realize I need to drill a few drainage holes around the edge of the lids so that they dont collect water, as we are in a dengue prone area so have to watch out for anything that could contain standing water.
All in all I am really happy with my system, and just so grateful for all the information out there so that we can learn and then adapt our knowledge to our own particular needs.

14 comments:

  1. Thanks for this update! I'm intrigued by this, and might give it a go myself this year. I always have so much kitchen waste. I need to figure out a way to keep the raccoons out of it though -- perhaps a lid that can be locked down.

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    1. Oh yes racoons are very inquisitive arent they? I remember when they made themsleves at home on your lovely outdoor lounging area!

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  2. Seems to be working really well. Have you ever looked up "keyhole gardens"? I was going to turn part of my vegie area into one before we decided to move but they use a similar principle which I hope to try at the new place. They use them in parts of Africa apparently. See what you think.

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    1. Wow, I had never heard of that type of keyhole garden, that looks very interesting. I think it would work well if you used a regular compost bin as the centre so that you could reach into the trapdoor at the bottom and pull out compost when needed.

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  3. What a great post .. anything to do with worms has to be good! I was just reading that apparently when they hatch from eggs that they are white and about half an inch in colour. Gosh you may just have a whole lot more worms on your hands. Brilliant! :)

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    1. Frog,
      An invasion! they certainly do seem happy to me.

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  4. I always love reading about the goings on in your garden.

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    1. thank you! I am in awe of your creativity!

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  5. I was wondering how your worm buckets were coming along, and I'm happy to see this post and know that everything is going well....good job!!

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    1. Virginia,
      Sometimes when things are humming along nicely I forget to update everyone. Silly, as that those are the projects that need to be shared most of all.

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  6. That looks great, I really need to get around to digging a hole in the garden and setting this up! I have two above ground worm farms, but I would love to supply worm goodness directly to the soil. Its amazing that they ended up in your compost as well!

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    1. Liz,
      It definitely works well right in situ, and requires the least amount of maintenance of all the systems I have seen.. I noticed that the one where I have planted sweet potatoes is thick with plants, so hopefully soon the whole garden with be full of wormy goodness..

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  7. Whenever we had a compost heap we always got loads of cockroaches and other bugs, so we must have had the mix wrong. I'll have to show this to my husband, maybe we'll give it another try!

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    1. I must say Sami that the tumbler is a great help in keeping cockroaches out of the compost - they just don't seem to be able to get in. amazingly the worms can though, so that makes me happy!

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