OrganicTexasMama
Full Member
Posts: 45
Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2011 6:20 am
Location: Sugar Land, TX

Tell me more about vermicomposting

I'm new to gardening (doing an organic container garden) and also to composting. I'm seriously considering ordering this redworm composting kit:
https://www.azurestandard.com/shop/product/942/

Is it really as easy as it sounds? Do I have to touch the worms? (I think I can cope with seeing them, but I'm not sure about dealing with them more than that!) How does one get at the castings to use? And the tea? How is that made?

I'd really love a quick Vermicomposting 101 before I jump in. :D

Thanks!
OTM
~ OrganicTexasMama, newly entering the world of organic container gardening

Odd Duck
Senior Member
Posts: 114
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:34 pm
Location: DFW, TX

You will have to at least somewhat touch the worms at some point in order to harvest the castings. Feel free to get some gloves, though. A lot of people use exam gloves (you can get a box for around $15.00) or dedicate a pair of kitchen gloves just for the worms. How you get at the castings depends on what type of worm bin you decide to use. There are several different types. The most basic is like what you've linked to but I would suggest this one just because of proximity and because I know Heather is good to do business with and very helpful. Look near the middle of this page:

https://www.txwormranch.com/Wormshop_Services.html

Or watch the videos on this site:

https://www.wormbincomposting.com/raisingredworms.html

Liz is also very easy to do business with, has worms for sale also, and is super helpful. I think she has a more extensive website and more information on raising worms.

There are several websites dedicated to vermicomposting, here's a couple more of my favorites. The first has loads of information on multiple types of bins, info on different species of worms, as well as selling worms, too. The second is a forum with some very experienced, knowledgeable, helpful and friendly people. There is absolutely loads of information available there, but you'll have to do some searching (the search engine is not terrific, but not the worst I've used, either).

https://www.redwormcomposting.com/
https://vermicomposters.ning.com/forum

For minimal worm touching, I'd recommend that you look into the type of bin called a "flow-through bin" (AKA "FT bin" or "continuous flow through bin"). This is a deep bin that is fed from the top and lets more processed material out of the bottom of the bin, usually through some sort of grate.

There is another type of bin set-up that is sometimes called a flow-through, but these are sets of stackable trays that let the worms move between stacked layers of trays. There are several different brands available and there are also DIY plans on many sites.

There are basic, getting started in keeping worms, vermicomposting 101 type areas on all of these websites. Good luck and hope this helps.
Sharon
USDA zone 7b/8a (depending on the year and microclimate :-)), AHS heat zone 8-9, Eastern Crosstimbers/Grand Prairie ecozones

Spongegirl
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 2:56 pm
Location: Kentucky

Hi I looked at that link. It didn't have a price.
I consider my worm bin a hobby. I love doing it. It takes so long to get a good supply of castings going. I thought it would be alot quicker than it is.
I just got a tub I had at home. I didn't put any holes in it, I just leave it uncovered. If you cover it, the worms will go to the top and when you remove the top they will be everywhere and its kinda grose.
I have never touched a worm in my life.
Inside your bin, shred newspaper for the bottom bedding. Get a fairly thick layer and don't get the shiny colored newspaper, just the black and white. Put a little soil or peat or really, just go dig a little from outside and break it up really good. It won't take much of this, just a little Earth will be fine. I got my red wigglers from a local bait and tackle shop. If you don't have one of those, order from online. I gradually added fifty at a time until I had about 500 I think. Feed them. Cover them with more shredded paper. Keep the top paper moist but if it dries thats ok. They worms will die in the sun so keep the top layer of paper thick.
What I do is use half of the bin at a time. I'll feed one side, then after months, start using the other side. They follow the food. Not all of them will. It's kinda tricky to get the castings but I like to play in it. If the top gets dry then that is usually what I take away and the worms arent in it. My worms are really happy because I feed them well and I know they have multiplied like crazy because I see hundreds of their little snail egg things.
It has ever smelled bad. There are other organisims that will live in there with them but I just consider that they are helping to keep the soil free of fungus because I have never had a problem with that either.
There are many videos on youtube and everyone might do things a little differently. There is no science to it and definately no need to get a fancy expensive starter thing. Hope this helps and good luck.
Have patience, have patience
Don't be in such a hurry
When you get impatient, you'll always start to worry
Remember, remember, that God has patience too, so think of all the times when others have to wait for you.

cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

We've had many, many discussions on vermicomposting here, although I doubt that we've said everything there is to say! There's always more to learn. :D

One of the threads is [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=178711#178711]here[/url], and it contains links to other threads. I also just performed a Search of the Forum (up in the lime green words near the top of the page) on the phrase "vermicomposting" and got about 150 hits--not threads, but posts--so there's a lot out there, some of it written by me, some of it by people with more experience. (I only have three years of experience this go-round; I had two or three years previously, but the worms met a sad fate. :( )

On your original question, I usually move the worms around very gently with a trowel or hand fork. I've probably touched them the least of anyone here, since I have a very strong "yuck" factor for wiggly sensations on my skin.

(I know, everyone, I know: these hard-working invertebrates are creating excellent soil amendment on my behalf, and I feed them and shelter them so they can do just that. However....)

I was fortunate enough to purchase a discounted Worm Factory from the county; I don't know whether subsidies are still available in this day of cutbacks, but the overall goal of reducing solid waste is long-range cost-effective, so it's worth looking into. :)

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

OrganicTexasMama
Full Member
Posts: 45
Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2011 6:20 am
Location: Sugar Land, TX

Many thanks! I will peruse some of the other threads, as well. I know I've found a few, but I'm sure there's much more wisdom out there. :)

The kit I linked to is about $40. I like the idea of a kit because, with 4 little ones, it's hard to run the requisite errands to get everything I might need.

The idea of feeding one half at a time is brilliant! I definitely want to minimize messing with the worms. It just seems like a much easier method than bin composting! And I get sick with how much fruit and vegetable matter (apple cores, banana skins) we toss on a regular basis. I know it could be put to much better use!
~ OrganicTexasMama, newly entering the world of organic container gardening

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