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Worm Farming

Vermicomposting With Red Wiggler Worms

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Make your own worm bin. Recycle instead of throwing out – Use your garbage to make plant fertilizer!

Worm Factory 360

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Red Wiggler Composting Worms

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Worm farming is a fun and simple activity. Even if you haven’t been brave enough to hold a worm before, don’t let that stop you from making a whole farm of them! This article will explore some interesting and crazy facts about worms and worm farming.

Worms

Let’s start by discussing the various types of “worms”. Earthworms loosen the soil by digging through it. Compost worms eat the mulch layer of soil. Many “worms” are actually the larva of beetles or moths. Grub worms are the larvae of a variety of beetles, including Japanese beetles, June bugs, European chafer, and Oriental beetle. Catalpa worms are not really worms either. They’re caterpillars from a moth species that are known to infest the Catalpa tree. The catalpa worm is an excellent fishing bait . Tomato hornworms are the larva of sphinx (hummingbird or hawk) moth.

Grub Worm

Vermicomposting is using worms to compost. Worms are great little workers that will turn your household waste into a rich soil. The vermicompost they produce can be used on your plants and flowers and will really make a difference in the plant growth.

You can build a worm bin out of wood, plastic, concrete, an old bucket, or an old bathtub. Make sure that you have a drain in your bin. You can’t let your worm dirt get too soggy. They rise to the top of the ground after a rain for a reason, you know.

The liquid drainage is another benefit of your worm farm-it can be used to create a worm tea. No, you don’t drink it!  Dilute this and some of the vermicompost with water and this makes an excellent, all-natural fertilizer for your plants and flowers.

So to get started you need a worm bin, the worms (red wigglers work the best) and whatever you are going to recycle. Worm farming can be an inexpensive way for you to recycle household waste, create fertilizer and produce a rich soil.

Naturally composting waste, providing an organic matter that enriches soil and even supplying hobbyists and fisherman with live bait. These are all reasons for worm farming. Taking care of the worms in a worm farm is typically quite easy but there some guidelines to follow. Proper feeding is important for the health of the worms.

Worms are fed a variety of food items, and nonfood items, for composting. Some food items that can be offered are fruits, vegetables, greens, bread products, cereals, tea bags, coffee grounds and filters and egg shells. The worms will eat just about anything so it is imperative to know which foods are appropriate and why.

Fruits and vegetables are easily composted by the worms. The important thing to remember when serving fruits and vegetables is the size of the portions. Fruit pieces should be cut down to 1/2 inch pieces or slices. Smaller pieces will be consumed more quickly. Food blended up with water will also help the worms find the food and consume it faster.

Fruits and vegetables are highly nutritious. Worms that are fed an appropriate diet will in turn produce a nutrient rich substance that is beneficial to crops, gardens, flower beds and even indoor flower pots. Some nonfood items that can be offered to worms for composting are paper products, cotton rags, hair clippings, leaves and soaked cardboard. A pizza box that has been torn up and soaked is a wonderful treat for worms.

When offering leaves to a worm farm, be careful to only use products that have never been treated with chemicals. For the safety of the worms, grass clipping and other yard clippings should be avoided in case chemicals have been used.

While there are many foods that can be offered readily, there are also those that should be avoided. Care should always be taken with items that have been treated with chemicals, medications or other substances that may prove harmful.

Meats should never be offered to the worms in a worm farm. Being voracious eaters, the worms will gladly consume whatever meat is offered. The problem with meat is with the pests it will attract. Flies and maggots will be found in a worm farm that uses meat and the best way to eliminate these pests is to eliminate the use of meat.

Citrus fruits, onions and garlic should not be used either. The worms appear to find the smell of these items offensive. Most worms will try to escape the bin to get away from the smell. Dairy products will also attract unwanted guests into the worm farm. Another problematic issue with serving dairy products is the foul smell that is emitted as it rots.

Feeding worms is a pretty easy job. The key is to know which items are good and which are bad for the health of the worms. Another point to remember is to not over feed. New worms should be fed in small amounts when they are becoming established within the farm. Once settled, the amount can be increased over time.

Over feeding leads to problems such as foul smells and pests. Keep feeding down to a minimum, offering new food only when the old food supply is running low. Worms can eat over half their body weight in food per day. The worm population can double every few months. Overfeeding can cause a problem but keep an eye on the population as well to be sure that underfeeding isn’t an issue.

A well fed worm population is a happy worm population. Happy worms produce a lot of naturally composted, healthy worms castings for soil enrichment therefore keeping the worm farmer happy as well.

Worm farming is a great way to naturally compost waste and other discarded materials. As a result, nutrient rich soil is produced and can be used in flower beds, crops, and gardens. Regardless of all the reading and research one does, issues may arise and can cause some concern.

Here are a few of the commonly reported questions and issues with worm farms.

Smell

It is often thought by many that a smelly worm farm is normal. In fact, it is not. If worms are kept in an appropriate environment, they will not smell. If the farm has an odor, the most likely cause is overfeeding.

Material to be composted is placed on the top layer of soil for the worms to consume. If too much is given to the worms, it can begin to rot causing a build up of bacteria within the walls of the worm farm. This is the cause of the smell.

To remedy the situation, simply discontinue feeding of the worms until any uneaten material is gone. The soil should also be stirred for aeration and to allow the worms to move more freely.

Bugs and other pests

Using a container with a tight lid can help prevent many pests from infesting the worm farm but some are sneaky enough to make it in regardless. Small vinegar flies are often a complaint among worm farmers. This type of fly is of no harm to the worm farm but typically is a result of overfeeding. Large flies appear when there is an abundance of food.

Ants are also a common issue. If ants are seen in the worm farm, the chances are pretty good that the soil is too dry. Adding water to the soil to increase the moisture can help eliminate ants. If using a worm farm that stands on legs, simply apply some petroleum jelly to the legs to prevent the ants from being able to climb up.

Maggots can be found in worm farms where meat is offered to the worms. The best scenario is to eliminate meat from the diet altogether. If maggots have made their way into the worm farm, they can be eliminated by placing a milk soaked piece of bread into the farm; the maggots will be drawn to it and can simply be removed.

Worms leave the farm

If a worm is leaving, he is unhappy with his environment and is in search of a more suitable one. Worms will escape for reasons such as the soil being too dry or there isn’t enough food. On the other hand, soil that is too wet could also be affecting the worms, causing them to want to leave.

The source of the problem should either be eliminated or fixed. If the soil is too dry, fresh water should be added to the farm. If it is too wet, the excess should be drained and new bedding should replace the old. Locate the cause of the excess moisture and eliminate it.

Ensure that the worms are getting enough food and the farm is in a location where the temperature will remain constant.

Feeding

There may be some confusion on what to feed worms. Appropriate foods to feed include fruits, vegetables, egg shells, greens, tea bags and coffee grounds and filters. Non-food items can also be fed to the worms and include soaked cardboard, paper products, cotton rags, leaves, dirt and hair.

More important are the items that should not be fed. Dairy products, meat, citrus, onions and garden waste that has been treated with chemicals are all things to avoid in a worm farm.

These are just a few of the common topics when it comes to worm farming. Although they are pretty easy to care for, it is important to realize the reason for some of the changes or issues noticed within the worm farm. Problems should be corrected early to prevent the loss of the worms.

Providing a proper environment, correct food, appropriate moisture level and temperature will help ensure a supply of happy and healthy worms.

A worm farm is an excellent way to recycle leftover scraps and other household waste. Worm farming can be done by anyone. The worm castings (vermicast) that worms produce are a wonderfully rich soil that is used on gardens, lawn and plants.

Worm Factory 360

Click to get more information about the Worm Factory 360

Red Wiggler Composting Worms

Go to  Red Wiggler Composting Worms to find out more.