Thursday, April 18, 2013


Duncan Carver is a friend in CA who has much more experience than I.   Follow the link to his website and subscribe to his newsletter to follow his adventures.

Jeff

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In this issue of "Worm Farming Secrets" our first question is
from a reader using a "Worm Factory" composting unit that would
like to know why the "Worm Wee / Leachate" is rather thick and
if it's ok to continue using it. We'll first explain what a
Worm Factory unit is and then answer the concerns.

We're also answering a question about the possibility of using
septic tank additives to help get compost started. You'll
probably find this one very interesting.

If you need more live composting worms, check out the link below;

http://www.wormfarmingsecrets.com/buy-worms/

All the best...

Duncan Carver

Editor: "Worm Farming Secrets"

admin@wormfarmingsecrets.com

http://www.wormfarmingsecrets.com


~|~


Grow 10 times the amount of vegies in the same space you would
use in a regular garden plus eliminate all weeding and soil work.
Works GREAT along side worm composting. Check out the video here...

http://www.wormfarmingsecrets.com/r/aqua/


~|~


"Hi, I have a home 'Worm Factory' unit. What is produced
in the bottom layer bed, which has a tap, is seldom 'worm wee'
but more usually a thick fluid of worm wee plus castings - plus
presumably soil. I still dilute it - your comments on chlorinated
water have added to my knowledge about how to do this, thanks -
but it still seems rather muddy. Is that still OK to work with as
fertilizer for my pot plant garden?" ~ Brian Mier


Hi Brian,

First for all the other readers, a worm factory is a vertical
stacking wormery which consists of multiple trays that can be
stacked on top of each other.

Each tray has a perforated bottom which allows liquid to pass
through to the bottom liquid collecting tray, and allow worms to
climb up to the tray above to find more food (and separating the
wormcast from worms at the same time!) The liquid collection tray
has a tap allowing the liquid to be harvested, diluted and used
as a liquid fertilizer.

The correct term for this liquid is ‘Leachate', as it is liquid
made through the breaking down of food waste (food waste contains
up 80% water!), which then seeps through the compost into the
collection tray bringing some nutrients, microbes and probably
unprocessed matter down with it.

So back to your question, thick liquid hmm?

I remember when I first started out I had quite a thin liquid
coming out of the tap which was quite easy to dilute and use,
then for some reason the liquid started to get thicker and
thicker. There is nothing wrong with this of course, what is
happening is that as time goes by the waste is broken down into
smaller and smaller particles which can easily drop through into
the liquid collection tray.

Worms are also curious little critters which loves to roam around
in dark moist places, so you will find some of them hanging out
having a snack in the liquid collection tray bringing wormcast
with them.

The thick liquid is simply leachate + wormcast and can be diluted
as you would normally. Although you may find that if there is too
much vermicompost in there, it might block up the watering can.

What you can do is, after dilution separate the bits from the
liquid using a ‘sock' or ‘stockings' (just remember to explain to
your wife what you are buying those stockings for beforehand!).

Having said all this, I do have concerns with using leachate and
you will need to be really careful, simply because we do not know
what is in there until it is scientifically tested. Using
leachate is a great concept, because all the food waste is turned
into useful fertilizers! But in reality it may be very dangerous
for your plants, and if there are any doubts DON'T USE IT!

It contains relatively low nutrients and microbial activity, so
it is not worth the risk.

There are three things you need to think about when using
leachate:

1) How mature is your vermicompost?

2) How long was it stored in the collection tray?

3) What is the smell like?

There is a saying "Worm Tea is just as good as the compost that
comes out of it" which is really true, and the same can apply
with leachate.

So the more mature your vermicompost is, generally speaking, the
better your leachate, because a stable vermicompost contains a
dominating proportion of "Good micro-organism" and stable
nutrients.

The amount of time you store your leachate in that collection
tray also comes as a factor to its quality. Composting needs
oxygen to produce a good composting process. When a system goes
anaerobic (no oxygen) it starts to smell because this is when the
"bad micro-organisms" thrive. The same goes with leachate, the
longer you store it in there, the more chance it goes anaerobic
and bad bacteria comes to stay.

The bigger problem are the chemicals they produce such as phenols
and alcohols which can harm your plants when the leachate is
used. So it is recommended to remove the leachate at least once a
week. We are gifted with a sense of smell for a purpose. Use it
to detect the good from the bad, and generally the bad smells
bad! So a little common sense is needed here.

Bentley has previously mentioned about aerating and using
non-chlorinated water to better enhance the liquid, but again
this will not get rid of toxic chemicals if they have been
produced by the baddies through inappropriate storage.

Unless you have experience in using leachate, then I don't
recommend using it. If you do insist to, I suggest trying it on a
small patch of land first to get yourself into grips with it!

Find that interesting?

You'll love our book. You can download it here now...

http://www.wormfarmingsecrets.com/worm-composting-book/


~|~


Learn How To Grow Organic Food With Less Than 8 Hours Work A
Year. This Is A Breakthrough Method To Counter Food Security,
Rising Costs & Grow Healthier Vegies....

http://www.wormfarmingsecrets.com/r/f4w/


~|~


"To help compost start, is it ok to put septic tank additives on
it?" ~ Don, Chapin sc.

Hi Don,

The crucial thing with compost and vermicompost are
micro-organisms. This is the little secret to the whole process
of composting.

In normal composting systems, microbes are needed to first digest
the organic wastes, produced heat, carry on breakdown waste and
add nutritional value into it. With vermicomposting, microbes
need to start the break down of the waste, and worms comes in to
ingest these microbes and the partially broken down organics.

Nature has created a perfect balance and system for composting,
and personally I don't believe any additives is necessary. Most
important is to keep all other factors right.

There are 3 types of septic tank additives as I know it (sorry if
I am wrong, I am not an expert in septic tank additives!)

1) Chemical based – Inorganic and organic compounds, bleach,

2) Biologically based – Yeast, bacteria and enzymes

3) Both

In regards to chemical bases additives, why would you want to add
chemicals into compost? Would you even dare use it on plants
afterwards? Think about the poor worms drowned in bleach.

In regards to biologically based. Also no, because septic tanks
are anaerobic systems (there is little or no oxygen) and so the
microbes in septic tanks will be very different to the ones in
compost. The companies who designed these additives will most
probably add things that will benefit these microbes. They also
add enzymes designed to break down fats and grease in the scum
layer, which are not present in compost.

In composting, the micro-organisms we want to grow are the
aerobic ones (oxygen loving) and in vermicomposting we want to
grow MORE WORMS!

Nature has created a very perfect system for composting and as
long as you keep the carbon:nitrogen ratio healthy, and the
compost pile aerated, the compost should be able to take care of
itself and compost relatively quickly! Further additives would
not enhance the composting speed by much.

If you do insist in adding something or you want to kick start
the process, there are specialized composting additives for this
purpose.

Find that interesting?

You'll love our book. You can download it here now...

http://www.wormfarmingsecrets.com/worm-composting-book/

~|~


Do you have a specific question you would liked answered in a
future issue of our newsletter? If so please email your question
directly to...

admin@wormfarmingsecrets.com

...using the subject line "Question". Please be aware however
that we cannot possibly answer all questions received in the
newsletter. So if you're looking for more immediate advice or
answers, please consider purchasing our exclusive manual;

"The Business & Biology Of Raising Earthworms"...

http://www.wormfarmingsecrets.com/worm-composting-book/

That's all for this week.

Best...

Duncan Carver

admin@wormfarmingsecrets.com

http://www.WormFarmingSecrets.com




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Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Take a look at our 5 basic designs on CompostCritter.com

Any design can be modified to fit your particular installation.

Call for details:  717-620-9676   Jeff Kurtz, Authorized Dealer
Warm Water for Winter...   How thrilled would you be to receive a spontaneous cold shower???   Well, neither are your plants.   You can actually stunt their growth but watering them with cold water.   I'm a bit over the edge in this regard, but I buy only distilled water for myself and my plants and I keep a bottle on the coal stove so it's nice and warm for watering the plants.   They will love you for it!

If you are looking for worms or worm bins be sure to check my online vermiculture store at www.CompostCritter.com . I ship worms every Monday to amy place in the US.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Are your house plants ready for winter doldrums?   Less light and shorter days makes for no veggies but great house plants.  Give your plants a shot in the dirt with a topping of fresh worm castings and a warm water soak.   They will respond quickly!

For tips on setting up your worm farm visit www.CompostCritter.com


Take a look at this.  Installing Solexx paneling on two 24x96' high tunnel buildings at Buckhannon-Upshure HS in West Virginia.

https://plus.google.com/photos/108474721505505420021/albums/5810068604324845953

4 days, Joe H. (horticulture teacher), Rob (city horticularists) as team leaders and 20+ high school kids.  



Thge city uses these buildings to propagate plants for summer decorations and the students learn in the process.  

Monday, November 5, 2012

OK, so I havent posted in weeks... aka months...   let's get going.

A family form Maine (Down East) just ordered worms and calle with questions.   Lots of good stuff...

They will work with a galvanized bin which sounds like a water trougth.  First thought is that I don;'t like metal bins so I suggest that they line it with a tarp.  My first bin was pressue treated and I think it killed everybody.

Their feed stock is manure that they just aquired...   I rercommend that they let it age and compost for 30+ days, and maybe mix with newspaper and cardboard to add carbon to the high nitrogen.

The worms shiped today so he has a few days before they arrive.  He can even leave them in the box for a few days.   load his bin with veggies, leaves and compost and use a thermometer to get an idea just where the temps are...   at 50 deg and lower the worms will go dormant.  Lots of newspaper is always a good blend.

Getting the bin going with veggies, leaves and cardboard/paper is a good start.   Adding manure at one end allow sthe manure to provide composting heat and the worms will go after it as it decomposes.

Sounds like a great adventure in vermiculture!

If you are looking for worms or worm bins be sure to check my online vermiculture store at www.CompostCritter.com .  I ship worms every Monday to amy place in the US.





Friday, October 26, 2012


Now I did it...   My worm bin in the kitchen was filled to near the top of the first tray...   I have been feeding mostly veggies, coffee grounds, tea bags and newspaper.    They also receive namy fallen tomatoes from my garden.   After three months I went to put on another tray and realized that the bin was more than an inch too full for the tray to fit down properly.


OK, so the picture is sideways...   

My solution was to move the top un-composted stuff to the new tray, along with lots of worms along with it.   Sorta messy job, but it only took a couple minutes and I was now looking at a tray of castings and worms that is pretty well finished.   
This is the first tray with the un-composted stuff removed.

To this I placed the new tray right down onto the surface and spread out the contents.

The last step was to add wet shredded newspaper and (only because it was handy) some sphagnum moss.  



Now to let the critters relax for a few days after getting roughly tumbled in the process.   After a couple weeks most of the worms will have vacated the lower layer and I can harvest a fresh batch of castings for my houseplants.   

Happy Gardening!

If you are looking for a worm bin of your own we handle the WormFactory 360 on our store site http://www.CompostCritter.com