Category: Composting Stuff

Composting Stuff

pH Meters and Red Worm Composting Bin pH

What is pH in a worm bin?

pH is the measurement of the acidity of the bedding.  Red Worms, European Night Crawlers and African Nightcrawlers, all composting worms for that matter, need a neutral worm bedding pH in order to thrive.  Worm bins that have bedding that is too acidic or alkaline post health risks for the worms.  Before the worms die, however, they will attempt to migrate out of the worm composting bin.

Why is pH important to red worms and all composting worms? 

pH is important because the worms cannot live and breed in a bedding that is too acidic or alkaline.

How does the pH turn acidic?  

pH can be impacted by lack of air flow through the worm bin and bedding, too much moisture in the worm bedding and by the food that is fed to the worms.   Acidic food can, over time, cause worm bedding to form acid.  That doesn't mean that you can't feed your worms citrus, but it does mean that you have to monitor pH and ensure that any fluctuations in compost bedding bin pH are caught and corrected.

Please help me understand pH.  Does a high pH number mean high acid?

No.  pH is on a scale from Acid to Alkaline, so a low number means a higher acid level and a higher number means that the worm bedding is more alkaline.

What is the right pH for Red worms?

The proper pH for red worm composting is between 6 and 7.  This is not an exact science and some worms, like the African Nightcrawler, will have a higher acid level in there worm bin.  The African Night Crawlers also have a tendency to pull bits of food under the bedding as they eat it.  If you are feeding prepared grain based worm food, like chicken egg layer feed, this can cause higher acide levels if the food goes uneaten and breaks down in the bedding.  Feed grain based foods sparingly, and only feed again once you are sure that all of the food is gone.

 

How do you adjust the pH of worm bedding in a worm composting bin?
Adding eggshells to your weekly feedings of your composting bin or beds will help reduce acid.  You can also adjust the pH by properly aerating the bedding and ensuring that there are adequate air holes in the worm bin.

You also should ensure that the worm bedding isn't too wet. Moist worm bedding is great, but wet worm bedding is not.  Wet compost bin bedding will cause anerobic bacteria to take over and this will cause major issues.  Your worms will die without swift action to dry out the bedding and without treatment of the acid levels.

If the aforementioned preventative methods or cures are put into place and you still have pH issues in your worm bin, then having some powdered limestone on hand is the best way to go.

Lightly sprinkle powdered limestone on the surface of the bedding and then mix it into the worm bedding.  Test the bedding a couple of days after applying lime to ensure that the bedding pH is being corrected.

 

Where can I get powdered lime for my worm bed?

You can get powdered limestone from any farm and garden store or you can get it from us.  We have bagged limestone and we have it in a shaker top can. 

One caveat on lime is that you have to ensure that you get powdered lime and not hydrated lime.  Hydrated lime will kill your worms.  Powdered limestone is what you need.  This is what a bag of powdered limestone looks like from a farm and garden store.  

Where can I get a pH Meter?

You can get a pH meter at many farm and garden stores, from us or online.  Please check out our meters or the ones at the links below.

The meter below is a digital pH meter.

LUSTER LEAF 1845 RAPITEST DIGITAL Soil Plant Garden PH Sensor Meter Tester Test
LUSTER LEAF 1845 RAPITEST DIGITAL Soil Plant Garden PH Sensor Meter Tester Test $12.68
Time Remaining: 24d 11h 2m
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Luster Leaf 1845 Rapitest Digital Soil Garden Plant pH Meter Sensor Test Tester
Luster Leaf 1845 Rapitest Digital Soil Garden Plant pH Meter Sensor Test Tester $12.62
Time Remaining: 10d 1h 25m
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LUSTER LEAF 1847 RAPITEST DIGITAL PLUS Soil Plant Garden PH Sensor Meter Tester
LUSTER LEAF 1847 RAPITEST DIGITAL PLUS Soil Plant Garden PH Sensor Meter Tester $19.90
Time Remaining: 25d 6h 16m
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Please watch our video about pH and using pH meters on your red worm composting efforts.

African Nightcrawlers

How Many Worms Do You Need for You Worm Composting Bin?

One of the main questions that we get all year long is "How many worms do I need for my vermicomposting bin?".  Many people start their Red Worm composting bins using bins that they have in the house, or something that they bought inexpensively and they have no idea how many worms it takes to get their worm composter going.  I have probably answered that question a thousand times over the years.

Now the work is done for us thanks to a site called http://www.howmanywormsdoineed.com  .

The site allows you to choose 3 different types of worms and then input your worm bin demensions by inches.  The site then provides how many worms you will need for your worm bin or worm bed.

The cool thing is that it is simple and easy and accurate.  Check it out and let us know your thoughts.  We will be linking to it on our site too.  We have been give permission to link to the calculator below.  Try it out and then squirm on over and get some worms from Wormman.com.  🙂

 







Result

Composting Stuff

Update to $4.46 Red Worm Composter

I wanted to share quick update on our compost bin creation using a $4.46 Wal-Mart tub.  To refresh your memory, we found a bin at Wal-Mart that is being sold by a worm farm on the internet for about $100.  We wanted to show you that you could duplicate that bin for about $5.  Here is that video. 

We are 3 weeks in and the worms are breeding and eating the newspapers and cardboard bedding.  They are depositing capsules all over the place and those will hatch in a couple of weeks.  I will continue to do updates until all of the paper and cardboard is gone.  I will not add any additional food to the bin until after we see the project through.  The Red Worms will be fine because of the amount of paper and rabbit poop I used when making the bin.

In the real world, I would advise taking those breeders out of there as soon as babies are seen in the red worm composting bin.  The reason is that removing them will allow the babies to have plenty of food before you need a bedding change.

Of course, moving the breeders to a new bin will also allow them to continue to breed strongly, especially if your goal is to increase your worm supply.

For our cheap worm bin project, we will keep the breeders in the bin to concentrate the number of worms we have on creating worm castings for our garden.

Three weeks later and I would call our $4.46 worm composting bin a success.

African Nightcrawlers

African Nightcrawlers Getting Ready to Become Breeders

It is that time of the year here at Wormman.com.  It is mid-June and it is getting hot.  The African Nightcrawlers are starting to stir and they are growing quickly now that the natural heat is kicking in.  This is a short video of some juvenile African nightcrawlers that will be breeders in another two weeks or so.  They are beautiful worms.  They also happen to be the best casting makers because of their huge appetites which are only matched by their large size.

Composting Stuff

Food Scraps Make Power

Interesting article about how they are turning food waste into methane and how the methane is being used to create electricity.

You can also do this at home with digesters you can buy on eBay and Amazon. Just do a search for "digesters" on those sites.

Now worm farms will have to compete with power companies for food and manure scraps.  That is a great position to be in because we generate too much waste that could be put to good use.

Here is the article.

African Nightcrawlers

Huge African Nightcrawler!!

This African Nightcrawler even scared me and I have been playing with worms for 30 years.  I found this one as I was cleaning out an old breeder bin.  He must have been hiding out for a while because he is gigantic and I have never seen an African Nightcrawler this big in my life.  They can get big but this one was insanely huge.  He will now be put out to stud, where he will spend the rest of his life breeding and making giant African Nightcrawler babies.

He/She needs a name.  Go to our discussion area and help us pick a name for this mascot. http://wormman.blog/forum/index.php?threads/largest-african-nightcrawler-i-have-ever-seen.1/