Category: Red Worms

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.  🙂

 







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African Nightcrawlers

Making Peat Moss Free Red Composting Worms Breeder Bedding

I get at least an email per week asking me how to make bedding for breeding worms.  Then I get more about how to make bedding without peat moss.  We do not use peat moss because it is nonrenewable, so we opt for creating our own "Worm-Safe" bedding, which can be used for breeding Red Worms, African Night Crawlers and European Nightcrawlers, also known as "Euro Worms".  All red composting worms can use our Worm-Safe worm bedding recipe.

I have made a long video explaining the process.  I apologize for the length of the video but I wanted to get all of the information in.  You can also see a cameo of my son's pig, Spamela.

Making the worm breeder bedding is a two part process.  The first part is mixing about 40% fresh horse, rabbit or cow manure, or aged fowl manure, with 60% straw or other brown material like dried grass clippings.  That mixture is moistened and allowed to heat for a couple of weeks.

Then, once past the compost heating stage, we mix that with 50/50 with shredded cardboard and newspaper that has been wet down, mixed and also allowed to age about a week or so.

We mix those two parts together, 50-50 and let it age again for week to ensure that it will not heat again.  We take daily temperature readings with a composting thermometer.

Then we add the bedding to our composting or bait worm breeder bins.  We only use about 3 inches of that mixture and we put in our breeders.  They stay in that worm bin for 21 days at around 75 degrees and then they are moved to fresh bins.  The egg capsules and babies, which are now in the bin with our original mixture, are placed in an incubator, bin and all, and hatch out.  We keep them in that bin until we can see them easily.  At that point we put them into a growout worm bed and feed them to get them to mature size as quickly as possible.

I will be posting some diagrams and pictures of our system soon.  Please ask your questions below or in our forum.

Thank you.

Ken
Worm Man's Worm Farm.  Wormman.com

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.

Red Worms

Worm Composter for Under $5!

Vermicomposting (worm composting) for Less Than $5!

I happened to be looking at some of the worm bins for sale on the internet, when I found one on a website that really looked familiar.  They were selling the worm farm for $99.  Granted, the worm composter also came with worms, bedding and food.

From the looks of the bedding, it is peat moss.  More on that later.

Anyway, I finally remembered where I saw that same bin...Wal-Mart.  I threw the kids in the car and went to Wal-Mart.  Low and behold, the very same bin was there for $4.46!  That is quite a markup.

I decided to make a video to show you how to make a worm composter using that bin.

The video of the newly minted worm composting unit is below.

Now back to the peat moss thing.  We do not use peat moss.  I am not saying that to be some edgy environmentalist wackadoodle, although I am a green kind of guy.  Peat moss is a non-renewable resource.  Once those peat bogs are gone, they are gone forever.  Those peat bogs host all sorts of amazing creatures, many of which have not yet been discovered.  My feeling is that if we can make due without peat moss in our worm bedding then we should do that.

We use shredded newspaper, straw, and cardboard, mixed with manure for our beds.  When you buy our worm bedding, it will be the items mentioned above mixed together and aged a bit.

We are also using coir bedding now and that is made from coconut.  That is very renewable and is a great product, but it is a little costly when we can get straw, paper, manure and cardboard for next to nothing.

Anyway, please watch the video if you want to see how we set up this worm composting bin, and how you can too, for under five dollars.

Cool Stuff

Redworms Caught on Video Breeding!!

Two Redworms caught breeding in the bed on the Memorial Day!  Party animals...or invertebrates!  Why do I feel like the guy from TMZ who does the breaking celebrity news?

Anyway, I thought that it was cool. I was feeding a breeding bed when I caught these two going at it so I turned on my camera phone and they got shy, broke apart and slithered into the night.

Share your pictures of your breeding worms caught in the act here with us.

Red Worms

20,000 Red Worms Eating Breakfast

Have you ever wondered what 20,000 redworms look like eating breakfast?  Of course, you have.  Well, I took a quick video of the 20,000 worms that I had breakfast with this morning.

Just a warning, do not watch this video while eating spaghetti or chopped mean.  🙂

We feed our worms by putting strips of food down the middle of the beds.  The reason that we do this is so that we do not sour the bedding by covering the bedding with the grain based food that we use.  If that happens the worms can develop "Sour Crop".  When that happens the worms writhe around in pain, become stringy and emaciated and die.  We feed down the middle to control souring the bedding and to stop any heating that could be sparked by decomposition of the food.

We always use "Worm-Safe" bedding which is our trademark bedding that we sell.  We call it "worm-safe" because we make it, mix all of the ingredients and allow it to sit and heat, and then cool, before using it or shipping it for sale.

I tell you this so that you know that there should be very little chance that our beds could heat because of feeding, but we never take chances.

I will be telling you the ingredients of our worm food soon.  It will be part of our new eBook coming out shortly.  You will love the recipe and the easy to find, inexpensive ingredients.  If you are interested in my book, The Worm Manual, please sign up and you will be notified when it is released shortly.  Click here to sign up for my new book, The Worm Manual.  Profitable Worm Farming.

Anyway, enjoy breakfast...

African Nightcrawlers

5 Reasons Why Your Redworms, Like Your Spouse, Will Leave You if you Don’t Treat them Right

Sometimes we don't realize that there is a problem in our relationship with our significant other until they just leave one day.  One day, you wake up, find a text from another person, a pair of foreign underwear under the car seat, lipstick on their collar or they just up and leave you and you are left befuddled and heartbroken, trying to figure out what happened and how you could have stopped it.

Well, I had that moment this morning and I can tell you that same goes for worm farmers and their worms.  Today, at 4 AM, I was awakened by the soft sound of light rain.  Farmers get up early.  I made a cup of coffee and decided to take a walk out to look at the 500,000 red worms we harvested yesterday, which were to be shipped today.  Nothing seemed out of place as I walked to our staging area, which is outside but is under canopies.   Then I noticed the lights were off.  We always keep low wattage lights over our new beds or newly harvested worms.  It stops even the worst offenders from crawling off from their new digs.

The lights were a clue but didn't really register right away.  I was too busy thinking about how the got shut off.  Everyone knows better.  Maybe I didn't turn them on?  Maybe I shut them off by accident?  I am getting up there.  I will be 50 in 6 months.  I may have had a pre-senior moment.

I flipped the lights on and saw the swarm.  Worms moving in masses in every direction.  I should have run back to grab my phone to tape the swarm but I was too busy, living in the moment, grabbing handfuls of worms and tossing them back into harvesting bins.   I scrambled on hands and knees scooping and pawing at the ground, trying to save the worms and my livelihood from slithering away.

I grabbed what I could, ran inside to get my son to help me and when I returned, the swarm was gone.  The light had forced them to march on.  The light caused them to scurry to darker pastures.

I estimate that we lost about 200,000 worms this morning out of the 500,000 that we harvested last night.  That hurts.  We will be fine, we will harvest more and we will be shipping on time this morning, but it really struck me about how much the relationship between a worm farmer and his worms is so much like any other relationships in this world.  If you don't treat your worms right, they will leave you.

So, what made them crawl off?  Worms will leave you for 5 good reasons;

1.  The are too crowded.  Crowded worms will crawl off to be less crowded.  They will also stop breeding or will breed less in crowded conditions.

2.  The don't like the food.  If you are not feeding you redworms enough, or if you are feeding them things that they do not like, they will leave you.

3.  Improper pH.  Worms need a good pH of around 7 to thrive.  If you do not test their bedding and adjust the pH, you will lose your worms.  They will either "fly" or they will die.  Get a good pH meter and test your worm bedding weekly.

 

4.  They will flee if their bedding becomes anaerobic.  You can tell an anaerobic worm bed by the smell.  It smells like rotting death and will usually have very wet bedding.  Worms cannot tolerate anaerobic conditions.  Keep the bed turned weekly to aerate, keep the bedding moist but not wet and make a habit of smelling the bedding.

5.  Worms will crawl off if it is raining and they are outside.  I don't care how well you care for your worms, if it is raining, your worms will sometimes crawl off just for the sake of crawling off.  You can stop this by installing anti-crawl barriers, lids or lights over the beds during periods of prolonged rain.  Please don't electrocute yourself.

Well, I made a short video of the aftermath of the crawl.  I am going to have a good cry now and then I will put on my big boy pants and get back to work because we have orders to fill today.

Have a great day.
Ken

Harvesting Red Worms

How to Harvest Red Worms on a Budget

Worm farmers use machines to harvest worms on their farms, but that should not stop you from farming worms.  Starting small, on a budget is the best way to start farming redworms.  You can harvest your worms using the Sun or a bright light.

Red worms do not like bright lights and the burrow to get away from it.  Just put the redworms in a big pile of bedding and put a 200 watt LED over them or put them outside and  on a sunny day and you will be harvesting in no time.

The trick is to keep removing the top layer of bedding as the worms burrow.  When you get to the bottom you will have a slithering mass of redworms ready to be shipped or put into a new bed.

Want to see the process in action?  Check out our video.  The camera was really awful but you will get a good idea about what I am trying to explain here.

Happy Worming!

Ken