It is best to water your composting worm bins in frequent light applications using a misting or spraying system instead of heavy infrequent or pouring water in your worm bin. The first 5 inches where most earthworm activity will be greatest should have the highest concentration of moisture. Under the main moisture area will be your worm castings. You don't want soggy anaerobic worm casting which smell foal but worm casting that smell earthy.
So you are interested in worm composting and you already decided between red wiggler worms , European Nightcrawlers and African Nightcrawlers. Your next major question is "How many worms needed to start a worm bin?" and the answer is not a simple answer. The answer can be answered with three questions "How much worm food do you have access too?," "What size is your worm bin?,'" and "What is the intended use of composting worms?"
How Much Worm Food Do I Need
Compost worms eat roughly 25-35 percent of their weight per day. This is the consensus among academia research available however some places on the internet state much higher up to 100% of their body weight. Using the information above, one pound of composting worms will roughly eat 1.75 to 2.45 pounds of food per week and two pounds will eat 3.5 to 4.9 pounds of food per week.
What the Size of My Bin?
The ideal number of composting worms are 1-2 pounds per square feet of bin surface area and not volume. Okay, by now you are thinking about your days in high school math class, so area is simply width x length. Example: bin is 1.5ft (18 inches) by 2 feet (24 inches) your surface area is 1.5 x 2 = 3 sq ft. I would recommend starting with 3 lbs of worms.
What's My Intended use for worms?
If your ideal use of composting worms is worm casting production, I would recommend two pounds per square foot. On the other hand if you want to save money and grow out your population of worms, I would recommend one pound per square foot. Once the worms reach optimal population, the worms will self regulate their population.
Are you looking for an economical worm shifter? This may be the answer for you
I would make two shifters with two different screen sizes. I would recommend 1/8 and 1/4 hardware cloth.
A common question I receive is " How many worms should I get for my raised beds" The problem with this question is that there are 3 different types of earthworms: Anecic, Endogeic, and Epigeic.
Anecic are your nightcrawlers you find in the ground. They live in the soil and have vertical burrows. They also eat soil and litter ie compost. Alabama Jumpers are a common commercial raised anecic worm. Disclaimer: Alabama Jumpers might destroy forest due to their rapid eating.
Endogeic live in the soil in horizontal burrows and just eat soil and you never see them on top of the ground and only see them when you dig in the soil.
Epigeic live in litter ie compost with no borrows and eat compost. Most commercial raised compost worms are this type: Red Wigglers, European Night Crawlers and African Night Crawlers.
People want to put earthworms in their raised beds for aeration but the same thing can be done with the use of worm castings. Instead of putting worms into raise beds it might be best to have an indoor worm compost bin and use the castings in the beds in the spring and fall. The other benefit is that you don't have to buy worms every spring due to a lose in the winter and outside creatures eating them.
Last week Buckeyeorganics attended the 17th Annual Vermiculture Conference. The conference was hosted by Rhonda Sherman at North Carolina State University. This year a new topic was added to the speaking agenda "Meeting the Needs of US Medicinal-Marijuana Industry" presented by Mark Purser owner of The Worm Farm in Durham California. He spoke on the importance of worm castings in the soil mixes for medical marijuana industry. He also talked about other important ingredients in soil mixes such as perlite, coco coir, compost and of course worm castings.
Norman Arancon spoke twice about the uses of teas in growth, disease and pest suppression. He has conducted research on soaking seeds in a 1% worm tea solution will greatly increase seed germination. 5% to 10% worm tea solution will greatly help in the disease and pest suppression. 20% worm tea will increase growth in plants and vegetables.
We now carry the Worm Inn and Worm Inn Mega. Both System are the most breatheable worm composting systems made of Cordiva material eliminating the stinky anaerobic smell that most vinyl bin systems create. With only a a footprint of 18x18 for the Worm Inn and 20x20 for the Worm Inn Mega, these make the perfect worm composting system that can be stored anywhere.
Unlike most vinyl bins, the Worm Inn and Worm Inn Mega have multiple colors to choose from.
You can get the Worm Inn and Worm Inn Mega with or with out worms!
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