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  #21  
Old 22.03.2012, 22:41
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Re: Worm Composting/Vermiculture - has anyone tried this?

And yup, I think most people use red worms.
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  #22  
Old 22.03.2012, 23:01
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Re: Worm Composting/Vermiculture - has anyone tried this?

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My cousins wife does this at home, this is a great link/site for a basic set up and this cut and paste from the same site gives a good tip for getting your own free red wigglers.



Step 4
Add your worms to the bedding. One way to gather redworms, is to put out a large piece of wet cardboard on your lawn or garden at night. The redworms live in the top 3 inches of organic material, and like to come up and feast on the wet cardboard! Lift up cardboard to gather the redworms. Or, if you wish to purchase worms, the Cooperative Extension office can give you names of suppliers in Whatcom County. An earthworm can consume about 1/2 of its weight each day. For example, if your food waste averages 1/2 lb. per day, you will need 1 lb. of worms or a 2:1 ratio. There are roughly 500 worms in one pound. If you start out with less than one pound, don't worry they multiply very quickly. Just adjust the amount that you feed them for your worm population.

http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/compost/Easywormbin.htm

It's a great idea and my cousin has a wonderful vegi & flower garden.

Good luck and hope you can get started soonest.
Thank you for the useful link
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  #23  
Old 22.03.2012, 23:19
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Re: Worm Composting/Vermiculture - has anyone tried this?

I can confirm - my red worms just love damp cardboard and seem to congregate in big clumps around and in it! A large garden compost, and a layered balcony worm bin are two very different things.

For an idea of the 'balcony' style layered worm bins look at
www.wigglywigglers.co.uk
They are available in CH too, but don't have an address.

My worm bins are huge, insulated plastic in several sections held with long pegs for dismantling/easy emptying- made from recycled plastic and originally bought very cheaply from our Council in the UK- and with heavy insulated hinged lids. The key is to place them on soil NOT concrete- place a layer of small branches at the bottom to allow air to get to it. Then proper layers are the key. Grass cuttings only will just turn into a soggy mess. You need brown/green/brown/green etc layers. My brown layers are soaked corrugated cardboard torn up, scrunched up newspaper, brown garden waste, like perennial prunings in the autumn, and lucky me- regular layers of horse manure (my neigbour keeps her two horses in our field at the back on a regular basis, and I poo pick as soon as she takes them away to another field). The regular layers of grass cutting really give the bin some heat- but the worms always have cooler places in the brown layers, and multiply like crazy. Before winter I cover the whole lot with scrunched up newspaper and dry corrugated cardboard to give them extra insulation- and the wormies all move to the centre/core of the composts. Once a year, I take the uncomposted stuff off the top of one bin, in turn, and put it on another- then dismantle and spread the fantastic compost all over the veggie garden and flower beds. My green/brown gym- all free- it actually pays me in lovely veg, fruit and wonderful flowers - can't get better than that (and it keeps all the neighbours gardens happy too).

Captain Greybeard, my neighbours and family all take the Mik about my attachment to my wormies- lol.

Found a Swiss address - sorry in French:

perfect for your balcony- and will save you CHFs if you are in an area if you pay by weight or pre-paid sack, as well as do your bit for the environment -
www.verslaterre.ch

Last edited by Odile; 22.03.2012 at 23:37.
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  #24  
Old 23.09.2012, 21:15
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Re: Worm Composting/Vermiculture - has anyone tried this?

I just wanted to add my story about worm composting.

I made my container with the pink ikea bin from the children's section with lid. At the bottom I catch water with the cheapest ikea plastic serving tray and I hold the box up with door bumpers? that you can buy in Migros/Coop. I drilled some holes in the bottom of the bin but none in the lid.

I started my system in a smaller box with about 6 worms dug out of the garden compost bin, a bit of soil and a lot of newspaper. It took a few months where I just added a bit of veggie matter during the week (gradually increasing the amount) and now I have a thriving bin with lots of worms, virtually no flies (which surprises me), no smell, constant worm tea and I can put all the food I generate (one person). I keep it in the kitchen in a bottom cupboard. The worms I suspect are highly inbred.

So if you have patience it is possible to start one with just a few garden compost worms.
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  #25  
Old 25.10.2012, 14:14
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Re: Worm Composting/Vermiculture - has anyone tried this?

If anyone is interested in picking up a bin of compost worms (between 100-200) in Gland this Friday or Saturday, they are free to the first person interested!
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  #26  
Old 25.10.2012, 14:47
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Re: Worm Composting/Vermiculture - has anyone tried this?

They would be so happy here - but I just can't come Friday or Saturday. Please don't throw them away if you don't find a host family for them - perhaps someone in the area could foster them until I can come and pick them up next week? Or could we come on Sunday - and combine with a visit to Aubonne arboretum. Will you be coming back and forth for the move or leave early in one go? We could be there late around 11, or later anytime>
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  #27  
Old 11.04.2013, 22:48
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Re: Worm Composting/Vermiculture - has anyone tried this?

Not wanting to start a new thread, I thought I would post my question here.
We are moving to an area where there is no collection of organic waste.

The current homeowner has two enormous heaps of everything organic he could think to dump. It is really unsightly and we want to clean this up.

But what is the alternative? Just worms?

There is a depot where residents can take the organic waste but it is not nearby.
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  #28  
Old 10.08.2015, 17:40
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Re: Worm Composting/Vermiculture - has anyone tried this?

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I started my worm farm in fall 2008. The reason wa spretty simple. A year and a half before I had moved out of the generous house and an even more generous garden, both of which are still financed by me but lived in by my ex. There I had had a compost pile about as big as the average Swiss living room.

After removal, I had to get used to a tiny apartment, no garden, let alone a compost heap. Even under these very different circumstances, I managed to keep my production of non-recyclable garbage in the range of about one litre (1 quart) per week. No kidding. Very selective shopping can do a huge lot!

However, as if that were not a result most people do not even dare dream of, I thought I could do even better by composting my organic kitchen waste.

I bought a plastic storage box, about 60 cm (L) x 37 cm (W) x 30 cm (H), Migros, around ten francs. I drilled 15 holes in the bottom, about 6 mm diam. each -- very easy in relatively soft plastic: I used the awl of an ordinary Swiss Army knife.

I covered the bottom of the box with one sheet of newspaper, then poured some poor-quality pottign soil from Jumbon on it, about 8 cm deep. Meanwhile, the worms, red wigglers, scientifically known as Eusenia foetida, were on their way from Andermatt Biogarten mentioned by other posters. Yes, the expensive ones, but worth every single penny: Absolutely professional packaging capable of surviving a major hurricane, worms traveling in their very own first-class compost soil etc..

The worm farm box had no lid, just a piece of garbage bag cut big enough to be laid over the edges of the box, about 22 cm above the surface of the soil. That meant a lot of air inside the box, enough to take up much evaporation from the soil. So I had to sprinkle water about twice a week to prevent the soil from drying out.

When the water input was too big (sprinkling plus somewhat watery waste), I soon noticed a dark brown liquid oozing through the holes, called "worm tea," as my research on the 'Net revealed.

At first I took it as a nuisance, then I learned that some plant whisperers would give an arm and leg for a thimbleful of it. So I again slaughtered my piggy bank and bought a plastic shoe tray whose size just about covered the foot print of the box, which put me back another staggering six francs or so.

After about half a year it dawned on me that I might try to cover the soil directly, without a lot of air. I cut a new piece of garbage bag and perforated it with the very same Swiss Army knife awl. I didn't count the holes, bit I guess I made more than 300 of them, just kind of a stabbing spree on an old rug to prevent the floor from getting ruined.

That plastic sheet was cut to measure, covering the soil wall to wall. Low and behold, ever since that change I have had to sprinkle water only on very rare occasions, say twice times a year, for instance before going on vacation for three and a half weeks. The micro-climate below the plastic seems to be ideal. The worms say they are all happy.

The box is in the laundry room, which is very small and has no windows, just a ventilator. However, smell is not an issue at all as long as I do not feed certain smelly stuff such as white raddish peel, celeriac, fennel, grapefruit peel, leek, onion skins and the like.

I never saw fruit flies, but I had two invasions by sciaridae, the tiny gnats that sometimes come with store-bought pot plants and can be a nuisance. However, also there the plasic sheet came in handy. I lifted it to make all the gnats take off, then I put it back to completely cover the soil and sprayed a bit of an "organic" insecticide on the walls, the worms being protected underneath the plastic sheet. I had to do that only twice in two years.

As for freeloaders -- after about a year, I observed lots of springtails. Pot plant buffs know that they do no harm, and there is no problem with them in the worm box either.

By the way, the worms never ever try to escape, although technically they could. They seem to feel too fine in the box to consider any attempt.

Result: The worms enabled me to halve my non-recyclable waste, which means I'm down to one litre every other week now. Anyone out there to beat that?

Of course, when my AOH is here, things look a bit different. The A in AOH stands for "American," which implies she is, although pretty environmental-minded, much more wasteful than I. The worms rejoice when she is here, which is about five months a year. I haven't told them yet that she's flying in again right before Easter, otherwise they'd start a big whoopee already now.

In 28 months, the level of the soil has raised by about 7 cm. During that time, I fed the worms about 60 litres of my own kitchen waste. Assuming my AOH added roughly the same amount, that makes a total of 120 liters, which were converted into about 15 litres of top notch potting soil -- still too little to open a business over it, but a nice and clean thing.

My AOH goes bonkers over the whoile thing. Sometimes she calls her friends or relatives in the USA just to tell them, "Now he's again going to baby his worms."

Dear Captain Greybeard,
Thank you so much for your detailed account of your worm farm experience. So witty and well written, really brought a smile onto my face.
I am about to animate a Permaculture training session in Geneva and was thinking of including a hands-on project. Making a worm-farm what I had in mind. I was looking for worms to buy in Geneva and fell on this thread.
If by any chance you'd want to propose yourself as the Master Wormfarm Professor (PhD) - I'd love to do the marketing for you :-)
All the best, Doris
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  #29  
Old 10.08.2015, 18:02
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Re: Worm Composting/Vermiculture - has anyone tried this?

How do I add a "Thank you" to your message? I see other people have done this?
Kind regards, Doris
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  #30  
Old 11.08.2015, 05:23
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Re: Worm Composting/Vermiculture - has anyone tried this?

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Dear Captain Greybeard,
Thank you so much for your detailed account of your worm farm experience. So witty and well written, really brought a smile onto my face.
I am about to animate a Permaculture training session in Geneva and was thinking of including a hands-on project. Making a worm-farm what I had in mind. I was looking for worms to buy in Geneva and fell on this thread.
If by any chance you'd want to propose yourself as the Master Wormfarm Professor (PhD) - I'd love to do the marketing for you :-)
All the best, Doris
Hello Doris,

Welcome to the EF, an invaluable source of useless information and endless bickering, to put it politely.

Glad you liked my Worm Farm Report.

I really do not encourage my worms to make their farm box burst in the seams. Doing that on a commercial level needs a bit more space than what I have in my small Swiss laundry room.

I currently am in Northern Michigan, though; hence the crazy time of this post. Over here, worm compost is not needed because everybody has at least several acres of land around their home. There's way enough room for a real compost pile on a property with about 1000 trees and 300 feet of beach on Lake Michigan.

Actually, most of the lot is practically one huge compost pile in that it is mainly virgin forest with an eight inch layer of decomposing leaves on the ground except the moderately groomed area right next to the house.

Meanwhile, back at the worm farm, the little wiggly critters are waiting for my return. They got about two inches of lettuce, banana peels and other stuff before I left in late June, and that easily gets them through two or three months. In three weeks I'll be back, and I'll find a neatly graded, almost black, humus surface.

The nice thing with a balanced population of compost worms is, once they have chewed up all the stuff you fed them, they can gleefully rehash everything and still extract important nutrients. The right degree of humidity in the soil is very important. I obtained that by the perforated-garbage-bag-right-on-the-soil trick mentioned in my first post. Even after two or three months in the USA the humidity is still sufficient.

By the way, my worm zoo still entirely consists of the descendants of that bag of worms I bought from www.biogarten.ch in late fall 2008. There must be a huge lot of inbreeding going on in that box....

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How do I add a "Thank you" to your message? I see other people have done this?
Kind regards, Doris
As for the Thank You button, if I remember that right, you'll get that after your tenth post or so, together with some other privileges such as being allowed to post things for sale.
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  #31  
Old 11.08.2015, 09:09
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Re: Worm Composting/Vermiculture - has anyone tried this?

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How do I add a "Thank you" to your message? I see other people have done this?
Kind regards, Doris
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As for the Thank You button, if I remember that right, you'll get that after your tenth post or so, together with some other privileges such as being allowed to post things for sale.
That, and it's only available for about three weeks. Additionally, some sections have no Thank You button at all, for instance the support section.
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  #32  
Old 11.08.2015, 14:06
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Re: Worm Composting/Vermiculture - has anyone tried this?

My worm farm is four months old and doing fine. Got the bins on the internet for about 40SFr and the worms from a local horse breeder. He was highly amused by my request and even more surprised (my horses don't have worms)that I found wonderful colonies at the bottom of his dung heaps, that is the ones on free ground, not the heaps in a concrete silo
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  #33  
Old 10.06.2016, 09:06
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Re: Worm Composting/Vermiculture - has anyone tried this?

Reviving an old thread... After reading through this I decided to give it a try about 3 months ago. Bought some black boxes from Ikea, drilled various holes, painted the lid black and hoped for the best. Worms were sourced from various fishing shops in Zurich (at an average cost of 6chf / 35 worms) and fishing shops in France (1.80e for 35) - make sure to ask for Mistwurm!

Lessons learnt: we started too early (April = too cold) and put them indoors where the air was in turn too dry. You need a "critical mass" of worms otherwise they don't seem too happy (our container is ~1 sq foot and they only seemed happy once there were about 500+ of them!)

Still not sure how to collect the compost. Might need to invest in a sieve next
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  #34  
Old 10.06.2016, 10:16
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Re: Worm Composting/Vermiculture - has anyone tried this?

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. . . and they only seemed happy once there were about 500+ of them! . . .
Worms are very social creatures ant thrive on each others company.
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Old 10.06.2016, 11:19
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Re: Worm Composting/Vermiculture - has anyone tried this?

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Worms are very social creatures ant thrive on each others company.
Ain't no party like a worm party
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