Author: Steve (page 2 of 4)

Aerating Worm Tea

AERATE YOUR WORM TEA WITH A FISH TANK BUBBLER

The benefits of using worm tea in your garden are well known. It is certainly the easiest way to bring nutriments and minerals directly to the roots of your plants – precisely where they are needed – and with no risk of burning the delicate root hairs. But it is equally important to realise that the worm tea also carries with it a huge load  of microscopic nitrogen-fixing bacteria. These tiny micro-organisms are beneficial agents with the unique ability to promote the process of nitrogen fixing. a natural process that dramatically enhances the fertility of your soil by creating the valuable nitrates and higher level organic compounds that are needed for plant growth and photosynthesis. These highly beneficial bacteria, originating in the guts of your worms, are excreted in their millions by the worms – carried both within the solids (worm compost) and also within the liquid portion of the excrement (the worm tea).

The answer for getting the best out of your worm tea is to aerate the liquid before feeding it to your plants.



However, after being excreted by the worms, these beneficial microbes, being aerobic bacteria,  need plenty of oxygen to continue to prosper and bloom. In the absence of a source of oxygen, if left in a stagnant collecting sump (or worse – bottled for any length of time), then the microbes will start to die back and their population in the liquid will consequently be drastically reduced. If the mix becomes too anaerobic (lacking oxygen) it will become smelly and putrid and without a healthy load of bacteria, your worm tea will be of  much less benefit to your plants. So a way must be found to give them the oxygen they need.

Check out the following page reference for more on this topic – and please don’t forget to let us have your comments if you find it useful.

CLICK ON  > > > >     WORM TEA

Can red worms in the soil hurt my plants?

Hello,

I live in the Pacific NW – USA and am trying my hand at winter gardening (with the typical salads and winter veggies) in a small glass greenhouse with lights (ceiling) and 60 degrees heat. My plants are not thriving… in fact, they are dying.

When I planted the 6”-9” deep box, along with many tall gallon (or larger) pots, with new potting soil mixed ½ and ½ with new bagged compost, I placed a thin layer of not-quite-composted alpaca manure in the bottom of each container. This manure contained composting red worms.

Are they eating the roots of my young plants? I know earthworms will leave the plant roots alone, but red worms are SUPPOSED to eat all living material. Do you suppose this was my mistake?

Maybe the manure was still too hot? (although it no longer smelled, yet was sorta crumbly)

 

Linda Fox



Making a Worm Farms From Plastic Drums

Good Day

Firstly, congratulations on a most informative and well put together website- everything under one roof!

A small question

I’m looking at making a worm farm or two for resale purposes.
I not you advocate stacking containers while some websites suggest a plastic 44 gallon drum with a covering/lid of sorts.
I’m guessing the stacking type is more effiicent but is there any disadvantage in the 44 gallon drum type besides space?

Many thanks

Nick


 

 


Pests in Worm Bin – Mites

Possibly the most commonly found invader bugs of  worm farms –

EARTHWORM MITES                                See photo below  > > > >

Infestation of Mites
Infestation of Mites

 PESTS – Mites

Although these tiny creatures will not actually harm your worms, they are unsightly and do compete with the worms for available food.Most worm beds usually contain several species of mites (the most important for, our purposes, being the earthworm mite), which pose no real threat to the worms unless their population spirals too high – this usually happens as a result of poor bed management. Earthworm mites are small and are usually brown, reddish or somewhere in-between. They tend to concentrate near the edges and surfaces of the worm beds and around clusters of feed. They are not known for attacking the earthworms but do eat the earthworms feed. When the mite population is too high the worms will burrow deep into the beds and not come to the surface to feed, which hampers worm reproduction and growth. High mite populations usually result from:

 

  • Over-feeding. Maintaining a proper feeding schedule (for example: one that ensures the feed is eaten in a few days) will prevent the feed from going off in the beds.

 

  • Feeding the earthworms meaty or wet feed. Large mite populations are often the result of using over moist garbage and vegetable refuse as feed. Adding the occasional soggy vegetable leftover probably won’t cause a problem but don’t make a habit of it.

 

  • Over-watering. A rule of thumb when watering is to keep the beds damp but not wet. Poor bed drainage can also facilitate a mite problem and make the beds less hospitable to worms. Ensure that there are adequate drainage holes at the bottom of your worm bin or housing.

Remember the same conditions that ensure high worm production will be less favourable to mites. If you find your worm farm overrun by mites, expose the beds to the sun for a few hours. Cut back on water and feed and then, every 1 to 3 days, add calcium carbonate. Another method is to over water the bed forcing the mites to the surface and then burning them with a blowtorch. Both of these methods though are only short-term remedies and eventually you will have to improve the conditions in your worm farm if you want to keep the mite population low.

Click on the link below to find out more about worm farming pests.

http://working-worms.com/handling-vermiculture-pests-and-other-problems/



Worms trying to escape

There is much debate as to why worms often try to escape from a new bin – even if it has been well prepared and  left to mature with food and beddng for a couple of weeks beforehand.

One theory is that the worms just cannot process their food without the help of specialised aerobic microbes. These beneficial bacteria live in symbiosis with the worms and after being ingested together with the worms’ food,  they multiply within the worms gut and then are excreted in their poop  and are thus spread out, back into the food source – multiplying several thousandfold in the process. Once the worms’  food source has been covered by these microbes it is now ready for the worms to ingest – and so the cycle repeats itself. Food without the microbes is useless, but once established the cycle repeats indefinitely as long as the worms keep on eating and pooping to spread out the bacteria.

In a new bin the specific bacteria are absent at first – until the worms start pooping.  The  initial worm food without bacteria would seem  sterile and inedible to the worms – and so many of them just hit out – probably looking for a better restaurant to meet their needs!  However, after a few days of pooping the cycle picks up momentum and balance is eventually achieved and everyone is happy.

This is why it is always useful to dump in a small amount of fresh worm tailings (vermicompost) when establishing a new worm farm to give the bacteria a kick start. But just as importantly,  make sure that the prepared bedding and food is not too wet and compact and is well aerated. Both the worms and their bacteria need a good supply of air to survive and prosper.  Follow the link to see more at  http://working-worms.com/what-about-the-workers-earthworm-versus-the-redworm/



The Diet of Worms

Read some irreverant culinary unhistory about the great worm eating competition run by Martin Luther, called the Diet of Worms at the uncyclopedia  http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Diet_of_Worms



Worm Farming Directories.

NEWS FLASH

Worming for Profit

Worming for Profit

We are in the process of gathering data for a comprehensive new business directory for both wholesaler and retailer sellers of worms, worm farming bins and other composting equipment and related products.

The listings register will be put up on a country by country basis and will be further sub divided into regions and major cities to make it easy for potential customers to select their nearest supplier or most convenient mail order seller.

If you are involved in selling or buying worm farming supplies, equipment or products and want to have free exposure for your business on the highly popular Working Worms website – simply email your business details to info@working-worms.com and tell us which regions or cities you want to serve and we’ll give you a free standard listing.

For those entrepreneurs wanting a more distinctive exposure for their products, we will also be offering Premier Listings, at very economical rates, which can be tailor made to suit any specific requirements.

Regards

Vermisapiens



The Importance of Microbes in Your Worm Farm

The Importance of Microbes in Your Worm Farm
By [http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Steve_Coe]Steve Coe

Earthworms of all kinds, including the various red compost worms used in vermiculture, rely on a symbiotic relationship with specialized micro-organisms (microbes or bacteria), to enable them to digest their food. This relationship is a beautiful example of a partnership that is of equal benefit for both life-forms (symbiosis). The worms carry millions of microscopic bacteria on their skin, in their gut, in the mucous secretions that keep their skin moist and especially in their faeces (tailings) which ultimately is the vermicompost.

Worms cannot masticate raw food as they have no teeth, but the activity of the microbes actually breaks down raw organic waste into a form that the worms can readily ingest into their digestive tract. The worms rely entirely on the bacteria swarming around them to actually break down the foodstuff that we put in our worm farms. Without them they would starve. The micro-organisms attack the “food material” and it is deconstituted and reduced into a slimy gruel that can be slurped up by the worms. The slimy paste that is ingested by the worms is teaming with bacteria, which are thus introduced directly into the worms gut.

Within the warm and secure environment of the worms’ digestive tract, the bacteria multiply tenfold and continue the process of deconstituting the ingested organic sludge – changing complex matter into its basic components – enzymes, compounds and trace elements. The resultant “soup” is highly nutritious to both the worms and to the microbes themselves and it provides the energy needed by both life-forms to grow and multiply. This is a perfect example of a natural synergy arising from active cooperation between species. The rewards are equally shared and are essential to both organisms.

Within the tailings or faeces of the worms, masses of bacteria are returned to the worm bin and are now ready to begin the process all over again. The tailing (also called worm casts or castings ) are actually the vermicompost sought by the worm farmer and are packed full of simple elements and compounds that are readily taken up by plants as a highly nutritious fertilizer.

Large numbers of these bacteria are released back into the worm bin, together with the waste products in the feces or castings – our vermicompost. The microbes will have multiplied in the ideal environment of the worm’s gut and now, greatly increased in numbers, are once again ready to attack new food sources and start the process all over. Moreover there is an added benefit for the garden, in that pathogenic bacteria and toxic compounds that may originally have existed in the original waste material that was offered as “worm food”, will by now have been broken down into simpler forms and their threat to plant and human health, neutralized by the action of all the beneficial micro-organisms in the worms’ gut. Furthermore, when the fresh vermicompost is put into the soil to feed the plants, the “good” microbes continue the process in the immediate vicinity of the plant’s roots and actually “disinfect” the soil by attacking any pathogenic bacteria. Could you really ask for anything more?

It has been said that the activity of these bacteria are responsible for producing CO2, (carbon dioxide) a greenhouse gas, which will inevitably escape from the composting process and add to the problem of global warming. But consider what would be the alternative, if the organic wastes were simply put in a dumpster and allowed to putrify in the anaerobic conditions of a landfill. The putrification process in this instance would take place in the absence (or scarcity) of oxygen and the anaerobic bacteria that operate in these conditions would produce large quantities of methane – a far worse greenhouse gas than CO2. Besides all the methane given off, anaerobic putrification (unlike aerobic decomposition) is smelly and can produce very nasty toxins and pathogenetic bacteria, which pollute the soil and groundwater and pose a long lasting health threat. So trust your worms and their millions of microscopic helpers and stay green.

Worm farming will produce a richly nutritious organic plant food for your garden, whilst getting rid of kitchen scraps and other organic waste in a way that is entirely eco-friendly and convenient.

You can read all about these tiny hard-working organisms and a great deal more about the fun science of vermiculture at the highly informative website – http://working-worms.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Steve_Coe http://EzineArticles.com/?The-Importance-of-Microbes-in-Your-Worm-Farm&id=3228421



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