How about some worm farming discussion?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Shrek, Oct 1, 2004.

  1. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    anybody want to talk about raising bait worms and making compost?
     
  2. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Yes.

    A few weeks ago, I started another raised bed filled with old straw, a tad of peat and a mess of other stuff. It's going to be my iris-daylily bed. Am acutally getting ready to go out and plant some mums in it --- while driving home from work, I saw them on sale and grabbed them because they'll look really nice in the one corner of the bed.

    In any case, I am so pleased with the one i did --- and boy is it wormy and boy is it producing some seriously huge echinacea and thyme and basil and a ton of tomatoes, with almost no work.

    Worms are our friends. :D

    That said, the one thing i haven't figured out is a worm thingie --- you know, like a plastic bin to grow them in. For some reason, it just doesn't register with me how to do it. :confused: :confused:
     

  3. jackie c

    jackie c Well-Known Member

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    I hope you get lots of responses to this because I would really like to get into this myself. :D But have no idea where to start. :waa:
     
  4. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    Countrygrrl,
    Here is a cheap and easy designed indoor worm bed with leachate tray. I like the design they have and use a larger scale variation of it constructed from two tuff box truck toolboxes to serve as my 15 indoor beds. I do not totally agree with their feeding suggestions as I use all types of foodstuffs to blend into a slurry to heat age and feed my beds. The two plastic tub worm farm is an excellent environment to cultivate a herd in.

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

    Jackie,
    Throw any questions you have and I will try to answer em and maybe we can get Elizabeth and a few other worm farmers and ranchers in on the dscussion.
     
  5. jackie c

    jackie c Well-Known Member

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    Ok, heres a few to get started with. Can I do this in the north where temps fall to -40? If not what is the minimum temp. they require?(I could keep them in the laundry room) What kind of worms do you recommend for bait, and for composting?
    How much room do they reqiure? How long till the bait worms are saleable and how much compost can I hope to produce. How fast do they reproduce?
    Told you I didn't know much! :eek: These are just a few ?'s I have. :eek: Thanks.
     
  6. Ed Norman

    Ed Norman Well-Known Member

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    Shrek,

    Did you forget to put the link to the bin plans?

    I want to raise worms for fishing and for the greenhouse and garden. I also wonder about the cold, because we get that here, too. What kind breeds and is also good for fishing?
     
  7. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    There has been a discussion on another board I post on some about earthworms transmitting tapeworm to chickens. I claim that farmed earthworms are not a danger to the chickens because they are not exposed to tapeworms. Any feedback?
     
  8. farmmaid

    farmmaid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    BLESS YOU...on my list was to contact you tomorrow on this very subject. I want to earn some $ to send hubby on a hunting trip in 2 years...Shhhh! It is always about us or me and this time I want it about him AND give the trip from $ I earned...Joan :eek:
     
  9. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    So I did. I added it in above and here it is also.

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

    Thanks for the heads up
     
  10. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    I cut off a plastic 55gal drum and drilled holes in the bottom. I shredded and then soaked newspaper and dumped in a couple of containers of red worms from the bait store. I laid the lid on loosely so it leaks a little water in when it rains and we keep dumping in compost pile stuff. A bunch of the small ones escaped thru the holes in the bottom so I dumped it out and lined the bottom with some old nylon screen. Now the escape problem is solved and they seem to be multiplying rapidly. This was just a small experiment but now I'll have to expand and put more time into it.
     
  11. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    I'm starting a 'bin' under the rabbits. I filled it partway with compost, and the rabbits are, of course, going on top of that, but I haven't added any worms yet, as it's still on the hot side. No sense in cooking the worms! I think my biggest problem with it is going to be keeping it moist enough. Any suggestions?

    Oh, yeah, the worms will be for my son and his friends to fish with, for the chickens in winter time, and to make the compost for the garden. I don't expect a bin under five rabbit cages to go commercial :)

    Meg :)
     
  12. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    jackie c,

    The nightcrawler species of northern zone bait worms are capable of weathering the low temps by deep burrowing below the frost line and laying their coccoons, however in outdoor beds they are prone to migration from the beds. They can be maintained in indoor bins with proper ventilation, aequate moisture and deep run bedding. Down here in Alabama I raise European Night Crawlers in a 3 salvaged slider door drink coolers to maintain the optimun temperature of 60 degrees to keep the euros in their active state . They hybernate at below 45 degrees. Eisenia fetida , the red manure worm is an excellent composter and suitable medium sized bait worm thrives at an ambient temperature of 75 f degrees and can survive temps as high as 90 f without dying and will hybernate at 50f and below. Night crawlers are burrowing earthmovers and not suitable green waste composters. Eisenia fetida are better waste composters but need to be housed in an environmently stable area. Starter bins made of 60 qt totes and stocked with Efs thrive nicely in a basement near a water heater. Night crawlers require a larger bin for indoor raising.


    Cyngbaeld ,

    I'll answer your tapeworm question as soon as I can contact my biology professor via email
     
  13. farmmaid

    farmmaid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Shrek...Thank you for sharing. You should write (with pictures) a step by step introduction to worm farming from your own experience. I would love to have a personal guide with what has worked for them. Thanks again...Joan :)
     
  14. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

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    I would love to be able to establish some type of worm bed for my own use. We have sugar sand, and have yet to ever dig up a worm of any kind. When my grandkids come over to fish, we usually go and buy live bait or worms or just use corn or hot dogs for perch and bluegill. The biggest problem is, this is a weekend place only right now. So I need a system that is very low maintenance, if you know what I mean.
     
  15. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    Low maintenance is the best system and many designs only require feed and watering evey week to 10 days.
     
  16. jackie c

    jackie c Well-Known Member

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    Shrek, could you please explain further slurry and heat age? And can I use worms I have on the property for composting or should I buy? Thanks again :D
     
  17. TEEBOUT

    TEEBOUT Member

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    Morinin' all, My husband has a lawn service here in S. LA and every so often a cliet wants the grass cuttings hauled off and in the fall we get many bags of leaves. we just pile em up in the back of our shed (not touching the shed) and keep adding this has also been the spot where we throw out any leftovers that is uneatable. wow before we knew it we had a compost pile and a worm bed it is growing some very nice size earth worms. we are moving to N. AR in the spring. I'm not sure if the southern heat and rain have any thing to do with how well they are growing but we have talked about a worm bed for night crawlers and red wigglers to sell to bait shops. for extra income. advice on the weather conditions would be very helpful. I also like the ideas of the pictures and step by step directions ;) Thanks T
     
  18. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    European (the only thing Euro i like) Nightcrawlers are the best - compost almost as well as red worms, but are much bigger (about half the size of a regular nightcrawler) and much livelier. Best thing for bait use they don't need to be refrigerated. Mine live under the rabbit cages and in the greenhouse in the winter. I feed them rabbit poop and sheep poop, as well as anything the chickens won't eat. OH BTW, screening is mandatory on top of your bins if you have chickens. They feel as though they have hit the mother lode if they get in your bins.

    Regular nightcrawlers if put in a compost pile just burrow off to whereever they want to go.
     
  19. MikeD

    MikeD Well-Known Member

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    Without ever intending to, I've managed to *attract* literally hundreds of worms simply with a 3' x 3' rabbit manure pile. Just in turning the pile occassionally to aerate and watering when it hasn't rained for several days has certainly kept the worms happy. Incidentally Meg, at the moment I've only got a herd of 12. If you intentionally attempt to do this and select appropriate "stock" I'm sure that your bunnies will have no problem providing you with enough fuel.... ;)
     
  20. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    Cyngbaeld ,

    Farm raised earthworms are not likely to transmit tapeworms because the manures used to feed the worms is generally from wormed livestock such as cattle, horses or rabbits. The manure must first be aged and anerobically precomposted before feeding to the worms to prevent killing them. Anerobic decomposition helps to decompose residual wormer in the manure also. Tapeworms would be found in noncomposted fecal matter which normally is not used as foodstuff for worms.