Worm Farming anyone doing it?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by DUSTYCEDAR, Feb 8, 2008.

  1. DUSTYCEDAR

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Posts: 5,137

    is anyone growing there own worms to get the castings?
    if so how big or small is your setup?
    how has it been working out for ya?
     
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,082

    I hope we are all growing worms in our various lawns :)
     
  3. desert rose gardening

    desert rose gardening LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 387

    Not me but I have a friend who was giving it a try a few years ago. It was a lot of start up money and hard work on weekends hauling horse poop around. It was a group venture about 4 families, they would work on a different ranch each weekend. He got out of it and spent a lot of money and time and never made a dime. They hired a marketing company and still could not find buyers
     
  4. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    I have a lot in my compost pile and the Robins are constantly in the yard yanking them out of the ground.
    I would like to try a small backyard worm farm this year. There are several good sources of worm castings (poop) maybe Tad will jump in here and tell us about some, I believe he is the poop master LOL
     
  5. Tim Wilson

    Tim Wilson LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 795

    If you wish to keep composting worms for a supply of vermicompost, it is quite simple. I use red wrigglers but there are other varieties. You can keep them in bins, or other specialized containers now on the market or in a pile of material.

    If you wish to start a small bin, say 18 inches high X 15 inches wide X 24 inches long, begin with about 2 pounds of worms (2000 worms). Just get a plastic storage bin and poke some holes in the bottom and bottom corners for air/drainage, line the bottom with a piece of landscape cloth, put in some moist bedding/food (paper strips, wood shavings, peat moss, horse poo {they love horse poo}, brown leaves, used coffee grounds, banana peels, etc. No Citrus). Place your worms into about 2 to 3 inches of the bedding/food and cover them over with another 1 inch layer of moist bedding. Keep moist! Put holes in the lid for air and put it on. When you see that they are eating their way through this, place in another layer on and on until the bin is full. Look at the material to be sure it is a rich dark color. If not leave the worms in to finish the job. You may stir it up once in a while to aerate. If you see little springtails and mites in the bin, this is a good sign because they work in harmony with the worms. It should take about 2 to 4 months for the bin to fill. Then you trap the worms out by using one of those mesh trays for carrying transplant pots filled with their favorite food. I use wet peat mixed with coffee grounds/banana peels. Place it on top covered with wet newspaper (you probably can't get the lid on at this stage) The worms enter through the holes. It usually takes 3 to 5 days and you snatch the trap off and put them in a new bin or aside while you empty and start over. There will be stragglers to grab and eggs that are smooth yellow/brown grape seed sized that you can choose to pick out or not. Each egg/capsule contains up to 3 worms. If conditions are good your worms have multiplied enough to split into two bins. And on it goes.

    If you wish to use the pile method; We live in a cold winter area so we put our worm pile in a barn with a concrete floor (gravel & lime actually). The barn is 16 X 24 feet and we fill it up in early summer 4 feet deep with horse and or cow poop mixed with wood shavings and or peat and bits of straw/hay/leaves/paper/whatever. We wet it down put our worms (2000 pounds?) in and cover it over with wet cardboard and keep it moist. We have a few lights in the barn which keep the worms from travelling. They don't like light. Around April/May we trap the worms and harvest our beautiful vermicompost packed with beneficial microbes. If we make CT with it we spread out the used compost in our gardens and the eggs hatch out so we fill our soil with worms. They say that red wrigglers don't stay in soil but that has not been our experience. They eat up the dead organic matter and produce castings right there in the garden. You can even spread out wood shavings or paper for them to eat.

    Salutations,
    Tim
     
  6. DUSTYCEDAR

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Posts: 5,137

    sounds great thanks for the info
     
  7. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    That is sooooo cool, I'm not sure why I get excited about this, but I do. Maybe one day I can wear the pin "wormmaster" like Tim.

    I don't think our homeowners association will allow me to do it on Tim's scale, whatya think
     
  8. DUSTYCEDAR

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Posts: 5,137

    some people have pools some worm farms :)
     
  9. Newby08

    Newby08 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 277

    haha thats pretty good, i think my family and nieghborhood would lean more toward the pool
     
  10. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    I say you get a 10 foot long plastic worm, put it in your front yard with a sign -> Wonderful Wigglin Worms :laugh:
     

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