Hello I am Brian
I was told about this site today whilst selling compost worms at the local markets here in Southport Qld. I am just a hobby worm farmer and not out to make a living from it but just enough to keep the hobby alive and some extra pocket money.
I believe in Karma and don't rip people off with prices or short change on stock supplied. Had a lady at the market last week who wanted a bucket of worms which I sell for $20 for around 1000. What she really needed was a $2 bag of horse manure. She left very happy with the $2 bag of manure and armed with the knowledge she needed to get her worm farm thriving. I dd $18 on the deal but I can sleep well at night.
I am also a Moderator on Australian Freshwater Turtles Forum.
Well thats a bit about me and looking forward to futher particpation on this form.
Can you eat turtles?
If Khama really existed the head/CEO of the Commonwealth Bank or Lehman Brothers or Quantas would be in serious trouble.
Glad to have a worm and turtle expert here!!
Worms are big players in Permaculture
"You can fix all the world's problems in a garden. .Most people don't know that" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sohI6vnWZmk
Music can solve all the world's problems. Not many people know that- MA 2005
"Politicians will never solve 'The Problem' because they don't realise that they are the problem" R Parsons 2001
So what species do you breed up and what do you feed them? Any tips for a really super good worm farm?
I have Red Wrigglers and African Night Crawlers. The Africans are a great fishing worm due to their larger size but I am still breeding up the numbers so are not full size just yet. They take about 5 to 6 months to mature. The Red Wrigglers take about 4 weeks.
Originally Posted by eco4560
I use a simple open tub method with some old carpet as a cover. Those fancy commercial farms are too expensive and most people who tell me at the markets say their worms died in them. About 3 out of 10 say they work fine. I have found that horse manure as a bedding and food is great to get them breeding fast. I feed mainly manure as I don't have enough veggie scraps to feed them ( 8 Worm Beds and 1 bathtub ). I have found that Copra ( ground coconut kernel) is eaten very rapidly. You can also use Corn meal ,Oat meal and some Dolomite mixed works well to.
With worms surface area is very important rather than depth of bedding. 300mm tubs are deep enough but the more surface area the better. Start with about 2,000 worms in a bed of horse manure slightly damp but not wet and you are away. Did you look at my website? Very simple and basic.
Umm yes I should have looked at the website first I guess! I'm going to add a few handfuls of manure to my lot this week after your suggestion. They have only been getting garden weeds for a while and they don't seem to be breeding up quickly.
My worms are in a bathtub, in a completely shady spot, with a mix of woodmulch, chinese elm leaves, and 2 bags of horse manure. bazman was kind enough to donate a bag of worms to me and they seem to be moving through the bath easily.
I have blocks of wood placed in the bottom like a frame (reducing the depth) and a piece of shademesh separating that, which then hangs over the edges of the bath and two bath towels on top of the mix. After reading some bathtub guides on the net, some people add 'aeration' to the sides of the bath with an angle grinder. Brian, do you feel that is necessary? I've noticed the worms hang on the edges so I've been grabbing the shademesh and shaking air into the mix. Is that necessary either?
And re-bedding the worms? When is this done? Only when you want to remove castings?
Give them a layer of about 100 mm. Just ensure that if it is dry you soak it in some water. They won't touch it if it is dry.
Originally Posted by eco4560
I have a bathtub set up where the horse is kept. It is just full of horse manure and worms. The waste hole is open so it can drain. In nature the worms don't get ventilation from below so none of my tubs have any holes in the bottom, only an open tap. When you find all the bedding has turned to castings which can be several months depending on how many worms and how much they are fed, it is time to change it. Dont feed the worms for about 1 week. Then feed them some copra as I mentioned earlier. The worms will come to the top to feed and after about 24 hours scoop them out into another container. Then empty the rest of your castings into a wheel barrow or similar. Let it stand for half an hour or so then start to remove the castings slowly. If you see any cocoons ( eggs ) save them. When you strike worms just run your hands over the castings to drive them down faster. I should have said do this in bright sunshine or light. Keep removing the castings till most of it is gone. Then you will find a concentation of worms at the bottom.
Originally Posted by S.O.P
Put new bedding in your bathtub and wet it. If the bedding is fresh manure don't put it too deep as it will heat up . Start with drier stuff. Then put the worms back in and cover with newspaper and old carpet. Then the proccess begins again. You can use the castings in your garden or pots. You will find if you leave it more worms will hatch out from any missed cocoons so if you wait 4 weeks harvest these worms too. Hope that helps.
Thank you Brian, very helpful.
To me, I can see how a chunk of carpet will be better as a lid, or even a door, rather than the towels. I'll keep waiting for something to fall into my lap. Thanks again for the advice.
Quick edit: After bedding change, when do you recommend food scraps to be added as a new food source (besides the bedding)?
Last edited by S.O.P; 07-11-2011 at 06:09 PM.
I use old hessian bags or newspaper and old carpet. This just help keep then from drying out at the top of the bed and keeps them up top feeding. The carpet also allows the farm to breath so to speak as worms aerate the bedding from the top Give them a week to settle in the new bedding and then feed the scraps. Just freeze the scraps till the worms are ready. Everytime you dig over your worms or put them in new bedding they will stop eating for up to 48 hours. Always best to give them a little time to adjust them they take off lol.
At the markets I get people coming back to give me feedback on how their worms are going and so far all has been very positive. I am no expert but am trying to learn just a little more each day and am happy to pass on any helpful hints. Just need more worm sales now as my bins are at capacity and I need to move some out. I just set up another bin of African Night Crawlers so I can give them more space to grow. They take a long time to mature. Worm Farming is interesting.