Worm castings are the best fertilizer for any type of plant or vegetable. These videos are introductory videos. We know there must be information about how to make your own worm bin so if anyone has some content to contribute it would be deeply appreciated by those of us who want to learn more about these little black-gold makers!
Worm farming is a very lucrative business as well....
Hey gang! Here's a bit more information about the worm bins we created in the last episode. So now you have NO excuse not to start one. :-)
* First, make sure you get red wigglers for your bin. They like working in close quarters. Earthworms are just the opposite. They hate being confined and are much better out in the wide open spaces.
* Next, our dear little babies don’t like light; that is why we painted the drawers black. To keep it dark. Even though they have no eyes they are light sensitive. Too much light exposure paralyzes them and they dry up and die in less than an hour. Then you cry. Then you have a little wake, with music and a nice glass of wine.... Anyway, keep the bin in a shady cool spot with good air circulation.
* Now, make sure they have enough “bedding”, i.e. wet newspapers. No glossy or fancy paper. Keep it simple. They will eventually digest all the bedding into compost also.
* Tip: The ratio is 2:1. Two pounds of food for every pound of worms. There are about 1000 worms in a pound. One pound of worms can eat 2 pounds of food in a day. Yes, that's a LOT of kitchen scraps!
* Finally, don't give them any moldy or spoiled food or the bin will start to smell and attract flies. Keep it fresh. And remember no meat, dairy or citrus. They are picky eaters in that respect and will just high tail it out of there.
I wrangled for the first time about a month ago. Because it's more precious than gold, I used the worm tea for my favorite plants and I started some tomatoes with the compost. It is, without a doubt, the BEST, MOST COMPLETE compost you can find. And you can grow your own!
I recently found some strange looking grub like worms in my bin. I was worried. If you have these in your bin don't worry. It is a good thing. Whew.
The creatures in the picture are not worms, but are larvae of the Black Soldier fly (Hermetia illucens), which is an introduced species now common in and around Queensland Australia. Congratulations! Black Soldeir fly (BSF) larvae are very beneficial in a system designed to process organic material!
In the larval stage these are voracious decomposers that break down organic matter very quickly. Despite what you might read on the internet, they are not competing with your worms, rather, their fecal matter is an excellent nutrition source for earthworms. The two species are often used together in coordinated manure management systems that allow the larvae to process the raw manure and the earthworms to convert the larvae manure into lovely, stable worm castings.
The churning activity of the larvae as well as the nature of their manure can increase the moisture level in the bin, but the addition of dry bedding should the bin environment become overly wet easily addresses this challenge.
H. illucens cannot pupate in the bin environment, so after a couple of weeks as hungry larvae they will crawl out of the bin in search of soil or other protected area in which to move to their next life stage. Their mouth parts convert from chewing mandibles to a special digging tool with which they dig themselves a nice little "nest" in which to pupate. Pupation lasts a few weeks after which they emerge as flying adults.
BSF adults are completely benign, spreading no disease and in no way harming plants, people or animals.
The adult is a poor flyer, so is often found resting on walls or the leaves of plants. They have no functioning mouth parts, instead spending their adult lives in search of mates and reproducting (the reason the larvae are so beneficial to waste management is that they must obtain and store sufficient energy in the larval stage to carry them through their entire lifecycle). They are strictly outdoor flies that do not try to enter homes.
We sometimes see decline in worm activity when solder fly larvae populations explode, usually due to increase in moisture, resulting in a corresponding decline in oxygen levels. The worms typically rebound quickly, particularly when excess moisture conditions are corrected.
Information on the BSF collected from Kelly's site: https://auth.gardenweb.com/members/kelly_slocum
O.k. I guess I am going a little crazy with the worm bin thing but they are kind of addicting. I made a video on how to make Worm Tea. This was my first attempt at a self shoot and editing. Be kind. I am still learning.