Vermicomposting, worm bin, composting with worms community and forums

I am just wondering what level everyone is at for worm composting here in California. Just trying to get some discussion in this group.

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Good question. My business is vermicomposting, I compost at several sites to include my own, in volume over 100 yard per year. I started with 1/2 lb of redworms 4 years ago. I currently do not live in California, but I did at one time. Some of my suppliers are from California and it seems they are very successful at doing great amounts of compost and growing many redworms. I have created a class on vermicompost so that I can get the information out that I have learned through my experiences, so don't be afraid to ask a question. I'm always willing to help.
Hi, I just started my first bin yesterday, like you, with 1/2 pound of redworms. Just wondering what all I can feed them. I put in some leftover artichoke we had in the refrigerator, and they seem to like that. Also, I have read that food should be left out before giving it to them, or even frozen sometimes...? Any help with this would be great. Also, do I need to turn it, or fluff it? Do you have any basic tips that you can give? How would I know if I have overfed them or underfed them? (Sorry, I do ask a lot of questions!)
Hey guys, currently I only have two plastic totes with probably 1000-1500 worms....I am looking to transfer over to my two bath tubs that i have ready, and am in the process of building a worm harvester with a 55 gal steel drum cut in half and some 1/4'' screen. Anyone have a hook up on worms for less than $20 lb? i found some for $13 per lb but i have to drive 2.5 hrs each way to get the deal! any ideas?
I'd consider myself a newbie... only been worming for a year now and in all that time I've only filled a tray and a quarter of my little Wriggly Wranch.
Hello! Nice to find a California group. I just started my first worm bin yesterday 9/16/09...I am interested in any tips!
Hi Melody! Congrats on starting in the worm "biz"... :-) I started my bin last December and have two bins going now... no idea how many worms are in there, but it's a LOT more than what I started with. I've only harvested one complete bin's worth of castings, but have another bin pretty close to being ready. I noticed in your comment further up the page that you put artichokes in with your worms. The only problem I had with those is that the leaves don't seem to get broken down very well and end up as stringy, tough chunks in the compost. Also, re: freezing, I freeze leftover veggie stuff in one gallon zip lock bags so I have "portions" that I can thaw and add as I need more food. The freezing/thawing process helps to break down the food and get it really good and mushy for the worms and other critters in the bin. Freezing also lets me store more food if I have a big influx of green scraps before the worms are ready for more food. Re: "fluffing", I've read a variety of ideas on that. I tend to leave my worms alone as much as possible and keep adding food and new bedding on top of the old.

Enough rambling... enjoy your worms and welcome to vermicomposting!
i just started my first worm bin this month! my friend helped me make the bin out of some ikea bins and installed a spigot. my mom gave me a handful of her red wigglers.

i think i have overfed them, for now i have much more of other species in my ecosystem than red wigglers, at this point. they are still hanging in there... i'm hoping to get more worms in the near future, to help balance things out. i'm not adding anymore food for a few days.

i've noticed a lot of (what i think are) potworms in clusters. either that, or really large maggots. they are much larger and longer than fruit flies, and are white and long. i'm trying to keep an open mind about them, because they are chowing down on the food the worms have not gotten to yet.

when i checked in on them last night, all the cardboard bedding on top had puddles of water on them. i had covered the bedding with plastic to deter fruit flies, but i guess it increased the humidity quite a bit. i'm going to add more newspaper to soak it all up.

any additional advice for a newcomer?
Welcome to the group, Rickie. Overfeeding is something we've all done at some point. It's good you recognized that early. Roughly how big is your bin? Would you say your "handful" is a measuring cup full? 1/2 cup? I recently learned that 1/4 cup of worms weigh ~2 oz. Although the rule of thumb is worms can eat 1/2 their body weight per day, it depends a lot on a number of different factors.

Do your maggots look like this?

I learned from folks here to cover the bin contents with a 4-5" layer of damp shredded newspaper (or leaves when you have them) and then cover it all with a damp cloth (cotton or burlap). I use a t-shirt cut up in half so it's just a single layer of cloth.
thanks, andrew! it's good to be here :)

i'd say i had about 10-20 worms to start out with. my bin is about 2' x 3' x 2'

i can't see the maggot picture, but i asked the guy i bought some worms from (today! i just blogged about it) and he believes they are beetle grubs.

he is of the opinion that a sheet of newspaper over the food, and the bin lid on top are enough covering. my bin, unfortunately, is on my balcony, which gets direct sunlight at some point of the day. it's also made of white plastic. i'm going to paint it black, to keep it from getting too uncomfortable for my little buddies. i figured out they were hiding in the corner farthest away from the sunlight, poor guys.

I just joined this site, and saw your photo! I have those, and ended up dumping a whole bin in the ground and burying them just last weekend. I hope the grubs will suffocate underground. I'll add more bedding this weekend. I have found that they really like cardboard. I run small boxes from Amazon through the shredder. This saves a lot of time tearing the pieces up. I have a rubbermaid system, with holes drilled in the bottom. I followed the directions from the Washington State University website to make it. Next I want to try the flow through system made with a bag. There are some great directions on the Wiki.
Welcome to the group, Cynthia. If you're referring to the BSFL photo, they'll probably just dig their way out and look for food (decaying stuff). They won't harm anything so you don't have to worry. I'm actually trying to raise those grubs to process the non-vegetarian portions of my kitchen waste. Unfortunately all I've seen so far are fruit fly larvae.

Sounds like you're progressing well along the vermicomposting path. Don't forget Amy (of worm bag fame) is a member here. You could always contact her if you have any questions.




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