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The Original Homemade Laundry DetergentHomemade Dishwasher Detergent and Rinse AgentHomemade Sunscreen – It’s Natural and It Works! To bring her along, like with many of my ideas, I simply had to explain the plan in detail, assure her that I was not going to quit my job to run the worm farm, let it marinate for awhile… then begin construction. Vermicompost, is composting utilizing various species of worms, specifically red wigglers, white worms, and earthworms creating the heterogeneous mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste, bedding materials, and pure vermicast produced during the course of normal vermiculture operations. Containing water-soluble nutrients and bacteria, vermicompost is an excellent, nutrient-rich organic fertilizer and soil conditioner.
A store-bought vermicomposting bin ($130)A Instead of buying one, I decided to make my own.
The $100 option a€“ The Worm Factory employs a tray system that automatically separates food scraps from finished compost.A  This system can also be used indoors or outdoors. If I were not on a staunch mission to destroy my debt as soon as possible I would have probably gone with one of the above systems, but instead I opted once again for the DIY route! The Jabs Worm Farm Inn has been successfully operating in our garage for over two full months now! We keep our DIY kitchen compost bucket under our kitchen sink until it is full, at which time we feed the worms by emptying the contents into the worm farm.A  Be sure to bury your food scraps so you do not attract gnats and other flies.
For more detailed information about red wriggler worms and vermicomposting systems in general visit this informative article on Composting with Redworms.
DISCLAIMER: Information on DIY Naturala„? is not reviewed or endorsed by the FDA and is NOT intended to be substituted for the advice of your health care professional.
OK ~ this may be a dumb question… but does the actual compost filter down to the lower bin? No, the compost does not filter down – you actually use both bins for compost collection.
Per the food scraps, I leave them whole BUT some people chop and even blend them up for FASTER breakdown. Now I’m feeling badly, because maybe I should just Google or check Wikipedia, rather than taking up your time!! No, worms eat right through the cardboard – and I actually stopped using that and now just put extra shredded paper on top (either works, just some top paper layer to keep flies out). You start out filling the bottom bin, and just placing the empty bin directly on top of the bottom bin (like in the last pic). Awesome post Matt, I’m working on an old dead upright freezer for a bin, its going to be laid down like a chest freezer. Regarding the shredded paper: Is there any concern for the bleaching or chemical treatment of most paper and while most newsprint is soy ink, any concern? Recently, Louisville has emerged as a major center for the health care and health-related sciences sectors.
Nope, I just take the bins off the blocks, put them onto a piece of cardboard, then dump the tea into a container.
My idea is for a counter-size worm farm, but the questions I run into are about the smell, proper aeration and overcrowding.
I chose to do the multi tray because it provides a rotating system that continually recycles your scraps. But frankly, Shannon, I am concerned that even once a good population is in place, whether downsizing will allow this 2can, ~6 Qt system to deal with more than the veg discards from more than 1 non-vegetarian. I don’t use eggshells in the worm farm either, now I just crush them and put them around the banana trees. I made my bin out of a plastic bin much like yours Matt and have had trouble coming up with a way to separate the worms from the dirt, I love your idea of stacking two bins together.
Worm castings are  an organic fertilizer and living soil amendment that is teaming with microorganisms that support the soil food web.
If you would like to get started composting with red worms and turn your house hold waste into rich organic fertilizer, or if you would like more information about composting with red worms, Just click the Getting Started tab at the top of this page. Once you've had your worms for a while, you'll get a feel for what they like to eat and what they don't. The Len Foote Hike Inn is a hotel in the North Georgia mountains that has an extensive vermicomposting system in the basement.
First of all, you need to decide whether you want a Do-It-Yourself worm bin, or a pre-made commercial one.
If you plan on buying a bin, we recommend reading some of our worm bin reviews to get an idea of what is available.
It should take around 3 months for the worms to turn any kitchen scraps or waste into worm compost.
Household waste, including vegetable scraps, shredded newspaper, tea bags, coffee grounds, eggshells, etc. A layer of soil adds earthworms and microorganisms that are necessary to break down the other materials. Children will enjoy making compost in a two liter soda bottle, and they can use the finished product to grow their own plants.
Although your worms do not need to be kept in a box, herding worms is easier with a container. Prepare the bed before the worms arrive because you do not know how long your worms will survive in the original container. Fill the worm bed, leaving approximately four inches of space between the top of the bed and the bedding.
Bedding temperatures can be raised through the decomposition of organic matter and the activity of the worms.
Red Wigglers and European Nightcrawlers will eat just about anything that you throw into the worm bin. Calcium carbonate or Egg shells are needed to maintain a safe pH level in the bedding and they act like vitamins for the worms. At ideal moisture, there will be very little or no liquid coming out the bottom of the bin. The European Nightcrawler is a prolific breeder and lays more eggs than many other worms, including the Red Wiggler. Important European Worms Breeding Fact: Worms breed best at the beginning of their life cycle. When you initially put the worms into our bin, you left about four inches of free space between the dirt and the top of the bin.
Vermicast, similarly known as worm castings, worm humus or worm manure, is the end-product of the breakdown of organic matter by the species of earthworm.

Skip the bins and just dig a pit or trench 3 foot wide by one foot deep using the dirt from the hole to make a berm another foot high.
Louisville has been main to enhancements in heart and hand medical procedures as well as cancer cure. This was a weekend project at my home, and I’m happy to announce that my worms are happily residing in a tote in the garage. We have put a hand full in with each plant we have put in our garden this year instead of using fertilizer. My name is Trent ( The worm farmer ) Holmes and I am very excited to share my passion for vermiculture with you.
This includes things like vegetable peels, egg shells, apple cores, paper, cardboard boxes, saw dust, wood chips, lawn clippings and just about anything else that has ever been a part of a living thing. With out these microorganisms many of the nutrients in your soil are locked up and unavailable to the plants that use them to grow. When this happens, you can build new worm bins and transfer some worms over if they get to be too much for one area.
With the help of the guests, they compost 1,500 pounds (680.4 kilograms) of food and office waste per year, and use the fertilizer in their organic garA­den. Worm composting, or vermicomposting, is the process of using worm castings to make incredibly nutrient-rich compost.
This decision is up to you and depends on how much time and effort you're willing to invest.
Most commercial bins available encourage upward migration of the worms which separates them from the castings. Bedding can consist of a number of things; soil, compost, shredded newspaper, eggshells, leaves, sand, etc. Depending on what type of bin you have, after the worms have begun to go through the scraps you've laid out, you'll want to add more scraps to the other side of the bin, or on a higher tray.
However, worm composting hastens the process and gives you garden soil that is fertile, moist and rich in nutrients. So if you were to mix in nitrogen-rich substances like vegetable scraps or plant matter, you'll find decomposing happening quicker.
When you take part in compost activities for kids, take time to discuss what happens to garbage that isn’t composted.
A garbage can or plastic bin that is at least 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide is large enough to make compost. Make a flip top in the bottle by cutting most of the way around about a third of the way down the bottle.
Make a “worm farm” out of a plastic bin by drilling several holes in the top, sides and bottom. You can use vermicomposting in any garden project or for any plant in your house to enrich the soil and ensure healthy plant growth. Place a small metal or plastic screen over the holes to prevent worms and dirt from leaving the bin. The adverse effect of a large worm bed is that they can become warmer than the average air temperature in the summer. Red Wigglers are composting worms and thus the following section mostly applies to them, however, Europeans will eat everything mentioned below as well. For instance, banana peels compost within a week, while orange peels take about a month to decompose. Dry the shells out, crush them, and sprinkle at least one tablespoon in the bin every week. If excess liquid comes out, it won’t affect the worms that much, but can make the castings less valuable.
Feeding high moisture foods like lettuce and watermelon will significantly decrease the frequency that you need to water your worm bin. Each worm lays between one and two capsules per week and each capsule contains between 4 and 20 worms.
While red worms have a life cycle of three to four years, the European Nightcrawler only lasts about a year. Gradually the dirt level will begin to rise and when the dirt level is close to the top of your bin, it’s time to harvest the worms.
Several of the first artificial cardiovascular system transplants were conducted in Louisville. My G’pa made a cu ft wooden box with purchased, finekly shredded newspaper which one miostened. The microorganisms in the soil need organic matter in the form of humus to thrive and make soil nutrients available to plants. Coffee grounds and filters, tea leaves and bags, fruit and veggie peels and cores, paper, rice, grits, and natural fabrics are all things that can go in the bin. Worms can't digest meat proteins or lactose, so no dairy products either, like milk or cheese. If your bin starts to smell bad, you're either feeding them so much that they can't keep up, or you're not burying the food well enough under the bedding. If you feel that you can't keep up with the feeding schedule, you have a few different options. When the hotel staff gets bored, they find new (yet safe) things to shred and feed to the worms. This is very easy to do and needs just a little bit of garden space and you can even do it in your basement or your garage. For those interested in making your own bin, there are many free guides available to help you along. If you have tried traditional composting methods before, you know it's a very time consuming an arduous process having to turn and aerate the compost by hand. The goal is to make them a small meal to feel them more at home as they acclimate to their surroundings.
Placing food on the next tray will encourage the worms to migrate upwards as their food supply on the current tray is exhausted.
Landfills are filling up at an alarming rate, and waste disposal options are becoming hard to find. Add a thin layer of fruit scraps, a thin layer of dirt, a tablespoon of fertilizer, chicken manure or urine, and a layer of leaves.
If you live in an area with very hot summers, you might need to keep the bin inside your house.

Worms are asexual, which means there are no male or female worms and all worms produce offspring. You should harvest your bin about every three months to ensure a healthy worm supply and a good mixture of castings and vermicompost. The worms will eventually move to the new bedding in search of food and you can remove the old bedding after one or two weeks. Louisville’s booming downtown medical research campus contains the unique $88 thousand rehab facility, and a health and fitness sciences exploration and commercialization recreation area that, in alliance with the University of Louisville, has lured nearly 70 top rated experts and objective.
I even was able to solely use compost instead of fertilizer or bagged soil in my garden (decent sized!) on year 3. My primary goal is to promote vermicomposting ( composting with red worms ) and teach people how you can transform your household garbage into rich organic fertilizer. Worm castings promote strong healthy plants, help suppress disease, and add an enormous amount of life in the form of microorganisms  and organic matter to our depleted soil. Composting  our food and yard waste keeps hundreds of thousands of tons [ and could keep millions of tons] of compost-able waste out of our land fills and returns it to the soil to increase soil fertility . Worm castings are a nutrient rich organic fertilizer and soil conditioner that boosts plant growth and health, improves plants disease resistance and adds organic matter to the soil.
Things like meat, bones, fatty foods and dairy products are not easily composted in a worm bin and may create unpleasant odors. Eggshells that have been washed out and ground up are also an excellent source of calcium for the worms.
If you have a lid on your worm bin and bury your food well, you should not have to worry about flies or maggots. Teach your neighbors how to compost and donate some worms to them, set your worms free -- although this is a waste of really good worms -- or go fishing. One famous story tells of a pair of corduroy pants left by a guest that were never claimed. However, it's worth noting that if you plan on making your own, it can be a very time consuming process. Worm composting eliminates all these problems as the worms, on instinct alone, will be the ones doing these dirty jobs.
As the worms continue to crawl up searching for food, it becomes very easy to harvest the worm compost in the bottom tray. All it takes for organic matter to decompose are ideal conditions in which worms, bacteria, fungi and bugs can work together.
It's important to remember that you need a balance of both nitrogen and carbon iin your worm bin. You can introduce your kids to the basic principles of taking responsibility for the waste they generate through composting.
Wring it out until it is the consistency of a damp sponge, and then fluff it up to form a layer about 6 inches deep in the bottom of the bin.
Sprinkling water onto your lid will create a humid atmosphere that the worms will enjoy while they crawl on top of their food at night. Unless you have a small bin sitting in the sun, the temperature will be the same day and night.
Wigglers and Nightcrawlers can survive temperatures up to 90 degrees for short periods of time, but it really stresses them. If you are breeding Nightcrawlers, order worms that are younger and at the beginning of their life cycle. As they do this, continue to remove the layers of bedding unto the bedding is gone and only the worms are left on the slab.
Louisville will be also residence to Humana, one of the nation’s biggest health insurance policy firms. I have been using red worms to compost my garbage, kitchen scraps and yard waste for three years. Gardening organically with red worms reduces the amount of house hold garbage going into our land fills and turns that garbage into a dark crumbly fertilizer which dramatically increases the fertility and life in our soil. Worm composting is an inexpensive and easy way to transform your house hold waste into nutrient rich fertilizer for your garden, lawn or house plants.
Foods like onions and citrus fruits can be composted in a worm bin but  should be used  in moderation. Worm castings are rich in humus and the microorganisms that support the whole soil food web and help to create rich fertile soil. These other insects are helping the process, making sure that you can compost even more of your organic waste. Managing a single bin and sorting the castings from the soil can take quite a bit of time and may not be the best option if you're not willing to invest that effort. If you've taken the DIY route, you will need to manually separate the worm compost from the other materials. Bury the food waste to avoid decomposing stenches and choose a different location each time you feed the worms. If the purpose of your worms is for fishing, buy European worms that are larger and are at the end of their life cycle.
I have been gardening organically for ten years and I have seen first hand the difference that organic fertilizer (and worm castings particularly) have had on my gardens.
These types of food are acidic and can lead to problems if alot of it is used in an enclosed worm composting system.
We mentioned earlier that worms breathe through their skin, so just imagine if your lungs were on the outside of your body and someone decided to rub salt and lemon on them -- you probably wouldn't appreciate it either. When sifting one day, an employee came across a button and a zipper a€¦ the rest had been eaten! You can also use it as mulch, spreading it on top of the soil after mixing it with a bit of topsoil.
I am passionate about organic gardening and sharing my knowledge of vermicomposting with other people and helping to change the way people think about the waste that we produce.
This gives you a way to carefully invert, and add food to an opposite end, say, each week, as well as cause the worms to migrate, up and down. I hope that once you see the amazing benefits from using red worms to compost your house hold waste that you will be hooked on vermicomposting like I am.

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