Monday, December 18, 2006

Out in the cold! - Update on the bins...

This picture, taken the beginning of November, is the fresh pile of leaves (mostly maple) my neighbor has left for me after fall clean-up in his yard. The pile is probably about 4 feet high and about 6 feet by 10 feet for the biggest part. This is an on-going leaf pile I use for the worm bin. Even in the dead of winter I can dig into the middle of this pile and find workable material to put on my bins which not only provide a layer of breathable material, but act as a blanket on the worm bins holding in heat.

The handful of bedding to the right was the consistency of the lower layers in the bin at this same time, the beginning of November. It is important that while the weather is still mild, that the bins are turned to get air down into the bedding. Too much moisture and not enough air causes the environment to go anaerobic. This you can tell by the smell of the bedding. It will start to "stink."

Right now the outside temperature is freezing. Our high today was in the mid 30's and our low was in the low 20's. The leaf pile was frozen on the outer layer, but once I broke through that layer I was able to gather soft wet leaves from inside the pile for the worm bins. The worm bins were reading 56 degrees, with one of them reading 61 degrees. This was the bin I worked last time and added some food waste to, covering with a layer of leaves.

I have one bin which has no heat source. It has been without a heat source since the fall of 2005. So this is the second winter without heat. This has been my best performing bin.

The top layer is frosty looking, but when I inserted a compost thermometer it slid into the bedding material easily, indicating the bedding was not frozen. However, it was reading in the 30's. I did not disturb this bin at all. In the spring I will show you pictures of the worms in this bin. They have consistently out-sized the worms in my other three bins which have a heat source.

I don't work the worms as much during the winter for obvious reasons, it's cold outside... So I try to keep the beds cooler so the worms require less - less food, less water.

Hope your happy worming wherever you are.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

AACT - What's that?

AACT is the acronym for Actively Aerated Compost Tea. I have recently been dealing with a customer in Hong Kong who is an orchid hobbiest and he has been interested in using my vermicastings in brewing tea, so I have been busy gathering information for him. I will share what information I find here on my blog and on my website - VermiCulture Northwest.

What I have been reading lately has to do with chlorinated water. Chlorine in your water will have an effect on the bacteria in your tea. This issue can be solved in a number of ways.
  1. You can simply choose to let your water sit for 12-24 hours.
  2. You can aerate your water for a couple of hours.
  3. As pointed out by Dr. Ingham, if you add humic acid to your tea, it will change chlorine to chloride, and not effect your tea.

That's it for now. More later on AACT.

Happy worming,


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Nothing Short of Magic

We know more about the movement of celestial bodies than about the soil underfoot.
- Leonardo da Vinci, circa 1500s

Nothing short of magic is how I see the wonders of what my little workers will do with the likes of manure, leaves, shredded newspaper, and what we call garbage.

But, of course there is more than magic to it, actually it is science. And in reality it is more than one science - microbiology, ecology, soil science and agronomy.

Recently, soil ecology has developed to the where the lid on the black box of underground processes can be opened and we can try to comprehend the intricate equation that the symbiotic relationships between plants and micro-organisms creates.

Dr. Elaine Ingham is widely accepted as an expert in soil biology. Ingham's message has been summed up by one author in this way:

  • "Life on earth is sustained by a complex underground ecological system - the soil food web."
  • "Through ignorance, we've disrupted the food web, in particular with ill-advised farming and gardening methods."
  • "We can return the food web to health by restoring the soil biology." - Bart Anderson

______Here's a view of the soil the way Dr. Ingham sees it______

The Soil Food Web: Eat and be eaten.

The following information is taken from an excellent article at:

Soil food web in brief:

  • Soil food web - basis for life on the land.
    ~Breaks down dead plants and animals and recycles nutrients.
    ~Numbers and varieties of organisms are staggering.
    ~Reproduction rates are high (especially bacteria), and populations tend to boom and bust with different levels of oxygen, nutrients, heat, pH and water.
    ~Complex ecological relationships.
  • Soil food web is composed of several classes of organisms.
    ~Plants - roots and organic matter from plants.
    ~Bacteria and fungi - many varieties and functions. Most are decomposers, while many others are mutualists.
    ~Other members of the food web - protozoa, nematodes, arthropods, earthworms and higher predators.
    ~Predators eat other organisms and make nutrients available.
  • Soil food web is important for plant growth:
    ~Builds soil structure.
    ~Stores nutrients and releases them in forms plants can use.
    ~Protects plants against diseases and pests.
    ~Can tie up salts and harmful chemicals.
    ~Provides resilience and adaptation to changing conditions.
  • Some bacteria and fungi form mutualistic associations with plant roots. Both plants and micro-organisms benefit.
    ~Plant roots exude proteins, sugars and carbohydrates ("cakes and cookies") which attract beneficial micro-organisms.
    ~Nitrogen-fixing bacteria inhabit the roots of leguminous plants.
    ~About 80% of world's plants have symbiotic relationships with fungi (mycorrhizae).
  • Ratio of bacteria to fungi is different for different plant communities.
    ~Bacteria-dominated in early succession communities (bare earth, weeds, vegetables).
    ~Fungal-dominated in late succession communities (shrubs, trees, old growth).
    ~Equal balance of bacteria and fungi for most row crops and garden flowers.
    ~Bacteria/fungal ratio can be changed to favor different kinds of plants.
  • Soil food web is degraded in disturbed land.
    ~Enemies of the soil food web: compaction, tilling (turning), pollution, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers.
    ~Degraded food web invites pests, disease and nutrient problems.
    ~Chemical solutions aggravate the problem.
    ~Need to restore and enhance the soil biology.
  • Monitoring soil biology.
    ~Ingham advocates a "direct count" method, in which individual organisms in a sample are counted under a microscope.
    ~The result is a report on the numbers/biomass of different classes of organisms estimated to be in the sample.
    ~These numbers give indication about the health or problems with the soil. For example, a high number of ciliates (a group of protozoa) indicates anaerobic conditions.
    ~Many problems can be solved or alleviated by applying compost or compost tea, according to Dr. Ingham.
  • Compost
    ~Aerobic good, anaerobic bad. It should not stink (stink=anaerobic).
    ~Three methods discussed: thermal (hot), worm, and static (backyard).
    ~The balance between fungi and bacteria can be controlled by different feedstocks and methods.
    ~Monitoring compost quality is important - all composts are not created equal.
  • Compost tea is a convenient way to apply compost.
    ~Actively aerated compost tea (AACT) is what Ingham studies and recommends.
    ~Other compost teas and liquid amendments exist (some anaerobic).
    >Good compost.
    >Good (potable) water without chlorine or chloramine.
    >Good brewing machine, easy to clean. Ask manufacturer for data.
    >Appropriate temperatures
    >Appropriate food for desired organisms
    >Brewing times variable (about 24 hours)
    >Prompt application.

I invite you to read more about it at the link below. The article is extensive and full of excellent information.

See VermiCulture Northwest for the Tea Brewer I recommend.

What's important to remember is that no one factor is going to be a cure-all for whatever your problems might be. And like fine wine and intimate relationships, all good things take time.

Dr. Ingham advises there are limitations to compost tea:

Compost tea is not the end all "silver bullet" for all the problems that have developed in your yard over the years. Other practices, such as organic fertilizing, soil amending, mulching, aeration, etc., are also important to build and sustain a healthy yard and garden. The reality of it is that the soil, environmental and prior chemical condition of your yard all effect the overall health.

Take the time to read the above article and take the next step in taking care of your world.

Happy Worming,


Friday, October 13, 2006

Autumn Works!

Once the cooler weather starts to arrive, working in the bin begins anew. We have spent the hot summer months trying to keep the worms fed and the bins oxygenated without causing the environment the worms call home to over-heat and stress the worms.

The work I did in the bins during September caused a heat spike of 15 degrees:

For this reason I waited to work my bins until the temperature had dropped and likewise I will wait for the temperature to drop again before I continue working the bins. This is all relative to the daily/nightly temperatures reached this time of year in my area.

Once the temp comes down I will remove more product and add fresh bedding. This process will be repeated as many times as possible before winter sets in so that my beds are as full of fresh composting material as possible. With the onset of the cold winter months I want the bins to be producing as much of their own heat as possible. This is as good a scenario for the worms as it is for my power bill. (Although the bins have never cost me much to run in the winter, perhaps because of this strategy.)

As the daily/nightly temperatures cool I begin adding a wider variety of bedding material to the bins. Here you see a layer of leaves beneath the shredded newspaper.

After a summer of limited fresh bedding the worms happily go to town on this fresh source of feed stock.

For now our nights are in the 30's and we have had some frosts. The temp today at 11:44 A.M. is reading 55 degrees with blue skies and sunshine. Prrrrrfect!

For now, happy worming.


Where good things come from for body and soil.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

See What Your Workers Can Do!

The workers are of course the worms. It never ceases to amaze me what they can do in a very short period of time when the conditions are right. These worms eat and eat and eat constantly. They don't stop, except then they are mating. If you ever saw this you would know why. If I can ever get a picture of that one I will share it with you.

Anyway, let me show you what I mean.

Here they are, just beneath the surface of the bedding material. As long as the material has enough moisture content and it is dark enough, this is where they like to be. I have just brushed the top of the bed with my hand to expose these worms.

Here I have added shredded newspaper to the bin. I have been using manure all summer because it has been so hot and the manure was well composted. This meant that the bedding wouldn't add to the heat already building up in the bin. But now the bins are starting to cool down, back into the 70's and a nice layer of shredded newspaper is an appreciated change for the worms. They move into it overnight.

Within 6 days this is what the bins above look like.

So now I need to go out and feed my worms. Until next time happy worming!


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Your Soil is Teaming with Life

If a healthy soil is full of death, it is also full of life: worms, fungi, microorganisms of all kinds ... Given only the health of the soil, nothing that dies is dead for very long.- Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America, 1977

"Teaming With Microbes: A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web"
Sometimes scientists can talk over the layman's head and not even realize that the message is not being conveyed. This book is written in a very understandable language, that even a simple worm farmer like myself could understand and relate to. A must read for anyone who wants to learn more about the life producing your food.

Smart gardeners understand that soil is alive and what is in the soil is what supports plant life. Healthy soil is exploding with life - beyond the worms and insects we can see with the naked eye - there are a multitude of bacteria, fungi, and other microbial forms of life vital to the soil food web that sustains healthy plant life. Resorting to chemicals destroys this delicate balance and results in an unhealthy situation for the soil, the plants, and the environment. You can't destroy this balance and not have an affect on the people, the children, family and friends. As gardeners, farmers, and inhabitants of the Earth we have an obligation to the next generation to leave behind a healthy soil. Venture beyond your current understanding that good soil grows healthy plants and understand why...

This book is newly available and can be purchased now from by clicking on the buy link.
If you are interested in worm bin composting and you garden you have the beginnings of understanding why. Learn all about the why and strengthen your resolve to garden organically.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

What I Do When It's Too Hot!

Well, since that last notification of a posting to my blog was bogus I figured I had better sit down and have a little chat with you all, and since it has been hot, hot, hot here all summer long I guess it would be good to share with you what I do with the worm bins when it is hot.

Hot and dry will kill the worms way before cold and wet will. And since by the very nature of composting you are creating heat you need to use a great deal of caution when the ambient temperature raises to the point it's uncomfortable for the average human. Granted some of us "like it hot", I'm not one of them and neither are the worms.

Once the bin temperatures get into the nineties you need to start frettin' about losing worms. I usually know I have lost worm mass when my "tea" buckets fill up almost over night. Worms contain a lot of moisture and when they die from over-heating that moisture is released and ends up in my tea buckets. Boo Hoo!

One of the best ways to keep your bins cool when the temperature raises is to set up a fan to blow over the surface of the bedding. You will need to be adding moisture as the fan will cause evaporation, which will cool the bin but will also leave the surface of the bedding dry. This is where the worms want to be, but not if it is too dry.

Another way to help keep the bins cool is to control the amount of composting going on in the bin. To do this you watch what you are adding for bedding material, don't mix it up. Whatever your main source of bedding material is, for instance I use manure, that's all you want to be adding. And you want to make sure the worms have worked it up real good before you turn it. This can leave your worms wanting for food so, I use worm chow.

It's made by Purina and is very finely milled for the worms to eat. I can sprinkle it on top of the worm bin and the worms come up and eat it at night. The food is immediately available and does not have to compost for the worms to eat it.

I use an old flour sifter to sprinkle the food on top of the worm bin. This gives me an even spread over the surface of the worm bin.

The worm chow comes in a 40 lb. bag and one bag fits perfect in a tote to keep the mice out.

Another thing I have noticed when it's hot, the worms seem to like it better with the screen off. The screen restricts airflow, even just a bit, and the worms notice. I haven't had a problem with leaving the screen off in the summer. Come fall I will be putting them back on to keep the mice out of the bins.

So, that's what I do when it's hot. Sometimes instead of using manure in the hot months I will stick with shredded newpaper. And that's all I use for bedding is layers of shredded newspaper on top of the bedding. Or maybe I'll just use leaves. The main thing is just not to mix it up. If you mix it up you're gonna compost and add heat to a system that is already stressed by the heat of the day.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

New Web Site In The Works!

New website shows you exactly how I build my small 2 person worm bin, talks about the value of real brewed worm tea, worming with kindergarteners and how to proceed with a school project at the high school level. This site is devoted to worms, worm bin composting, and worm bin composting by-products. I will talk about castings, food stock, bedding material, and step by step how to.

Mother Earth's Farm will become an organic gardening site. There will be more information on organic fertilizers, composters, conventional composting, pests and pest control, gardening helpers.

For additional gardening tips you can check out Market Monthly News. This is a newsletter I write for the Kootenai County Farmers Market.

The Market is a place to find many treasures. Stop and see us if you are in the neighborhood. Stop by our website and get some ideas for starting your own Farmer's Market.

A lot goes into farming worms, gardening organically, and building a successful farmer's market where people come together to share unique creations, food grown safe and fresh, plants and flowers, music and friends.

The closer we get to Mother Earth the closer we get to each other. Come on Down!

Stop on by and see me, and feel free to drop me a line, Skype me, or send me a message.


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Worm Bin Composting | Maintaining the worm bin

Keeping the worms happy in the heat of summer
can be more of a challenge than that of winter!

As we move into the heat of summer, working the worm bin becomes a very delicate balance of keeping the bin aerated, moist, and fed. You want as little active composting going on as possible while still providing the worms with adequate nurishment. When the temperatures outside are in the nineties and climbing this can be a challenge.

I try to wait until the material in the bed has been worked very well by the worms. When I turn the bedding material, I will be incorporating air into the mix which will stimulate composting of any material that has yet to break down. In the picture below you can see the difference between the material that the worms have worked and that which they have not around the edges.
At the time of this working of the bins the temperatures here have been in the nineties. The bin I turned was reading a temperature of 81. The day after I turned it the temps went up to 97. That is actually too hot for the worms but by manipulating where the composting was taking place I am able to provide areas for the worms to go where they will be cooler. Since the bin is enclosed and the worms have no where else to go I absolutely need to do this or my worms will surely die.

The next picture shows the bin after the material has been turned. The worms have been disturbed and they really do not like this, but they are happy to have the air that is incorporated into the bedding material by this action.

The surface of the material will be rough and lumpy. I use a cultivator to break up the big clumps and smooth the area out.

Then a layer of food waste is spread down the center of the bin in a layer thick enough that you don't see the bedding material beneath it, but just. Don't put the food waste on too thick. Keep it to an area about 1/4 of the total surface area.

This is material my neighbor has saved for me and has been sitting in a bucket for about a week and smells pretty rank. I pour off any excess moisture before putting the material on the bed. If the material is covered properly with fresh bedding material then the smell will be covered as well and the worms will proceed to take care of it - smell and all.

The bedding material is horse manure that has been composting out in a designated area in my yard for over a year. The material is concentrated on top of the food waste down the center of the bin. As you can see it forms a mound of material on top of the food waste. The cable you see snaked across the top of the bin is the temperature probe. That is what tell me how hot the bin is. The probe is stuck down in the middle of the bin beneath the food waste. That is where it is reading 97 degrees.

The last thing I do is use my cultivator to smooth out the top of the fresh bedding to level it off some. I do not pull the material out to the edges of the bin. First off, the fresh material is dry and will take a few watering for the material to become saturated. The first couple of waterings the water just sloughs off. By leaving the area around the outside edges open the worms have friendly bedding material to come up into to feed and find cooler regions of the bin.

In no time at all (I was surprised that in this case the worms moved in to the fresh bedding overnight) the worms come back up to the surface to feed.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Harvesting a Worm Bin


Harvesting a worm bin for worms and harvesting for castings are two different things. If you are not growing worms as a commercial operator (as I'm assuming most if not all of you are not) then harvesting worms is as simple as taking material off the top of the worm bin which will be full of worms and sharing them.

However, if you are harvesting castings, which pretty much anyone growing worms will do at some point, then the process as I do it is revealed below.

Photo 1 shows the bin before I get started. Along the sides you can see the lines of where the product started in November when I move as much product from the bottom of my bins to one end to cure. The material continues to compost and dry. As the material finishes composting the volume decreases. Here is a shot of what the material looks like that I am harvesting from the worm bin.

On the right is the material I start with and on the left the finished product. Along with the leaves, manure, and shredded paper, I feed the worms food waste.

The first thing you do to harvest your bin is to get all the finished material out of the bin. Then you start moving the fresh bedding with most of the worms either out and into another holding bin, or in my case, I just work my way down the bin, piling the fresh material with the worms in it at the end of the bed.

This is the fresh bedding from the top filled with worms being piled down onto the top of the oposite end of the bed.

The picture above shows the layer of worms in the top layer of material. The finished material will be in the bottom 1/3 t0 1/4 of the bed. It depends how long the composting has been taking place since last harvest.

This picture shows the center of the composting area before it was disturbed, which is surrounded by uncomposted material such as the picture directly above this one.

This material is full of worms and will stay in the bin to populate the new bedding to be added.

The finished material at the bottom of the bin will be pulled down to the empty part of the bin, filling that end up.

The material with the worms in it will then be put into the now vacated portion of the bin, leveled out and new bedding material will then be placed on top. This new material will need to be smoothed out, watered, and watched to make sure the moisture level is brought up to where the worms like it. This may take a few days depending on how wet your bedding material was when it was initially added to the bin.

There, you are done. The finished material can then go into another holding area to continue drying if need be, screened if desired, and used for whatever purpose you have for it.

More pictures will be posted to further explain this process. Email me if you have questions or feel free to post a comment to benefit all.]

Happy Harvesting,

Where good things come from for body and soil.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Worm Bin Composting | After the Bin, What's Next


Once you have made your decisions about your bin, including location then the next issue to address is the bedding material. These are some of the materials I use for my bedding material.

I am lucky enough to live in an area where I have a neighbor who has a horse. Any manure is good as long as it has composted. You don't want the bedding to heat up, it will kill the worms. An excellent choice is cow manure, pig manure, llama, and/or rabbit. Another name for redworms is manure worm. That's because manure is a natural habitat for them.
I also use leaves. Worms love rotting leave. Put them through the lawn mower or a shredder to shred the leaves up.

The last thing I use a lot of is shredded newspaper. I lay it on thick on top of the bin and wet it down. It takes a few wettings to get all the paper fibers saturated. Once the paper is evenly wet it lays on the bin like a blanket. You can pull it back and feed under it. Then when you want to see what the worms are doing you just pull back the blanket. Eventually the worms will work their way up into the newspaper and start consuming it. There will be a time you will pull the blanket back and it will fall apart. That's when you work it into the bedding and start over.

The variety of bedding helps keep a wide spectrum of bacteria in the end product. Add a variety of food stock and you have a bacteria powered product to add to your soil.

So get out there and start gathering bedding material.

If you can't find any of these there is a product called Coir. It is made from coconut shells. It is much like peat moss but it is a renewable resource unlike peatmoss.

Where good things come from for the body and soil.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Worm Bin Composting | Start with the Bin

When you decide to compost with worms, that initial decision is the first of many. Aspects of what you want to accomplish will have an effect on what you finally do.

  • Will you compost outside with a conventional compost pile and add worms to that?
  • Will you compost in worm bins?
  • If you compost in worm bins, what size will they be?
  • Are you composting to handle your organic waste, for the by product, or both?
  • Do you want the bin in the house, the garage, or out-doors?
  • Do you want a plastic bin, a wood bin or perhaps you want to be creative with something out of the ordinary.

Whatever you decide, there is a plethora of materials out there to use.

I am a commercial grower and therefore my main bins are of commercial size. They are 4'x8' Fiberglas heated bins. Here is a picture of one:

Anyone who is a serious gardener and recognizes the benefit of using worm castings in their soil building program must also recognize that anything smaller than a 4'x8' bin would be insignificant. A bigger bin is easier to work and produces a great deal more product. The Fiberglas are nice but expensive. You could build one out of plywood quite easily and coat it in paraffin wax to help preserve the wood. In this way you can customize the size to fit your needs and space requirements.

If you want to do an in-door bin, or an in-bin as I call them here is a sample of that:

These can be made out of any plastic tote. It simply needs to be a solid color, not opaque as the worms do not like light and would not be happy in a bin that allowed light in all around. I like the attached lid of this bin and the hard plastic. Vents can be found at a builders supply store. Vents must be put in the top and the bottom as well as the sides. You can't have too many vents as long as you do not compromise the integrity of the tote. You need to be able to move the bin.

I have had people ask me about using old freezers, bath tubs, I heard of one person modifying an old phonograph to be a worm bin, and another had the bin in the window seat of the kitchen window. Really, you can use anything that will hold bedding material and will allow for the escape of excess moisture and the circulation of air. The less accommodating to these needs the more maintenance will be required.

Next I will show you the tools I use the most in working my bins. In the smaller in-bins the main tools are your hands and some rubber gloves.

Happy worming,

Christy - Wormnwomn

Monday, April 24, 2006

Worm Bin Composting | The Season Begins

While I do grow my worms in heated bins which keeps them active right through winter, with the warmer weather of Spring the activity in the worm bin picks up and the work begins anew.

In November I work to get as much of the finished material out of the bin so that I can fill the it up with as much fresh material fresh material as I can. Since I am somewhat of a fair-weather worm farmer, when the weather outside gets real inclimate I tend to hibernate a bit. Therefore, the worms tend to get a little more neglected. They are okay though because there is plenty of fresh bedding to get them through. But as the weather changes the fresh stuff disappears and the time draws near that I must once again start removing finished material and making room for more fresh bedding. It is time to start feeding daily again and getting the worms fat and happy.

It's wonderful how nature works, as right when it's time to start feeding the compost bin again with all the winter kill that covers the garden, the worms are ready to get busy too. Most of the material that goes in the compost bin now will be carbon material and will require quite a bit of moisture. Layer it with as much food waste as you can come up with and the worms will be happy.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Worm Bin Composting | Why are castings the best soil amendment?

Worm Bin Composting Why are castings the best soil amendment?

VERMI-CAST is a 100% organic fertilizer, and is completely safe to all plants, animals, humans and our environment in any concentration. It is the richest natural fertilizer known to humans. Plant growth trials at Ohio State University have shown that as little as 5% (by volume) produces “unique and remarkable plant growth responses.” The recommended rate is 10-20%. Unlike animal dung and artificial fertilizer it is absorbed easily and immediately by plants and will not burn . It also enhances the ability of your soil to retain water and even inhibits bacterial and fungal diseases. It will improve soil structure and aeration dramatically. It consists of thousands of durable torpedo-shaped pellets that resist compaction, creating a spongy quality to the material.

VERMI-CAST has not been sterilized and therefore contains a highly active biological mixture of bacteria, enzymes, and microbes. This material stays active for a long period of time. The microbial life in the castings are much better at transforming nutrients into forms readily available to plants than those you find in conventional compost- because the microbes in compost are thermophilic- so the microbial spectrum is quite different and much more beneficial in castings. This is all according to Dr. Clive Edwards, the world’s leading authority on vermicomposting.
The real value of Vermi-Cast lies in the soil structure, water holding capacity, the retention, drainage, pathogen control, and control of damaging fungi and bacterial life in the soil. The worm castings actually contain more bacteria than are found in the worm gut or in the organic matter the worm consumes. Microbiological activity is promoted in the soil, which is very beneficial for the environment your plants are growing in.
Vermi-Cast helps replenish biological diversity in the soil. According to George Hahn of California Vermiculture, “castings provide the biological engines of the soil.” They are the best source for a complete soil food web. A soil food web consists of thousands of biological species. With them you have a healthy soil. The result of this food web is a healthy cycling of soil nutrients.

Worm bin composting - why are castings the best soil amendment? They are simply put, nature's answer to replenishing the soil.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

WORM BIN COMPOSTING|What are castings used for?

Worm Bin Composting - What are castings used for?

Because of its nutrients, bacteria, humus, and soil building qualities, VERMI-CAST can be used in every application imaginable in the garden, greenhouse, and potted plants. Use it when planting trees, shrubs, flowers, and vegetables. Use it as a top dressing to feed plants already in a pot or in the ground. VERMI-CAST will never burn, so you don't have to worry about using too much. However, you get maximum growth improvement somewhere in the lower levels of concentration, 5-20%, not with 100%.

Worm bin composting - what are castings used for? Absolutely any time you want to add quality soil amendment to any plant whether it be in a pot, container, or in the ground.

Happy worming.

Where good things come from for the body and soil.
Subscribe to my new newsletter - "Worms In My Garden." Go to my website now. Request my free Worm Bin Composting Mini-Course.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

WORM BIN COMPOSTING|What are castings?

Worm Bin Composting - What are castings?

I call my castings Vermi-Cast.

What is Vermi-Cast?
We all know the advantages of having earthworms in our gardens. We are thrilled to see these little creatures doing their thing in our soil, and even relocate them when we find them so they will be where they will do us the most good. But did you know that there are more than 3000 species of earthworms, and of those only 6 species are important for improving our soil.
VERMI-CAST is the end product of the hardest worker of them all in worm bin composting – Eisenia fetida, also known as the “red wriggler”, “manure worm”, and “compost worm”. These earthworms produce castings or worm manure, which is the best fertilizer on Earth. It is extremely versatile as it works as a plant food, soil conditioner, and microbial activity enhancer for virtually any type of plant that grows.
VERMI-CAST is a worm bin composting end product unique to VermiCulture Northwest in that it is 95 – 98% pure castings. Most of your other worm bin composting products are a pulverized mixture of castings and partially decomposed organic matter. VERMI-CAST is processed through a fine screen to filter out the excess compost, leaving a very fine, moist product full of nutrition and beneficial bacteria that will produce amazing results in your garden, greenhouse and potted plants.
Worm bin composting - what is castings? Simply the best soil amendment you can use in any application.
Learn more about worm bin composting and how it's a perfect partner in your organic gardening by subscribing to my new newsletter, "WORMS IN MY GARDEN." More information to follow about this.
Happy worming and successful gardening,

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Worm Bin Composting|An Organic Choice

Worm Bin Composting - An organic choice for your garden.

We have known for hundreds of years that earthworms are the best way to improve plant growth and increase yield. Earthworm castings are a wonder product of Nature and will outperform any other organic product or chemical product available.

Let's talk about what plants need, and how worm bin composting can create a product that will meet those needs.

Plants need certain nutrients in fairly large quantities for them to be healthy. These include: Carbon, hydrogen and oxygen (which they get from air and water in photosynthesis); nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium and calcium (which they are meant to get from the nutritious soil); iron, zinc, copper, manganese, boron, and molybdenum are among the other trace elements that are vital to a plants well being and growth, if in smaller quantities.

Soil which is rich in composted material - like leaves, manure, and straw...and tilled in cover crops like buckwheat, hairy vetch, rye, etc. will have these nutrients in abundance. Add a high-quality vermicompost rich in beneficial bacteria and you have what's necessary to release from your soil exactly what the plant needs when the plant needs it.

Artificial fertilizers bypass the soil-living creatures which are vital to the natural chain of organic soil conditioning and plant fertility, moving straight to the root of the plant. They supply a limited range of plant foods, which dissolve quickly in soil, so they are all available at once. This means that plants can take up too much of one nutrient (such as nitrogen which leads to sappy growth, making the plant more prone to pests and diseases), and not enough of another (plants fed with too much potassium, for example, get magnesium deficiency and turn yellow). What the plant does not use is then often washed out of the soil, wasting resources and polluting the environment. Artificial fertilizers don’t contain all the nutrients required for healthy plant growth, meaning the soil is depleted of these nutrients if not replaced.

So get out there and start layering on some organic material, plan your next cover crop, and get started worm bin composting. It's the answer to successful gardening.

Worm Bin Composting - An organic choice for your garden.

Wormnwomn (that's me, Christy)
Mother Earth's Farm

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Worm Bin Composting|A Natural Choice

Worm Bin CompostingA natural choice

If you are a gardener you garden because you love it and you love the results...flavorful vegetables, beautiful flowers, a yard that is the envy of the neighborhood. Worm bin composting can help you achieve these goals faster and better with the added benefit of disposing of your organic waste in a timely and economical way. It's a natural choice for gardeners to make.

If you have never heard of worm bin composting and the resulting vermicompost, then now is the time to discover its secrets. When you go to Mother Earth's Farm you will lay claim to all the information you need to become a successful worm farmer.

Studies have shown that worm bin composting produces a product that will help build the quality of your soil not just give your plants a chemical shot in the arm. Worm bin composting replenishes the soil the way Nature intended. It is a simple miracle of nature that will bring great rewards to those who desire to learn the mystery behind worm bin composting.

Do it now. Learn about worm bin composting.

Make your gardening better.

Worm Bin Composting at Mother Earth's Farm

Monday, February 27, 2006

Worm Bin Composting Produces Superior Product Over Conventional Composting

Worm Bin Composting - Let's think about this a moment. Worm bin composting uses worms to do the composting. Therefore the temperatures in the bin must be able to sustain the life of the worm. These temperatures, ideally are between 68 and 72 degrees celsius. The worms can handle degrees below and above these temperatures but not without effecting the speed at which your worm bin composts. With temperatures reaching the extremes of freezing or 90 degrees celsius the worms will start to die. In a conventional compost bin the temperatures climb much higher than the ideal temperatures in your worm bin. These high temperatures kill everything, good and bad. Therefore, when comparing the two systems, worm bin composting and conventional composting, the bacterial life present in the worm bin composting system has a wider variety of beneficial organisms. This makes the product from your worm bin composting system a superior product, as it is the beneficial bacteria which is valuable when added to the soil as a soil amendment.

Some of you might worry about worm bin composting not reaching temperatures high enough to kill pathogens. Studies have shown the worm gut to be most astonishing.

  • Pathogens Removed Through Vermistabilization: "[Dan] Holcombe reported that tests performed on worm-worked material originating as bio-solids waste showed 'no detect' on such pathogens as E. coli and Salmonella as well as some enteric viruses. Not only is this report significant, but the process of vermistabilization (as Holcombe refers to it) means that vermicompost does not become inoculated with harmful airborne bacteria when exposed to unprocessed waste in close proximity." Casting Call, Vol. 1, No. 2 Casting Call is a bimonthly newsletter put out by Peter Bogdanov at I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in what is going on in the Vermiculture Industry.

So make yourself some better compost and start worm bin composting.

Happy Worming!

Worm Bin Composting

Welcome to my Worm Bin Composting blog. Here you will learn about Worm Bin Composting and why Worm Bin Composting is something every gardener should be doing no matter what size garden you have.