Wormery Help!!

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citizentwiglet
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Wormery Help!!

Post: #202308 citizentwiglet
Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:45 pm

Eeek, I don't know where to start!

I have been 'gifted' a wormery by a friend who has had no luck with it - all her worms (she reckons) have either drowned or escaped so, despite it costing her a small fortune, she has given it to little ol' me.

Thing is, it has come with no instructions (she can't find them) and no living worms. The worms aren't an issue, I can get a plentiful supply of brandlings from the community garden wormery, as their worms are breeding like, well, worms.

It's the plastic stacking type (looks a bit like a beehive), and I've spent hours googling for instructions on how to set it up correctly. It has four trays and a sump with a tap. There is some very manky looking coir bedding left (devoid of worms) in it, in just one tray.

Do I start it off with just one tray on top of the sump-tray, and then add another tray on top once the first is full? Or do I stack up all four, and just fill the top one (thinking that as the organic matter gets smaller it drops through to the lower trays?).

As I understand it, I don't need the coir, and could use shredded newspaper / non-shiny cardboard and a spadeful of garden soil?

As for the worms drowning, I think her mix must have been too wet or the damned thing is leaking somehow and letting in water.....I have read that putting a brick or similar in the sump will help with that by giving the worms something to crawl up onto and back into their dinner - is that right?

I've asked the vermiculturalists in the community garden, but they are all wormery snobs who hate the plastic ones (even free ones), the ones we have up there just look like big wooden ottomans, if you get my drift. They haven't a clue how a 'nasty plastic one' would work.........

Any ideas on how to get this big bugger up and running would be most appreciated! Thank you!! :flower:
I took my dog to play frisbee. She was useless. I think I need a flatter dog.

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Re: Wormery Help!!

Post: #202347 Green Aura
Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:05 am

We used to have one of the wheelie-bin type wormeries. Didn't have anysuccess with it at all I'm afraid so we left it in Manchester :roll:

However, I recall setting it up with lots of shredded newspaper in the bottom - I think the purpose of that was to keep the worms above the level of the liquid that's formed (worm wee?) that can be used for liquid feed. Other than that the only thing I remember was that you had to keep the composting mixture neutral-alkaline which meant adding lots of eggshells or calcified seaweed.

Oh, and you have to stop it getting too cold in winter - the worms burrow into the middle but in such a small area it still gets too cold for them. So wrap it with fleece or similar.

I'm sure when it's up and running it works just fine but after killing our third addition of worms and being left with a thick, clay-like, foul-smelling sludge we gave up. Sorry to sound so negative but we followed all the instructions and got lots of bluebottles for our work :roll: :lol: I still prefer my bokashi bins. :lol:
Maggie

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Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

grahamhobbs
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Re: Wormery Help!!

Post: #202356 grahamhobbs
Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:05 am

Don't know about how to set up this particular wormery, in fact I think all these proprietary products are a load of complicated rubbish. We were given a similar such thing, it never worked, the worms died/dissappeared.
I now use dustbins and old drums (like old oil drums but actually for food products) with a few small holes drilled in the sides a few inches up from the bottom. I only put vegetable waste, empty egg boxes and a little newspaper in. The worms arrive by themeselves and convert this into lovely rich compost. We do nothing except fill the bins. We fill one bin, leave it and start filling another. When one bin is completely converted to compost, we empty it and start again, simple.
The drums have good lids and we don't seem to produce much if any liquid.
So whatever you use, the secret seems to be the worms must be able to get in there on there own - so some small holes near the bottom, then just fill it up as you go.

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citizentwiglet
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Re: Wormery Help!!

Post: #202373 citizentwiglet
Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:27 pm

Thanks peeps!

It seems like I do put bedding-type stuff in each of the trays, stack them on top of each other, and fill them with waste food from the bottom up. Fortunately, I am getting some brandling worms free of charge so it won't be too disappointing (or expensive) if they escape. We'll see how it goes, if it's a pain in the behind we'll pass it on to someone else or donate it to one of the schools or something.

GA - I have just ordered my Bokashi bins at last, LOL! Thanks to Tax Credits and their handy little end-of-year rebate, I have a wee bit extra this month so I thought I would invest it wisely. The plan is (in an ideal World) to use the bokashi bins for more of the cooked waste (having two smalls means there are often plate-scrapings that need to be got rid of), and the wormery more for the uncooked waste (alongside the compost bin, which is getting perilously close to being full, and really ought to be upgraded to a hotbox).
I took my dog to play frisbee. She was useless. I think I need a flatter dog.

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Re: Wormery Help!!

Post: #202383 Green Aura
Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:07 pm

Great stuff - you'll never go back :lol: Although you can put cooked stuff in the worm bin too. They even eat bones, scary huh?
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

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citizentwiglet
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Re: Wormery Help!!

Post: #202397 citizentwiglet
Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:18 pm

I'm quite excited at the prospect of composting ALL my waste. As I gather, the wormery doesn't need more than about three handfuls of waste a week, and that most wormeries fail because the worms are overfed; the composter is nearly full (thank god, we've only got room for one, that's sat there being useless and half filled for the last three years but I've only just learnt that they don't really do their stuff until they are properly full). The Bokashi bins can handle whatever doesn't go to the worms, and the compost and liquid I get from that I have been told I can 'sell' (i.e. ask for donations) in the community garden for people to use in their beds, or their garden at home. Plus, as I understand it, I can use the finished Bokashi compost stuff as an accelerant in my compost bin, is that right?

Am far more excited about my Bokashi than the wormery, to be honest!
I took my dog to play frisbee. She was useless. I think I need a flatter dog.

http://reflectionsinraindrops.wordpress.com - My blog
http://www.bothwellscarecrowfestival.co.uk - Scarecrow Festival
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Re: Wormery Help!!

Post: #202399 Green Aura
Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:09 pm

You can either chuck it in the compost and it does speed it up or bury it in trenches in the garden - marvellous stuff. The liquid cleans your drains too! :lol:
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

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citizentwiglet
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Re: Wormery Help!!

Post: #202401 citizentwiglet
Sat Jul 10, 2010 12:01 am

So I hear!!!

I chose the (more expensive) airproof lids, in the vain hope they might also be 'toddler-proof'. A hope too far, I think.

Grahamhobbs - with due respect, how does your bin differ from my normal compost bin, which is full of Earthworms (amongst other things?). My bin uses brandling/tiger worms, not earthworms.
I took my dog to play frisbee. She was useless. I think I need a flatter dog.

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grahamhobbs
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Re: Wormery Help!!

Post: #202438 grahamhobbs
Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:05 pm

Citizenwiglet, not sure what your compost bin is like, probably you put all your garden waste in that as we do in ours, whereas we only put vegetable kitchen waste in the worm bins. Our worm bins are full of brandling worms and have never seen an earthworm in them.

I don't know about the problem of overfeeding them, we might put 3 or 4 buckets of waste into a bin each week, they just gobble it up. Since we got rid of the proprietary bin, we have had no trouble, we don't look after them, we do nothing but fill them up and empty them when they are ready. I don't even bother to save the worms to start a new bin, the worms just appear by themselves. The bins are of course outside at the allotment.

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citizentwiglet
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Re: Wormery Help!!

Post: #202485 citizentwiglet
Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:14 am

I wrote a really long reply, but my lappy crashed!

My last post sounded really snippy, didn't it? I apologise - I blame my friend's homemade scrumpy she donated to me last night. Doesn't make me very sociable!

Do you have brandlings in your allotment, then? For them to find their way into the bins, I mean?
I took my dog to play frisbee. She was useless. I think I need a flatter dog.

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Re: Wormery Help!!

Post: #202514 grahamhobbs
Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:09 am

I'd assumed brandling worms were everywhere outside, just put down some rotting vegetable matter and I'm sure they will appear.

I have to say I think there are a load of myths surrounding worms and wormeries, generated I imagine by people who want to sell them to you. They did a great job against the councils who bought thousands of them to give out. This is how we got our first wormery, it was completely hopeless because the worms couldn't get in or out on their own, so if conditions wheren't right they just died - and then I guess you were supposed to buy more worms, more worm food, more worm this or that, etc. and to worry and worry about what you were doing wrong.

Now I don't worry about anything - I put vegetable waste in a bin and the worms come and do the rest.

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citizentwiglet
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Re: Wormery Help!!

Post: #202672 citizentwiglet
Mon Jul 12, 2010 11:15 pm

Mmm. The cynical side of me agrees with you, Graham....but then, I know quite a few people who have the stacking bins like mine and have run them for years, but most seem to agree that it isn't quite as easy as the instructions say it is.....as you say, they have products to sell, so they don't want to sell you something foolproof, do they?
I'm glad I've been gifted mine - I don't think I would have gone to the trouble of buying one, not when the bokashi can do everything I want; but I really want to at least try and make a go of it, for the sake of the lovely woman who gave it to me who was, frankly, devastated at not being able to do anything.

I don't think we have brandlings here naturally - but I am on a council estate where there is not a great deal of top-layer food available. We also have a problem in the vicinity with New Zealand Flat Worm, so a bin where worms could get into it would not be recommended for us, as a flat worm getting in would decimate the wormery. I have to mix garden soil with the bedding, I've been advised to take this from my mother-in-law's garden, as their area is flat worm free. If it take it from my own garden, there is a chance that either a flat worm, or its eggs, might get into the wormery. I've only seen one in my garden - I squashed the bugger - and that was about 18 months ago. Digging over the herb patch, I unearthed LOADS of earthworms, so I'm hoping the bugger was a one-off, but I just need to err on the side of caution.

We'll see how it goes, anyhow. I'll keep you posted, and thank you for your help xx
I took my dog to play frisbee. She was useless. I think I need a flatter dog.

http://reflectionsinraindrops.wordpress.com - My blog
http://www.bothwellscarecrowfestival.co.uk - Scarecrow Festival
http://bothwellcommunitygarden.wordpress.com - Community Garden


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