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cristalhombre


Oct 11, 2006, 11:26 AM

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Vermicomposting - Worm poop

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It looks as if the thread regarding garbage disposals and composting food wastes has been locked. Those pesky moderators are never happy!

Anyway I have received five messages "pm's", since yesterday regarding info on worm bins. So I thought I would start this thread for anyone wanting more info. If you google 'Vermicompost' you will find a ton of info. As I said yesterday, I have been using two worm boxes for about 4 years. The boxes are those grey Rubbermaid storage containers (18 gallon size) modified with holes and an optional drain tube for what is known as Compost Tea. You can build your own and you will find instructions on the web. My boxes are in the garage right next to the recycle bins (paper, cans) for easy access. They are stacked one on top of the other and I rotate them about every other month. In the kitchen, I use a counter top plastic bin (large yogurt container) and fill that every couple of days with waste. Then out to the worm bin it goes. I harvest casting about twice each year. I need to do that soon (probably November) and the results will be about 10 pounds of usable compost. That will easily feed and assist my garden of likely 75 - 100 ceramic containers, mostly on the four decks around the house. I do not have a lawn or veggie garden, but it would work there too.

You could easily place the bin in your outdoor bodega, away from the sun. No smells and no attraction for other insects if you do the process correctly.

NOTE: The composting worms are NOT the night crawler types. You'll need red worms (Elsenia fetida) that you can buy online here in the states. About 2000 worms per pound/cost about $15.00 plus shipping. You will need about 1000 worms to start. According to my booklet here, 8 worms will multiply into 5000 in 6 months. They are hungry so you do NEED to feed these guys routinely. Also include all the stuff from your garden, as long as it is NOT woody materials. I have helped several neighbors start bins, just scoop out a grapefruit size mass and pass it on to your friends. Very easy to do this!!

Several advantages that I have noticed:

We are down to one can of garbage every other week vs. two cans each week in the past for our household of 3 (no need to expand the land fill areas). That alone cut my Waste Management bill by $30 bucks a month. I am a very committed recycler.

No septic problems.

No need to buy commercial fertilizers - good-bye Miracle grow!!

If you really want to help Lake Chapala clean itself up........the worst thing you can do is to use a garbage disposal. That organic matter is what keeps that nasty lirio fed.

The compost is "black gold" and I have experimented in container pots (my form of gardening) and NO doubt when you add a 1/2 cup of worm castings to the potting soil you get some very HEALTHY plants. The stuff is NOT hot like chicken or steer manure. If you want a healthy vibrant fushia basket worthy of a Sunset Magazine photo........USE worm poop!!! I experimented with daffodils in pots a couple of years back. In November I added a couple of tablespoons of castings to the top of the pot in November. Jeeeeez what a difference that made in the Spring, as compared to the untreated pots.

NO E-COLI issues as long as you keep animal waste OUT of the worm bin. That is a big deal for you folks living in MX. Human and animal waste used as plant nutrients are the sources of e coli.

This application for waste recovery (vermicomposting) is now becoming mainstream in some progressive cities. My notes from the class I attended years ago indicate that over 25% of all waste in a garbage truck could have been composted. That is a huge expense. Here in Portland/Vancouver ALL that waste is shipped up the Columbian River about 100 miles on a barge to a landfill the size of Rhode Island. That's kinda dumb in my opinion & very expensive!!

Check out the web....... there is a ton of information. One article attached.

http://thurston.wsu.edu/...h=%22vermicompost%22





"NOT ALL WHO WANDER ARE LOST...."




wendy devlin

Oct 12, 2006, 8:19 AM

Post #2 of 12 (8552 views)

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Re: [cristalhombre] Vermicomposting - Worm poop

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Thanks for your detailed description of vermicomposting.

A helpful suggestion for anyone wanting to dispose of vegetable/fruit waste AND end up with a high-quality soil builder.

Have a friend who is a Master Composter. Our local farming/gardening organizations always make room for her demostrations of vermicomposting at public events.

It seems that when people see the blue plastic bins stacked up neatly on a table counter, with the raw peelings entering a bin at one stage and then seeing the finished product in the other bin, the idea advances to the 'I could do this too." stage of thought.

No odors, no mess. Some thriving vegetables, flowers, herbs in pots, help round out the display.


Rolly


Oct 12, 2006, 9:10 AM

Post #3 of 12 (8545 views)

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Re: [cristalhombre] Vermicomposting - Worm poop

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When I lived in Tarzana (Los Angeles), I did a lot of composting and used worms to help the process. In addition to a regular compost pile, I built a large raised bed by composting in place. The first plants I put in that bed died. It turned out the compost was still active and too hot beneath the surface. Later, the next planting went gang busters. Best bed in the yard. The same thing could be done in a large pot on the patio.

My next door neighbor kept horses. She shared the barn cleanings with several of us in the neighborhood. Horse manure, unlike cow and chicken, does not have to age before it can be used; but I found it better to add it to the compost pile to speed up the composting. It has to be used sparingly because of high salt content.

I ordered worms from I forget where. When the package of 1000 arrived, I was incredulous -- no way there were 1000 worms. So I counted them -- just over 300. I wrote the vendor a letter saying I wanted my money back or send me two more packages of worms to make 1000. Many weeks later I got two more packages.

Here's a picture of the composted-in-palce bed.


If you want to see more of the yard, go here http://rollybrook.com/tarzana.htm

Rolly Pirate


(This post was edited by Rolly on Oct 12, 2006, 9:26 AM)


cristalhombre


Oct 12, 2006, 9:54 AM

Post #4 of 12 (8537 views)

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Re: [cristalhombre] Vermicomposting - Worm poop

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Thought you could all see just how mainstream this vermicomposting is becoming: Article in newpapers today AP News Wire 10/12/06

http://www.usatoday.com/...ks_x.htm?POE=TECISVA





"NOT ALL WHO WANDER ARE LOST...."



norma2002

Oct 12, 2006, 10:24 AM

Post #5 of 12 (8532 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Vermicomposting - Worm poop

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Rolly, where can a person obtain the worms here in the Guad/Chapala area?

Norma


Rolly


Oct 12, 2006, 10:27 AM

Post #6 of 12 (8530 views)

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Re: [norma2002] Vermicomposting - Worm poop

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I don't know. I wish I knew where to find some around Lerdo.

Rolly Pirate


cristalhombre


Oct 12, 2006, 11:24 AM

Post #7 of 12 (8525 views)

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Re: [norma2002] Vermicomposting - Worm poop

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Norma

Wendy (on this thread) posted that she has a friend that has been worm composting for sometime. I don't know where You or Wendy or her friend are located....Chapala/SMA/Oaxaca....no se??

But I can tell you worms are like "sour-dough bread" starter. You will only need about 1000 worms to start, and that is clump about the size of a grapefruit. Composters are always glad to share ideas, concepts and worms. I am sure you could find some worms locally. I would gladly give you worms if you were up here......but that is NOT the case. Also check to see if there is an organization like we have here in the states, "county agricultural extension office", they might give you a lead. Perhaps the Friends of Lake Chapala organization? Any organization that has ecological views should know of someone, somewhere. Probably not going to find any eco-information at a Republican party meeting. Guess that is a no-brainer.

Anyway...... don't give up, because it works very well and once you get going with it, the benefits are staggering. Less garbage, smaller land fills. no chemicals and GREAT fertilizer. °Que bueno!

When I talked with my gardener in Ajijic, he was opposed to any 'critter' PERIOD, in the soil or on the plant. When I told him about worms/composting, and the benefits, all he could comprehend were grub eating insects that destroy plants. There is no way I will be able to convince Javier of this concept. Hmmmmm. I will probably get beat up for this comment...(not a cultural bash)......but Mexicans seem to only believe what was handed down from others they know personally (not some crazy gringo worried about the ecology of the area). My worm composting ideas went NO WHERE fast. So I will do that on my own one day when I spend more time there.

Sorry.....MY point!! Perhaps Wendy can link you to her friend for red composting worms.

If that does not work I will bring you a handful in January. Are you in Ajijic?? Rolly do you want to come South to Ajijic for worms in January too.





"NOT ALL WHO WANDER ARE LOST...."



norma2002

Oct 12, 2006, 11:47 AM

Post #8 of 12 (8518 views)

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Re: [cristalhombre] Vermicomposting - Worm poop

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Does anyone know where to get worms in the Guad area? I don't have a car so it's difficult to get to somewhere at the Lake, but if that's the only place to get them, I guess I can find a way if I just know where!


Rolly


Oct 12, 2006, 4:51 PM

Post #9 of 12 (8491 views)

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Re: [cristalhombre] Vermicomposting - Worm poop

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Brad, thanks for the worm offer, but much as I would like to come down there for a can or worms, or for many other reasons, itís too late me. Vicissitudes if old age seriously interfere with my wishes to travel. My ability to walk is quite limited (no way I could walk the streets in Ajijic), and I am forced to sleep in a chair Ė I havenít been in a bed for more than a year due to breathing problems. (How many hotels or B&Bs have a comfy chair good for sleeping?) Iím still in pretty good shape from the neck up, but below the shoulders Iím a mess. I do well at the computer and the dinner table, and Iím still an insatiable reader, but a traveler I am not.

Rolly Pirate


cristalhombre


Oct 12, 2006, 10:00 PM

Post #10 of 12 (8475 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Vermicomposting - Worm poop

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Rolly

Sorry to hear about your health issues. Hang in there as you are probably the MOST sincere and knowledgeable person on this forum.

I hope you find Frida comforting. I love the stories of that woman. What a character she was!

Brad





"NOT ALL WHO WANDER ARE LOST...."



patricio_lintz


Oct 13, 2006, 12:35 PM

Post #11 of 12 (8454 views)

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Re: [cristalhombre] Vermicomposting - Worm poop

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I am interested in getting a can of worms! Where, When. I hate wasting food, banana peels, etc.

Also I live on a rock and gravel hill, sorely in need of top soil. Let me know when & where I can buy, rent or get some free.

www.flickr.com/photos/juan_patricio


garrycouch

Oct 14, 2006, 8:38 AM

Post #12 of 12 (8424 views)

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Re: [cristalhombre] Vermicomposting - Worm poop

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Good stuff about vermicomposting. My experience is:
Between the cities of Guanajuato and Irapuato, the U of Guanajuato has an agriculture campus. In a tiny puebla near that campus, a retired professor (I think) raises and sells the composting worms as well as the humus. A friend of mine who has a local vivero and I bought 2-3 thousand (we think) worms about three months ago and shared them. We started with several 5 gallon plastc buckerts, holes in bottoms and sides, some sand, good soil, bono de borrego, strips of wet newspaper (no color), covered with a thin layer of straw. We chopped banana peels, watermelon and cantalope rinds, etc (no meat or citrus) according to the prof's instructions. Now worms and humus are everywhere. I also have a large jardin in which I have a 7 foot diameter compost pile of grass cuttings and leaves. After two months of raising the worms in buckets, I put two buckets of worms in the compost pile... voila and eureka.... now my large compost pile seems to be a successful worm hotel. By the way, FYI -p tried unsuccessfully to find the worms at several viveros in this prt of Mexico.... got alot of blank stares. However, several sites in the U.S. offered to mail them to one of our border crossings.
 
 
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