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Rza 03-28-2012 06:44 PM

Worms as Pets
I wasn't sure where to put this thread because I just realized there is no Organics section on the forum.

Anyways, I just set up a worm bin and was looking to see some other peoples shots of theirs and share advice. This is the 3rd or 4th one of these I've done and they are very simple. I really love worms as pets and friends. Total cost is about $100 (worms are included in that cost), about as much as buying one, but those are for sissies and this one is of better construction and can handle more worms and feed.

I started with 2 pounds of worms from one supplier and 250 from another and they've already adapted and are doing well in the 7 days since I've set it up.

Just like cannabis and most other things in life, the castings that you can buy commercially are far inferior to those that can be produced yourself. Commercially available castings are produced from worms that are fed literal shit/sewer sludge and/or strange feeds that boost their reproduction. The same force that brings us all here applies almost directly to raising worms; making your own that is better than what you can buy. In this case, in order to grow the dankest, you need the dankest nutes, and newsflash it isn't found in a bottle =) And castings aren't just nute, they are soil structure, high CEC, high aeration, high microlife, high water holding capacity. My indoor style of growing revolves around planting shallow in small containers and transplanting and adding castings continually throughout the grow.

I like to use lots of perlite! It helps aerate the mess, gives the worms something to help grind food in their gullet, and gets soaked in worm piss and micro goodness. Wouldn't it be nice if you could buy perlite that was pre-soaked in worm piss and hadn't been sterilized? And I've added ammendments in the past like kelp and dry stuff like Peace of Mind, but I didn't get enough time to play around with that.

This is the system I've come up with, which is pretty damn close to all the ones you read out there:
-3 Plastic Bins with 1 lid
-One spigot with washer and nut
-One roll of screen, finest possible
-One tube of Silicone or similar caulk
-2lb of Red Wrigglers
-One newspaper cut into shreds
-A screw gun and some small bits
-some 2x2's to make the wooden bases

I just set this one up so it is currently only one bin. I like to keep them in just one when they start because that is the most critical time and you should really keep a good eye on them at first (also why I get 2lbs). No holes in it yet but I did put in the spigot, this bin will be the bottom one when it's all setup. Have two identical bins with holes in the bottom that the worms can fit through and lots of smaller holes around the outside and lid that are covered with screen that is held in place with silicone caulk. The air holes are key and should have a screen in place that can stop bugs the size of fruit flies. I've hooked up a PC fan in the past but found that to be a little overkill, passive air is fine. I was just getting ready to build the wooden base that will support the bins. I can show pictures when it's done but it's not hard to imagine a square wooden frame that rests inside the bins and supports the one above it (need 2 of these). Three bin system, one stays on bottom to catch runoff, the two above rotate when harvesting worms/castings.
My daughter loves them to death and wanted to give her new pet friends a kiss. She did it, too! One of the best lessons I'll ever teach her =) "It's called a symbiotic relationship......"

BillyBadGrower 03-28-2012 06:52 PM

HI Rza,

very interesting post. i grow in coco but i will be switching to organic soon (wanna grow my mango haze in it) probably bio bizz soil and nutes, would u recommend worms for that?

good idea for an organic forum here tho, its your suggestion, PM shanti


Rza 03-29-2012 02:14 AM

Yo Billy good to see you again.

Fresh worm shit is the greatest plant soil on the planet. It's only problem is that it holds water too long to be used by itself indoors, although I'm sure it's been done. I'd say go for it and best of luck to you and your plants. I'll hit up shanti/admini about that, I'm sure they'll be in.

I went and turned my compost pile this afternoon. Fresh compost is the second best plant soil on the planet =). If you don't want to mess with the worms you can always do it this way and add your food wastes into this pile. This is the before picture, which is a full season's worth of grass clippings and food scraps in a pile covered with all the leaves of the fall. It was at least twice this size before the winter.

This is the picture after turning. There were thousands of big fat earthworms all up in the pile. It took an hour of hard work. I should've turned it at least once before, the grass clippings had turned into a mush in some spots. It will reduce in size again to about 20% of this.

I like to make it this way, low and slow, no tumblers or anything. It requires 1 year of time, a few turns, and the ability to collect your grass clippings and leaves into a pile. You make the pile naturally over time. Right now I'll start a new pile of clippings next to it and wait for this one to break down. Use one while you build the next, and then switch back next year. It's really that easy, just takes patience.

Only warning I would give is let it sit somewhere indoors in a quarantine section for awhile before using it in an indoor room. Gives it time to let the food chains break up and larger life die out.

PatrickStar 03-29-2012 02:41 AM

Beautiful thread, R :)

The hardest things for me to leave behind when I moved out west were my compost piles, worm bin, and recycled soil. Lol, I'm working with the worlds smallest compost pile right now, but it's cooking :D Taught the dogs to pee on it. ;)

Im my old setup, the worm bin was made of worms collected from the compost pile. It took me ~1 month of ~4-5x's spending 10 min collecting worms. I started the worm bin with lots of 1/2 done leaf compost, and fed them coffee grounds, eggshells, and banana peels. Occasional maxicrop water or pee water, but not often. I seemed to get a large population of tiny lil worms, but they did plow through the stuff I put in there. No meat, no dairy, no citrus.

Supposed to get a storm rolling through starting 2moro, I'ma go collect some worms if it does :D

Rza 03-29-2012 06:24 PM

Yo Patrick, good to see you

I thought I caught some mention of you moving, glad to hear about it. So you are legal now? I really hope you are, I'd be super happy for you and only slightly jealous =)

This is a new spot, too, so this year was the first. BTW I am a fellow pee feeder and proud of it. I think me and you both don't like going to the hydro store LOL (one of the most plastic places I've ever been in). I actually read a book about using my own shit in compost, too, but that gets a little more involved and I never went that far (The Humanure Handbook or something like that, and you'd have to make sure it got thermophilic). Always wanted to tell my friends after blazing that it was grown with my hot steaming deuces =) Guy who wrote the book talks about how they'd have people over for dinner serving things from their garden and tell them half way through about the compost.......funny little social experiment. They'd go on about how good the organic food was until they found out; supposedly some people didn't think it very cool....

Yeah, I should've mentioned the 'no meat, dairy, citrus' thing in worm bins. A whole bunch of orange and grapefruit peels caused my first mass exodus/accidental genocide =)

And I've tried it with Earthworms, too, but once you get Red Wigglers they just don't compare. Red Wigglers are bred for casting production. They are very good at it. Make Earthworms look like they are in kindergarten. Start with 2lbs if you can for a better success rate. PM me in a few months once my numbers are up and I'll send you some of mine.

Take care

deran 03-29-2012 06:29 PM

would it be possible to make a basic schematic painting of that 3 part system, or a good link to some sketches

im more the visual guy, than with written words, also i guess it would be also useful for a handful of fellow users here as well


PatrickStar 03-30-2012 05:01 AM

Bobb-O :)

My neighbors used to look at me funny for smelling my compost, then they tasted my squash. Next summer they looked at me funny for peeing to fertigate the veggies, then they saw the size and production of my garden. The next summer they were playing the - "..guess what we used to grow these veggies..." trick on their friends :D:p:D

I read something about the humanure, too. Seemed like it was as simple as a bucket, a lid, and the right amount of hardwood sawdust. Lol, I'm still weening off my PBP bottle :p My soil isn't right just yet, and I can't afford a yield hiccup in the name of 'organic pride', so I gotta make due with what I got. Soon come :cool:

PS, fukk the haters, bro. Keep spreading the love. :)

EDIT - Gratuitous homemade castings shot :D Gonna get some worms over the weekend, thanks for the inspiration, Bobb-O. There are COMPETING castings manufacturers in my town :p Welcome to NorCal :p

TheLordWinter 03-30-2012 08:50 PM


BucketBong 03-30-2012 10:53 PM

Great thread ty mate
Great thread thanks Rza , I liked to use a mix of 30% fresh worm castings (that I scored off an old lady who had a thriving little worm farm - small business ) and 70% river sand in my outdoor pots with some dynamic lifter organic fertiliser at the top and bottom of the pots. I reckon these worms could make plenty of poo ;)

Giant Gippsland Aussie earthworm .

TheLordWinter 03-31-2012 02:00 AM


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