Sunday, March 14, 2010

My new redworms

Well, I ordered some redworms a couple weeks ago. They are very expensive but I think it is worth it. The least expensive place I found to buy them was Peaceful Valley, for $29, including shipping.

I made a homemade worm bin but unfortunately it didn't work out very well. I put a lot of thought into the homemade design too. The trouble is getting the moisture level right without creating an anaerobic environment which I ended up doing, even with all of the holes that I drilled into the bin. It ended up stinking and smelling like mildew very quickly. I used cardboard and garden soil, as many sites recommend. But cardboard repels water while the garden soil likes to soak it up. So it seems near impossible to get the moisture level right with two very different mediums. If I water water water the cardboard to try to get it to soak, the soil ends up way too wet. Frustrating.

I've tried to do worms once before, but I got them from a person on craigslist who I don't think really knew what they were doing. And my heart just wasn't into it.

So I bought the "worm factory" from a local landscape store for $69. That is the cheapest I've seen it. It is really much smaller than it appears in all of the photos. For many reasons I thought this would help with my issues.

Unfortunately, last time I checked my worms were dying. I bet that this is probably from the anaerobic environment that they were living in. But many did appear to be doing well, so I am hopeful. I combed through the worm factory manual to see if there was any other reason they might be dying. The manual says never ever give the worms pine needles because it will kill the worms, which I had done with my homemade bin. Of course there isn't any way for me to pick out all of the pine needles now, so I may just be sitting back and watching them die. I combed the internet to see what others had to say about pine needles. Most have no mention of it and several sites recommend it as a good medium. To me, not giving redworms some pine needles seems counterintuitive. But what do I know.

Needless to say I am frustrated. I am afraid to look in the bin now and wonder if I should just leave them alone for awhile and not mess with them. I am also contemplating contacting Peaceful Valley and asking for a replacement since their instructions have no mention of pine needles. We will see. $30 is a lot of money to spend on vermin, not to mention the investment I made in the worm bin.

3 comments:

Nature's said...

I am very sorry to hear about your struggles with the Worm Factory. I work for the manufacturer and we would love to discuss with you possible solutions to the problems you have mentioned here. Please email us at info@naturesfootprintinc.com for support.

Thanks,

Christina

Amy Manning said...

Actually I haven't had a problem with the "factory" itself, just the worms dying off, which I think is user error.

Grace Peterson said...

Hi Amy Dear~~ It's me again...catching up. Worm binning or I suppose more technically vermicomposting, is something I know a wee bit about. Have you tried shredded newspapers? My redworms loved them. And the coconut coir for bedding, are you using it? Veggie/fruit and eggshells were the only things I added to mine. Everything went fine until I mistakenly forgot to leave the bottom valve open. It got anaerobic
and all my little wigglers died. I've since discovered that contrary to what was written about red wigglers not being soil dwellers, they have found my compost and multiplied exponentially. I gave away my worm bin and they survive in my compost just fine. No problems with moisture or drainage.