Composting Worms

Heather Rinaldi, owner of the Texas Worm Ranch (www.txwormranch.com), taught a great interactive vermicomposting class this past weekend.  The event was hosted by the Dallas Backyard Vegetable Gardeners, which I’ve already learned a lot from.  Heather has been an organic gardener for many years, and uses worm castings and aerated worm compost tea to produce organic, affordable and successful vegetables and to maintain her chemical-free yard and landscaping.

Heather was a big fan of worm compost tea.  She said if you buy this product (or even bagged worm castings) in a store, you are losing much of the benefits of what the worm poop has to offer.  (the microbes die off pretty quickly when starved of oxygen)  This is her worm compost tea (worm wine) recipe:

  • 1 gallon of water (rain water, or dechlorinated tap water)
  • 3 oz of worm castings (use tea bag if you desire to spray through fine nozzle)
  • 1 tablespoon of horticulture molasses
  • brew in bucket w/ aquarium air pump/stone for 24 hours
  • apply before nightfall, avoid UV light
  • use within a day

Some other notes from her class:

  • Worm bed should be layered:  bottom 2″ to 5″ should be finished compost, with bedding (shredded, wet, newspaper, or cardboard) on top of that.
  • Placing a rabbit hutch above worm bin is excellent way to feed worms
  • apply worm wine every 10 days to plants
  • try to avoid placing worm compost out in direct sunlight, better to cover to protect from microbe-killing UV
  • use no more than 10% worm compost in with potting soil
  • feed worms every 3 days
  • avoid pineapple and papaya always
  • little bit of citrus is tolerable, but avoid in general
  • small amounts of bread, rice, oatmeal are ok
  • fruits are best – coffee/tea grounds, vegetables are good
  • add eggshells, offsets acid
  • feed one handful of food for each pound of worms
  • if ants are in worm bin, add moisture

Previous posts on my worm farm: 1 2 3 4

 

 

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