worm farminggreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
Was very interested in the idea of using a bath tub as a worm farm. I tried to keep worms once but the whole thing had to be brought indoors to stop them dieing of cold. Can anyone tell me how you farm worms outside during the winter? Or do I need to put the tub in the barn? We are in a fairly mild climate but it does freeze some weeks of the winter. Sarah.
-- sarah Matthess (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 24, 2000
if the climate is mild, just put straw bales around the tub for insulation
-- stan (email@example.com), March 24, 2000.
My mom used to raise worms in an old chest freezer. When winter came, she just put a thick layer of leaves on top of the dirt. You have to leave the lid propped open some all of the time though, and in summer she left it completely open. In winter she propped it open about 2 inches. She fed them unmedicated chicken feed or cheap dry dog food in addition to table scraps. They seemed to love coffee grounds.
-- Green (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 24, 2000.
I'm the one who is considering raising worms in the bathtubs I have. I bought one of the worm raising containers ($69) from Gardener's Supply and the worms, of course. I had them in my home and fed them my scraps. I am a vegetarian and they ate everything I put in there. The specially loved coffee grounds and grapes! They did not like onions and citrus rinds. I used to get carrot juice at a health food store and they would give me the carrot mash -- the ground up carrots the juice had been removed from -- and the worms liked that a lot. For bedding I used potting soil -- not the kind with the additives, the kind that is composted peat and spagnum mosses. I had such a great reproduction rate that I had to keep dividing them. Rather than pay $69 per container, I got plastic storage containers in approximately the same dimensions until I was up to six. I had a big die-out in a couple of them, so you have to be careful not to let their bedding get too acid or wet. I found out they love alfalfa pellets -- the kind you feed horses or rabbits. They also like cornmeal and grits.
Finally they got to be too much for me in the house, even though they were making really great compost for my garden. I put them in a raised garden bed which I covered with leaves. I got a lot of stale bread over the winter and threw that on the bed for the worms, but it attracted birds, who ate the bread, scuffed up the leaves, and added bird turd to my mix. In the spring I had Godzilla sized, very healthy worms! It was a great idea until -- this is so sad, sniff, some moles discovered my worm bed. They moved in, had babies, and the next thing I knew, my lawn was full of tunnels and all my worms had disappeared!
So that is why I am thinking of the bathtubs, because of the cataclysmic disaster with the greedy moles!!!!! And yes, I wonder about the winter and if they will freeze. I think the idea of insulating them with straw bales is a great idea.
Oh, and you need to keep a cover over your worms or they migrate -- burlap or carpet -- something that keeps the light out but lets air in.
-- Elizabeth Petofi (email@example.com), March 24, 2000.
Elizabeth, you might try digging down deep enough the worms won't freeze, then lining the hole with screen mesh like is used on windows. You would have to close the seams somehow to keep the worms in the and moles out. Then back fill the hole and add worms.
We have night crawlers here that just live in the woods. Some of them get as big as a new pencil. Great for fishing. We just go out in the woods and dig up the leaf mold when we want rich dirt for something.
-- Green (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 25, 2000.
Cow manure provides both food and warmth. A dairy farm is a good source. You have to be careful that they have not just wormed their cattle. A light that lights the surface of the bed is supposed to keep them from all leaving during thunder & lightening .Hope this helps. Eagle
-- eagle (email@example.com), March 26, 2000.
I have raised red worms for a few years now in southwest missouri. Our winters can vary from relatively mild to extreme cold. I keep my worms in raised beds on the ground. Each fall I have an excess of leaves. I fill each bin to the top with leaves. Each spring I have more and more worms. If anyone is interested in sharing info on red worms or needs some please e-mail.
-- Shawn (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 07, 2000.
I am just starting a worm bed in a bathtub, loved the idea of straw around it in winter (we are in SW Tennessee East of Memphis). Also the alfa pellets interested me, I am putting the tub with worms next to my rabbit cage so I san easily shovel their manure into the tub.. I visited a web site that grows worms and rabbits, (K&W Rabit and worm farm) it had great information. Good luck everyone, happy worming.
-- allison canale (email@example.com), April 19, 2001.