Sunday, July 19, 2009

Vermiculture Update

It might sound a little odd but I just love my bin of red manure worms. I always end up with a silly grin on my face after digging around in there. I was almost embarrassingly excited when I first noticed cocoons. Cocoons means that plenty of happy worm sex has been happening and that baby worms are on their way, to the tune of 1-5 per cocoon.

About two months into the process we got a few days of rain which kept me off the farm and kicking around home. Since I had been wondering whether my worm population was holding stable, or even increasing, I decided to pull the box apart, count all the worms, and repack the box.

I likely missed a worm here or there (although I may have had the odd cocoon already release its baby worms, which I would have missed) but I ended up with around 160 worms, which is a few more than I had started with. Of greater importance though, most of these worms were significantly larger and thicker than any I had bought from the Canadian Tire bait section. Here is the lot, all in a bunch:

After all the composting materials and the worms were put back into the box, a new top layer of cardboard bedding was added and moistened with a spray bottle. I then chopped up a nice macintosh apple and put it in as a nice treat for the happily breeding buggers. Subsequent searches had led to discovering a large number of cocoons. Not only that, but I am now discovering many broken open cocoons and a large number of baby worms.

Within a month or two, this should be one VERY active compost box. When I started, one of the things I wondered was how I could tell the difference between the dry cow manure that has been added and the worm castings. Well it turns out to not be such a difficult thing to do...the castings really do look just like little turds. The castings are already beginning to pile up and I have some plants already looking forward to them!

Until next time, brothers and sisters, be good to each other.


linda said...

Would it be possible to weigh the worms rather than count them? I am sure that this would be tricky since they do grow though.....just personally not seeing loving them enough to count them if I tried this. Still working on getting over that prissy side I have hiding in the shadows! Glad yours are doing so well. Keep us updated!

SoapBoxTech said...

If waste processing is the main goal, I don`t think either counting or weighing is that necessary. I did it because I love digging around in there and seeing just what all is going on.

Walter Jeffries said...

Worms are cool. I love turning over a board or rock, a clod of dirt and seeing them. They tell me the soil is doing well. In the good soils I see lots of them.

Over on my Sugar Mountain Farm blog on the post about the piglet horde post you asked about how many there were and mentioned farm internet access.

I saw groups of piglets of 8 to 12 each converging. They would get close, the smaller ones would skitter back, then they would start edging closer. At points there were probably 30 or more in one cloud of piglets.

We've thought about giving the pigs internet access, they really want to blog, but they can only two hoof type. Still, that's better than the hunt and pecking of the chickens. Although, come to think of it, that in turn is better than their hen scratchings. Probably we'll need to use Wi-Fi to avoid stringing more wires all over the fields. I wonder if the fences can act as distributed antenna giving access all the way out in the high paddocks...

Keep your hands dirty!



SoapBoxTech said...

lol You're nuts Walter.

Thanks for coming over here to answer!

MoonRaven said...

Wow. That sounds great. I have been enjoying our regular compost which is chock full of earthworms. A friend of mine (more knowledgeable than me on worms) pointed out the worm cocoons, saying we would soon have even more worms on the way.

Hooray for happy worm sex! Enjoy your worm box and castings.