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Seattle WA. Zone 7
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Sherri
Mar 16, 2012 10:19 PM CST
I'm curious to hear about anyone's experience with worm bins. I live in Seattle, so it's about zone 8ish. There is a man that advertises the bins but he talks about overwintering the bins inside. That is concerning me a little. I could find them a spot in the garage, but what have people's experiences been? Thanks for your time.
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
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kqcrna
Mar 17, 2012 4:49 AM CST
That's the reason I've never done it either- they'd have to winter inside in my climate for sure. I don't want anybody else to take care of. And while my husband puts up with all the goofy gardening stuff I do, I think a box of worms in the house would put him over the edge Hilarious!

I have been doing spring cleanup in my yard. As usual in spring, my beds are crawling with big fat worms and full of their extensive tunnels.I'm sure they're making direct deposits for me. Thumbs up

Karen
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Mar 17, 2012 5:36 AM CST
Sherri -- Dave wrote a good article on vermicomposting that is the Articles tab here on ATP.

http://garden.org/articles/view/dave/150/Vermicomposting-Eas...

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
And in the end...a happy beginning!
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Horseshoe
Mar 17, 2012 8:41 AM CST
Glad your brought that article back up, Tee. This is the perfect time for folks to start a worm bin...warm weather is on the way, new life is springing forth, garden time is right around the corner for many of us.

Sherri, I kept my main bin outdoors for a number of years and I think we get colder here than your zone 8. There were some cold nights sometimes but I put in a small (very small) wattage light bulb to keep the bins warm and active. My bin was an old chest freezer and it worked perfectly; the insulation in a freezer buffered the temperature extremes, keeping it cool in the hot summers, mostly keeping it from freezing in the winter. The light bulb kept the soil warm and kept the worms from going "dormant", making the bin activity year round.

I also used a heat tape for a while, too. You know the kind you lay out on a bench/table and put plant flats on for good germination. That works, too, and those come complete with a thermostat on them.

If you can keep a bin in your garage, work shop, or the like though I bet you won't need either the light or heat tape.

Shoe
Seattle WA. Zone 7
Charter ATP Member
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Sherri
Mar 17, 2012 9:13 PM CST
Thanks guys! I will look into that article too.

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dogpack
Mar 18, 2012 11:47 AM CST
Ah, worms!
Has anyone kept some in the pots for their house plants?
I would like to do this, however, I don't want the worms to crawl through the holes in the pots and escape then die. I want live healthy worms who will stay inside the pots. Any ideas, experiences, suggestions, or worms known to like indoor living with house plants?

Gardening outside is quite a challenge so I garden inside the house with my plants. :-)
Has anyone successfully grown a pineapple from the top section? I've been in the forum asking in different places just in case someone has any ideas. My pineapple is going dull to brown. Maybe a few worms may help, who knows.

What worms are mostly house plant friendly?
I understand that if it gets cold enough the worms will bunch together in the middle of their container to survive, but I don't know how true this is at the moment.

Perhaps I'll find some time to do some worm research. I'll let you know if I find anything.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
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SongofJoy
Mar 18, 2012 12:03 PM CST
Yes, on the pineapple top. It's not too difficult.

Worms often find their way into the house in pots. And they generally stay where they are because dirt is the environment that suits them.

Thumbs up
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller

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dogpack
Mar 19, 2012 9:48 AM CST
Sounds good to me. Thank you for the information. What is the best wya to introduce worms to potted plants? How do you keep them alive? Any other information I should know?
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
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SongofJoy
Mar 19, 2012 10:06 AM CST
Earthworms and soil just go together. They find their way on their own. They remain alive the same way they do in the soil outside. Don't put them in any plants that are xeriphytic (cacti and succulents) or that won't get regular watering, but don't drowned them either. You can usually tell that you have earthworms in a pot when you see worm castings (worm poo) coming out the drainage holes. A lot of people don't seem to like earthworms in their houseplants, but I personally think they are great soil aerators for potted plants ... probably not for small pots but I've had no problems with them in larger pots. If they die, they just turn into more fertilizer for the soil. I'm ONLY talking about earthworms here and not the little worms you often find in potted plants and definitely should eliminate asap!

This is a personal opinion only. Green Grin!
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller

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dogpack
Mar 20, 2012 10:52 AM CST
Earth worms are a friendly creature which halps plants and nature, so I'm ok with them and certainly don't want to do them any harm.
Name: Linda
Bellevue, WA (Zone 8a)
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In2art
Aug 2, 2015 5:30 PM CST
I'm also from the PNW, zone 8a. I keep a very active worm bin, and it is inside the house next to the sliding glass door. There is no smell or worms escaping, but it is not my dream scenario. Eisenia foetidus (Red Wiggles) have a comfort/active range of 40-80 degrees Fahrenheit. It's too cold outside in winter and too hot this summer. In cooler summers, I put it outside the slider in the summer, but have to be mindful of sun shining on it.

Our garage is not attached to the house and I just wouldn't feed them regularly if I had to haul the scraps out there several times per week. My next home will have a utility room between the kitchen and outdoors (ideally the kitchen garden would be located right outside), and I will put it under a cabinet where it would be out of sight too.

In the meanwhile, I really want the vermicompost for my garden...it is about 7x more bioactive than regular compost, and I'm trying to cure verticillium wilt in one garden bed using it. It's truly amazing stuff.

I have a worm factory 360 and have been very happy with it for several years.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
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RickCorey
Aug 28, 2015 3:54 PM CST
Good luck wiping out the v. wilt! It sounds like it has a huge economic impact.

http://www.apsnet.org/edcenter/intropp/lessons/fungi/ascomyc...
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
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joannakat
Nov 6, 2016 4:16 PM CST
In2art said:I'm also from the PNW, zone 8a. I keep a very active worm bin, and it is inside the house next to the sliding glass door. There is no smell or worms escaping, but it is not my dream scenario. Eisenia foetidus (Red Wiggles) have a comfort/active range of 40-80 degrees Fahrenheit. It's too cold outside in winter and too hot this summer. In cooler summers, I put it outside the slider in the summer, but have to be mindful of sun shining on it.

Our garage is not attached to the house and I just wouldn't feed them regularly if I had to haul the scraps out there several times per week. My next home will have a utility room between the kitchen and outdoors (ideally the kitchen garden would be located right outside), and I will put it under a cabinet where it would be out of sight too.

In the meanwhile, I really want the vermicompost for my garden...it is about 7x more bioactive than regular compost, and I'm trying to cure verticillium wilt in one garden bed using it. It's truly amazing stuff.

I have a worm factory 360 and have been very happy with it for several years.


Linda, glad to see this post! I know it's older, but I just purchased a 360 and am wondering where to buy the red wrigglers? Do you have a preferred source? There appear to be many out there and I'd like to get a really good start. TIA!
AKA Joey.
Name: Mac
Over yonder, IL (Zone 6b)
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McCannon
Dec 5, 2016 9:58 PM CST
Good evening,
Is there any interest in more activity on this forum? We are home garden vegetable growers and looking to up our options on composting. We currently have an open outdoor compost bin for green waste, but production is practically nonexistent over the winter months. We're looking seriously at all options. Starting production in vermicomposting on a small scale to see if that's worth exploring and considering "hot" composting in the spring.
A mind is a terrible thing to lose.
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier
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crawgarden
Dec 5, 2016 11:12 PM CST
Did vermicomposting for several years in a large tupper ware like container. I think the worms eat 1/2 their weight in food every day. Very easy to maintain.
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier
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crawgarden
Dec 5, 2016 11:14 PM CST
crawgarden said:Did vermicomposting for several years in a large tupper ware like container. I think the worms eat 1/2 their weight in food every day. Very easy to maintain. Lots of info available


[Last edited by crawgarden - Dec 5, 2016 11:14 PM (+)]
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Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
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joannakat
Dec 6, 2016 1:31 AM CST
@McCannon, I just started vermicomposting. It's a blast! I'm definitely interested but so far, I'm finding that there isn't very much work to it. Once you get going, the worms pretty much do everything themselves. You just have to make sure you feed them (with your kitchen trash, dry leaves, newspaper, junk mail, etc. but no meat or citrus) and drain off any fluid that might accumulate. I'm using the Worm Factory 360. Doesn't smell. I keep it indoors. Worth every penny!

But be warned, you might end up talking to those little wrigglers!
AKA Joey.
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
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kqcrna
Dec 6, 2016 3:53 AM CST
Mac, it seems most garden forums are pretty slow in winter, especially around the holidays. After Christmas, people start looking forward to their spring gardens and activity picks up.

It is possible to have hot compost in winter even in cold climates. Years ago when I belonged to GardenWeb I remember someone posting pictures of their compost steaming. It was in the far north, maybe Alaska? Anyway, if you have the fortitude to work at it in cold temps it can be done.

I've never done vermicomposting. My climate's not suited to it and, now that I'm retired, I have no more pets, and that includes worms. Green Grin! Free to travel.

Karen
Name: Mac
Over yonder, IL (Zone 6b)
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McCannon
Dec 6, 2016 6:13 AM CST
Wow, I wasn’t expecting such a response. Thanks to all.

Rj,
I’m all about information gathering. Like most things, all that info needs filtered to sort out the disparities. I’ve been busy Hilarious! .

Joanna,
I got interested in vermicomposting since Winter here (about 30 miles East of St.Louis) pretty much puts our 4x8x4 outdoor compost bin to sleep. We generate a fair amount of kitchen green waste and lots of coffee grounds. Our shredded junk mail goes in the outdoor bin. It has shiny paper and some plastic in it so I won’t put that in the worm bin. Plenty of cardboard and shredded newspaper for bedding. Here’s the setup I built, pirated off a few “continuous flow through” designs. Top bin for worms, bottom bin for castings collection and any excess liquid. Obviously, it’s in the basement. No need to talk to the worms. We have 3 cats that keep us occupied.
Thumb of 2016-12-06/McCannon/3cc45b

Karen,
I was looking at hot composting to to get better results over winter. My neighbor’s oak trees are still dropping leaves and I have 3 roughly 6’ diameter bins full of them. They take a long time to break down.
A mind is a terrible thing to lose.
[Last edited by McCannon - Dec 6, 2016 6:15 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1329937 (19)
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
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kqcrna
Dec 6, 2016 7:41 AM CST
Leaves make a great carbon source but take forever to break down alone. Though that will yield leaf mold, great stuff.

To hot compost them you need nitrogen to balance it- kitchen waste, coffee grounds, etc. If you have a coffee shop nearby they can be a great source of grounds, and plentiful source of N in winter. I had a local one for a while where they saved all the grounds for me. I always took a clean 5 gallon bucket with lid to replace the full one I was picking up. I had to go every day or the bucket was too heavy to carry! It was great until the shop closed.

Starbucks (at least some locations) save and give away "grounds for your garden"
https://news.starbucks.com/news/starbucks-coffee-grounds-for...

Karen

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