How to Separate Worms from Compost and Bedding

red worms in compost

There are several reasons why you might want to separate your composting worms from their bedding. Perhaps it is time to harvest the finished compost. Or maybe something has gone REALLY wrong in the bin, and you need to start your bin over again. Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm offers several techniques for separating your worms from most of their bedding. If your worms have been munching on scraps for more than a few months, there should be plenty of “black gold” (worm castings) in the bin. Worm castings are an all-natural, nutrient-rich fertilizer for the garden and houseplants. They are also filled with friendly microbes that are good for the soil. Once in a while, a worm bin

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What Is Worm Composting And How Do I Do It?

  Worm composting also known as vermicomposting  is the use of earthworms to convert organic waste into fertilizer. If you are already an avid composter then transitioning over to worm composting should be a relatively easy task. But even if you have never heard the term vermicomposting and barely understand composting, you can still vermicompost! Just follow along to see how easy it really can be!   In order to get started composting with worms you will need a few things: bin/container/composter/enclosed space bedding moisture/proper PH temperature control compostable matter worms   The first thing you will want to figure out when it comes to worm composting is where you are going to do all of this. Many people will start off with a simple plastic bin which you can pretty much get at any retail or hardware store. You will want to drill holes in the bin for proper ventilation and drainage. The bin can range in size based off  your composting needs but should be a depth of at least 6 inches for the worms. People have also used containers such as old bathtubs or freezers. However, if you have the money and would like a simple composter for your worms to do their thing you can invest in a composter specifically designed for vermicomposting. Popular composters include the Worm Factory 360 and the Can-O-Worms. Both of which are available through our site. These composters are great because they come with everything you need to set up your …

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Best Places to Put Worm Composting Bins

A common question we get at Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm is, “Where should I put my composter?” Part of your composting success depends on its location. Let’s take a look at the best places to put your vermicomposter. The first decision you need to make is whether you want to compost outdoors or indoors. Some folks leave their composting worms outside year-round. Others choose to compost outdoors during the warm months of the year and move operations indoors in the cold winter. And some — especially urban dwellers — go for small-scale indoor composting. Start by looking at the volume of scraps you plan to compost. Large-scale operations for an entire apartment building, restaurant, or neighborhood may need the help of an engineer to find a perfect location. Most homeowners produce a modest amount of kitchen scraps, plus vegetation from gardening, which can be handled by a composting bin ranging from 5 to 30 gallons in volume. Odor from indoor composting is more noticeable, so

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Keeping Your Worm Bin Odor-Free

Everyone loves a productive vermicomposting bin, but no one wants to smell it. At Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm, we want composting with worms to be a pleasant experience. Making free compost out of kitchen scraps and unwanted vegetation is great for gardeners. And it’s better for the environment. You can keep your environment comfortable by reducing worm bin odors. If you have an outdoor vermicomposting bin, odor might not be too much of a concern. Unless it’s located upwind of your patio, fire pit or swimming pool, you don’t need to go crazy over a little whiff of rotting vegetation.

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How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies Near Indoor Composters or Compost Pails

3If your household composts its kitchen scraps, you may have had problems with fruit flies. These tiny flies are harmless, but they are definitely annoying. And they can invade your bowl of fresh fruit, spoiling expensive produce. Whether you keep a compost pail on your countertop or use worms to break down scraps in an indoor compost bin (vermicomposting), you need to give fruit flies the boot! Trap Them If you start fooling around with your kitchen scraps, you will disturb the fruit flies and they will disperse. The first thing you need to do is start trapping them. The quickest way to do this is simply to vacuum the fruit flies up. Station a vacuum cleaner where the flies are congregating. Switch on the vacuum cleaner and wave the hose in their general direction. Be careful not to vacuum up worms, worm bedding, scraps or water. When the flies come within a few inches of the business end of a vacuum hose, they will get sucked in. This seems to kill them – we have examined a bagless vacuum cleaner, and all the flies were dead. Repeat the vacuum treatment several times a day until the population has dwindled. Meanwhile, set up a trap to catch the faster ones that outsmart your vacuum. You can buy them at the store or online. Or make your own fruit fly trap (see photo above): Pour an inch of apple cider vinegar into the bottom of a jar. Add one drop dishwashing …

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How to Move Your Composting Worms Indoors for the Winter

If you saw our blog post about keeping worms warm in the fall and winter, you might have decided to coddle your worms indoors during the cold season. You will be coddled too. Why? One of the huge advantages of indoor composting in the winter is this: It’s more convenient to feed worms indoors Trudging through the snow and ice to reach an outdoor composter means you need to put on boots at a minimum. You might also have to don warm outerwear to deposit a bucket of kitchen scraps. Some folks are outside anyway, or carry the compost out on the way to their vehicle; but for some, it’s a nuisance. Your first step will be to decide where to do your composting. This will depend in part on the size of the composter. A huge outdoor composter might be too heavy or bulky to move indoors. If your composter is the smaller indoor/outdoor tray-based system, such as the Worm Factory 360, they can be placed indoors without much fuss. For convenience, you can leave the big composter outside and set up an additional small-footprint composter indoors. These can be ordered from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm. Think about a spot in the house that’s out of the way and maintains a reasonable temperature. Worms are most productive at 57 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. A basement, closet, quiet corner or heated garage could work. If the area you pick gets below 55 degrees, you could look into insulating the composter or safely adding …

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Fall Composting Tips

If you have a yard or garden of any size, you can turn left-over vegetation into free fertilizer by composting. Look around at all the leaves and gardens! Fall’s bounty includes left-over organic matter that you can harness. Now is your chance to boost your composting program. Here are Uncle Jim’s fall composting tips: Gather Local Organic Material There is plenty of compostable organic vegetation around. Not just on your property. Your neighbors might have material, too! Ask them to save stuff for you. Local coffee shops can save coffee grounds and other kitchen scraps for you. Decorative fall items like pumpkins and corn stalks are also compostable. Vegetable gardens always have lots of left-over material from pruning, rotted fruit and veggies that didn’t get harvested in time, and some of the old vines and plants that have finished their jobs. If you are canning, you will have tons of peelings and rinds left over. Nightshade vines are not good for composters because volunteer plants tend to come up. Raked leaves are perfect for composting. While oak leaves might be too acidic, most other types of leaves can be composted. If you shred them with your lawn mower or a shredder, they will break down even faster. Grass clippings are also good, but should be mixed in to prevent packing down – otherwise, stinky anaerobic bacteria might grow. Avoid composting diseased plant materials. Big sticks and branches will take a long time to break down. Choose Where to Compost You may already have one …

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We Love These Composters So Much, We are Giving Away Free Worms

Here at Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm, we believe in giving you value for money for your composting supplies and composting worms. Specifically, we are so smitten with the Worm Café® and Can-O-Worms® composters, we are giving away our famous Red Wiggler Composting Worm Mix with each purchase (for a limited time only). What makes these composters so special, and why the free worms? A company called Tumbleweed makes the Worm Café and Can-O-Worms composting systems. These innovative composters come complete with bedding, printed instructions, a tap, and compostable cardboard packaging – and there are setup instructions in online videos on our website. The Worm Café lists for $159, but we are offering it for $119 with free shipping (US only) and 1,000 Red Composting Worms to get you started (limited time offer – visit our Worm Café page to check pricing and order). Can-O-Worms lists for $139, however, our price is just $119 and includes the 1,000 Red Composting Worms for free (limited time offer – visit our Can-O-Worms page to check pricing and order). Let’s see which one would work best for you. These composters are made from 100% recycled, durable plastic built to last many years. Both are on legs for easy access: 4 on the rectangular Worm Café, and 5 on the circular Can-O-Worms. The Worm Café has an added feature: special caps on the legs to help deter ants and mice. Both are tray-based composting systems. This means that the worms start out living in the lower tray. When that tray …

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Use Worm Castings to Side-Dress Your Vegetable Garden

Maintaining a vermicomposting bin means you have a supply of worm castings at your fingertips. This dark, nutrient-rich organic fertilizer is perfect for side-dressing your vegetable garden. Certain types of vegetable plants, and certain soil types, can benefit from consistent side-dressing. Let’s find out when to use side-dressing, and how to do it. Side-dressing means placing fertilizer on the ground near the plants, or in a little furrow right by the plants. The best type of fertilizer is 100% organic and natural. If you purchase Red Wiggler composting worms from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm, set up a simple vermicomposting system nd feed your fruit and veggie scraps to the worms, you will soon have access to plenty of organic fertilizer. You can apply worm castings directly or make your own compost tea. When to Use Side-Dressing Side-dressing is helpful when: You have sandy soil, which doesn’t hold the nutrients very well, or The plants have a growth spurt, at flowering or fruiting time and in the second half of the growing season, or When recommended (look up your particular vegetable) Not all plants benefit from side-dressing. The types of common North American vegetable garden plants that can benefit from side-dressing are: beets and beet greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, kale, lettuce, melons, onions, peppers, potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, summer squash, sweet corn, Swiss chard, tomatoes and winter squash. How to Apply Side-Dressing With worm castings, you have two choices about how to apply it: as worm tea, or as a …

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Keep Worms Cool in the Hot Summer Months

When the weather is hot, your vermicomposting system will heat up, too. Composting worms are living creatures who operate best in a specific temperature range. Let’s find out how you can keep them cool in the warm months of the year. Our hearty composting worms are designed to handle a range of temperatures. Below 57 degrees Fahrenheit is too cold — worms slow down and run the risk of dying. We don’t know exactly the hottest temperatures they can endure, but we do know this: Too hot is not good. “Not good” could mean they start to dry up and die. If a few expire, it’s not too big a deal. But you don’t want a bin full of unhappy and, eventually, dead worms. The best things you can do are to try to keep the temperature down and keep the moisture level up. Also, control the worm population and minimize the vermin. Keep the Temps Down What happens if you stand in the sun all day? You will eventually over-heat. Staying out of the sun can significantly reduce the temperatures inside your worm bin. So, put your worm bin in the shade. You might need to keep your vermicomposting bin under cover anyway due to rain. Depending on the design, certain composters such as our best-selling Worm Factory 360 let in too much water when it rains. Excess water makes the bedding too moist, drowns the worms, and promotes mold and mildew growth. Additionally, you should allow the bedding …

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