Use Compost to Grow “Starts” in the Spring

Compost helps starts grow strong! Gardeners often grow “starts” in the late winter and early spring. These are tiny plants grown from seed. Planting starts before the spring growing season gives your plants a boost. Later, you can plant the juveniles outdoors. How do you make starts, and how does compost help? How much compost should you use? Where can you get compost? Which Plants Should You Start? Peppers, tomatoes, onions, head lettuce, leeks, eggplants, and cucumbers are more likely to survive and thrive if they are started indoors. Coniferous vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli are also great for starts. You can buy seedlings in the gardening store; however, growing your own from seed is cheaper. Store-bought seedlings are available in only a few of the most popular varieties. You will have a much greater variety of seeds to choose from. Also, you have total control over the little plants’ conditions. Therefore,

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Worm Composting Bin Troubleshooting Guide

When something goes wrong with your worm composting bin, this Troubleshooting Guide can help! Bookmark this page and return whenever you think something is amiss with your worm bin. Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm is the #1 supplier of composting worms in the USA. We’ve been growing and selling worms for more than 40 years. Click on the problem to see solutions.

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Vermicomposting with Worms Grows More Food

Simply by doing what comes naturally, worms are helping humans. These small invertebrates eat organic matter and excrete fertilizer. This process improves soil quality and increases crop yields. Farmers, institutions, and householders have learned how to harness the power of composting with worms. Vermicomposting is cooler and faster than composting without worms. How is composting with worms helping smaller farmers grow more food for less money? Vermicomposting is gaining popularity among smaller commercial farmers worldwide. These farmers have healthier soil, and healthier crops, and produce more food per acre. Better crops mean more produce to trade or sell. Small farmers become more self-sufficient when worms help them. Cost of fertilizer goes down. Since worms replenish themselves, overhead is lower. Vermicomposting has become especially important in third world countries, pulling farmers out of poverty. Vermicomposting Scale How does vermicomposting scale up? A small worm bin

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Composting Worms Promote STEM in the School Classroom

A composting worms project at school provides many opportunities to teach STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) in the classroom. The school curriculum often covers the lifecycle of the earthworm. Students will retain more if they have hands-on experiences with the worms. A composting bin allows students to compost organic food waste generated at school. The composting process results in worm castings, a fertilizer for growing new plants. The project can easily pay for itself if the worm castings are put up for sale. Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm shows you how to get started with a classroom composting project. Customize the Project Teachers can pick-and-choose the scope of the project and which STEM elements to include. A minimal project would involve setting up a worm bin and depositing classroom waste. Many STEM elements can be included such as measuring trash volume before and during the project (math); worm anatomy;

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Composting Worms and Freezing Cold Weather

When the weather outside is frightful, you may worry about how composting worms survive the freezing weather. Winter temperatures can fall below freezing in most parts of the continental United States. What happens to composting worms in low temperatures? Is it important to prevent Red Worms or European Night Crawlers from freezing? How does temperature affect the composting process? When It Is Cold When temperatures plummet and stay low for a long time, everything

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Foods That Can Hurt Composting Worms

Composting worms make food scraps break down quickly, but some foods can hurt them. Vermicomposting with worms is increasingly popular with people who want to reduce trash, produce free fertilizer, and save resources. Therefore, vermicomposting fans have a vested interest in keeping their Red Worms or European Night Crawlers healthy. Worms can break down a wide variety of organic materials, with a few exceptions. Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm explains which foods can hurt composting worms. In a Tight Space In the wild, worms will wiggle to a suitable food source. They have an entire smorgasbord outdoors. A composting bin is a tight space. We set up this

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Can I Feed Cardboard to Composting Worms?

Cardboard is readily available, but can you feed cardboard to composting worms? Vermicomposting enthusiasts turn trash into valuable organic compost with the help of Red Worms. Obviously, fruit and vegetable scraps are an ideal food to bury in the composting bin. However, most of our household consumables come packaged in cardboard. Can you compost cardboard? Which types of cardboard are best for worms? Can worms live exclusively on cardboard? Properties of Good Worm Bedding When you start a composting bin, you need material for the worms to live in. This is called “bedding.” Bedding is typically made from a mixture of coconut coir, pure peat moss, shredded black ink newspaper, partially-decomposed leaves, and/or small amounts of untreated wood chips. Additionally, certain types of cardboard make good bedding. Bedding needs to contain cellulose. Cellulose gives structure to plants. When worms eat cellulose, they acquire some nutrition. However, worms will also need regular feedings of fruit and vegetable scraps to stay healthy. The best bedding retains the right amount of moisture. Ideal bedding should feel like a wrung-out sponge when squeezed. The pH of bedding should be neutral — not alkaline and not acidic. And it should be light and fluffy enough to allow air flow and worm movement.

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Winterize Your Worm Composting Bin

When the cold winter weather comes, you can keep composting with worms. Composting worms slow down when the temperature drops below 57 degrees. However, below-freezing temperatures will freeze the worms in an outdoor composting bin. You can take steps before the freezing temperatures set in. Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm recommends you choose one of these options: Leave them as-is outdoors Insulate the outdoor bin Partially bury the outdoor bin Move the bin to a warmer place, or Move the worms indoors Option 1: Leave Them As-Is Outdoors Worms are among the oldest

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How to Grow Worms as Fishing Bait

The cost and inconvenience of buying live bait is a nuisance when fishing with worms. If you only need live worms occasionally, stopping by the bait shop is no big deal. However, frequent worm fishing requires a significant amount of live bait. You save time and money by keeping your own supply of worms on hand. As a pleasant side-effect, the worms generate compost that makes your plants grow strong. Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm offers three varieties of fishing worms and advice on cultivating each one. Types of Fishing Worms The three types of fishing worms we offer are: Mealworms European Night Crawlers (Super Reds) Red Worms (Red Wigglers) Draw on your expertise to decide which type of worm

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What are the Differences Between Vermicomposting with Worms and Hot Composting?

Many of our customers ask, “What’s the difference between vermicomposting with worms and regular composting?” Here at Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm, we are experts on composting with worms. Let’s explore how these processes are similar, and how they differ. Which method is more convenient? How can you produce high-quality organic fertilizer for your garden and lawn? Which is fastest? How to Set Up Vermicomposting vs. Hot Composting Vermicomposting harnesses the power of worms to break down organic matter quickly. Regular “hot” composting may attract a few wild worms. However, “hot” composting produces more heat than vermicomposting. Temperatures above 95 degrees Fahrenheit will kill Red Worms. Both methods break down organic waste into fertilizer. Most kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, and yard waste are suitable for composting. The main difference is in the setup of the composting bin or pile. Regular “hot” composting involves throwing organic waste into a bin or pile. The material starts to break down using an aerobic process. The compost pile heats up. The ideal temperature for hot composting is 160 degrees Fahrenheit. At 200+ degrees, it can even produce steam! However, temperatures high enough to steam will kill beneficial microorganisms. Therefore, this type of compost needs to be turned and lightly moistened on a regular basis. This means you lift the organic matter and introduce air with pitchfork or shovel on a regular basis. You need some strength to do this. Or get a tumbler-style composter that you can turn using a crank. Vermicomposting is usually done …

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