Vermicomposting (Make your own Worm Castings)

Discussion in 'Growing Organic Marijuana' started by OldPork, Feb 8, 2009.

  1. #1 OldPork, Feb 8, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2009
    One of the richest sources of ready nutrition for your cannabis plants are from worm castings...worm poop, and buying worm castings can be expensive. Not only am I frugal, but I am an environmentally friendly sort of fellow and I believe everything we do not use should be recycled or returned to the earth for re-use. Hence, a few years ago, I discovered the many benefits of "vermicomposting". (Vermi is Latin for worms.) It's easy to start a worm bin, all I did was use a 31 gallon plastic Rubbermaid Roughneck storage bin. I drilled about thirty 1/4" holes at the bottom for drainage, and lots of 1/16" holes around the top sides for air exchange. Before I loaded the bedding, I covered the bottom drainage holes with screen mesh so the worms can't get out and loaded about about 10 inches of dried leaves and shredded newspaper on top for bedding. Then in went the composting worms. I then use another piece of screen mesh between the lid and the container, this keeps fruit flies out. Also on top there is a jar with a little apple cider vinegar to attact and drown fruit flies and it is very effective, there are no fruit flies buzzing around anywhere, they are all drowned in the trap. The composting worms are not earthworms. I ordered a pound of worms off the internet from the wormlady. http://wormlady.com/?page_id=3 They are called red wigglers...Eisenia foetida is the scientific name. I throw all my non-meat kitchen scraps in there: veggies, banana skins, coffee grounds, mashed potatoes, anything that is non meat. I water the bedding maybe once a week to keep it moist, but not too wet. Once the worms turn the scraps and even the bedding into castings, I move the "finished" castings to the right side and load fresh bedding on the left side, and bury my scraps in with the new bedding. The worms migrate to the left side where the food source is, leaving pure rich black worm castings on the right side. I remove these finished castings and store them and keep this cycle going all the time. The whole bin is raised on bricks and underneath I have a plastic container which catches the concentrated organic drippings from the process which is a highly concentrated "tea" which I feed to the plants as well. BTW none of this has any smell at all, and those worms can eat their body weight every day in scraps! Even the castings have no smell. This stuff is teeming with humates and fulvic acids and the castings are refined to a point where the nutrients they contain are readily and directly absorbed by the plant roots. The whole process is environmentally friendly too. There are lots of instructions for making worm bins on the net, but this works best for me...and my cannabis plants. ;)
     

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  2. Stickied. Great Thread:D
     
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  3. #3 Corto Malteze, Feb 8, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2009
    Excellent OldPork. I need one of those. :D Worm castings are the shit! If I want to add 20% castings per hole when I plant in the ground in June-July, when do you think I should start. What's the best way to keep the castings for future teas in the summer. I suppose you run your castings all year round at your place. I'd have to start in a few months outside when it gets warmer. Thanks OldPork!
     
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  4. Thanks OldPork. I've been planning an organic outdoor grow, I think I'm going to build one of these now! Great post
     
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  5. #5 OldPork, Feb 8, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2009
    It takes me about 6 months to get about 10 gallons, but depending on how much you feed them, how warm the environment, and the size of the bin you could get more. Their population increases with the food supply. I keep them in the basement and they really get plentiful in the summer when the temps warm up. They survive at 50F degrees but really thrive at 70-80 degrees. I use a little of this black gold in the solo cups with the seedlings and quite liberally in the 3 gallon containers before going to ground. Then several cups directly surrounding the root ball when transplanting into the ground. I use the tea every couple weeks throughout the entire grow cycle and alternate feedings with fish emulsion.
     
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  6. Ok great. Worm castings are so expensive here. And I eat a lot of fruit and veggies I can quickly use in the worm bin. Thanks for the information. :wave:
     
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  7. Finally an organic section. Great thread, worms at my house go especially crazy for potatoe peels. Thanks again Pork.
     
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  8. One way to speed up the breakdown of organic matter in a worm bin (or regular composting for that matter) is to use a bokashi composting system.

    Unlike regular worm composting, bokashi uses EM-1 inoculated wheat or rice bran which breaks down the material with anaerobic microbes vs. aerobic microbes. The result is a fermentation process which smells like apple cider vinegar while it's working.

    You keep a bucket, with a lid, in your kitchen and add food items (you can even add small amounts of meat & dairy!), layered between the bokashi inoculant and that's it. No foul smells of rotting food in your kitchen.

    It takes about 2 - 3 weeks for the fermentation to complete it's process. What you have now is pickled food loaded with microbes which when exposed to the aerobic microbes in a worm bin or a compost pile explode in activity. Worm digestion will exceed 300-400% rate over raw produce items and will load your worm castings with higher levels of bacteria, fungai, nematodes (the good ones), protozoa, et al.

    In a regular compost pile the same thing happens when the bokashi fermented sludge is added - it kick starts the pile and accelerates the process. Watch for temperature increases as usual.

    HTH

    LumperDawgz
     
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  9. From what I just read on the web, bokashi is good especially if you live in an apartment or want to accelerate your compost heap/worm bin. It means you have to buy the bokashi powder and anaerobic container(s).
     
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  10. #10 LumperDawgz, Feb 10, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2009
    Corto Malteze

    Before I can explain 'bokashi composting' completely, you should look at this short article

    You see the term 'EM' used and that can best be explained here

    So back to bokashi - the inoculant (which you can buy already made) is simply EM (Efficient Microbes) mixed with organic molasses, kelp meal and glacial rock dust which is poured over (typically) wheat or rice bran. Sawdust is also used in some parts of the world

    You ferment this mixture and when it's finished you spread it out on a tarp and let it dry. This is the very same/exact bokashi inoculant that you saw online.

    Once dried this will last for several years as long as it's kept in a cool, dark environment.

    Now this bokashi inoculant can be applied directly to a soil mixture (about 1 cup per 1 cf.) where it will work with your earthworm castings or compost to kick-start the micro-herd in your soil.

    This bokashi inoculant is also (primarily) used for bokashi composting which is what you were reading for using it as a kitchen composter.

    On a commercial scale, bokashi composting is huge in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Great Britain. The reason that it's being used is the speed with which large amounts of organic matter can be 'pre-composted' before adding the pickled sludge to commercial earthworm farms and commercial composting sites.

    DO NOT PUT BOKASHI SLUDGE DIRECTLY ON ANY PLANT - INDOORS OR OUTDOORS!

    When finished the bokashi compost has a PH of about 3.8 if it's finished correctly which makes since this is a fermenting process.

    HTH

    EDIT: Bokashi composting bins. Don't waste your money on the expensive and barely functioning 'bokashi composting bins' - they cost US$50.00 and more. I did mine for about $10.00 with 4 new, clean plastic painting buckets. Drill some holes in one unit and place it into one without holes. Viola! Bokashi composting bucket! Do the same with another one and put it into the remaining intact bucket! Viola! 2 bokashi fermenting systems! For next to nothing!

    LumperDawgz
     
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  11. #11 OldPork, Feb 10, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2009
    Wow Bokashi is something I had not heard of! +rep to ya LumperDawgz! I wonder if the ingredients in RID-X which is used to replenish beneficial bacteria in septic systems is the same stuff?
     
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  12. Ok. I undertsand better. So you just need to order the inoculant EM and spread the things you listed to make your own bokashi? Where do you get the inoculant? or Do you buy a 1st bag and make your own from then? Good to know you can make your own bins for cheap. If it can also kick start the winter holes I'll prepare soon, it sounds like a great idea. Thanks for sharing. :D
     
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  13. OldPork

    You can go to the bank on that one! Or at least it's based on the same science and processes I'm guessing.

    LumperDawgz
     
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  14. Corto

    The manufacturing and distribution of EM-1 (as it's called in the US) is limited. There are only 2 companies that I know of in this country.

    I know that it's made and sold out of Great Britain and I'm sure elsewhere in Europe. Like I mentioned it's huge in Canada, Australia & New Zealand.

    I belong to a bokashi email list deal and there is a way to buy the EM product and like any culture you can make gallons and gallons. There is a definite shelf life once the microbes are activated.

    Some people ingest EM (I do) to maintain a healthy flora in the digestive track. Our pets get a drop or so in their water dishes every week.

    Applying EM to a plant will knock your socks off. You only use a very small amount like 1/2 tsp. per 4 liters/1 gallon. The microbes in the EM product marry up with the microbes in your soil and then things really take off.

    Applying it as a foliar spray is very helpful as well.

    Good stuff - but expensive. Defray your costs by 'growing more' using your purchased product as a culture.

    HTH

    Lumper Dawgz
     
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  15. ok great, thanks. I'll see if I can get that here in Europe. Peace!
     
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  16. I'd plus rep you OP but it wouldn't go through. Excellent thread. Great info. But could you do us all a favor this season and make your pics a little bigger for gawdssake? If I have to look at your thumbnails for another whole season I'll go blind!!
     
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  17. OldPork

    One thing to consider with regard to using bokashi compost sludge in your worm bins is that you're reducing the compost time by 50% or more.

    Let's say that you take 50 lbs. of organic plant material. If you were to put that volume into a worm bin you would expect that it would take any number of months to finish off. Fair enough.

    Take the same amount of plant material and run it through a bokashi compost paradigm - you have composted material in 3 weeks or less.

    Then take the bokashi sludge and place it in your worm bins - the breakdown will be about 2.5 weeks once the sludge is introduced into the worm bin. Correctly configured the process is quick and immediate meaning that your compost is ready in less than 6 weeks - and that's including a 3-week process in your worm bin.

    See the advantage? World-class EWC for a fraction of the cost expected.

    HTH

    LumperDawgz
     
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  18. I Go ALL Organic. Everything is GMO/Industrialized these days and I TRULY Appreciate everyones time and knowledge. I Am a NEWBIE Grower and have learned over 500 hours of information on this site and ones like it. This continues to be my favorite for TWO IMPORTANT REASONS: A Knowledgable,civil,humurous, family like community of members. The Moderators who ensure the site stays on task and focused on the GROWING at hand and keeps it safe from commies :) I Truly cant express my thanks to all of you my insomnia medical condition has Disappeared. NO Medical establishment drug ever succeeded without terrible side effects. I Am Eternally grateful and may god bless all of you with ripe fruits and nutrition. My family life and work life has DRAMATICALLY Improved thanks to All of your information and Gods Drug CANNABIS.
     
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  19. thats awesome kelvino! keep on sleeping!
     
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  20. #20 Corto Malteze, Feb 28, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 28, 2009
    As OldPork indicated, vermicomposting uses worms that make worm castings. There are different kinds of worms.
    The fetida like living in a closed container. A close relative of the foetida is the endreï. Both species are complimentary.
    The Fetida eat decomposing matter and live in the lower layers. The can be found in old horse/cow etc... manure heaps (at the bottom and around the heap). See horse ridening school etc...

    The Endreï eat fresher things. They can be found in old compost heaps. They live above the fetida. However, there are many species living in the compost heap and not all like to be in a closed container...

    A company here sells both (500g) and recommend to have both in the vermicomposting bin. They also sell only the fetida. What do you think OP? Also any thoughts on the nitrogen/carbon ratio?

    Worm trap
    if you can't buy worms (taken from the internet): dig a hole 1ft x1x1 and place an old bucket/container/plastic with holes on the sides in an area that has good humus/humid. Place coffee grounds and a few banana peels (see coffee house or cafe and ask: they throw it out anyway). A lid so the worms aren't drowned with the rain (worms don't swim -hence the holes at bottom of OP's vermicomposting-). After 2,3 weeks, it will be full of worms. Not all will be good for the bin, you can use this trick for fishing too!

    View attachment worms.doc

    Different worms with pics: use fetida and andrei for the bin.
    http://www.nurturingnature.co.uk/pages/subpages/educationadultpage.htm

    Some worms aren't good for the compost or the bin. From Earthworm Invasion : "the red worm, Lumbricus rubellus, is causing trouble in compost heaps, however, and should be avoided." So don't use it.

    Don't use European nightcrawlers for vermicomposting either (they are bigger and darker).

    This is if you can't buy your fetida/endrei worms and need to gather your own worms. There are about 30 worm species and only certain kinds can live in the bin so if you can, buy the right worms (500g. to start the bin is about 1000 worms: hard to collect).
     
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