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Banana Plant Soil, Additives, and Fertilizer This forum is an area where you may discuss the soil to grow banana plants in, as well as soil additives such as teas, composts, manures, fertilizers and related topics.


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Old 08-10-2009, 04:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Vermicompost and vermicomposting

Hi gals and guys. I will have some 1000 (a small start, lively colony will have from 20 to 50 times more) adult Eisenia foetides and I was thinking about vermicomposting in a somewhat larger scale (at least 10kg a month would be minumum, the more the better, it generally isn't problem to "get rid of this fertilizer").

If the first thing, that comes to your mind is, whether I will have enough decaying organic material, the right answer for this question is yes. And even if I wasn't able to produce enough organic waste, there's a compost pile of old dead plants (grass, leaves, ...) as a part of our local dump. So the feeding is no problem at all.

I've looked all over the web and found some interesting manuals, DIY tutorials and everything that I would need to maybe start planning and sketching their new home.

You see, the problem is, that I can't find any good "box" for these small creatures. There are some points as air circulation, bird/mole protection... multiple floors of the box... I will have to build my own (which I'm really looking forward to).

But there's only very ... OK, no information on larger and more efficient boxes, only these small, one home boxes sufficing maybe only for kitchen organic waste. But I have much much much more than kitchen waste and so I would need some advice and better, if someone had also sketches that I could use for designing my own compost bin.

I was thinking about 1x2x1,5m (width x length x height), or in your metric system 3,3x6,6x5 feet with one important factor: it must be portable, outdoors and indoors will be a matter of season. I would normally let the worms rest in winter, but I have plants at home, that would need maybe 1kg of fresh compost monthly (so a slowed mode?)... I believe the most convenient would be a shelf system, where each of the shelves would have some purpose and each could be taken out and switched position with other shelves (sort of a small closet, with open roof). Levels (shelves):
Lowest: small vermicompost granules will fall here
Middle: Most of those small creatures will process this part, ideally decayed waste
Top: Freshly decaying organic matter

Then as they eat almost all the matter from the central/middle shelf, they will start moving to the top part with freshly decaying organic matter (via small holes the will be in the bottom part of the shelves). I than take out the lowest shelf and take away all the compost, leaving the shelf empty. The top/uppermost shelf with freshly decaying matter and just arrived worms will be moved to the centre and fresh compost, from which the worms came, will be moved to the lowest shelf. The empty shelf will be moved to the top and I will start putting new organic decaying material there. Vermicompost will have to stay in the lowest shelf til another rotation (about 2 weeks, so that the eggs start hatching and small worms can migrate!!!).

Instead of roof, there will be some semiglass with holes for air circulation, but so that the birds can't come and eat my worms.

Any ideas from your side, tips, tricks, anything that you have observed in other vermicomposting bins, anything even the least important will be helpful. I will need this info ASAP, as I'm probably building the next weekend and desperately need to have sketches done by then.

I need vermicompost for 3 main reasons:
- excellent (if not the best) organic fertilizer and waste disposing matter, it can't really overfertilize anything...
- excellent mulch if it covers something with thick layer, it can hold a little but higher temperatures in winter AND hold water in sufficient amounts, no rotting...
- ideal germination media (better than coco peat, ...)

Thanks a lot.
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Old 08-10-2009, 04:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Vermicompost and vermicomposting

Worm Bins Sale
www.CompostBins.com/Worm

Might give you some ideas. Stackable bins
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Old 08-10-2009, 04:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
I think with my banana ;)
 
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Default Re: Vermicompost and vermicomposting

Quote:
Originally Posted by sunfish View Post
Worm Bins Sale
www.CompostBins.com/Worm

Might give you some ideas. Stackable bins
Damn.
Quote:
Oops.


The page you are looking for is unavailable.
Anyway, I was already browsing the net, but I was curious if someone had a home bin and cared to share some tricks.

Allright, something like this from that website, but narrower, longer and probably a little bit higher. Also the number of shelves is unnecessarily too big.
Dura-Trel 27 Cubic Ft. Compost Bin - Compost Bins at Compost Bins
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Old 08-10-2009, 04:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Vermicompost and vermicomposting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Daw View Post
I need vermicompost for 3 main reasons:
- excellent (if not the best) organic fertilizer and waste disposing matter, it can't really overfertilize anything...
- excellent mulch if it covers something with thick layer, it can hold a little but higher temperatures in winter AND hold water in sufficient amounts, no rotting...
- ideal germination media (better than coco peat, ...)
Jack,
In my opinion, vermicompost from worms fed vegetative material is an ideal compost. I use it in all the soil I make for my plants. However:
  • it is not a fertilizer, it is a soil conditioner
  • it is not a mulch, it is compost
  • it is great for germinating some seeds and terrible for others
More information is at: Info:Fertilizer - Bananas Wiki
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Old 08-10-2009, 05:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
I think with my banana ;)
 
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Default Re: Vermicompost and vermicomposting

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Originally Posted by Richard View Post
Jack,
In my opinion, vermicompost from worms fed vegetative material is an ideal compost. I use it in all the soil I make for my plants. However:
  • it is not a fertilizer, it is a soil conditioner
  • it is not a mulch, it is compost
  • it is great for germinating some seeds and terrible for others
More information is at: Info:Fertilizer - Bananas Wiki
Thanks, I've seen almost all the different palms germinate in vermicompost with sand 1:1 (which is pretty much everything I will germinate), the ratio of succesfully germinated seeds was about 85-90%, which is extremely good for palms in artificial conditions (one unnamed European nursery).

Indeed it is a compost, but is not as damaging as other composts, so it can be used as mulch (for instance, also this article referrs to it as mulch http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_h/h-164.pdf ), an effective one, I've seen documentations on youtube, where people spread lots of vermicompost on large areas and it took the compost about 2 months to get to the soil.
Its main role was to warm up the soil.

Any tips on the bin Richard? Or any experience? How much do you use and where do you get vermicompost?
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Old 08-10-2009, 05:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Vermicompost and vermicomposting

When applied to the surface, the worm flem in the castings attracts beneficial bacteria that has a lot of positive effects in the local environment. However, I have seen disastrous results from putting down worm castings and then a wind comes along scattering invading weed seeds throughout. IF you apply worm castings to the surface THEN you should mix them into your existing mulch. If you don't have mulch, then put down the worm castings and then add mulch on top. Somewhere else on this site I posted results from Ag tests run here in San Diego. As a top cover: a cured mulch alone is just as good as worm castings alone, but the combination is better.

Jack, from your earlier post it sounded like you were using pure wormcastings for seed germination. Now the 50/50 mix with horticultural sand sounds much better -- the castings are too dense alone.
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Old 08-10-2009, 05:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
I think with my banana ;)
 
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Default Re: Vermicompost and vermicomposting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard View Post
When applied to the surface, the worm flem in the castings attracts beneficial bacteria that has a lot of positive effects in the local environment. However, I have seen disastrous results from putting down worm castings and then a wind comes along scattering invading weed seeds throughout. IF you apply worm castings to the surface THEN you should mix them into your existing mulch. If you don't have mulch, then put down the worm castings and then add mulch on top. Somewhere else on this site I posted results from Ag tests run here in San Diego. As a top cover: a cured mulch alone is just as good as worm castings alone, but the combination is better.

Jack, from your earlier post it sounded like you were using pure wormcastings for seed germination. Now the 50/50 mix with horticultural sand sounds much better -- the castings are too dense alone.
Yep, vermicompost only with some sand, it's too strong when it is pure, very dense, difficult for rooting. It is there only as nourishment for the small plantlets. Many times there's also a tricombination of sand, vermicompost and brown soil.

But I need to plan my bin first. And sketch it. And build it. So is there anyone with particular experience with worm bins? Anything important I should know about when designing my first vermicompost bin?
Any and all advices are appreciated.
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Old 08-10-2009, 06:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Vermicompost and vermicomposting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard View Post
Jack, from your earlier post it sounded like you were using pure wormcastings for seed germination. Now the 50/50 mix with horticultural sand sounds much better -- the castings are too dense alone.
Water runs right through all my castings and it's been perfect for germinating EXCEPT that it dries out too quickly and this can kill any seedling in a days time. These castings were from rabbit manure fed worms and that may be the difference. My coffee ground castings do seem to hold more water and I would definitely amend them with sand or perlite.
Damping off has never been a problem in the castings ....unlike my other germinating mediums.
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:31 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Vermicompost and vermicomposting

Gonna be taking my kids on a visit to "our vital earth"

Our Vital Earth - All Natural Worm Castings, Worm Tea

They sell the massive Vermi-converters

Our Vital Earth ~ Vermi-converters

Had a long conversation with one of the owners at a flea market a few months ago.

We started a small worm farm and we are going to expand it. Already have a bunch of the neighbors dropping off buckets of goodies for them to eat that we have been throwing in the compost pile! Right now are are just using buckets, gonna buy one of the Can o Worms set ups and then take that idea and make it much bigger with a couple 55 gallon drums...
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Vermicompost and vermicomposting

Here's mine. To harvest castings, just feed in one corner or side for a while and the worms will move there.
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Old 08-10-2009, 09:47 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Vermicompost and vermicomposting

I buy my worm castings from Julie Harski in Ramona, CA. She created several long trenches (with a backhoe?) on her property to cultivate the red wriggler worms. She feeds them with buckloads of produce scrap from the 4 farmers markets she attends, plus horse manure from her horse. The scraps are just dumped on the surface and then covered with a tarp. To harvest, she has a sifter with 1/8th inch screen mesh. It is columnar in shape, but mounted sideways with an axle running through it. I would guess the capacity is 1.5 cubic yards.
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Old 08-10-2009, 10:23 PM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Vermicompost and vermicomposting

Back when I was scouring the internet for worm bin plans there was an article from UC berkely about about a flow through worm bin design called vermitopia and the had it for a few years and went relayed the info on what parts of the bin wore out. But for some reason the link I saved is dead. It was a very large design and they had multiple boxes and the plan on how it was built...
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Old 08-10-2009, 10:38 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Vermicompost and vermicomposting

The way I do it is just like the pros. One company, I can't remembrer the name....the guys that use old pop bottles to bottle worm tea, use a conveyer at an angle and let the worms feed upwards Most castings farms use windrows as Richard described or bins like mine (much longer bins) that are elevated.
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Old 08-11-2009, 12:49 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Vermicompost and vermicomposting

Quote:
Originally Posted by djmb74 View Post
Back when I was scouring the internet for worm bin plans there was an article from UC berkely about about a flow through worm bin design called vermitopia and the had it for a few years and went relayed the info on what parts of the bin wore out. But for some reason the link I saved is dead. It was a very large design and they had multiple boxes and the plan on how it was built...
I found it, or something very similar, but Berkely university link is broken. Damn damn damn. I can't believe no-one on the net saved a working version? Wow. That's just ironic.
This Vermitopia idea is something very appealing. Thanks. Should you see some *.pdf or anything about it, don't hasitate to post it here.
Thanks.
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:08 AM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Vermicompost and vermicomposting

I will... I have 4 computers and gotta remember which one I saved all the vermicomposting links to. I think its the one I need to get a new power supply for... haha
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:25 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Vermicompost and vermicomposting

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I will... I have 4 computers and gotta remember which one I saved all the vermicomposting links to. I think its the one I need to get a new power supply for... haha
Oh yeah, I know that, always the most inconvenient one is the key. It happens to me all the time.
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:36 AM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Vermicompost and vermicomposting

its the computer I use to most when I am working, then I get bored an I take 20-30 minute breaks and try to read up on everything I can on a subject open a browser folder and save all the links I want to go back to! I have so many folders on all kinds of subjects its insane. I keep on trying to remind myself to get that firefox add on that saves bookmarks online so you can access them from any computer...

For some crazy reason last 2 years I have been on quest for knowledge...

I think I have developed some mutated form of Attention Deficit Disorder! hahaha
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Old 08-11-2009, 10:44 AM   #18 (permalink)
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For some crazy reason last 2 years I have been on quest for knowledge...
probably related to an increased consumption of B-vitamins...
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Old 08-11-2009, 01:30 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Vermicompost and vermicomposting

Quote:
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its the computer I use to most when I am working, then I get bored an I take 20-30 minute breaks and try to read up on everything I can on a subject open a browser folder and save all the links I want to go back to! I have so many folders on all kinds of subjects its insane. I keep on trying to remind myself to get that firefox add on that saves bookmarks online so you can access them from any computer...

For some crazy reason last 2 years I have been on quest for knowledge...

I think I have developed some mutated form of Attention Deficit Disorder! hahaha
Post it here anytime it's convenient for you... Thanks.
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Old 08-11-2009, 04:09 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Vermicompost and vermicomposting

We have a small tote out in garage we are using as a bed. Like to find out more to help make vermi-post faster, dont think have enough worms.
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