The Power of Worms
OwlTree Farm is now offering locally produced, high quality screened worm castings for sale. OwlTree Farm recently purchased John "Colorado Worm Man" Anderson's worm compost business and is offering his tried-and-true formula for sale. John's formula includes local food waste, hot compost, and local equine bedding and manure, and has been the go-to fertilizer for in-the-know gardeners for over 20 years. We also offer worm compost starter kits for trying your hand at vermiculture at home, as well as screened and unscreened hot compost blends.
1 Quart Premium fine-screened worm castings- $8
4 Gallon Premium fine-screened worm castings- $35
4 Gallon worm starter kit- $45
Scientists and researchers all over the world are studying worms and the compost they create, with surprising discoveries for many industries and businesses:
Greenhouse growers can get a 25% faster turn- over, stronger plants, less disease, and longer shelf life.
Farmers can get effective control of parasitic nematodes without chemical soil sterilants.
Market growers can enhance marketability, soil/plant productivity from 5-50% with less fertilizer input.
Horticulturists and food producers can protect crops from insects, pathogenic bacteria, and fungi.
Poultry producers get healthier, heavier birds with decreased production costs of up to 30%.
Dairy and cattle producers turn manures and bed- dings into marketable soil amendments.
Sewage treatment officials can safely and cost ef- fectively treat human pathogens and produce “Class A” composts.
Resource management entities can soundly profit environmentally and economically from the resource streams of their customers, putting natural resources to work.
Create a Happy Worm Habitat
Knowing the moisture level, temperature and nutritional requirements are the most important things needed to practicing the art of small-scale vermicomposting. Worm beds can be as simple as a wet pile of leaves and vegetable matter with a piece of carpet over it, to fancy continuous flow reactors with moving parts and elegant designs. Beds in ground contact are the simplest, most forgiving, and easiest to manage.
Choose a bin or bed, in-door or outdoors, for your worms’ new home. Pick a convenient location so it’s easy for you to tend to them. Red Wigglers do best at temperatures from 50-80 degrees. Note: outdoor bins must have sun exposure in winter to keep them going or must be buried under lots of leaves in the fall.
Fill the bin or bed 3⁄4 full of MOIST* bedding such as leaf litter, shredded newspaper, cut up card- board, pine sawdust, aged manure or compost.
Get your worms and spread them on top of the bedding. They will dive into the bedding in short order if it’s just right. For indoor beds, as a precaution leave a light on overnight to make sure they stay in the bed.
Cover outdoor beds with a piece of rinsed carpet to keep it dark and wet. Let them be for 3-5 days to become acclimated before feeding them.
Begin to feed worms by burying food in the bedding. If you’re using carpet, just layer food on top and cover with a piece of carpet that fits inside your bin. The smaller the pieces of food, the faster your wormy friends will transform it. Finished, aged compost from a hot compost bin or mouldering compost bin is another great feed source for your worms.
Note: A problem many budding novice vermicomposters make is to over-feed their worms! When established, and you are more accomplished, worms will eat about 1 lb of food per square foot of worm bed per week.
Every 3-4 months, it’s harvest time!
1. Move all the unfinished food to one side of the bed and remove finished compost.
2. Re-bed the empty side and continue to feed that side. After a month or so most of the worms have moved to fresh bedding, repeat previous step back and forth.
Remove obvious unfinished food and worms from bed by hand.
Dump the rest of the bed on a flat surface and form into a conical pile. Worms will naturally go away from the light and hide deeper into the pile as you gently scrape the compost off the out side of the smaller and smaller pile.
Re-bed worm box and return worms and unfin- ished food back to the bed and continue.
Do's and Don'ts
DO Feed Your Worms:
Fruit and Vegetable Scraps
Tea Bags, Coffee Filters, and Coffee Grounds
Soft Yard Waste
Pasta and Rice
Bread and Cereal
Finished and aged hot compost
Do NOT Feed :
Oils and Fats
Cat Waste (Dog waste can be done separately in its own bin; do NOT use resulting compost on plants for human consumption.)
Green Grass Clippings (leave these on your lawn)
Uncomposted Chicken Manure. (Composted and aged manure and bedding ok in small amounts)
Use the worm compost as a top dressing or in a bedding and seedling plant mix at a 1 to 5 ratio with potting soil, add directly to planting holes when transplanting, or make a compost tea for plants. (recipe below)
Watch the magic!
Liquid Worm Poo Recipe
1.) 2-4 cups worm castings to 4 gallons water (adjust depending on strength required)
2.) Brew for 24-48 hrs with an aquarium air pump and air stone. You may add a few drops of Dr. Bronners or Dawn unscented soap to help break surface tension.
Objectives: Dissolve as much of solids as possible and achieve a highly aerated solution which will promote an explosive proliferation of the beneficial bacteria and fungus present in the castings.
Use: as soil drench, or filter solids out and use as spray to cover surfaces of leaves. For best results use immediately.