Simple & Effective Worm Composting on your Homestead

>>Marjory: Marjory Wildcraft with Grow Your
Own Groceries here. I was recently travelling in the Pacific Northwest
and I made a new friend that had a spectacular garden. His name is Peter Paul. Heís married, has two kids and a fulltime
job and heís growing food primarily because he just loves being out in the garden and
also he wants to make sure his family is getting really safe and nutritious food. When I asked him what was his secret and what
was he using for fertility, he showed me an amazing system with the worm bin that he’s
using. Right there I did an off the cuff interview
with him because I really love this idea and a pretty amazing interview and I wanted to
share it with you.>>Peter: The reason we started this compost
bin is we moved out in here in the country and I was trying to build a compost pile with
my kitchen scraps and really I was just feeding the raccoons and skunks come out and they’d
tear it apart and all that’d be left would be orange peels. A neighbor of mine, another friend of mine
actually, told me that he had worm bin. I went over and looked at his worm bin. I was like, “Hey, I got to get started.” I started and since then we turned all our
kitchen scraps and the best stuff possible for worm food…. You’ll see that I just have a bunch of leaves
on top and you can see some of the worms scrumming around here and there. What I do is underneath I drop… pull it
back and I drop it. This is where I last dumped it. Here’s the fresh compost from the last time
I dumped it and you can see the worms are already getting in there and doing their thing. I’ll work from one into the other. This is where compost was dumped probably
about a month or so ago and you can tell it’s pretty much done.>>Marjory: Nice. Very nice. So you just keep adding compost to this in
different places?>>Peter: Yes. I’d start here and then I’ll work down. It takes about a month all the way across. I put all our kitchen scraps in here, some
stuff from the garden.>>Marjory: Do you feel okay dumping meat
or bones or feathers?>>Peter: Yes. I’ll show you. If you have an indoor bin you probably don’t
want to put the meat in there and such. With the outdoor bins there’s actually … it’s not just worms in here. There’s a fly in here. Let me see if I can find a larva. The larvae eat meat. It’s actually a … it’s not just … here’s
one. Those will work on the meat and so …>>Marjory: You not necessarily just have
a worm bin, you have a whole composting system.>>Peter: Those self-introduced themselves. They showed up all in their own. The compost is really hard to, in this system,
get out. I have to dig it out and hand separate it
and something I do on a warm spring day. What I’d really like you to see is the worm
juice. Under here this is set at a slight slant. There are a bunch of holes drilled in the
tank and it collects what I call the worm juice. It’s really compost tea but the worms do urinate
and they take water while doing it. When I’m not using so much in the winter,
I store it and keep it. In the spring I offer it to my friends, I
sell some and I use it for direct feeding, foliar feeding, both.>>Marjory: Nice. You’ve seen incredible results using this?>>Peter: Yes. When I started using this for feeding the
plants, the first year I did it my tomato plants grew faster than my sunflowers. Before they fruited they were about seven
feet tall and then they fell over a little bit of course. I couldn’t believe it.>>Marjory: Wow. I’ve heard you made some really good trades.>>Peter: Yes. I just traded five gallons
of this for an iPhone.>>Marjory: An iPhone?>>Peter: Yes. I offer it up to some other friends for their
gardens and stuff. Anyway, just keep it covered. Last year, I got about 30 gallons just over
the winter time. When I started the worm bin what I did was
I filled it about two-thirds full with composted manure, fresh manure and leaf and straw. They really like the carbon. Then let it set for about two weeks and then
ordered some worms. The worms showed up, I put them in and started
adding compost.>>Marjory: Wow. How long was it before you started getting
juice out of it?>>Peter: Immediately.>>Marjory: Oh really?>>Peter: Yes. As soon as I put the worms in and they started
creating juice. When add dry material you wet it down
like … If you come over and take a look again, the
top layer what I do is this is composting, the worms are up in here. Every couple of months when this turns gets
really composted down, really broken down, I’ll just bring a bunch of the oak leaves
that are, we have big old trees on the other side, and bring in a big wheelbarrow of oak
leaves and put a fresh layer on top. They’re composting not only the stuff underneath
but that carbon material down.>>Marjory: Great. Where did you get your worms? Are these just fishing worms that you got
at the local store or did you get …?>>Peter: No. I order them online. I can’t remember the name of the website
but it’s for about $20 a pound and for this setup I put in five pounds of worms.>>Marjory: Nice.>>Peter: You can put in less. It just takes longer for them to multiply. When they do multiply, let’s see if I can
… they make little eggs. This one. Here in a bunch. See those little … those are going to be
worms. Those are worm eggs, those little yellow… Actually the smaller worms like you want to
have as many of them reproducing because the smaller worms are more vigorous as they’re
growing. The thing I like most about these worms is
just how easy it is. It’s a lot easier than building compost piles,
turning compost piles. I add compost to it maybe twice a week. I add the kitchen scraps and really that’s
all I have to do. I get the juice out into bucket every once
in a while and other than having to spend an afternoon in the spring separating out
the worms from the compost, it doesn’t take much effort.>>Marjory: Wasn’t that amazing? I’ve been inspired and I’m growing my … I’m going to be making my own worm bin right
here. If you have any great suggestions by all means
drop me an email. I’d love to hear about and I’d love to share
it more with the online community that’s growing among us. Until I see you on the next video. I’m Marjory Wildcraft and you can Grow Your
Own Groceries.

100 thoughts on “Simple & Effective Worm Composting on your Homestead

  1. Marjory, great vid! Just a tip…you can use bokashi composting in the kitchen and feed the bokashi to the worms. This greatly speeds up the process and helps balance the soil with beneficial lactobacillus bacteria. The worms love it and the food is half digested before they get it. Happy farming!

  2. It loooks piss poor and extremely wet. Also it is very unfinished. My worm compost bin is 100% fluffy,black rich soil,which the worms created from food scraps. The smell is so earthy,like picking up fresh fertile soil from the healthiest rain forest in the world.

  3. so when a batch is finished decomposing you have to sift through it to take out the worms and put them back in the pile? And those worms will reproduce before they die so you only have to buy one initial batch of worms or are they something u have to keep purchasing like every year?

  4. Soooo interesting!!!! But what kinda of warm is it? Do they have a specific type? name??? Really interested to start a mini one for our mini garden!

  5. They need a grit. Sand- coffee grounds, or blended eggshells are the best. You can crack the eggshells, just blending them is easier.

  6. OMG, Marjory, why are you barefoot?!!! It's obviously cold because you have condensation coming off your breath!! Put on some shoes!!

  7. Good stuff. We started our own bin last year due to a generous donation from an awesome subscriber. They are a great asset.

  8. Really good video and I gave you a like and a subscribe. I am composting now and looking to find a way to be as efficient and self sustaining as possible. Thanks for the information!

  9. Won't those worms freeze in the winter? Native worms will burrow deep in the ground to avoid the freeze. Your worms and compost will be a block of ice!

  10. So dangerous using this type of trough. Hot-dip galvanizing deposits a
    thick robust layer of zinc iron alloys on the surface of a steel item.
    This with the acids when composting ,you end up with Zinc. This element
    transfers up through the plants we consume. galvanize Containers should
    mot be used. Also using cardboard also have dangerous chemicals .
    Research Cardboard Dangers. The worm Casting are no beter than the
    ingredients used. Thanks Farmerjay

  11. I live in Arco Idaho and understand that this method would not work outdoors due to our temps getting below zero thru the winter…
    I would LOVE to learn how to do this at a large scale without needing a large bank account here on my 'Kind Pharm'

    Thank you!

  12. That's not compost tea, that's pathogen tea. You should just add dry organic materials that soak up the moisture (shredded paper, dry leaves, straw, etc.).

  13. Have you made a soldier fly bin yet? The grubs that form naturally in the worm bins produce rabidly and are full of protein, perfect for ducks and chickens!

  14. Great vid! So glad more people are doing this. I've started mine back in March 2008 and use mainly kitchen scraps and egg cartons. My worm box is 24"x 30"x72" and made way more compost than I could ever imagine or use!

  15. The fly larvae are probably soldier flies – very helpful for vermicomposting and they don't bother the worms.

    A divider – perforated in some way or using slatted boards- can also be added across the middle of the bin to make harvesting compost easier. Add material to one side; once it's full start adding to the other side. Once the worms are done chowing on the first side, they'll migrate to the fresh food on the other side and you can harvest the casting from the first side. Perforations or slats don't have to be big – the worms can get through small spaces and will find their way.

    Would love to see some tips on keeping worms adequately warm in winter and cool enough in summer for outdoor bins since temperature is critical to their survival. Leah

  16. I think what he could do for compost is let it sit without feeding for awhile let em till it good then only feed on one side and basically shovel some primo dirt from the other, use a bait or cricket food after starving em out for a week or 2 then after 2 or 3 days of feeding in one side every worm would be on one side posibly a few lame or slow worms one the other side. Then just shovel em out.

  17. My bucket of worms has surface worms that are beginning to break down (bleeding liquid/goo). But, the worms at the bottom/middle of bucket are alive. How do I keep them from doing that? I keep them in my screened-in porch in a bucket. I add water from time to time.
    I trim trees in my yard (with my 12amp Dewalt Sawzall with 12 inch pruning saw blade) and have a lot of left over saw dust. Is the saw dust good to give them?
    How often should I change the bedding and what should it be made of?
    Walmart sells $3 bags (+30lbs per bag) of manure/compost for gardening without any additives (a no name bag). Is this good to use as food/new dirt to feed the worms? One of the videos I watched said to feed them cricket food ($4 for a small container of dusty stuff with corn, soybeans, vitamins and minerals, and other stuff; but, that gets pricey after a while). Are there better, cheaper items to feed them?
    If I feed them organic table scraps, how fine should they be cut up/processed before mix it into the worms or should I just pour the cut up table scraps on top (if it's a viable feeding option)?
    What does worm bedding such as newspaper, woodchips, sawdust and/or wet leaf mulch do for worms that regular dirt/manure can't do (why use one as a bottom layer?; would it work better if they were mixed instead of layered?)?
    What temperatures should I keep them at (and where depending on season/climate: spring, summer, fall, winter, autumn?)?
    How thick should the layer of dirt/bedding be for worms inside the bucket/bin (and does it differ between red wrigglers and huge nightcrawlers?) (I'm more interested in having more red wrigglers and only a few nightcrawlers; can you grow them together?; Do the species have problems living in the same bin/home together?)?
    Do I have to buy organic dirt to give them or can they thrive in environments with artificial additives like in common bags of soil (I ask because I live in North Georgia, USA)?
    Detail answer's would be great and most appreciated. Thank you for your time and effort!

    SurvivalGeek (YouTube)

  18. I live in Florida …. I would like to do worm composting. Don't see worms in my soil. My concern is how hot it gets here … I am afraid my bin would heat up too much and kill my worms.

  19. It gets very cold here, as I live in zone 5b or 6…With a large bin like Mr. Paul has, can they be left outside in the winter?

  20. worms are attracted by rythmic vibrations-put a clock with a loud tick-tock sound or a musical metronome in a sealed bucket(resonator) on the'food'side of the worm bin,and they'll cluster around it…Anything that vibrates(pool-pump,generator,aquarium pump) will have this effect, south africa anyway.

  21. wont the worms naturally go there if you cut out the bottom and touch earth? it seems the only the unique here is that it has a hard cover. But i am new, so dont know what to notice…

  22. A good start is to bury some compost able materials, and the worms will find it, and you can add those worms to your bin as you find them, slower, I know, than finding and buying a whole bunch of worms. Re: fly maggots. I discourage wild flies, I feel they are very unsanitary. I am interested in soldier flies. They are great at breaking up compostables, and are great food for chickens. I garden in my mind; I don't have the space to garden yet.

  23. After a bit of trial and error, the unit was finally assembled.>>> The directions required some deciphering. Great quality materials for a heavy plastic container, easy to use, and very stable stand.

  24. Man-O-man lots of miss leading info here, the blind leading the blind. First off leachate not worm tea, leachate is anaerobic and can have concentrates in it that can be toxic depending on what your putting in your bin. Worms prefer a PH around neutral so loading your bin up with Oak leaves that are very acidic is going to throw off the PH and make your worm colony more susceptible to disease and being attacked by mites etc.
    Not having enough airflow and drainage in your bin is very bad for the health of the worms too. Over feeding the bin can be generate heat that will kill your worms and if your lucky enough that that doesn’t happen lots of that extra food will end up being undigested and left behind in the bin as compost worms are top feeders that need the more airy surface level to thrive and will continue to migrate up as you add more material to the bins.
    Be careful of taking advice from newbie Worm farmers.

  25. I went to boarding school for my HS years. The school was self sufficient we grew and raised all food we ate. So the students did all the work. My point is my job my first year and a half was being in charge of compost and worms. I had 20 fellow students help me daily. We used a mixture of leaves, saw dust from non treated wood and leaves. Those were main ingredients. Again my point is we had a idea that worked great and didn't require turning as much. We took pvc pipe that went from bottom to top. Width of pipe don't matter so much. We drilled holes all threw out the pipes then wrapped a screen around the pipe before sticking straight in the compost to the bottom. This helped get oxygen throughout the compost and the results I remember being remarkable. Mabye this will help someone.

  26. Your feet must be really cold. Why are you barefoot? Do you not have money for shoes? If you need shoes, I'll buy you a couple pair.

  27. I have a question about the application of the worm juice. I would love to hear suggestions as to how people use the juice, whether it's sprayed on the soil or worked in? thanks

  28. Marjory? Hope I got your name right. I have been thinking of a design to survive in a basement in the Ozarks as a prep situation. One of the main components both for heating and generating plant food is worms. In my design I have chickens, fish, UV lights retro-feeding a solar system for electricity, a rocket mass heater with an attacked distiller for rain water, a snow melting spot, water heater and other things designed for a compact living quarter. Thinking of how chickens are amazing at designing landscape and the symbiotic relationship they have with worms I thought of an elevated chicken coop that can go down to the worm bed where composting layer happens, the worm bed would be then feeding the juice to the plants and the plants would feed the fish and so on, the RMH would provide heat making a gasifier from compost really unnecessary. Please tell me what eventuality I have not covered if any. Wood needed for RMH is 2% of wha t is needed in a regular stove or heater, so fallen branches and pine cones is all that is needed which can be gathered in thhe summer month and in autumn. With the cold hitting doubling records we need to establish communities for survival and stay self sufficient as well.

  29. Don’t waist your money buying worms, go to your local school yard on a summer night after they water. You will catch them by the coffee tin full.

  30. @8:08
    As a former safety instructor I would highly recommend purchasing a funnel to reduce waste & contamination. You should also invest in rubber gloves, apron & safety goggles handling
    any kind of anerobic liquid material or fertalizer.

    You can also do Vermacomposting directly in your garden bed by building a worm tower. This has similar benifits as wicking beds, as it directly feeds the worm juice into the soil so you don't risk contaminating your produce & allows you to directly sow your worm castings in the bed without extra hauling & work.

  31. The "juice" is NOT worm pee. It's called leachate. It happens when water leaks out of food and other things that you put the compost, because there is not enough ventilation in the bin. It is poisonous to the worms and it will kill a garden.

  32. That would be black soldier fly larva they will eat everything…..I once just put 20lbs of cucumber pulp 2 inches below soil spread out twice a week and they would demolish it no problem…

  33. Seems like to much food in that bin . Needs to pull some out and start a new bin . The soil /compost you want isn't chunky matter . It supposed to be all the way broken down . I would just stop feeding that bin for at least a month and let the worms catch up.

  34. I heard you say that you separated the worms from the compost in early spring. Do you literally remove all the worms and then use the compost in the garden and start over with new leaves and kitchen scrapes?

  35. I didn't realize that the worms do not eat the actual media you add to the vermiculture system, They eat the microbes produced by the media.

  36. I'm in Miami Gardens n want to start my own worm compost but the heat could be to much for the potential worms what should I do in this particular project

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