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The First Shipment of Worms…OMG

UserPost

5:33 am
April 13, 2017


kmccauley90@yahoo.com

Member

posts 4

I wanted to post my experience, sorry that it ended up being so long but I do feel it is worth the read.

 

I am new to worm farming.  I became fascinated by some dude on YouTube that just came up my accident as I am listening to gardening videos in an attempt to rescue my struggling garden.  To better understand, I am a courier and I listen to YouTube while going down the road, and it just plays and plays and I have come to listen to some really, ummmm, lets just say "interesting" things as I try to limit my distraction of my phone while driving and just let it go from one video to the next.

Ok, back to my worms.  I listened and studied how to take care of them.  I visited my extension office to get the limited information they had available, I read information from multiple sources and finally came upon this treasure trove of information in Worm Farming Secrets.  After reading both e-books multiple times, I felt comfortable enough to order my first worms.  I went with 6000 red wigglers.  I want to eventually have millions, the ideas I have are going to be hard to limit until I get just one off the ground but I really want this to be successful for me and I will heed the advice of the experts. 

I ordered on a Tuesday evening, knowing that they would not ship them until the following Friday, and that I would not receive them until Monday.   I had almost a week to prepare. I do well with deadlines and responsibilities, but can procrastinate my butt off when it comes to things like dusting and mowing grass. So I decide to start out with the classic Rubbermaid tote system.  I was trying to keep my expenses as low as possible so I rummaged and reorganized till I came up with 4 empty totes.  I drilled holes in 2 of the bins as well as the lids, found the right spacer to hold up the top tote, got my containers to hold the food for my lil wigglers, rinsed my peat moss, all in preparation for my lil buddies.  And then it happened, I read just one more story, about how hard it is to keep the moisture and air flow regulated in plastic.  That is when my overthinking, obsessiveness kicked in.  I did not want to lose my fellers when they got here, I wanted success from the get go, I needed to know that I did all I could to ensure that success.  So I roamed my buildings, checked out different stashes of items behind them and next to them.  Ok, I had an idea.

There I am, sawhorses, nail guns, drill, tape measure, screws, and a plan in my head.  My adult children, don't mess with me, they know that Mama is on a mission.  At the end of the day, my worm village seems to have come together. And I am ready for the lil guys arrival. 

Monday comes, I still have my wet peat moss in the plastic tub and my worms have arrived!!  I am expecting pretty docile worms after the trauma of the USPS.  I open the first bag and see a mass of moving dirt, like really moving, and I smile thinking "ok, they took well to being shipped.  I pour the bag into the wet peat moss (my first mistake to be explained later).  I am thoroughly amazed by this mass of worms, just 1/3rd of my shipment.  This ole farm girl who used to collect worms for fishing in the creek down the road had never seen this many worms in one place.  In my amazement, I did not realize they were quickly crawling up the sides of the tote.  Of course I am doing this in my kitchen so I start opening bag 2 of three.  While untying the knot I am interrupted by having to stand worm patrol and nudge them back into the tote as they are crawling over the edge.  I love the worms but I really did not want them free ranging in my kitchen!!   

I quickly get all 6000 worms in my bin of wet peat moss.  I do not understand why they are not going into the wet peat moss but instead are staging a rebellion and freaking me out!!!  I am thinking how in the world am I supposed to keep this contained!!!  I struggle to carry the 6000 worms and the wet peat moss up to the building that contains their forever home.  Word of advise…its heavy and having to stop every 2 feet to push down renegade worms is not easy!!  I finally make it.  I try to mix the worms and the wet peat moss up some before I tip the bin over into the permanent home, I figure they have had enough shock just getting shipped, I try to be as gentle as I can.  I slowly tip the bin onto the landscape fabric lined creation I have come up with.  Epic Fail, the fabric slides and gets out of place, meanwhile worms are going in every direction.  I add their feed and try to "box" them in some since the home is a grow into it version but they all seem to just want to leave.  What is happening?  I did every thing right, why do they all want to leave.  I spend over an hour chasing down, scooping up and wondering what I did wrong.  Every time I turn around there is another handful running the wrong way or slipping thru the intended drainage crack that was exposed when the landscape fabric shifted.  So I mix the worms again, trying to bury them into the peat moss and that is when I see it and the light bulb comes on, ding ding ding.  They are still trying to get away from the dry peat moss they were shipped in!!!  They are looking for their oasis of moisture!!!!  So I get my water bucket, hoping that I won't lose to many while I get it filled up.  When I return I spend 20 minutes doing worm rescue and then I just start pouring water over the whole mess.  I was at the point that either they will drown, escape, or be happy and stay but I had to get to work!!  I poured water mixed, then poured again.  Water started to pool on the edges and I figured ok, that's enough, I knew the water would not run out but it would seep out slowly.  I covered with wet paper, and cardboard, and like I say when I plant a seed, "Live or die, it's up to you now."

I head to work, and even though it is daylight I knew that I would not be home till after dark so I leave the light on in the building so that it may deter them from escaping once it gets dark.  I did everything I could do.

Ten hours later I return from work.  I had an uneventful day and obtained no YouTube knowledge about escaping worms (I should make a video on that!!).  I trudge up to the building expecting to see hundreds of dead worms on the concrete floor, knowing that they probably would not make it to dirt after they escaped my bin.  I was already calculating in my head how long it would take financially before I could try again, I am no quitter! 

I look and can honestly only see maybe 20 worms on the floor.  Is their hope?  I lift the cardboard, I see just a few on top of the wet paper.  Hmmmmm, I lift the paper, I see peat moss, newspaper and small pieces of cardboard that I had mixed in.  But the best thing…it was moving!!!!!!  As I investigated more I see the worms are all up in the food, very few on the edges and the moisture seemed, if anything in need of a little water.

They had plumped up some since that morning so they were obviously getting their badly needed drink.  I am not naïve enough to think that the road ahead will not bring other challenges and struggles but for now, my lil buddies seem happy. 

My first shipment of worms, as of right now seems to be a success, and I learned a huge lesson.  Even thought your peat moss is ready for your worms, always wet them down in the shipping material they come in BEFORE adding them to your bed.  I think that is why I was having a worm rebellion.  Now I know and am excited to get my next shipment in another month or so.

 

HAPPY WORMING.Smile

8:52 am
April 19, 2017


Philip Rock

Member

posts 84

Sounds like you are well on your way.  Lot's of worm adventures await you, I'm sure.  I wouldn't be too worried about using plastic bins, however, as long as you provide for adequate drainage and airflow, plastic bins work just fine.  

 

Depending on the size of your bin – you may wish to hold off on buying any more at the moment.  If your worms are doing well, you ought to be able to divide your bin in a couple of months and get two bins going for the price of one.

 

Best of luck to you!

3:51 pm
April 19, 2017


kmccauley90@yahoo.com

Member

posts 4

The finished bin is not quite 4' x 8'.  I rough estimated the plastic bins could handle maybe 4 to 5000, sifting every 3 to 4 weeks.  I figure if I don't buy any more, I could have a bin full, 30,000 or so by mid-fall. 

 

thank you for your feedback


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