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Worm Wrangler tips, training and Chemical Free Gardening.

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Have you seen this critter in your compost bin?  This question leads to....will they eat my worms? This larvae is considered a friend but they will compete with your worms for the organic matter and may overpopulate the bin leaving very little food for the worms. Checkout this link for more detailed information:    http://ipm.ncsu.edu/AG369/notes/black_soldier_fly.html

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Posted by on in Uncategorized

We will be UNAVAILABLE during the month of October. We have NO employees to assist in our absence. We are taking an RV road trip to NASCAR races in Virginia. Open for business approximately 2nd week of November.

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Posted by on in Gardening

Little Pomegranate tree we planted in March 2014. We added 1 cup vermicompost to root ball and occasionally water it with worm tea. the tree has grown about 10 inches since then and is fruiting. Unbelievable but true, fruit trees usually take about 2 years to begin fruiting.

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Are you seeing mounds, holes and fresh dirt piles in and around your garden? This helpful tip from the UC Davis IPM Pest Notes has some great tips on species recognition, mechanical traps, probes and chemical bombs.

 

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7433.html

 

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We will have worm tea brewing at our farm all weekend. Hours: 5/16 Friday (12:00-7:00pm), 5/17 Saturday (9:00am-5:00pm) and 5/18 Sunday (12:00-5:00pm). 

New plants, Heat stressed plants, Citrus and everything else LOVE our Worm Tea. Please call to arrange your pickup at 707-287-0891

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The Centipede is a recycler of organic waste but no friend to worms. I found 2 in one of my bins today. I believe I introduced these rascals when I added some yard waste mulch to my worm bins. The centipede will eat the wigglers while enjoying a wonderful organic home, pick these guys out when you find them.

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We have 1 Lb packs of Red Wigglers ready to pick up this week.  Please call, text or email if interested.

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Posted by on in Wooden Worm Bins

These are our newest Worm Condo's coming out of our shop. The bottom box is the stand only. These condos are $75 for 2 working trays with stand,b2ap3_thumbnail_2014-04-13-15.52.28-2-640x521.jpg $100 for 3 working trays with stand and $125 for 4 working trays with stand.

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This little white worm is called an Enchytraeid (pot Worm). It is a type of Earthworm that never grows any larger AND stays White, this little guy helps break down the food for the red wiggler to ingest. This picture shows a pot worm next to a juvenile red wiggler. Many people mistake the little white worm for a baby wiggler. The white worms naturally appear and b2ap3_thumbnail_2014-04-05-11.14.16-640x368.jpg are not a threat to the red wiggler.

 

 

 

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Posted by on in Worm Facts and Information

This is a newly formed egg capsule, we can tell by the bright yellow color. As the egg matures it changes to brown, which can easily be seen in the sunlight. The eggs or cocoonb2ap3_thumbnail_2014-04-05-11.24.29-395x640_20140415-000228_1.jpg, become translucent in the sunlight no matter the color. A wormlet will hatch sometime between 21 days and 2 years.

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Posted by on in Aerated Worm Tea

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_20140331_105649-459x640.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_20140331_105551-592x640.jpgWe have been saving up for the 2014 Farmer's Markets in Napa and Sonoma. Season runs May thru October.

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I’ve been following a group discussion regarding a statement on the web that said ‘worm castings may be toxic to another worm’. The consensus of the group of soil experts, worm composters, researchers from Universities, environmental technology and business owners was a resounding cry of surprise. The group is in agreement that this does not sound valid for many reasons.

 

There are many issues that can reduce population growth of worms or inadvertently have a negative impact on the worm castings. Worm castings are the byproduct of the worms that started out as vermicompost and being repeatedly eaten by the worms until all the nutrient and microbes are used up. 1) If oxygen or air flow is compromised in the worm casts they become anaerobic and ammonia is released. 2) Is the worm population declining due to the decline of nutrients in the castings? 3) Are the castings or worm bin toxic, due to high salts or other substances introduced including too much food?

 

Some people reported that they place worm casts in and on fresh, rotten material in the bin to help reduce the release of bad smells and control an invasion of flies and gnats. I am aware that worms are being used in some waste cleanups with favorable results as the worms eat toxins and pathogens thereby neutralizing the environment. This research is very exciting as many of us are moving away from use of chemicals.

 

At this time we do not have an industry wide standard that is scientifically accurate and makes sense from a biological and commercial vermicomposter standpoint. Hopefully in the near future a FACT Sheet will be created from research based studies. This article is not research based but has been an open discussion for a few weeks involving people from all over the world and many vocations.

 

There is research being coordinated with of North Carolina State University, the international Vermiculture Conference held yearly sponsored by NCSU and a great book on Vermiculture with science based research published in 2011 titled: Vermiculture Technology edited by Clive Edward, Norman Q Arancon and Rhonda Sherman

 

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Posted by on in Worm Workshop

b2ap3_thumbnail_worm-egg-gazing-640x628.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_worm-egg-gazing-640x628.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_Mason-with-worm-428x640.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_AJ-and-Mason-with-worm-640x612.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_worm-workshop-640x480.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_AJ-and-Mason-worm-watching-602x640.jpgIt's time for a Worm Workshop here at our Farm. This "hands on" workshop will let you dig in our various bins, learn how to separate compost and most important learn about the care of worms and composting. Bring your questions.

It's all about recycling. We had a wonderful time this morning. There was worm egg gazing, vermicompost separator in motion, worm watching, amazing vermicompost and worm tea brewing.

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Posted by on in Worm Facts and Information

We were at dinner with some new friends last night. I was asked how many worms does one need, to start composting. The quick answer is a minimum of "2".  At the NCSU Vermiculture conference in 2012 the research suggests starting with 1 pound (500-1,000) red wiggler worms in a bin no deeper than 3 feet. Adding more worms equals more efficiency. For those of you wondering about placing worms in your garden bed, the recommended suggestion is 4 wigglers per square foot.

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Posted by on in Miscellaneous
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I am a Vermiculturalist that assists the worms in their Vermicomposting, this activity typically involves breeding worms.

Quick explanation: Vermiculture is the process of breeding worms.

                          Vermicomposting is the active process of turning organic matter into vermicompost, taking 2 weeks to 2 months.

                          Vermicompost is the byproduct of organic waste which has been transformed into a nutrient rich soil amendment

 

 

 

 

 

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This is a bit of information from the Napa Master Gardner's recent edition of the Napa MG newsletter, the volunteer coordinator said to offer this advice: California native plants should be the first priority for watering, then anything newly planted, fruit trees, then followed by large trees and plants that may be pushing buds. Dormant plants that leaf out early should be watered before later leafing ones and smaller plants, those that cost less to replace. And that constantly thirsty turf lawn...

http://lawr.ucdavis.edu/irrigation/

 

 

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January 2014 has been cold in Napa with NO Rain and my plants are suffering. I just came in from watering the yard again! Did you know well watered plants are more resistant to frost damage. Continue keeping your citrus well watered and provide some warmth from the freezing cold. Shade cloth or plastic is a nice protection from frost, attach cloth to plant stakes covering the top of your plants. Supplemental heating with old style Christmas bulbs, not LED’s, is another option to protect plants. Unfortunately some of my succulents did freeze under their covers and lost most of their foliage, mother nature won this battle.

January is also the time to prune fruit trees and roses. Remember it’s time to apply a fungicide now and in late February just before bud break. Here at Worm Endings Unlimited we use only our Aerated Worm Tea as a foliar spray and as a soil drench reaping wonderful results without chemicals. Don’t forget your lawn , it’s time to give it a drink of worm tea to get those microorganisms working in the soil and assisting root growth. This is also the month to rake and clean up the yard to prevent a hospitable home for snails and slugs. This is a list of recommended things to do in January. I realize that I still have lots pruning, cleaning and spraying but not today, my feet are wet and cold. Sausage and Lentil Soup is recommended for today.

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Posted by on in Worm Facts and Information

 

You picked up your Red Wigglers, Now What?

 

 

 

Place the worms on top of the bedding or under a light, they will immediately migrate down to get away from the light. Nights 1 and 2, they will attempt to leave when it gets dark. I recommend keeping a light on or near their new home and allowing some light to filter inside, this discourages them from migrating out as they are very sensitive to light.

 

 

 

It is important that the top of the soil stays wet to damp as this is where the worms spend most of their time. Worms breathe through their skin requiring moisture to survive; healthy worms are pink and glisten. If you use city water, consider leaving a container of water out for 24 hours to de-chlorinate. The chlorination in the water is detrimental to all the microorganisms that assist the worms throughout their lives. I always have a container ready with day old water and have discovered that using a watering can and lightly moistening the top of the soil works very well.

 

 

 

A worm box contains many critters once it gets established. Flies are the biggest problem most people deal with, periodically. There will be some flies but an excess of flies is generally caused by over feeding. It is best to underfeed versus overfeeding, less is best. They will never starve as they are happy to re-eat their vermicompost. I feed my worms once a week. Chopping up the food helps it to rot quicker. The worms actually eat the green fungus, white fuzz, and microbes living in the rotten organic food. Appetites of worms change with the seasons; they are not very active in extreme cold or heat and will eat less. Their ideal temperature range is 55-80 degrees. My biggest indicator of the wellness of the worms and their soil is my nose. If the box smells bad, there are several things to consider. Is the soil too wet or dry? Is there too much food? Is the soil compacted and need air? Stirring up the soil with a garden fork or spading shovel might help; the worms will survive a little stirring. A healthy worm bin smells like rich and wonderful soil.

 

 

 

One very noticeable critter amongst the worms and compost is a tiny earthworm called a Pot Worm (Enchytraeid). It looks like a small piece of white string about ¼” long and many people think it is a baby Red Wiggler. Pot Worms are one of 4,000 types of earthworms; they help break down the food for the Wigglers. A Red Wiggler hatchling is about ¼” long and looks creamy white to pink.They are nearly transparent; the blood vessel running through its body causes a light pink to red tinge coloring.

 

 

 

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When it rains, get those buckets out to collect water for the worms.  DO NOT water worms with city water if it has chlorine in it. The chlorine is not beneficial to the worms or the microbes. This is another tidbit of information we received at the 2012 Vermiculture Conference in North Carolina and one small issue I have been wondering about.

If you do not have rain, put your water out for 24 hours to dechlorinate before moistening your worms and bedding. We keep jugs of water handy at all times.

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