Worms & Vegetables


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Hello,

I have finally decided to explore the worm world.
I want to ask a few things from the worm specialists I've seen here:

Is it possible, to throw some worms in a large flower box (pot) with some cucumbers and corn, and expect them to thrive and do all the healthy stuff and things they always do in the soil?

If the answer is yes, what worms would you recommend (living in a Mediterrane climate) and how should I feed them.

Any recommendations and advice are welcomed.

Thanks a lot,

- Yinon
 
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I wouldn't even think of imprisoning worms, and chucking them in a pot so they can work for me. They stay out in the garden here and live a happy life. :giggle:
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I have finally decided to explore the worm world.
Good choice...

Is it possible, to throw some worms in a large flower box (pot) with some cucumbers and corn, and expect them to thrive and do all the healthy stuff and things they always do in the soil?
Short answer: No

--------------

But, as with anything the answer is bigger than a simple bumper sticker slogan or one word answers.

There are several different species we call worms and they have very different characteristics.

When we talk vermicomposting and worm castings we are looking at using specific compost worms. Many use Red Worms (Eisenia fetida) and to a lesser extent European Nightcrawlers (Eisenia hortensis). I've used both and used to have them mixed together. There are a few other worm species used which tend more tropical temperatures - African nightcrawlers, Alabama Jumpers, Blue worms are a few that come to mind.

We also talk of using a "worm bin" as the composting vessel. A large bucket, plastic storage tote, or wooden box, even nylon bags work well. A flower pot, or box, would have to be rather large. You can grow plants in there but it works out less than optimally for either or both composting and growing.

To set up a worm bin it is typically a mix of kitchen produce scraps and wet cardboard with maybe a handful of dirt tossed in.

The hardest part I have found is sourcing the compost worms to start out with. Around the US people have been told to go look around the bottom of an old pile of horse manure at a horse stable - I've done this and it is usually full of composting worms.

Check out this link Red Worm Composting blog: Getting Started
 
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@NigelJ Thank you for your recommendations.
@Tetters, Unfortunately, I live in the middle of the city, so all I have are 2 little balconies. So either way, it'll be a small compost box or a small flower box (pot)... Sorry to disappoint the worms.

@Mr_Yan, Thank you for your detailed answer.
I have contacted one seller yesterday, who could provide me with 50 red worms.
I asked him the same questions I posted here, but his answers were different, so I have a feeling he doesn't actually care about worms but wants just to sell them. He said for example, that throwing them into a flowerbox with plants, is okay, and they'll be fine. which I answered, "but such a small container, could there be any population problems, for example, them breeding too much? (I know worms don't have females and males, anyone can lay eggs). He answered, "Nah, they'll sort them selfs out, no over-population problem".

That leads me to listen only to what you guys wrote here.
Now, I understand that adding them to a flower box (pot) is not a good idea. So, I've been thinking about it and decided that the best thing I can do to utilize the best out of those worms, is to make a "worm bin" (aka - compost box).

I found a lot of fancy tutorials and videos on youtube, but I wanted to hear from your point of view, how to do that.
I have only 2 questions/limitations, it has to be compact and not too big, and preferably not to smell bad.

Unfortunately, manure isn't a possibility.
Is it possible to make a worm bin without it?

P.S
Here, almost all the soil is already fertilized, we call it "slow fertilizer". the soil itself releases fertilizer for almost 6 months.
Do you think it can harm the worms? so I should get pure soil?

Last question (I promise), how should I store the worms, and where should I put the compost bin?
(Sunny place, moist place, dark place etc..)

Thank you for taking the time to guide me.
- Yinon
 
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I think that fancy videos on the computer are causing lots of bored people to do rather daft things - especially during the past months when so many are almost out of their wits with the nasty virus we are all experiencing.
If I only had a window box/balcony or even tiny garden, I would not look to keeping creatures there, except maybe a pet cat or small dog to take out for walks.
The amount of crops that can be grown in such a small space can be adequately cared for without the ''experiments'' in my opinion.
Why not join a gardening group in the area (if there is one) or try to find an allotment - is that possible in your area?
 
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I think that fancy videos on the computer are causing lots of bored people to do rather daft things - especially during the past months when so many are almost out of their wits with the nasty virus we are all experiencing.
If I only had a window box/balcony or even tiny garden, I would not look to keeping creatures there, except maybe a pet cat or small dog to take out for walks.
The amount of crops that can be grown in such a small space can be adequately cared for without the ''experiments'' in my opinion.
Why not join a gardening group in the area (if there is one) or try to find an allotment - is that possible in your area?

No, it's not possible.
And please do not insult/underestimate my garden.
Yes, I call that a garden. Maybe I don't have a huge garden near my house as you do. But,
I'm quite proud of my little garden. I have tomato, carrots, lemon tree, bonsai, berry bushes, chines orange tree, peach, peppers, corn, pumpkins, watermelons, okra, herbs, and other crops and flowers, that produce beautiful fruits, vegetables, and flowers.

I also have a small warehouse, and a small compost bin I've started, some succulents and cactuses.
And my cute armadillidium vulgare and few other insects.

I can't afford a big garden and a fancy house, so this is what I have, and it's actually quite a lot if you know how to maximize space and work smart. And If I want to make some compost and introduce to my "Vast" collection of plants, some healthy worms, I think there is nothing that can stop me.

And if you are worried about the worms, I think I'll be a good owner, maybe even better than people who have hundreds of plants and have huge piles of compost and have no time to worry about each and every plant.

Thanks for your concern and advice.

- Yinon
I appreciate it.
 
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I applaud you @Yinon for what you have achieved in your small space, and there is absolutely no way I would insult such a wonderful effort..... however, I am sincerely hoping that you have considered the weight you are adding to your balcony area.
I wonder if you could please have a look at the link I am including here by Jonathan Ya'akobi, who was the former head gardener at the Jerusalem Botanical Garden. https://ezinearticles.com/?Containe...&id=1533882#:~:text=A balcony may have a,that
 
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@Yinon - 50 worms can be a start but you'll have to be careful and ramp up slowly as the population grows. Around the American sites I read about vermicomposting the standard starting amount is a pound of worms, or roughly 1000 worms. They will breed and multiply if you give them good conditions and 50 can turn in to several thousand in a year or two. I would start a worm bin for 50 worms in something the size of a shoebox and place it in the cabinet under my kitchen sink - call it 200 mm x 350 mm x 100 mm should work.

50 worms won't process much food scraps per week - call it 3 apple cores or 2 banana peels a week at first. "Over feeding" a bin will kill it faster than most anything.

One thing to think about is why you want to do this. Ultimately you're adding another thing to keep, maintain, take care of and think about. I started with worm composting because of my lack of space - I just didn't have the space or materials to make a traditional hot compost pile work well, but I wanted to stop throwing out my kitchen scraps and make my own soil amendments.

@Yinon - you brought to memory a small intense permaculture garden I heard about done by a Greek guy. He was pulling in about all the produce he could eat in an area less than 5 m x 5 m and had a crazy amount of plants in it. I'll see if I can find a link again.

@Tetters makes a good point about the balcony and weight. I don't know where you plan on keeping this but a balcony in the sun is a bad place. These worms evolved to live in the leaf litter in a forest and either high heat or wild temperature swings will kill them - and almost nothing stinks like a bucket of dead worms. Even if the box is totally opaque you can't have it cooking in the sun.

And yes @Tetters is right there are a lot of people stuck at home with a connection YouTube vids, which are not always accurate, starting stupid projects. @Yinon I don't think you're one.
 
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I applaud you @Yinon for what you have achieved in your small space, and there is absolutely no way I would insult such a wonderful effort..... however, I am sincerely hoping that you have considered the weight you are adding to your balcony area.
I wonder if you could please have a look at the link I am including here by Jonathan Ya'akobi, who was the former head gardener at the Jerusalem Botanical Garden. https://ezinearticles.com/?Container-Gardening---Can-Your-Balcony-Take-the-Weight?&id=1533882#:~:text=A balcony may have a,that
Thank you @Tetters, I am always a bit self-aware about my little garden because here, gardeners always laugh about us, "balcony people". That's why I have to be on the defensive side at all times.

Your point is absolutely correct and I fully agree with it. It is indeed an important factor, that I should consider.
Luckily, I keep track of the several parameters when deciding what to plant, where, and how much of it:

1. Weight.
2. How much time and care I can give this plant (sometimes, different plants can be very needy, so I can have only a few, so I won't lose track of the time I'm spending in the garden).
2. Location (cold, sunny, moist) + seasons of course.
3. Me being sure it's not going to spiral out of control.
4. what bugs, pests, insects the plant can attract. (for example, there is a huge potato eating bug here, so I keep my potatoes with the trees and bushes, not with the vegetables because those bugs can consume other vegetables but not trees and other plants that have bark.
5. Is that actually necessary?
6. other things.

My garden maybe is diverse, but I only keep 1 (sometimes 2, and on rare occasion 3) of every plant.
Everything is in plastic containers, and very little other heavy things.
My trees are all quite small, they are all "dwarf" versions of the original trees, so they can't grow to be big and heavy.
Now the last thing is the compost bin, after the shed, probably the heaviest thing, which is not even located on my balcony.

Because my balconies are really hot sometimes, and sunny most of the days. I can't keep the poor worms there.
That's why, (like @Mr_Yan here), I keep my long red friends under the kitchen sink. In a dark, moist, peaceful place.

Finally, finishing this long post, I'll thank you once again, for bringing to my attention something I did not know about.
The article you shared, was really interesting. I had the honor to be on a few of Mr. Ya'akobi's lectures, (of course they were really interesting), but I didn't know he made such an informative article about balcony gardening.

Thanks.

- Yinon
 
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@Yinon - 50 worms can be a start but you'll have to be careful and ramp up slowly as the population grows. Around the American sites I read about vermicomposting the standard starting amount is a pound of worms, or roughly 1000 worms. They will breed and multiply if you give them good conditions and 50 can turn in to several thousand in a year or two. I would start a worm bin for 50 worms in something the size of a shoebox and place it in the cabinet under my kitchen sink - call it 200 mm x 350 mm x 100 mm should work.

50 worms won't process much food scraps per week - call it 3 apple cores or 2 banana peels a week at first. "Over feeding" a bin will kill it faster than most anything.

One thing to think about is why you want to do this. Ultimately you're adding another thing to keep, maintain, take care of and think about. I started with worm composting because of my lack of space - I just didn't have the space or materials to make a traditional hot compost pile work well, but I wanted to stop throwing out my kitchen scraps and make my own soil amendments.

@Yinon - you brought to memory a small intense permaculture garden I heard about done by a Greek guy. He was pulling in about all the produce he could eat in an area less than 5 m x 5 m and had a crazy amount of plants in it. I'll see if I can find a link again.

@Tetters makes a good point about the balcony and weight. I don't know where you plan on keeping this but a balcony in the sun is a bad place. These worms evolved to live in the leaf litter in a forest and either high heat or wild temperature swings will kill them - and almost nothing stinks like a bucket of dead worms. Even if the box is totally opaque you can't have it cooking in the sun.

And yes @Tetters is right there are a lot of people stuck at home with a connection YouTube vids, which are not always accurate, starting stupid projects. @Yinon I don't think you're one.
@Mr_Yan Thank you once again for your super informative and detailed post.
I shall act according to your suggestions.

If we are talking about reasons to have the worms, well first of all, just like you, I didn't want to throw my kitchen scraps away. But in my case, I also wanted to create something, that can really benefit my plants, and boost them. And of course, be 100% organic.

I agree that It's a good idea to start with a small population that can grow itself in size other the next years.

I was about to buy them, I really was, but I'll be honest, I canceled the purchase because I felt like I need to do some more planing.
after all, those are actually living creatures, and I can't just put them in the fridge until I figure out some Sudden problems or wait till something I ordered from eBay arrives.
So I decided to wait for a little, and have the next few months planned more carefully, Yesterday I felt ready, I even had the bin sorted out and everything, but I decided still, to wait a little, and learn some more about worms and there keeping, see some examples (Not from amateurs on Youtube, of course, we already established that).
But for example, I'm getting ready to visit a "Worm growing center" in the north of the country in a few days, to see myself how everything works).

Thanks for all the tips and other advice you gave.

- Yinon ("The wannabe Greek guy you mentioned", Just joking.)
 
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I applaud you for stepping back when you have to. I've failed at that more than once.

When you do decide to take the plunge don't be afraid and over think it based on what some guys on the internet may or may not post. These vermicompost bins are actually more forgiving than some on the internet make them out to be.
 
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I applaud you for stepping back when you have to. I've failed at that more than once.

When you do decide to take the plunge don't be afraid and over think it based on what some guys on the internet may or may not post. These vermicompost bins are actually more forgiving than some on the internet make them out to be.
Thank you very much @Mr_Yan
 
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