Juicing the Worms

Red Wigglers

Red Wigglers

Our Wriggly Ranch has been working over time. The red wigglers are chowing down like there’s no tomorrow. Lots of good scraps left over from our salad cutting board for them to munch on. Oh hey peoples, we in the process of moving so posting is light at the moment (don’t worry within same building…just better view of the garden).

Worm compost

Worm compost

About 5 months ago we finally joined a CSA here in SF called Eating with the Seasons. Hey, there are a bunch to choose from in SF, but this one we loved for two reasons. First…well…probably the main reason..they have a drop off point within walking distance from our house. The second reason is awesome. We get to go online and select our fruits and veggies that will deliver that following week. You see, they operate more like a coop and get fresh goods from a couple different local farms which makes it more flexible.

Draining the juice

Draining the juice

Back to the red wiggler worms…here’s What we do. We keep two plastic tupperware type plastic containers. As we collect veggie and fruit scaps, we toss them into the first bin. We tend not to keep any onions, citrus, meats and dairy…not exactly sure, but think they don’t like them. Next we store the bin in the freezer. This helps break down the cells in the scraps, making it easier for the worms to process. Also, it eliminate any odor and critters that like to swarm around old bits of food…yeah I’m talking to you Mr. Fruit Fly. After the bin is full, we thaw it out to room temperature, either overnight or during work. Then it’s feeding time for the worms.

The second collecting bin starts getting used until we wash the first one.

Overview of the worm bin

Overview of the worm bin

Here’s where the magic happens. Unlike a lot of worms, red wigglers do their activity at the surface. They eat and make castings, aka a compost like material. We dump the scraps in the top, lay some shredded newspaper / grocery bags over that, then mist it all with water…not soggy, just damp. The worms take over from there.

Pouring out the worm juice

Pouring out the worm juice

There’s three worm bins stacked up in this set up, and a reservoir at the bottom. When the first bin fills up, we stack on top an empty one and start feeding them there. The worms all migrate up to the feeding level. When all three bins are full, we harvest all the castings from the bottom bin and work it into the garden. That empty bin now becomes the new one to stack on top.

Sometimes we can tap some liquid from the reservoir, aka the worm juice. We pour it into a watering can, add some water, then pour it on the plants.

Hot topic alert: I know there’s a bunch of recipes and techniques out there for how to harvest the worm by products. What we’re doing seems to be working, and at the very least we’re keeping some food scraps from traveling to a process facility and / or the dump.

However we’re no experts and always willing to improve on what we do. If you have some thoughts or suggestions, we want to hear them.

– Far Out Flora

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