Episode #85: Red Worm Composting (Part II)

In Part II of my interview with Bentley Christie of redwormcomposting.com, we discuss worm feeding requirements, innovation and experimentation in vermicomposting, and the benefits of worm castings.

I also conclude with some comments about observations from working in the garden this spring, and talk a bit about next week’s show.



Episode #85: Red Worm Composting (Part II) — 2 Comments

  1. Re: the idea of using a bag to put scraps, etc. in one end and then work with gravity to get castings out the other end, check out http://www.wormswag.com/. I bought one of these and it’s working quite well. (However, I do find I mainly focus on traditional composting as I have a bin right inside the chicken yard and scoop all their straw and poop in with the kitchen waste, and this is easy to shovel onto the garden later.).

  2. An interesting source of information on early worm composting comes form George Sheffield Oliver in the 1940s. The online Journey to Forever library has some great free literature on Oliver and other early worm researchers. According to Oliver he bred his own worm breed that featured the deep subsoil mineral mining abilities of the earthworm with the prolific reproduction and top litter feeding of the red worms, or something to that effect.

    In his anecdote “My Grandfather’s Earthworm Farm” in the book “Harnessing the Earthworm” by Dr. Thomas J. Barrett, Oliver describes somewhat vaguely how his family put an enormous tract of of land into the production of worms/decomposition of manure, the latter which they transported from the barn via an odd pully system. The story isn’t entirely clear. I’m sure if Frank put his remarkable research abilities to this we could hear all about this and what became of his fablous “breed”…

    On the same topic I’m curious how people think worm composting fits into larger scale agricultural operations. I mean is this a practice which is only meant for small urban or suburban scales, or has anyone recent tried to scale it to deal with large manure or food wate inputs? I once saw a 30′ worm trough in Costa Rica, but I wonder if you wouldn’t be able to cut out a few steps by just feeding your waste to pigs (I’ve even heard of pigs eating humanure). So perhaps worms have a place on farms just shy of hog raising. What creature do you think could compost bones?

    What percentage of a chicken’s diet can be made up of worms? (or Black Soldier Maggots for that matter). I have so many questions and Frank has gone a long way toward answering many of them. I don’t know if this is the right place to make requests but I would love to hear a podcast on homemade methane powered transportation in the spirit of Harold Bate: http://www.nfb.ca/film/bates_car_sweet_as_a_nut/

    Thanks Frank!

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