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Re: Live Foods Digest V1 #32


>From: "Phillip Hansen" <<skilphil at pixie_co.za>

>Subject: Earthworms

>Last summer I made up up box as per some article for a earthworm unit. It

>had a tight fitting lid and drainage holes at the bottom.

>I had a problem in that any food put inside went mouldy before being eaten.

>The colony declined. Over winter I stuck the box in a shed and left it.

>Last weekend I took it out and found that there were still a few live

>worms. I would like to get the whole thing going again.

>Should there be holes in the top to breathe (stop the mould)

>Will I need to resead the colony to get it going or rely on the existing

>few to propogate.

One of the best boxes to use is a deep polystyrene one as used to ship fish in. You do not need air holes in the box itself but the top of the soil should be covered with a piece of thick damp sacking. It is possible that the food (what were you using) went mouldy because there were insufficient worms in the unit to eat the amount you were putting in. Quantity of worm reproduced = number of worms in the colony. To get a unit from which you can start to harvest in two to three months you need at least a 100 worms to start(Angling shops and gardening mags advertising worms if you can not get them from your garden). If you are using less then you will have to wait for the colony to build up. Most vegetable matter can be used for food just scatter it on the surface of the soil under the sacking. Inspect every other day and remove any uneaten food and replace with fresh. As the colony builds the quantity of food consumed should increase giving a good guide to when it can start to be harvested.Worms need dark and damp plus not to hot conditions to reproduce so site the unit somewhere cool during the summer and keep the sacking moist by spraying, to wet and the soil will sour. Once in production it is a good idea to replace a 1/4 of the soil every six months. The multi purpose compost (not pure peat) sold by garden center`s is an ideal medium.

Hope this helps



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