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My first Boo Boos in Vermicomposting

What NOT to do to your earthworms!

This page contains some of the mistakes I made as a new earthworm grower, before the internet and it's vast store house of do's and don't, back when there wasn't much accurate information around, just a bunch of dreamers, that knew it would work, but not HOW. Enjoy, I don't mind if you see the humor in a bad situation, especially if its mine instead of yours!

My Mistakes that You shouldn't make!

There are a whole bunch of different earthworms out there, there are those that are claimed to be hybrids, super producers, thoroughbred, etc. they all have their scientific names, long unpronounceable things, and I don't know, maybe they are better, faster and all of that, but with any hybrid anything, I'm leery, they are just to picky for me, I've always wanted my earthworms to be "part of my life, not take up all of it".
Since, I'm not currently selling earthworms, except locally. I guess that if I were selling them world wide, I would have to have something special to say about mine too.
I really have been satisfied with my old run of the mill, Red Wiggler Earthworms, that's what the guy called them, years ago, when I bought them... that's what I still call them. I haven't gotten around to individually naming them yet, they multiply to quickly!
And then there are RED Wiggler Earthworms.
I'm only going to discuss the "Old Chevy, (all right Fords too) of earthworms" here. NO "Cadillac's, Mercedes, or Corvettes"
Red Wiggler earthworms are hardy little things, that have put up with a lot of ignorance, mistakes and foul ups on my part and still remained faithful to their upper most goal of eating my garbage. Couldn't ask for more devotion.
I haven't mistreated them out of maliciousness, only a beginners ignorance.
When I first started with my dream of vermicomposting, way back when. I had moved from So. Calif., where I had a small bed of earthworms, to Ft. Worth, Texas. I couldn't take my earthworms with me. (Leaving my ex, clothes on my back type thingy.)


When I got settled in Ft. Worth, I found an elderly man that had a fishing bait business, he sold mainly Night Crawlers, but did have a few beds of Red worms in the back.
He couldn't afford to pay any wages and I couldn't afford to pay any money. As a result I worked for him all week and carried a cardboard box of Red worms home on Fridays, as my pay check. Worked well for both of us, until I had to start eating again!
One Friday, when I returned home, the weather had dropped well below freezing, and the wind was howling, as it only can in TEXAS. I took my "paycheck" quickly to the outdoor bed, opened the box and dumped my Red worms onto the bed and I headed to the house and a warm fire.
The next morning I was shocked and heart sick, to see a big ball of Red worms frozen into a ball on the top of the bed! I ran and got an extension cord and heat lamp. I put the lamp on the bed, closed the lid and crossed my fingers.
A while later I checked the bed, I had about four or five dead worms on top, the rest had crawled down into the bedding. I didn't find any dead ones later either. Decided that day that since they weren't made of the finest china in the world, maybe we would get along...that was in 1976. I'm far more careful now..
Since that time I've made several other boo-boos, I had to leave home for about nine months, I ask a friend to water and feed my worm beds during my absence, he agreed and even gave me updates on when he watered them.
When I returned home, I found to my horror that he had been feeding and watering my bedding bin (where I tear up and soak new bedding, no worms) for all of those months, my wormbeds were in a different part of the yard, that had become overgrown with weeds. I was heart sick, I had four beds of earthworms gone.
I had read that the egg capsules would not hatch until the conditions were right, on an off chance, I started watering the totally dry beds.
A short while later (a few weeks) I started finding baby worms, soon my beds were once again up and running with far more earthworms then I had originally. They had forgiven me once again....
I can't tell you about all of the money I've made during my years with earthworms by selling them. I've made very little! The only time I sell them is when I get too many requests for them by fishermen and composters. If they "make" me go out and get them, I charge them!
I'm sure that if I had wanted to sell the earthworms instead of the castings throughout all of these years, that I could have made a very good income from it and probably would have been satisfied with that income and probably would never have invented AVSA.
Since I didn't want to sell earthworms, but desperately wanted to sell the vermicompost, I was forced into inventing AVSA. Which I consider to be far better for everyone, even our future generations, way down the road.
AVSA will work well with any breed of earthworms, the design is NOT based upon the name of the earthworms, nor any particular personality trait. It is based upon a common thread that all earthworms that are "composting earthworms" have. Staying within the uppermost 4 inches of bedding, laying egg capsules and eating garbage.
The design is not what has to be adjusted, the schedule of separation is based upon the particular earthworms characteristics.
exactablahmaptis hybrid earthworms breed once per week, deposit one egg capsule that hatches within one week and has 100 babies as a result.
When the vermicompost level within AVSA reaches a pre-determined level, wait one week and separate.
example 2:
slowlyeatssuperdooperpooper hybrid earthworms breed once per month, deposits one egg capsule that hatches within one month and has 1 baby as a result.
When the vermicompost level within AVSA reaches a pre-determined level, wait one month and separate.
The separation is dependent on the worms that are in it!
Personally I prefer my old "Red Wiggler Earthworms", they might not be as fast, fat, or sexually active as the rest, but I've put them through Hell and they forgave me.....kinda like an old pair of slippers, to comfortable to replace.
Only you can decide whether you want to drive an "Old Chevy or Ford" or a "Cadillac or Mercedes", even that isn't important. But where you park them is... AVSA is a good garage!
Just drive safely and have a really good time.. A wormin we will go.

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Updated 10/19/02

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