Red Wigglers Worms and the GTA

April 27, 2009

Hi Everyone,
I hope all of you in Southwestern Ontario are all enjoying some of this outstanding weather we’ve been having!

I just wanted to write a quick post about delivery to the Greater Toronto area. As mentioned on the Red Worm page, we are located in Elmira (about 1.5 hour drive from downtown T.O.), but shipping to the GTA (or the entire ‘Golden Horseshoe’ for that matter) is a piece of cake. Generally with our ‘Expedited’ Canada Post delivery, it takes 1-2 days for the worms to reach their destination (essentially “next day” or the day after), and costs $10-$13 in most cases (for small to medium orders) – so likely less than you’d spend in gas money to come pick them up in person (not to mention the time saved).

A Toronto customer recently informed me that some suppliers are experiencing shortages these days. This certainly isn’t a problem for us at the moment (after a tough few months in the winter, it;s a nice change!) – assuming you are happy with Red Wigglers (Eisenia fetida) – the Cadillac of the composting worms. haha

We are still out of European Nightcrawlers (Eisenia hortensis – NOT to be confused with Canadian Nightcrawlers / Dew Worms, which we do not sell) unfortunately, and I’m not sure when we might have them again. I will certainly keep everyone posted. Definitely some demand for those!

Anyway, if you ARE in the Greater Toronto Area and you are interested in getting into vermicomposting, feel free to get in touch!

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Vermicomposting Trenches

April 26, 2009

vermicomposting trench

Last summer I wrote about my attempt to deal with huge quantities of compostable waste materials from a very popular local restaurant. As mentioned, it was certainly a serious challenge, and in the end I had to abandon the project since I simply couldn’t keep up with all the material (keep in mind, I live on a fairly small suburban property – haha).

One of the really positive things to come from the experience was my discovery of the ‘vermicomposting trench’ method. In desperation, I came up with various waste-burial strategies since they seemed to be the best bet for reducing foul odours.

To learn all about my fun with vermicomposting trenches, be sure to check out my ‘trench wrap-up post‘ over at – there are links at the end, leading to the various other posts I wrote on the topic.

Anyway, I’ve decided to use my trenches this year, and to create at least a couple more. I’m happy to report that I’ll be taking a much more leisurely approach however – I learned my lesson as far as biting off more than I can chew goes! I have been seeking out sources of organic waste, but am making sure I’m dealing with amounts I can handle.

Unlike last year, farmyard manure will likely play an important role in keeping my trenches (and of course the plants) fed. Red Worms absolutely go crazy for aged manure, so it should be a win/win situation for sure.

I check the status of the trenches recently, and was amazed to find loads of small Red Worms alive and well! I’ve seen how cold-hardy these worms can be, yet I still never cease to be amazed by how easily they seem to survive southern Ontario winters.

Another material I’ll likely be using a lot of is coffee grounds. I was given a large quantity of them earlier this spring, and am hoping to secure a steady supply of them moving forward. Once it is wet and starts to decompose, the worms seem to go absolutely will for this material.

As far as what I’ll be growing goes, I don’t think too much will change along the fence-line. I love tomatoes and zucchinis too much to trade them for something else. I was however thinking of moving my pumpkin patch from the sandbox garden (if you checked out those other trench articles you will know what I’m talking about) and growing some corn in this bed this year. Given the size of the sandbox bed, I think it will be more for show than anything – I certainly won’t get a huge crop of corn. But I DO like to have a nice demonstration garden, so it should be fun. I was thinking of growing runner beans along with the corn (the way the native indians did) – they will help to provide nitrogen for the corn plants, and can use the rigid stalks for support.

I was also thinking of putting in an all-natural privacy fence of sunflower plants along my back fence-line. To help fertilize these plants I will run a trench in front of that bed as well.

Anyway, I’ll certainly be writing more about all this as the season progresses.

If you are looking for an interesting green gardening strategy and/or a great way to actually benefit from adding composting worms to your garden, this is an excellent approach. Obviously, adding LOTS of worms would be the best way to kit the ground running, but even inoculation with a bag of Compost Ecosystem would get your worm population started.

Happy Earth Day!

April 22, 2009

I just wanted to write a quick post wishing everyone a Happy Earth Day!
Waterloo region is distributing rain barrels again this year (on Saturday April 25th) – they cost $30, but that is very cheap considering what they cost at stores (closer to $100). Learn more >>here<<. I got one of these barrels a couple of years ago and have really appreciated having it. I actually keep a couple of plastic garbage cans for water storage as well. Whenever my main barrel fills up I transfer water over to the other bins, thus freeing up more space in the barrel, rather than letting it overflow. I end up with a lot more rain water for use around the property. The region is also continuing to distribute FREE backyard composters this year as well (available at your local landfill station) - I highly recommend you take advantage of this if you have not already done so. In case you are wondering, composting worms work very well in one of these systems, but it is important to make sure you keep it moist (since they don’t let rain in), and also provide the worms with a decent habitat (i.e. a bunch of grass clippings and yard debris won’t cut it). I will likely be writing a post about this very soon so stay tuned!

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Spring has Sprung

April 17, 2009

Well, it has been ages since my last blog post here (I’ve remained quite active over on the Red Worm Composting blog) – I should definitely get things rolling again here!

As some of you will know, I had a bit of a slow period during the long winter months and had to essentially close up shop until the end of March. I am happy to report that we are back in action and ready for worm orders.

Now is a great time to get your backyard composting systems back up and operational. Many don’t realize it, but composting worms are actually extremely well suited to life in one of these systems – as long as you provide them with a nice moist habitat and plenty of carbon-rich materials (fall leaves, shredded cardboard etc) they should thrive. They will also help to speed up the composting process greatly!

Unfortunately the European Nightcrawler remains on the ‘most wanted’ list for many people (myself included) – it doesn’t look good for this season I’m afraid – but hopefully I will have a good stock of them at SOME point. I will certainly let everyone know if/when this happens.

The good news is that I have a variety of options for those who want to compost with Red Worms. A great option for anyone simply wanting to inoculate their backyard composter is the “Compost Ecosystem” bag – while cheaper than 1/4 lb of worms, this little ‘bag of life’ can really pack a punch – it is full of Red Worm cocoons, and lots of other critters that will help get your composting system going. It is like a ‘composting activator’ on steroids.

For those of you who want to get a little more serious with your vermicomposting efforts (at least in terms of seeing results more quickly), selecting one of our other worm order options will be the way to go. If you purchase Compost Ecosystem along with a worm order you will also get a significant discount. For 1/4 lb orders, you can get an Ecobag for an additional $7 ($3 off regular price), and for orders of 1/2 lb and above, your Ecobags will be $5 (half price).

Worm orders come with some compost ecosystem as well, but adding some extra to your system is not a bad idea – this is the habitat these worms are used to so it can really help them settle in more quickly, not to mention boosting future populations of worms (did you know that each worm cocoon hatches an average of 3 new worms?).

Some will be disappointed to hear that I’ve decided to discontinue selling worm bin Kits (still need to update that page). I will likely be making a new video to show you exactly how I made these bins – I love helping people do these sorts of things themselves anyway. Saves customers money, and let’s me focus on what I love to do – growing worms!

We DO still have one ‘Worm Inn’ left – it is purple. This is the very last one to sell for $45 – with the current exchange range, at that price I’m basically selling the system at a loss.

I recently harvested worm compost from the bottom of one of my two active Worm Inns and was hugely impressed with the quality of the material – beautiful ‘black gold’. So much nicer than the sludge I’ve grown accustomed to finding in the bottom of an enclosed plastic bin. It’s amazing what a little extra air flow can do!

I also still have lots of food scrap holders and biobags, all priced to clear!

Ok – I think that’s enough for one blog post. I hope to start posting a lot more regularly in coming weeks.