Aquaponic Gardening

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There has been some (much?) chatter on other AP forums about using redworms in your media beds to "process" your solids.  I love this idea!  Not only are the solids removed, but the plants benefit from the vermicompost.  I added about a pound of worms in my six beds a few weeks ago, and I'm hoping that they are happily going to town in there.

So here are my questions...

Do you use worms in your system?  How many to use per square ft of bed?  When do you add?  Do you feed them something (food scraps) besides the delicious fish solids?  

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Glad to know I'm not alone...lol

clay hartwig said:

a welder tuned down low hooked to 2 metal rods does the same thing. they actualy sell a pre wired setup just for this. the ground has to be wet or nothing hapens. the whole thing is literaly grounded so well that you are definatly not the rout the curent wants to take, ok mabby just a tikle or two.

 

A casual observer is quick to point out that "electricity and

water doesn''t mix". It's the tinkerer, fidler, and inventor who is

willing to get muddy and wallow with the worms who knows in fact

that, electricity and water mix oh so tinglingly well.

 



Jonathan Kadish said:

File this under: Don't try this at home, teenage stupidity, mischief and curiosity.

30 years ago I learned a trick on how to harvest worms from any back yard to go fishing.

 

Step 1

wet an area of ground about 10x10

Step 2

take a coat hanger, cut it in two and make spikes

Step 3 

attach a cut extention cord, one wire to each spike with electrical tape

Step 4

insert spikes in to ground 10 feet apart (maybe further... 30 years ago ya know)

Step 5

move to dry ground and plug in... and watch the worms rise to the surface.

 

Sick, but true... I thought i'd share it.

 

 

 

Hello M,

If your fruit fly problem is in an outdoor location I would like to suggest an idea you may love.

My daughter and I tried a hummingbird and butterfly garden one year. It was lots of fun. One thing we learned from this was bright red flowers attract hummingbirds.

I also know from a shop that used to sell hummingbird hutches back in the 90’s, that hummingbirds love to eat fruit flies. In these hutches, the owner would place a banana peel on a screen above the birds and as the fruit flies hatched and flew down into the terrarium like interior the hummingbirds would dash about and dine.

If you have seen any hummingbirds around your house, and would like to give them a real treat and in the process let them give you an aerobatic display as they dine on your fruit flies, I would suggest buying a potted bright red flower and set it close to the problem and give it a week or two. You may find you have no problem at all, and acquire a new hobby of bird watching as you enjoy another working eco-system linked to your Aquaponic system. No need for drippy feeders or anything. Let me know what you think please. I would love to share this also with my little girl.

Steve



M Cosmo said:

I recently got the "Secrets"DVD from Murray. http://www.aquaponics.net.au/product/prod138.htm
In it he shows how the worms live in the bottom few inches of his drain and fill beds. I also have the DVD from Omloana gardens in Hawaii. http://www.olomanagardens.com/Sales.html
They are a huge worm farm. He uses the worm castings for seed starter pots. They also put worms in their drain and fill beds. I have a Worm Factory and I am now fighting fruit flies. I bought Beneficial nematodes and Pyrethrum spray. I will let you know how that goes.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0012BGXXY/ref=oss_product
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000MRD5JO/ref=oss_product

Jonathan,

If you want to try a real experiment fishing for worms... without the DINOMITE or Electricity... give this a try.

Look for fresh worm sign after a rain, that's a little wet clay mound about the size of an ant hill but looks more like dripped dirt. After finding a few of these in an area, drive a wood stake, like that is found on small yard signs, about 12 inches into the ground between the mounds. Then take a flat rough rock and scrub the top of the post. This will cause vibrations thru the ground driving the worms out onto the surface. It works usually within 10 minutes. I have seen it work on night-crawlers and red wigglers alike. I have seen some HUGE night-crawlers drawn out this way!!!

You can do this anywhere you have a stake and a rock, and can find that worm hole. No need to get dangerous. Let me know what you find!

Steve

Jonathan Kadish said:

Glad to know I'm not alone...lol

clay hartwig said:

a welder tuned down low hooked to 2 metal rods does the same thing. they actualy sell a pre wired setup just for this. the ground has to be wet or nothing hapens. the whole thing is literaly grounded so well that you are definatly not the rout the curent wants to take, ok mabby just a tikle or two.

 

Nice! Sounds like a technique from the movie Dune. "He who controls the spice controls the universe!"

stephen gould said:

Jonathan,

If you want to try a real experiment fishing for worms... without the DINOMITE or Electricity... give this a try.

Look for fresh worm sign after a rain, that's a little wet clay mound about the size of an ant hill but looks more like dripped dirt. After finding a few of these in an area, drive a wood stake, like that is found on small yard signs, about 12 inches into the ground between the mounds. Then take a flat rough rock and scrub the top of the post. This will cause vibrations thru the ground driving the worms out onto the surface. It works usually within 10 minutes. I have seen it work on night-crawlers and red wigglers alike. I have seen some HUGE night-crawlers drawn out this way!!!

You can do this anywhere you have a stake and a rock, and can find that worm hole. No need to get dangerous. Let me know what you find!

Steve

Jonathan Kadish said:

Glad to know I'm not alone...lol

clay hartwig said:

a welder tuned down low hooked to 2 metal rods does the same thing. they actualy sell a pre wired setup just for this. the ground has to be wet or nothing hapens. the whole thing is literaly grounded so well that you are definatly not the rout the curent wants to take, ok mabby just a tikle or two.

 

OK ... so where can I buy some of these worms?

  There are many places you can buy redworms, if that is what you want.

    Look in your local newspaper classified adds.  Just be sure that where ever you buy the redworms from, the person doing the selling can tell you the name (scientific name) of the redworms you are purchasing.  Common names are often times interchanged by those who think they know what types of worms they are selling.

   If they are for your AP system and for vermicomposting, I suggest getting redworms. Eisena fetida (commonly known as red wigglers) are the redworms of choice because of their adapability to a wide temperature range, pH and moisture level. These redworms are also known for their fast rate of consuming matter and fast reproduction rate.  There are other redworms that work well too. Redworms typically live in the upper soil horizons. They will do well in media beds of an AP system.

  I run a redworm farm, and ship redworms all over the USA.  Recently we have had a bit of a tragedy at home and my better-half has been struggling to be able to walk again.  This impacted our farming operation more that I would have thought.  Although I have had requests to ship redworms, we had to put that on hold temporarily.  I can honestly say we are now back on track, and you can buy redworms from us if you wish. Just send me a private message.  I also believe that you can buy them from Sylvia, the owner of this forum too.  If you want to get them locally, you can contact your local County Extension Agent, who may know of someone who has redworms available in your area.  Also your local gardening club is a good source for a local source of redworms.   I would discourgae you buying them in the bait section of any local sporting goods store, simply because you will be paying much more per redworm (if they are in fact selling redworms and not true night crawlers) than if you were to buy them in the traditional volume you can get from a person who raises redworms for composting.

   True night crawlers are not a good choice for an AP system since they require low temperatures, which are found underground, or they will die off.  This is why night crawlers are refirgerated in the bait section of your local sporting goods stores.  They also require a soil environemt to survive.

 

   I wish you the best in your search for redworms.

  In regard to the stake in the ground technique to get worms to surface:

The reason this technique works is that worms are very sensitive to vibrations.  This is a defense mechanism for them.  They can sense the vibrations from a bird up in the surface who is hunting and they can feel the vibrations from moles underground as they dig and hunt for food, which includes worms.  You'd be surprized at how fast redworms can move!  So you drive a stake in the ground and run something across the top of the stake (other techniques say to strike the stake with a hammer) which causes vibrations down into the soil horizons.  In a panic the worms come to the surface.

   Being on the surface in daylight is very hard on worms. The red pigment of their skin is very light sensitive.  After a short time being exposed to light they will become paralyzed, followed by death shortly afterward.  So these worms that surface go from 'thinking' they are going to be lunch for a mole to a place of certain peril on the surface.   

   



Jonathan Kadish said:

Nice! Sounds like a technique from the movie Dune. "He who controls the spice controls the universe!"
 

 

If you live in my town, I give them away for free. Wherever you do live, you might be able to find another worm sharing node like myself. Find worm sharers in your location by checking this map: http://vermicomposters.com/ 

Here is the place I got my worms from and would recommend to anyone in Florida

Our Vital Earth

I guess my question is answered in here some where but let me ask it anyways.  At what point would you add the worms?  I have plenty in my compost bin and before the freeze sets in I would like to bring a bunch in.  The grow bed has been up for several weeks and plants are in it.  Fish are now in the tank for the past 2 weeks.  I just want to bring in enough worms to protect for the winter and enough to use in the grow bed now or later, just not sure when later should be.

Hi John,

Basically you add some worms (take a SWAG) and based on the GB maturity (Bacteria development, organic material, etc) the worms will either attempt escape if too many or GB can't support; or, Breed if the GB can support additional worms.

Fortunately, Many of my GBs sit over the tank so the worms get gobbled up quickly and don't go to waste should they decide to leave.

Hope that helps.

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