Thursday, January 5, 2012

Worm food preps

If you follow this post, you will remember that I posted about picking up 15 winter squash that someone had put out for the deer to clean up.
Well today was the day to get about half of those things ready to feed to the Worms. I have a 20 gallon tote that has been sitting on my front porch with all the winter squash (not sure what type it is!) in it. And it has rotten down pretty well.
So I brought the tote into the house last night, to allow the squash to warm up a little. I knew that I was going to get my hands all into it and cold fingers do not work so well! So at about 0930 I started!

And here they are! Look pretty bad don't they? Not for human consumption, But the Worms love this stuff. Remember that they do not really eat this stuff, but they consume the bacterial soup that it breaks down into! So the smaller the material, the more surface area the Bactria has to work on.

So slice and......

Dice! Size is really not that important because I use another way to help break it down further. I will explain in a bit!

So after 4 hours of slicing and dicing and picking out seeds, This what I end up with! A5 gallon bucket nearly filled to the top! Boy are the Worms going to love this or what?

This is the other method I talked about earlier. Four gallon zip-lock bags ready to go into the freezer! I will take one bag out and let it defrost (the freezing with help to break  it down even more and make the bacterial brake down much faster. I will use one bag for both beds. I kept out a portion of all this goodness (?) and took it out to the two beds this after noon.
Sorry that the next few pictures are not to good. I need to get a better camera (wish list!).

And one of the reasons that it took as long as it did was this! Saving the seeds! I want to plant the seed out a ways from the main garden this year. Mainly I hope to entice the deer and rabbits away for the main garden and if I get any thing out of the squash garden, I'm that much ahead!
this is where I wanted to ask you that question I made reference to in my reply to your comment! Am I doing this right?
Remove the seeds from the fiber and strings, rinse in warm water to remove the slime, Spread out onto newspaper and let dry completely (I will move them and turn them over to get them dry!) and then place into a air tight container, cool dark place until ready to plant?
If there is anyone Elsa that has some advice on this, I would appreciate your help too!

This is the first bed I built almost two years ago (again sorry about the quality!). I have pulled back the bedding and this is the area where the worms mix the Casts with the bedding.

And after digging down just a little ways, THERE THEY ARE! You can see that they have taken care of the food material I placed in here only a week or so ago. And it is quite wet, but no frost! The last few nights have been down into the 20's, But with lots of bedding (remember "BEDDING IS OUR FRIEND"!!).

This is the second bed. And you can see the tomato that I tossed in here. It was green then, but it ripened over the past week and was just fine. I broke it open to allow the rot to start from the inside. Again I have pulled the bedding back.

And dug down just under the surface and.......Yep there they are! Food mostly gone her to. So I added the squash I held back for the freezer, added a little water to both beds and pulled the bedding back over them. Closed up both beds and called it a day.
Someone (Sorry, I do not remember who right now!) asked me if the worms could survive outside during the cold temps of winter. I live in N.C. and we can get quite cold here in January/February (again, into the 20's the last few nights). But the Worms do just fine, With lots of BEDDING! Say it with me......."BEDDING IS OUR FRIEND"! That's my Mantra! My Mentor, Bentley ( At RWC), lives in Canada and has set up beds right in the ground! He digs trenches, lines them with cardboard, adds bedding, then food material, more bedding and then the worms, and finishes with......You guessed it.....BEDDING! He has been known to put a tarp over some of his trenches to help hold in some of the heat caused by composting of manures. But he places the manures in the trenches in such a way that the Worms have a way to get away from the heat if it gets too high for them!

So that's it for Worm food for now. I still have 7 squash to take care of yet. I may let that break down on the front porch and save what I put in the freezer for later. That will take longer, But it will not be as much work for me!
Remind me to post about what I listened too while I took care of the squash!
talk to you all later!


  1. Tom, sounds like a real treat for your worms. As for the seed saving, yes, that's how it's done. If you have trouble getting all the "flesh" off the seeds, you can soak it off in water for several days. It actually rots off, making the seeds easy to rinse off nice and clean. That's important because any remaining pulp attached to the seeds can get moldy if not thoroughly dried out. Then your saved seed is ruined. Yes, the water can get stinky and moldy, but the seeds turn out just fine. I use this method for squash, cucumber, and tomato seed saving too.

    Also, you just answered a question of mine! I was the one wondering about wintering over the worms so you answered my question. Come spring, we'll get that first worm bed in. :)

  2. Leigh,
    Thanks for the answers. Before bed last night, I checked on the seed. It was stuck to the newsprint and kind of stuck together. But I was able to move it around and turn it. There was only a little "Flesh" left and I was able to remove it this morning.
    The seed looks good, nice and filled out. I even tried a seed for eating! Nutty and very crunchy! I may have to roast some!
    Thanks again! Your advice is very welcome!

  3. So happy to find your worm farm blog, Tom! We are hoping to raise some fish this summer and my husband plans to raise worms to feed the fish and chickens. Your blog will be a fabulous resource.

  4. Susan,
    Welcome! I have been a reader of your Blog, "Squash Blossom Farm" for quite some time! Your reports of the Greenhouse construction and use have been very helpful to me! I have plans to build a Hoophouse in the near future and the info I have gleened from you have help me to plan what I want to do. So thank you for that!
    Worms are a great "Livestock" to have on a Homestead and help to reduce my "Carbon Footprint". They will be a good renewable food source for your Fish. Invite me up for the first "Fish Fry"!

  5. Those look like some very healthy worms! And lots of them!! You are definitely doing something right. It's great that you can get two uses out of your free squash - worm food and this year's seed.