Monday, January 7, 2013

"Food Balls"

            This last summer, 2012, I had a nice visit with Brad Morgan (Morgan Compost) at his vermiculture operation. His goal is to have a herd of 10-million redworms and to sell at least 4-million a year. That would be 4000 pounds or 2 tons. You can’t have big dreams without doing some things that other people aren’t doing.     
From Vermiculture
What has caught my interest is the use of “food balls”. Watch the YouTube at (Vermicomposting - The Morgan Family Pt.1)
            If you have been following the process of VermiChester, you know that rotation of the trays ends up with the most developed bread tray on the top, drying, while the worms migrate down into the wetter environment.
            Last spring, I was bothered by the numbers of hatchlings that were wriggling around after screening the dried vermicompost through the VermiHarvester. They were ending up in the VermiCompost bags as fertilizer. This is my plan for May 2013.
            I will blend our vegan kitchen wastes into a vegetable mush. Then I will mix this with an equal part of very wet “BioPreta” (equal parts of VermiCompost and biochar). This will give me a 25% biochar blend and hopefully a consistency that will form a “snowball” of a convenient size.
            After harvesting the top tray through the 1/8” screen of a VermiHarvester, I will put the screenings in another tray, and put a half dozen very wet “Food Balls” in the top layer of the dry tray.
            According to Brad, messing around with the worms causes enough stress to force them into a mating frenzy that increases the number of cocoons, which will fall through the 1/8” screen of a VermiHarvester. According to his son, Jeremy, who is in charge of converting cocoons into adult “breeding stock”, in about 10 days, at 85 degrees, the cocoons will hatch and the new baby worms will rush to the very wet food balls, where they can be collected and saved from the bags going to market. Jeremy then transfers the new hatchlings to a 65-degree breeding environment where in about 50-days they will become “breeders”.
            I love learning new things about vermiculture, and this is new for me. If you have been using food balls, or if you start now, I think your comments will be a great service to those of us who are learning about vermiculture.


Dave said...

We have just started raising worms - and are very interested in the food balls. Can you tell us how finely ground the biochar was in order to be used in the balls? Were the food balls successful? Also, did they get moldy at all?

Have you ever added biochar to the worms bedding?

Aren't the worms interesting creatures?


el grillo said...

I haven't had good results yet with this idea of food balls,and am destroying too many new cocoons to quit trying.
No, I haven't added biochar to the bedding, but it will increase worm activity.