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Has anyone tried this?  How To Build a Worm Tower from Mid-West Permaculture

The following begins as a sad story but has a happy ending.  I've been wanting to try this idea but there's so many projects on my list I just hadn't got around to it - yet.  We recently took our little dog, Maggie, to the vet because she was in obvious distress with  breathing difficulty.  We found she has fluid on her lungs due to a heart murmur which caused an enlarged heart and congestive heart failure.  The vet gave us some meds to relieve the fluid on her lungs and to make her more comfortable.  Another med had to be ordered and would take time in arriving.

Last Sunday morning when we all got up Maggie would not come out of her crate and when finally I got her moving she was dragging her right rear leg.  We feared she'd had a stroke overnight.  I gave her the meds an hour earlier than scheduled and sat with her on my lap.  Unbeknownst to me, hubby had started digging her resting place.

An hour after getting the meds, she perked up and bounced outside with me where we both surprised hubby at his task.  He laughed heartily at spunky little Maggie.  The new meds came 2 days later and now she is as perky as a pup.  We're so happy.  [in hindsight I think I must have forgotten to give her the meds the night before, she gets them every 12 hours.  I have a new system so that won't happen again!!]

Enter the worm tower.  We had these 10' long pvc pipes that had *some* holes drilled in one of them so hubby drilled a bunch more, we cut it into three equal pieces, placed in the no-longer-needed grave site, filled with straw, decomposing compost and dirt.  Will start adding kitchen scraps over time.

Should I transfer some of the red wigglers from my indoor bin or, now that I've built it will the worms just come?  Anyone have comments?

Thanks for listening and Long Live Maggie McDog!

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Replies to This Discussion

Mary, I'm relieved and happy to hear that little Maggie didn't need that resting place just yet!

If you have worms in a bin I think it wouldn't hurt to add some to get a jumpstart on your towers, provided there is plenty of mulch cover and enough moisture. I have worms in my yard in some areas and not in other areas. Didn't add any, they just came probably from the sod lawn from the next door neighbor.

I think those  holes above ground might attract unwanted things to your towers, though. Shouldn't the holes all be below ground? I might be mistaken but that's what I thought.

Hi Tanya,  yeah, I'm thinking the same thing.  I measured the depth to be about 3' and we measured and cut the 10. length in 3 equal parts, but somehow they came out higher than  expected.  It might be easier to surround the pipes with hardware cloth and stuff in straw/compost than try to cut them shorter.  What do you think?

Anything that will prevent odor from escaping the tubes would be the right thing. I did bokashi for a time and even though I was burying the stuff, lots of cockroaches were attracted and so were my dogs. They could smell it and wanted to dig it up. The odor of rotting food in the tubes will attract roaches and other vermin including rats if they are in your area.

The areas in my yard that have the best worm activity are the areas where I have a thick layer of wood chip mulch and enough moisture to keep it from drying out. Have you seen the Back to Eden film? If not you might be interested. Back to Eden Full Video  I had some trees trimmed and asked the service to leave all the chippings which we spread on the garden areas. I do this each year when we have our trees trimmed and it makes a huge difference. If you don't have tree trimmers, you can still have the wood chips delivered free from trimmers or your utility company. All you need is someone who can spread them around for you (it's a lot of work). Once you get a good healthy population of worms working on the wood chips, they will happily work on the food scraps but otherwise scraps probably just attract roaches.

I have pipes like those around my fruit trees in Parks.  I drop Alabama Worm Chow down the pipes to attract local worms.

Glad to hear Maggie is ok

Mary, so happy your girl is going to be okay!!

This older post by Liz & Dan may give you some extra info.  I have not done a worm tower, but I don't think the holes above ground will be a problem as long as there are enough below ground.  You  might want to cap the tower in the cold months and draw up mulch around them in the warm months (to keep the tower from baking).

You could also trim some of the above-ground excess tower without compromising the installation.

Good luck and keep us posted on how it works for you.

Well poo on the cockroaches, definitely want to avoid that.  I don't think we have any rats running around here but I don't want to be the one to attract them either.  I believe you are telling me the issue is the section of pipes above ground that odor will escape from.  In that case I can just cut the pipes down to ground level.  I had planned to cap the tubes with clay saucers  Thanks for the detailed info Tanya.

Green shoes, where do you buy the Alabama Worm Chow?  I have plenty of red wigglers at the moment with my indoor bins so could jump start the towers with some of those.  They should survive the winter ok, not sure if it will stay cool enough in summer though.

Catherine, thanks for the link to the worm tower thread from 2012, that's good info.

1 part crushed egg shell

1 part ground oatmeal

1 part corn meal

Must be carefully stirred by someone from Alabama (jk)  More information via google...

Fortunately, I have an Alabama resident in residence.  ;-)  Thanks GS.


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