Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Worm Hole Equation

This one came about by accident but it is too good to not pass along. If you are a live bait person then here is a quick tip for your very own worm farm that needs no stocking, almost no feeding or tending.

I love fishing live bait, whether it is a cricket, minnow or worm, I sling them for a simple reason, it is hard to beat Ma Nature. Like everyone else that did this as a kid I have spent many an hour digging worms or chasing grasshoppers which saves money but not time. The alternative is a stop at a bait shop for a box of anemic looking red wigglers or over priced night crawlers, quick and useful but not a great option. Then I walked by some of my gardening supplies that I was too lazy to move and there it was , a light switched on and I had my solution.

Here it is, I had been planting a few things using a bag of composted manure I had slit open, used then left lying on the ground since it was out of my way. It laid there for quite awhile until one day I reached down to pull a weed that had taken root. When I did I saw, wait for it, a worm. I dug around and found many a happy lumbricus terrestris eating dookie while growing fat and happy. I quickly gathered up a bunch placing them in my hi tech  reused butter container bait box for an upcoming bluegill trip enjoying my good fortune in not needing to stop at a bait shop.

As I sat around later I thought about a plastic container I had in the shop and it clicked to put the two together in a way that would last longer than the plastic sack cow droppings come packaged in and contain worms in one area for ease of gathering as well as be easy to refill when needed. This is as simple a project as you can do. Minutes of work and maybe $5 at the most in parts for bait that comes to you then waits for you to gather it.

Stealthy critters, these plastic containers. This one hid for years.


Here is what I did. I took a plastic container that had a lid to build my farm. After removing the top I drilled a series of holes in the bottom using a Forstner’s bit. This serves two purposes, one to allow excess water to drain and second to allow worms another way in. I took some scrap wood and made four posts a few inches higher than the container sides to go in the corners. This will allow worms to come in all around the edge of the container but still provide some protection. I drilled holes in the top to allow some rain to get in to keep the soil moist and holes for screws to attach the top to the posts so it wouldn’t blow away.














I found a shaded spot where I could dig a hole then sunk the container into the ground until the top of the container was at ground level. I filled the container with composted manure mixed with shredded news paper, pushed the posts into the corners until they were fully seated, now I'll simply wait for more worms to find it. If it rains within a few days of putting it out they will be there quick.If you slit the bag open then leave it in a shady, damp spot for a week or so, which I did, you will have worms in it when you dump it into your bed. The worms will happily have little ones which adds to your herd if you aren't greedy about using them too fast.






Adding shredded paper to the bottom.





And the top after filling with compost.


Then finished with the top. This is shaded by a red twig dogwood.


If you have a container sitting around you only need a $1.50 bag of composted manure, some shredded newspaper (optional), four pieces of wood, four screws and you have a self populating worm farm. If you don’t have a drill just carefully cut holes with a sharp knife just be sure the edges are smooth. Be sure to keep the soil damp if you aren’t getting enough rain using rain water you can collect and store in a sealed bucket which is good since it has no chemicals. You can also put a lot of your kitchen scraps in, just no citrus, onions, meat or dairy. Vegetable scraps, cardboard and newspaper are all  worm favorites. Do not use newspaper or cardboard with a slick finish and colored inks. The one thing I plan on adding is a burlap cover. Partly to add shade and protection but mainly to hide the blue plastic top.


And there you have it, free bait that is almost completely maintenance free which will refill itself as hungry worms find it that helps you cut down on how much trash you put in a landfill. It will also provide some of the best fertilizer for your plants. Simply empty your container every few months and replace the bedding then put the worms back. To do this you can make a sifter out of a bit of screen and some scrap lumber in a few minutes. The results will make your garden and house plants happy, happy. All this and no trip to the bait shop for under $5.00.

1 comment:

Albert A Rasch said...

Tommy,

That's a great idea/technique. Even folks living in a subdivision or apartment complex could do it if they're discrete enough.

Oh and by the way, I just posted a great interview with a new and upcoming Gunsmith, Jeremy Chan. Gunsmith Jeremy Chan. I see great work coming out of his shop, and we are going to be at the head of the line!

Best regards,
Albert “Afghanus” Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles™
Extreme Wild Boar Hunting in Florida!

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Born and raised in middle Tennessee.I'm a working wildlife and landscape artist specializing in watercolors. Now making cedar lures and custom turkey calls.

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