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Comment by Elaine coolowl 2 minutes ago
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The cardboard worm towers or worm kit were advertised in 

Good Organic Gardening magazine which has gone back to the Library. I've emailed their advertising people to see if they will tell me who is selling the kits.

Mark - how about copying and pasting this whole thread? Could be a good one for others to contribute to and won't get buried like a 'status' will.

Comment by Elaine coolowl 30 minutes ago
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I've not put my 4 towers into production yet. My plan is to add partly-made compost (less attractive to compost flies) to the towers. After I seed the gardens with the mix of soil-worker worm eggs, then add red compost worms to the towers.

None of that takes toxicity into account. Until I had read that link, I had no idea about it. Wondering what to replace the plastic with. Steel - terracotta - glass?

Now somewhere recently I saw an ad for a worm tower kit made from heavy cardboard which must break down eventually. If I can find the link again, that idea might be a viable option.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland 1 hour ago
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I have three and to be honest, had never even thought of adding compost worms to them because they are in the dirt gardens. I tend to use them mostly for plant off cuts that I'm too lazy to take to the proper compost. I suspect that a nice range of composting solutions is probably the best answer: compost tea, bins, worm towers, mulching... I think if you put all your worms in the one basket, you're headed for trouble.
Comment by Mark Braz 3 hours ago
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I did see that to, but there are 2 other factors still to consider.

1) are we adding toxins to our soil?

2) is the surface area large enough to deal with the inputs before they give off toxins?

This is just another look from the other side of the coin, plus a dash of chemistry

Comment by Elaine coolowl 4 hours ago
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Kookaburra Worm Farm sells eggs of soil-worker worms so the towers will work by co-operation between species in their respective niches.

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Right - here's the good oil: Composting Cannon is the cardboard in-ground composter/worm tower.

A tad exxy for me but worth a whirl if you've access to cardboard.

Why not just bury your scraps? Or pass them through the back end of a chicken?

I don't get worm composting at all. Fiddly. Labour intensive. Prone to side effects.

Worm farm by all means: farm garden worms.The locals.

A managed worm composter is very efficient on a large scale. But with the wee backyard ops...what's the point?

David Murphy's wonderful book ,  , Organic Growing With Worms. 

suggests you can incorporate viticulture into your everyday gardening,

Different circumstances demand different solutions. Example is I don't own chooks, lots of us don't. Tried 'worm farms' found them too heavy to lift and tedious to separate worms from castings. I do bury scraps when I'm going to plant something in the ground but burying in the wicking beds doesn't grab me.

As a fairly old duck, hauling and humping heavy stuff around doesn't fill me with glee. Been there, done that. So any system which makes delivering worm crap and compost bugs right into the garden bed has great appeal.

It's a 'horses for courses' situation and long may gardening remain so, that's where innovation is nurtured.

I was reminded of this discussion because I took out the bottom tray of my three tier worm farm (Reln worm factory, the round variety) because I'd run out of space in the top tray. There was not a single worm in it, just pure worm castings. That's because being compost worms they're interested in the top layer, not the lower layers. So even though they are certainly heavy to lift, if you spend money on a tiered one, you don't have to sort worms from castings.

I started my worm farm when I lived in a flat and I just couldn't stand throwing vegetable matter in the bin. Since then I've kept it because I find it very easy to maintain and the worm juice is very useful, for instance in pots or to give a bit of extra oomph to plants that are growing slowly.

I've buried scraps (shallow with a couple of handfuls of cut grass over the top works fine) for decades and it works well. Disappears into the soil in no time with the aid of the little critters.

I also don't own chooks or a worm farm. My raised beds are giant compost piles full of worms.

I'm not into "gadgets" in the garden but saw how well the Worm Towers were working at Gayle D's house. There was obvious improvement of the soil and plants around the tower.

I bought some from Darren and added two each to my raised beds. I don't see any obvious improvement used in this way but then the soil in my raised beds is very rich and full of natures little helpers anyway. From what I have observed the towers work better used in the actual ground.

Oh dear - I hate plastic but there's just no getting away from it these days. Reading the article Andy has posted the link for above and came on this:

But PVC, also known by the less benign-sounding polyvinyl chloride, was never meant to have anything but its waxy exterior exposed to soil. And by cutting the bottom and drilling dozens of holes in its sides, people are exposing the soil in their gardens to vinyl chloride, labelled a Group A human carcinogen by the EPA.

They're coming out of the beds today.

Earthworms do eat food waste though. I see them myself in the snail farm sliding around on top of the timber eating the vege food for the snails. I also posted a very good article somewhere on here recently about this.

It's disquieting and a right pest since that pipe is very common and it's making use of an otherwise wasted resource.

It's a case of "yeah, but how much?".  If the amounts are tiny and the benefits large, then leave them in.  This reminds me of the treated sleepers debate we had ages ago.  There's poison in those buggers!!! Yeah but in reality, you'd have to spend weeks licking the damn sleeper to get a measurable amount into your body.  On testing, it didn't even spread 1 cm into the soil.  

I suspect this is much the same. 

Good point, Andy … would love to know some firm stats to know whether to pull them out or make use of something I already own.

I'm not pulling mine out.  

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