Cathy's Composters in Bradford
They will mail them. I got some a month or so ago from her at a Seedy
Saturday at Bathurst and Dundas. I think they got a chill and all died on
me in 2 weeks. ( I am waiting to hear from her.) She will be at an Ecofest
in Oakville coming up in April ( don't know when). There was a guy on Queen
Street East selling them but he moved to the States apparently. I hope you
are not going to put them in your outside composter. At this time of the
year, they'll die and you'll be out a few$. She charges $25 for 1/2 lb. If
you find somewhere else that sells them please post the addresses. I'd love
On 4/6/05 4:35 PM, in article Lm_4e.18762$ firstname.lastname@example.org,
I'm in the process of raising worms and am interested in learning how
you cared for the worms you bought and why they may have died. All may not
be lost, though, as there may be some worm cocoons in the container they
came in that hopefully will emerge in time. I have not yet ordered any worms
so don't know under what conditions they are/were sent.
I live in BC and weather conditions here are not as harsh as out East.
I had vermicimposters for years when I belonged to the Master Composters
program sponsered by the Recycling Council of Ontario and used to test
prototype outdoors composters for the City of Toronto so I feel that I have
a pretty good understanding of (vermi)composting. I also have pretty much
every composting book on the market. So I am particularly peeved at this
situation and trying to understand what could have happened.
The worms were already in 1/2 lb packages when I bought them. Basically
worms and peat moss packaged up in a stack of damp newspapers. Sealed with
packing tape. I put them in my cloth bag. I walked four blocks from the
community centre to my car ( the temperature was about 4 degrees celsius.
Not cold enough to kill them in the packaging). I took them home and left
them in the package for about 4 or 5 hours while I went out and bought a new
Rubbermaid container and rinsed it. I drilled holes in the side about two
inches from the bottom and inserted 2 PVC pipes with holes in them that I
used in previous composters ( cleaned, of course).The pipes were capped with
plastic mesh caps. I also drilled 4 vent holes in the top and used the same
mesh ventilation caps for top ventilation.
I rinsed out my paper shredder container and shredded brown paper bags that
I collected and then soaked them. After an hour I drained off that water and
put the bedding in the composter, opened the package and let the worms crawl
out. The cellulose in the paper usually suffices as food indefinitely. I
pulled the packaging out after all the worms had moved out of it. It was f
ew days before I added food scraps as I found out the hard way years ago not
to overload the container. A few worms tried crawling up to the top but I
kept throwing them back in. After about a week I started pushing things
around and realized that the worms were dying. There were a few eggs but
not what I normally see. I left the lid off to see if more ventilation
helped, checked the mositure level etc. but it was too late. They were all
gone after two weeks. I can only think of a few things that went wrong:
- they got a terminal chill either travelling from wherever she brought them
from ( or in the 4 blocks I carried them. I find that hard to believe
though) and never recovered.
- the pH in the bin got out of hand somehow ( I don't have a pH tester at
- somehow they didn't have enough ventilation ( I have never had this
problem before especially with this composter design)
- something in the materials was toxic to them.
If you have any other ideas, please let me know. I would really appreciate
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, April 07, 2005 2:05 AM
Subject: Re: Red Worms in Toronto?
I don't know why but it's usually a good idea to get your bin and
bedding set up a week in advance. Shredded paper for some reason is
harsh on worms when first moistened. In your case if you just bought
the worm and didn't have anywhere to put them, moisten soiless potting
mix or coir in a smaller, separate container would have sufficed. Let
them rest there a week while your bin and bedding settles then dump
the contents of the smaller container into your worm bin. Coir or
coconut husk can be found at plant nurseries, it's usually near the
Also take a look at this site: www.wormdigest.org/
I have always used brown paper and never had problems but there is always a
first time. When I got the worms I had no idea that I would be setting up.
It was an impulsive gesture brought on by the fact that there is nowhere to
get them in this city and I just took advantage of the moment.
I have bookmarked the website. It looks really interesting. I think I had
this site before and lost it so I'm glad to get it back.
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