25 OCTOBER 2018
  TIME: 11:30AM - 1:30PM
  MEETING PLACE: University Club
Alumni Room
1332 Santa Barbara St
Santa Barbara, California
  Please bring a plant for the plant exchange!


11 OCTOBER 2018
  TIME: 9 AM to 11 AM

Erik's urban garden
526 W Victoria St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101.


Dan Chase


$10 for supplies


Topic: Vermiculture

Trudy gave a presentation primarily about vermiculture and vermicompost. Vermiculture is the process of using worms to decompose organic food waste, turning the waste into a nutrient-rich material capable of supplying necessary nutrients to help sustain plant growth. This method is simple, effective, convenient, and noiseless. It saves water, energy, landfills, and helps rebuild the soil. Vermicompost is the product of the composting process using various species of worms, usually red wigglers, white worms, and other earthworms, to create a mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste, bedding materials, and vermicast. Vermicast is the end-product of the breakdown of organic matter by earthworms.

The essential components of a home vermicomposting unit ("vermi" = worm) are an aerated container, some moist bedding, and a pound or two of red wiggler worms. Because you'll be working with a dynamic process, you'll need to carry out certain maintenance procedures both to keep the worm population healthy and to obtain and utilize the end product. These tasks are scarcely demanding: Set your vegetable waste aside in a small container when preparing meals or cleaning up afterward, feed it to the worms once or twice a week, and every few months or so, remove the vermicompost and put the worms in fresh bedding.

Trudy showed us her worm bin which was made from a grey Tupperware type container with 1/8in holes drilled in the top sides and a few larger holes in the bottom for drainage. Instructions to build one are readily available on the Internet.

Plain newsprint (a carbon source for worms) uses soy based ink and is perfect to use as bedding when torn with the grain or shredded. Bedding should be damp like a wrung out sponge. Several inches of shredded damp bedding should be topped with an inch of good garden soil to serve as grit for worm digestion. Green leaves, coffee grounds, fruit waste and other compostable material serve as food for the worms.

The covered bin must be in the shade as worms need 40 to 100 degrees F to thrive. Egg shells need to be ground very fine for worms. Citrus should not be fed to worms as it is too acidic.

Some commercial worm bins allow worms to move up as more additional bedding and food is added. In her homemade bin, Trudy feeds one side only for a week or two to allow the worms a free harvest on the side not fed. The “black gold” worm poop is a superior fertilizer. These “worm castings” will not burn plants and make great “Worm Tea” when mixed with chlorine free water.

Trudy uses an aquarium pump and a 5 gallon bucket to develop the aerobic bacteria over a 24-36 hour period; this will multiply beneficial living organisms, such as bacteria, fungi, algae and good nematodes. Worm tea feeds the leaves and the soil, often supercharging your garden for larger, healthier plants. Please note that red wiggler worms can’t survive in your garden as they can’t dig deep during dry conditions.

Submitted by
Dan Chase


Ray Kolbe is always seeking help with his work on the Santa Monica Creek Trail beautification. His regularly scheduled time is Monday 9:30AM to 1PM. Call for more details: (805) 705-3429.

Submitted by
Ray Kolbe