Thursday, January 9, 2014

Off season project - Worm Farm!

During the winter months, Ice Fishing is a great way to pass the time while waiting for the ice to clear from the rivers so that my real joy - kayak fishing - can start back up.   However these months are not to be wasted, they are a prime opportunity to invest a little time to grow some bait for the new season.   As great as lures can be when fishing for different species, there are lots of cases where nothing, and I mean nothing will beat a nightcrawler!   Sturgeon fishing is certianly a prime example of this, and I do a lot of sturgeon fishing!

This past year I made use of a local fellow that does a fantastic job raising worms commercially for the local stores, and from him I learned a few things about maintaining my own worm farm.   Now, just a couple months into my first try at raising worms, I'm seeing some great results!

My worm farm is a styrofoam cooler held in a freezer in my 'man cave' which I've converted to a beer fridge.   As I haven't brewed beer in about 6 years, I was able to take some space from the fridge for my worm farm.  I have a thermostat added to the fridge from which I can maintain an exact temperature of my choosing.   I usually keep it about about 45 degrees fahrenheit (7 celsius).

In the farm itself, I simply put worms that I had left over from the fishing season, and newspaper that was cut up and gently soaked.   I have also added the grinds from used tea bags every now and again, and that is it!

The maintenance of the worm farm is minimal.   Once every couple weeks I look in on it, but other than pick baby worms off the cover, have nothing to do.   Every other month I take some time (usually while watching football) and clean out the worm farm... this takes a little more time.   I seperate out the newspaper and the worms, leaving nothing but worm poop and eggs.     The worm droppings make fantastic fertilizer for gardens and I've got a grocery bag full collected.   With a spoon I carefully seperate out the eggs, and return them to the farm; this is what takes the most time.    Then I return the old and some fresh newspaper to the farm, along with the worms and then return it back to the fridge.

I don't know yet what to expect in terms of numbers in the worm farm come Spring.    I started the farm with about 30 worms, and from the look of the baby worms, that number could quadruple or more, and from then on continue to be self-sustaining!

I'm looking forward to having to neither dig nor buy worms this year.   I don't know if I'll be able to get through the year without having to get more worms, as I use quite a lot sturgeon fishing in the Fall, but for sure, I should save enough energy and cash to make the effort worthwhile!