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Thread: Let's talk about worms

  1. #17
    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobZ View Post
    I read that some suggested using an imidacloprid/cyfluthrin mix. This is the active ingredient in Bayer Advanced concentrate.
    It is now several years later and I occasionally get a few worms in the pots, so I drench those pots once a year. These treatments have not damaged any of my CPs.

    This species/genus of earthworm was not good for my plants and I needed to get them under control. Other types of earthworm might be benign.
    I've had adverse reaction with Cephalotus using this pesticide as a soil drench (Pink Hibiscus Mealybug infestation). Spraying seems safe.

    Fisherman friends of mine use "earthworm callers" to gather nightcrawlers for bait. Simply electrify the ground and the irritation from the electricity drives the nightcrawlers out.

    Here are some instructions.
    http://www.ehow.com/how_6565579_make...orm-probe.html

    One friend had a hand crank 120v generator out of a field telephone (surplus via Edmund's Scientific) that he used as the power source. It worked great.

    I don't see why the same principle couldn't be used on pots.
    Last edited by Not a Number; 05-13-2014 at 11:02 AM.
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  2. #18
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    might give you some ideas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjRxUVLxdYIbet Fredg has had a go at this
    Last edited by corky; 05-13-2014 at 11:42 AM.

  3. #19
    BobZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SubRosa View Post
    Worms don't add nutrients or anything else to the soil in a pot. They convert what's already there.
    That is the point, isn't it. The worms ingest peat and other organic material, digest it, and excrete it.

    Many of us repot our CPs in new soil media ever couple of years as the organic component decays over time and the soil becomes progressively more nutrient rich. Earthworm digestion greatly accelerates this process. USDA tests have shown that earthworm castings contain about 8 times the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium as does the soil from which the castings started.

    If you like your earthworms, simply repot your plants into new soil media more frequently.

  4. #20
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    I'm sorry Bob but your post is a little skewed and misleading.
    1. As you state the worms ingest peat, digest it and then excrete the waste.
    However they add nothing to it, the nutrients have to there in the first place.
    2. I am aware that many re-pot their CPs after a couple of years and am amazed it's because the medium has become nutrient rich. Who is adding these nutrients? Our plants are adapted to grow in nutrient poor soils and that is what we use to cultivate them. As the plant grows it uses nutrients supplemented by prey then every autumn / winter the temperate plants die back and we remove the dead growth thereby removing nutrients. I would be very interested to see any test results you may have. One reason being that I have some plants that have been in the same compost for a considerable time ( over 25 years) , the peat doesn't appear to have broken down and they don't appear to be suffering at all.
    3. Your inclusion of USDA tests is misleading in the way you state the result. The worm castings may well contain the chemicals quoted but that would because the soil it was originally taken from has been reduced by x8, as in my point 1 they have added nothing which is not the impression you give. If the compost in my pots shrank to an eighth the original then I think I'd be re-potting too.
    4.In your first post your guess is that your plants are suffering from the increased nutrients from the worm castings. You do not mention repotting after treatment of the worm infestation so am I to assume that the rotting bodies of all these worms didn't add nutrients? If it did it doesn't appear to have harmed the plants.

    Now I'll sit back and await the deluge
    Last edited by fredg; 05-15-2014 at 09:23 AM. Reason: typo, I missed an r
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  5. #21
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    I am no scientist, but I could see how organisms like worms or bacterium or fungi could "fix" nitrogen from an otherwise deficient media via digestion and other enzymatic actions, however having said that I am also aware that peats properties of pH and presence or lack there of oxygen can preserve and prevent breakdown from organisms resulting in preserved organisms like mummies. I bet you're right fred about killing an infestation of worms contaminating the medium more than the live worms ever did. Rotting worms are the worst! I think in spite of Fred's 25 yr old media, I will take Bob's advice and repot more often. Probably every two years for anything with worms (hopefully only the Utric).

    This has been an interesting and controversial discussion for sure and I hope if anyone has any opinion, based in fact or otherwise, on the subject that they don't hold back and share their thoughts in this thread. Thanks to everybody who has weighed in on the worms. I have found this discussion very helpful and certainly food for thought.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shortbus View Post
    I am no scientist, but I could see how organisms like worms or bacterium or fungi could "fix" nitrogen from an otherwise deficient media via digestion and other enzymatic actions, however having said that I am also aware that peats properties of pH and presence or lack there of oxygen can preserve and prevent breakdown from organisms resulting in preserved organisms like mummies. I bet you're right fred about killing an infestation of worms contaminating the medium more than the live worms ever did. Rotting worms are the worst! I think in spite of Fred's 25 yr old media, I will take Bob's advice and repot more often. Probably every two years for anything with worms (hopefully only the Utric).

    This has been an interesting and controversial discussion for sure and I hope if anyone has any opinion, based in fact or otherwise, on the subject that they don't hold back and share their thoughts in this thread. Thanks to everybody who has weighed in on the worms. I have found this discussion very helpful and certainly food for thought.
    I must admit I was rather surprised by how controversial this topic is. I guess it is up to the individual to look at the ideas presented in this thread and decide what to do with worms.

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