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BANGKOK 26 April 2019 14:44

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Well, G'day,

My lady (Lek) and I are not your usual organic gardiners. I'm a lazy sort with lots of information and Lek has a ton of energy and likes to cut jungle..we've 8 dogs and have a 4 rai Long An orchard near Phrae.

We put in 200 Teak trees a year ago and while some of them are only a metre tall almost a third are over 3 metres...our land has never been farmed, the 60 Long An trees have all been planted at least 5 years and the year before last brought in about THB30k. Last year only one tree (a young one) bore fruit :o

We have a klong that has water for most of the year so we are not dependant on town or well water, we've sown corn (must have been hybrid) no ears!! Thai mint, pumpkin (all over), long egg plant, tomatoes (small), long beans, basil, mint, spearmint, lettuce, mobs of green leaf vegies that shall remain nameless and of course Bananas and coconuts...

I've found that the soil here is practicaly wormless?? In my experience with earth worms have been the most benificial thing that I can add to the soil....where o where can I find any??? Thai's don't seem to compost and they look askance when I mention inedible worms and worm casts!

Any assistance in getting a couple of wheelbarrow full would be greatly appreciated :D

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^ Yes, a great publication. Luckily I've got a printer with ink tanks, so will print it off to be made into a book. I don't suppose you know of any PDF's on vermiculture? I've got plenty of worms now, the problem is finding food for them and sperating the castings. I'm thinking about setting up concrete rings is several places and then having plants/trees around them, so the roots can go in underneath.

Regarding mulch, here is a pic of a papaya I've got. Several of my papayas are like this, while others are yellow and loosing leaves. The difference seems to be the mulch. The ones that are on their own with only a little mulch aren't doing so well, while those inside an area with mulch spread all around are tall and healthy, although there's not a great deal of fruit. Are there any specials requirements for papaya? I've been told they don't like too much fertilizer.

The best ones are those where I've spread lots of coco husks and then thrown other organic matter on top. I like the coco husks because they don't break down too quickly. I can also get them for free.

glad you liked it !! One of those rare gems one comes across every so often !! Yes I do have something on vermiculture on one of my H.D's I believe, can't remember whether its pertinent to the tropics or not but will post it if I think it maybe of use . Keep a small wormery in the uk probably equivalent to a 50 litre blue barrel out here. Bought it as a gift for my old man one birthday and my mum bought him a box of worms that were delivered mailorder !! Think they came with some bedding material wasn't in the U.k. at the time so can't tell you the specifics. The barrel has a wire mesh a couple of inches from the bottom of the barrel and a tap below it to release the "worm juice " which I dilute and use to fertilise my salad greens. We just feed them with kitchen waste (no animal products) on a daily basis and off they go ! cant tell you exactly how often its emptied and probably in the tropics they work a lot faster ( should of said earlier its composed of 5 stacking pvc rings and when you want to empty it just remove the uppermost rings, this is where the worms will be located, put to one side, the rest looking similar to good rotted compost/loam  is pure worm casings shovel 'em out and rebuild the rings !! Somewhere in the back of my brain I seem to recall the worms cannot tolerate citrus waste but would't swear to it !!

mulch... mulch...mulch  !!! the only way in the tropics !!! don't worry about over fertilising with mulch, the papaya will only be able to take up the nutrients it requires and organic mulch should be well enough balanced that one chemical element doesn't prevent the uptake of other elements or minerals. 

happy wrigglers Jandtaa

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Smithson

jandtaa's farming docs- vermiculture

managed to "dig them out" (dual boot with windows and linux plus 2 external H.d"s and various web storage and I'm untidy to boot) luckily the verms were next to the wormiculture !!

haven't had time to reread them but hope they help !!

Jandtaa

Edited by jandtaa

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^ Thanks, regarding the worms, any tips for separating the worms and cocoons from the castings? Ideally I'd like to have a thick mulch layer so that composting worms can live there. This would make the whole process much easier.

It's correct, worms don't like citrus, chilli or anything acidic. This can be a bit of a problem here with so many bitter fruits. We have a lot katorn (?), many of which are bitter, so I'm not sure if they will be OK. The worms definitely don't like the sour mangoes. Also lots of Jackfruit, but these tend to get very hot when decomposing, so the worms stay away.

Last night I watched a program on permaculture/forest garden with Jeff Lawton, which was set in sub-tropical Australia, so quite relevant. Jeff was growing a lot of mango, jackfruit, banana and papaya.

One of his main techniques was to have legume trees which were continually cut back and thrown to the ground as mulch. Many of the trees looked familar. Maybe we could come up with a list of common legume trees in Thailand and have their Thai names to make things easier?

When evaporation is greater than rainfall (dry season), the legume trees are left to grow, providing shade. When rainfall is greater than evaporation, the trees are cut back for mulch, where they quickly breakdown due to high moisture. Fungi also play an important role, turning rotting branches into soil.

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^ Thanks, regarding the worms, any tips for separating the worms and cocoons from the castings? Ideally I'd like to have a thick mulch layer so that composting worms can live there. This would make the whole process much easier.

It's correct, worms don't like citrus, chilli or anything acidic. This can be a bit of a problem here with so many bitter fruits. We have a lot katorn (?), many of which are bitter, so I'm not sure if they will be OK. The worms definitely don't like the sour mangoes. Also lots of Jackfruit, but these tend to get very hot when decomposing, so the worms stay away.

Last night I watched a program on permaculture/forest garden with Jeff Lawton, which was set in sub-tropical Australia, so quite relevant. Jeff was growing a lot of mango, jackfruit, banana and papaya.

One of his main techniques was to have legume trees which were continually cut back and thrown to the ground as mulch. Many of the trees looked familar. Maybe we could come up with a list of common legume trees in Thailand and have their Thai names to make things easier?

When evaporation is greater than rainfall (dry season), the legume trees are left to grow, providing shade. When rainfall is greater than evaporation, the trees are cut back for mulch, where they quickly breakdown due to high moisture. Fungi also play an important role, turning rotting branches into soil.

I reckon you have to differentiate between the mulch/compost and a seperate vermiculture set-up. Sure you'll attract worms into the mulch (hel_l throw a handful in) and although they obviously enhance the compost you dont need them necessarily ( I find the ants attack any worms I put my compost any way). A seperate vermiculture bin is easily protected from ants (theres some methods in the docs I posted for ant proofing.) and you could then seperate your kitchen waste composting anything unpalatable to the worms in your standard compost pile. I think the method of seperating the worms from the casings is to allow the top of the vermiculture pit/barrel to dry out whilst keeping the bottom moist causing the worms to move into the lower layers and allowing the casings to be removed, again I think this is covered somewhere in the docs. As I said earlier I have limited experience with vermiculture but will definitely be setting up a system in the future as the vermiliquid I get in the UK I refer to as "black gold" great plant tonic and growth stimulant !! I guess the other advantage of a dedicated vermiculture set up is having a source of "pure" casings which can be applied in small amounts to the plants that really need them.

Yea้้h Geoff Lawton great guy !! I have the DVD.

Recently started collecting seed pods from local legume or NFT's as well as some of the shorter term nitrogen fixers so here's a start (excuse any bad Thai spelling and transliteration as the missus isn't here to check !! also some species have a couple of names )

SENNA SIAMEA - KHI LEK BAN - ขี้เล็กบาน

LEUCAENA LEUCOCEPHALIA - KRATHIN - กระถิน

SESBANIA - KAE BAN - แคบ้าน

GLIRICIDIA - KAE FARANG - แคฟรั่ง

here's some of the shorter term legumes ;

PIDGEON PEA - ถั่วมะแฮะ

LAB-LAB BEAN - ถั่วแปบ/ถั่วแปะยี้

COW PEA - ถั่วพุ่ม

RICE BEAN - ถั่วแป

WHITE HOARY PEA - ครามปา

FLEMINGIA - มะฮะขี้นก

INDIGOFERA - ครามใหญ

cheers Jandtaa

Edited by jandtaa

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^

I wasn't able to download the worm document, it requires a password. If you can read Thai there is a very detailed book on vermiculture available for B300.

The worms I have are Indian Blue (Perionyx excavatus), apparently ideal for the tropics. They eat and breed quickly.

I've got several bins, including one made from a plastic chest of drawers. The bottom drawer is for the 'black gold'. These drawers work OK, except it appears rats are getting in and feeding on my worms and scraps. I haven't seen any yet, but there's signs of digging going on. I've tried trapping them and sealing the back of the drawers, but neither is working.

The other set ups I have are the large plastic boxes with taps attached. These have lids and screens, so no problems with pests.

Edited by Smithson

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^

I wasn't able to download the worm document, it requires a password. If you can read Thai there is a very detailed book on vermiculture available for B300.

The worms I have are Indian Blue (Perionyx excavatus), apparently ideal for the tropics. They eat and breed quickly.

I've got several bins, including one made from a plastic chest of drawers. The bottom drawer is for the 'black gold'. These drawers work OK, except it appears rats are getting in and feeding on my worms and scraps. I haven't seen any yet, but there's signs of digging going on. I've tried trapping them and sealing the back of the drawers, but neither is working.

The other set ups I have are the large plastic boxes with taps attached. These have lids and screens, so no problems with pests.

I think you may have to create an account at scribd to download (its free and painless) I think it was this password you were being asked for.I've now uploaded 4 docs on vermiculture, worth a look especially the farmers manual although the others are more related to the tropics.Is this the book you're referring to ??

Thai worm website 

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This is the book here

Do you have it? Seems very comprehensive, but I can't read Thai. That's also the site I got my worms from, it's connected with Kasetsat uni, they have a vermiculture project out there where they do seminars etc.

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It's correct, worms don't like citrus, chilli or anything acidic. This can be a bit of a problem here with so many bitter fruits. We have a lot katorn (?), many of which are bitter, so I'm not sure if they will be OK. The worms definitely don't like the sour mangoes.

I had a wormery in the Uk (fishing bait) and if too acidic these small white worms would appear, don't know what they were and the redworms and Bramlings would die off. Crushed eggshells cured that problem.

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It's correct, worms don't like citrus, chilli or anything acidic. This can be a bit of a problem here with so many bitter fruits. We have a lot katorn (?), many of which are bitter, so I'm not sure if they will be OK. The worms definitely don't like the sour mangoes.

I had a wormery in the Uk (fishing bait) and if too acidic these small white worms would appear, don't know what they were and the redworms and Bramlings would die off. Crushed eggshells cured that problem.

Hi loong, thanks for posting

these white worms are an harmless parasite called entrachyadid: most worm composting systems have them. However, they are more able to withstand wet and acid conditions than your standard worms. If these parasites appear to grow in numbers, check that your bin is not waterlogged and mix a little agricultural lime in to increase the pH (the calcium in your eggshells was obviously doing the same job). You could try luring them onto a piece of moist bread for easy removal. They'd make a great treat for your chickens or garden birds!

cheers Jandtaa

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I've just expanded my worm system - what was formerly tubs for hydro now contain worms, the tubs have a common drain for collecting the 'liquid gold'. I will try and post pics.

One of the most difficult parts of vermiculture is finding enough food, the guys with the fruit trolleys give me their scraps daily, which amount to a fair bit. Does anyone have further suggestions for finding food? Manure is easy to get, can worms live on 80% - 90% manure? There's a lot of sour fruit and vegies here that may not be suitable for worms. I've been told that a little sour mango is OK, but not to overdo it. Maybe we can get a list of things that worms won't eat.

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I'm going to grab a chance to learn here. In my experience there are two zones for worms in any vermicomposting/culture application. First, the bedding material which provides everything that they need to survive, and secondly, the supplemental or food layer. For me the first layer is to process the manure, either processed or raw, and straw of other biodegradeable medium into something usual and the second is to dispose (perhaps improve the usefulness is a better term) of compostable waste materials.

Perhaps I'm wrong so any and all comments are welcome. Am I being too simplistic?

Isaanaussie

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Hi IA 

yeah your on the right lines

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I've extracted these tables from a PDF I have on the subject which can be found here jandtaas docs-vermiculture

They are taken from the one entitled vermiculture-a farmers manual it's well worth a read

Cheers for now Jandtaa

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I would like to start a worm bin, but I have no idea where to get the worms to start it off.

Any suggestions?

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Loong. If its earth worms your after, just dig under or around someones Kee pile. When we first moved here I never, ever saw an earthworm, until we started to keep bulls in barns. Then we started to make kee piles. Worms everywhere now. Dig out the earth underneath and around the pile. A few posters in the past have sold them too. Try searching it.

Regards.

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