Thursday, September 30, 2010

Presenting: My Worms

My prior post on vermicomposting was somewhat incomplete.  Naturally I had to show you pictures of the worms.  Well they're not exactly playing on the surface so I raked some contents from the bottom to the top.  And this is what I got.  You may have to zoom the pictures a little to see my little pets.  If you look around the picture too, you'll see that there's a noticeable portion that looks like soil already.  At least I know my worms are feeding well.  More importantly, they're pooping well!  Nonetheless, I promise not to feed them for the next two weeks to see if my bin will look a lot more processed then.  Sigh...but it's so much fun feeding them!  I'm glad  though Jean is very supportive of my worm fascination.


  1. Chris, since blogger didn't give me your email, I thought I'd just answer your worm questions here. First of all, good for you for trying this. It's so worthwhile, especially if you garden.

    1) Holes at the bottom are totally fine, as long as you have something underneath the container to collect the liquid that will drip out. Very few, if any, worms will ever want to escape this way. The only time I've had worms attempt an exodus was when I accidentally forgot that I'd stacked a box on top of the bin for several days and blocked the air holes. They were all climbing the sides in search of oxygen. So don't do that and you should be fine.

    2) Also, if you're very persistent with regular composting (turning and checking the moisture level daily) you can get compost in less than 6 months, but that's a lot of work. The reason that I prefer worm composting is that they do all the work for you. And actually, they will eat their body weight in food every day (my first bin started with a pound of worms, but I'm sure it's many times that now), so how long it takes to completely compost a particular bit of food is super quick (daily). I usually wait half a year or so in order to build up enough compost (from the food and bedding that I add) to make it worth harvesting. Does that make sense? Basically, you could pull all your worms in a bin with just an apple and that apple will be turned into vermicompost by the end of the day, but it isn't really that much compost. Also, I think vermicomposting is better than regular composting because you basically inoculate all the compost with friendly bacteria from the worms' guts. That, in turn, makes the soil much more biologically active.

    3) As for how big my bin is, I have one wooden one that is maybe 3 feet by 4 feet and I have 3 more plastic storage ones that are at least 2 feet by 3 feet.

    Good luck!

  2. Hi Wendy. That whole apple imagery is making me think. ;-) I think my worms aren't big eaters because it's really taking so long. I don't think I placed that much food there.

    Thanks for the insight. I'm still thinking about that under-the-sink-thing. Maybe I'll do it...

  3. OK, so I rethought the apple thing. If you puree an entire apple, the worms could eat it in a day. (Because they can eat that much per day) However, unless the apple is broken down somewhat (either with a food processor or rotting in the worm bin) they can't actually chew it up because they have no teeth. I'd suggest reading Worms Eat My Garbage for a very thorough description of exactly what goes on in a worm bin (hint- it's a lot more than just worms eating apples). You might find more info here...

    Also, your worm population will slowly grow to huge numbers.

  4. Hi Wendy. I was wondering about that apple. ;-)

    I've been reading a lot that the bin needs to have a 9:1 carbon to nitrogen ratio. That's a lot of bedding. Do you think worms would survive on almost a pure newspaper diet? I got really curious about that.


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