Friday, October 08, 2010

Worm Bin Updates

Hello fellow vermicomposting enthusiasts! I can hardly wait to provide an update on my worms.  That's me and my addictions.  Anyway, let's first look at worm bin one: the pail.  As you can see, there's a lot of uncomposted material, but the ratio vs. composted one is probably 40:60.   I've stopped feeding this bin for a week now.  I only add water and I mix up the stuff for aeration (and of course to see my little African Night Crawlers in action).    In the past few days though, this bin has had some adventures.   The other day, I saw a couple of ants inside.  I panicked because I've seen how ants attack lost worms in my backyard.  I added some water to discourage the ants from hanging around any longer.  So that's that.   Yesterday afternoon, when I opened the bin, I was shocked.  There were like 6-7 worms all hanging out on the sides, trying to get out.  That's a first.  I've read that when your worms try to escape at the same time, something's very wrong.   You know what?  I felt the air inside the bin.  It was really warm!  And it came to me.  The 34 degrees Celsius day really heated everything in sight.  My hydrangea wilted (again).  My basil plants wilted.  And now, my worm bin's like a sauna.  And so I left the lid open for a while and used my trusty garden fork to move around some material for better aeration.  I checked again this morning.  Everything's fine again.

I then checked worm bin 2.  Well nothing's really going there with the 7-8 worms I put in.  I just add water now and then.  As you can see from the picture, I was really remiss with this one.  Whole egg shells.  Big green leaves.  Big wads of paper.   I didn't really chop anything up for easy worm consumption.  Nonetheless, since I moved all the material to one side, I can probably experiment with the other side in a couple of days.  And oh, the worms are still alive.  It's hard to find them, but I make sure they're there. The bin also has no foul odor (it was starting to smell a few days ago until I punched a couple more holes).  It's hard to say how much castings they've produced since I added the worms with the substrate. I can't tell what was really there against what the worms have contributed lately.   We'll have to wait and see.
And of course, my pride and joy:  worm bin 3.  From my quick lessons in worm bins 1 and 2, as well as all the videos I've watched and blog entries I've read, I designed flow through worm bin 3.  On the pictures, you'll see how I've been feeding the worms for three straight days.  First, I had some herb clippings (mostly basil so I hope worms like pesto).  Then I cut up some egg shells.  Then I mashed a banana and cut it up into small pieces.  It probably seems like very light feeding to others, but consider that I just have 7-8 worms in that bin.  That's like a 24x7 buffet for them.  In my defense though, I also fed them a lot because I wanted the food to have time to decompose and that takes a while.   Each time I feed the worms, I add a thin layer of bedding, composed mostly of shredded old receipts, used paper towels, and of course, bills.  I then moisten the bedding just enough.  As described, I practice top feeding and not pocket feeding as is usually advised.   So far so good.  For this worm bin, I've been really behaved.  I haven't been forking around all the time looking for worms.  In fact, since I placed the worms almost a week ago, I haven't seen them again.  But, I know they're well.  In my next post, I'll show you why I know.   Is this exciting or what? 


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