Thursday, February 10, 2011

Going Against Vermicomposting Norms

If you read the 1,720,209 blog entries on creating worm bins, you'll probably discover that a lot of them are copied word for word.  It's crazy how much info we rip from each other in the Internet.  Nonetheless, I followed a lot of the rules.  In my short experience with African Nightcrawler vermicomposting, here are some personal opinions:
  • Bedding Materials - I'm all for cardboard, newspaper, office paper, junk mail, toilet paper and even to a lesser degree glossy paper.  As long as the paper is not plastic coated, it's usually good enough for me. I don't even fuss about the color of the ink.
  • Bedding Level - A lot of sites use 2/3 of the container as a guideline.  For me, since I just put a limited number of worms in a bin, my bedding's usually just an inch thick and I haven't had any problems with that.
  • Drainage Holes - I don't like my bins leaking on the floor and so about 90% of my bins have no drainage.  I just control the moisture coming in.  I've had no problems whatsoever.  If I find the bin a little too wet, I just leave the lid off during the day to let some water evaporate.
  • Citrus, Garlic, Overfeeding - Both are typically in the Don't Feed list, but until recently I didn't have an opinion.  My worms have been behaving differently lately (sticking to the sides of the bin) and some have even died in the bin (very unusual).   The only thing I did recently was to stuff my bin with a week's worth of peelings (unusual since I don't have a lot of worms).  I just wanted to give it a try.  So it's either the type or quantity of my last feeding that brought about this death and fear.
  • Dairy - I shower in a couple of drops of old milk from my glass before washing it.  Perhaps it's the minimal volume, but I haven't seen any negative effects.
  • Mixing Food and Bedding - I like it that my worms have air so I mix things up in my bin very regularly.  I haven't seen any bad effects.
  • Humanure - The worms finished two separate samples in under a week each.  I guess they like it.
  • Coffee Grounds - I don't think my worms enjoy these
  • Feeding in Sections - I just put the food anywhere I want.  I do try to cover the food with processed material or bedding to prevent it from smelling. 
That's all I can remember for now.  My tip is to experiment on your own too.  You might find that a lot of tips (including mine) don't work for you.  As long as your worms are increasing and looking fat, then you're probably doing the right things.


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