For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Bentley (“Compost Guy”) Christie and I’ve been a crazed worm composting fanatic (or “vermiholic” if you prefer) for more than 15 yrs now. I started this website back in 2007 with the simple intention of sharing my passion with the world. So far so good! Things have certainly progressed since the early days, though, and the website has provided me with an amazing opportunity to get to know a LOT of other “worm heads” from across North America and around the world!
My good friend (and WFA member), Steve Bichlmeier sent me an email last week sharing some info about his testing with different kinds of composting worms in his Worm Inn Mega systems. It sounded like a really interesting project overall, so I asked Steve if he’d be willing to share his updates here on the blog.
I’ll leave you to guess what he said!
It’s been about three and a half weeks since I posted any sort of vermigardening update, so I figured I’d make this one a bit of a combo deal, and provide updates for both the hay bale vermigardening and the deep mulch projects.
Hay Bale Vermigardening
After an extended period of pretty dismal results (as compared to the results from my vermigardening efforts in previous seasons), it feels like we’re finally starting to “turn the corner” a bit with the hale bale beds.
There are likely a number of factors at work here.
I received an interesting e-mail (and follow-up with more details) from Tim S. It seemed like the sort of topic others would find interesting, and Tim seemed to be hoping for a pretty in-depth response…
…so I decided it would be a good opp to create a mini-podcast of sorts.
Here is his original question:
I have a question about sheet composting with shredded leaves in a field. Are there any reasons that a 12-18 inch layer spread over 2 acres wouldn’t produce a good casting after screening it? What are the drawbacks to a low maintenance system like this? Is it really necessary to keep adding food? Thanks!
Along with some additional (more…)
Amazing how time flies during the summer!
It’s been more than a month and a half since my last Worm Inn Mega update – and sadly, it’s probably also been that long (or at least pretty close to it) that I have been neglecting it.
But this is actually the “Tale of TWO neglected Worm Inns” – one FAR more neglected than the other!
Today I decided to take my Regular Worm Inn (last update was in February!) outside and transfer the entire contents over to the Mega.
As you might expect (more…)
Good question from Judith:
Could you elaborate on the “blue worms” – you say they are good composters, but seen as pests. Why would we not want them? Do they take over? What is the down side of them in the bins?
Blue Worms (Perionyx sp.) grow quickly, produce lots of offspring, and consume lots of waste materials when conditions are favorable for them. This is what makes them a great composting species. BUT in these situations (when conditions are favorable) they can also basically take over systems where other worms, such as Red Worms or European Nightcrawlers, are present. SO, you may see the numbers of these other worms gradually decrease over time.
In cases (usually in warmer regions) where worm farmers are trying to grow pure cultures of Reds or Euros, it can (understandably) be frustrating when Blues infiltrate and become established. This is why many people refer to them as “pests”.
Temperature is probably the main factor of importance. Temps between 70 and 86 (~ 21 C and 30 C) tend to be very favorable for Blues, and it’s when a system is in this temperature range for extended periods that the Blues tend to dominate.
On the flip-side, these worms also (more…)
Along with Joel Karsten’s Straw Bale Gardening presentation, another Homegrown Food Summit video that really got me fired up was Jill Winger’s “Mulch Gardening Secrets”. Since I had plenty of hay bales on hand for my “Hay Bale Vermigardening” project this spring, I figured it was the perfect time to test out this other approach as well.
Of course, as per usual, the idea has been to take this method one step further and to turn it into an official vermigardening approach as well.
For my first bed, I selected a pretty neglected (more…)
Question from Melissa:
Here’s a question for you. My indoor worm farm REALLY stinks. I’m fairly new to this, and happy to say the worms are thriving. Is there a way to prevent the “poop” odor that is almost unbearable when I add food? I’ve started wearing gloves when I add food to prevent the odor from staying on my hands. Otherwise it’s an earthy smell which we’re fine with.
The good news is that it’s relatively easy to remedy a smelly bin, and to help prevent it from happening again. Here are some important questions for you to consider:
1) How much food is currently in the bin?
2) What particular kinds of food are in the bin?
3) How much air flow does the bin have?
4) How wet are the contents of the bin?
5) How much bulky, absorbent bedding is in the bin?
Let’s look at each of these in more detail….
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