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 13 yrs now. I created this website back in 2006 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!
I finally got around to checking up on my compost tumbler vermicomposting experiment yesterday, and was pleasantly surprised to see that everything has been coming along beautifully in the system. With very little in the way of assistance from me, I might add!
The overall level of material in the bin has gone down considerably, and a lot of it seems to have been converted into nice looking vermicompost.
I dug out a tray-ful of the material for a closer look (unlike a regular worm bin, it’s not all that easy to dig around in a tumbler), and was pleased to discover that (more…)
Wow – already 2 weeks since my last update (lots on the go these days)! As I mentioned in an update to that post (written a day later), I added another 7.4 lb of food, plus a thick layer of moistened shredded drink tray cardboard. This left the system “officially” full (cardboard was basically touching the screen lid).
As you can see, the level in the system has dropped a fair bit since that time (even more so than the image seems to indicate). What’s really interesting is that the (more…)
John has written in with some great questions about a really interesting topic of discussion. Unlike the usual “Reader Questions” scenario where I actually feel qualified to provide the answer myself, this is going to be presented as an “open” topic for discussion. As I told John, we’ve had some lively compost tea discussions in the past, so I think this could be interesting!
Here is John’s original msg:
The tea would be for use in the soil garden and raised beds. I do have
red worms in the grow beds.
My questions are…
1. If the Aquaponics water is used will nitrifying bacteria compete
with those in the worm castings and compost during the brewing
2. Would this negatively impact optimal growth of optimal bacteria?
3. Are the 2 really that different?
4. Would the addition of the nitrifying bacteria be beneficial once
applied as a foliar spray or soil drench?
5. How would this effect the growth of fungi?
6. Has anyone ever compared worm tea with aquaponics water to regular
Please feel free to add your input in the comments section (and please “share” via social media if you’d like to help get others involved)!
Good questions from Mike:
I was going start worm composting but have one question. I live in
Mississippi and it gets hot here in the summer, how hot is too hot for
these bins? I have a nice place in my yard that is always in the shade
but it could still get hot. Is it okay to take the lid off during the
day or would that invite more problems than it is worth?
Thanks for any info you can provide.
Outdoor vermicomposting can be a challenge in hot locations for various reasons. The heat alone – especially in high humidity regions (my hunch is that this would include Mississippi) – may be enough to kill off your worms. Generally, most common composting species are going to start dying if temps get up towards (and beyond) the 90 F mark. Interestingly enough, it actually seems to be the cold-tolerant worms such as Red Worms and Euros that are more heat-tolerant than some of the tropical species (eg Africans). My worm farmer friend, George Mingin, reports having had a lot more trouble with Africans once temps crept up past 86 F than with either of the other worms.
Open, or at least very well-ventilated systems can help – especially in windy, drier locations where the (more…)
A question from Mark:
Are there any worms available that can breakdown dog waste in a
I’d guess that just about any species of composting worms (eg. Red Worms, European Nightcawlers, Blue Worms, African Nightcrawlers etc) could help you process dog wastes. As a “real world” example of this – my brother-in-law and I added a small number of Red Worms to a backyard composter where he’d been piling his dog’s feces (along with some yard waste) for quite some time.
He reported that the level of material in the composter started to go down more quickly from then on. When I checked on things the following year – sure enough, there was a thriving population of the worms in the system.
I myself have had similar results with (compostable) cat litter wastes.
As some of you will likely recall, I went through a bit of a late-winter seed ball craze. Once things got busy with my Canadian worm business, however, I got side-tracked (as is often the case in the spring) and my focus ended up elsewhere.
Doing a bit of clean-up (emphasis on “a bit” – lol) down in the basement recently, I found a box of kale seed balls. I made them, back in February or March, by combining vermicompost (from my VB48) with drink tray cardboard pulp and a small amount of clay – and then simply mixing in a bunch of “Red Russian” kale seeds.
My wife and I are serious kale consumers (primarily in green smoothies) – and believe it or not, even the kids graze on the small number kale plants current growing in the garden (lol) – so it was actually a pretty exciting find. Luckily, Kale is pretty frost-hardy, so I should have plenty of time to try growing some of them!
I don’t have much in the way of garden real estate available for new plants at the moment – but that certainly didn’t stop me from planting (and in some cases, simply tossing) quite a few of these seed balls.
The spot with the most potential is likely (more…)
It has been almost 3 weeks since my last Worm Inn Mega update, so I figured I should probably bring everyone up to speed on that front.
As touched on last time, I have decided to take more of a laid back approach with the system this time – an approach that’s likely much closer to the “norm” among Worm Inn owners. My extreme-optimization strategy was certainly effective, but realistically, there likely aren’t that many vermicomposters who want to go to those lengths to help the process along.
What’s great is that a Worm Inn can work well either way, even if you are feeding heavily on a regular basis (the same can’t be said of most plastic, enclosed systems – that’s for sure). But there are definitely “right” and “wrong” ways to do it. Bare minimum, you will need to include plenty of bulky bedding with each addition of food. Even with all the air flow a Worm Inn provides, a huge heap of decomposing food will turn into a foul stinking mess.
I like to take things one step further by also (more…)
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