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 nearly 20 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!
Back near the beginning of December I wrote about my plans to (finally) get my Urban Worm Bag 2.0 up and running – and to do so with a bit of (controversial?) flair!
Rather than simply starting yet another kitchen-scrap-processing system, I thought it would be fun to test out cat litter wastes (from a box that uses compostable, clumping litter) as a worm food.
I had originally planned to try processing everything, but another experience vermicomposter – who has been processing cat wastes for quite some time – talked me down from the ledge (haha), suggesting it might make more sense to (more…)
If you’re on the email list, or you’ve even just been following the blog as of late, You’ll likely know that I’m on a bit of a “deep dive” in terms of wanting to learn more about cocoon production (and the important factors of influence).
My primary focus has been on cocoon production in Red Worms, simply because I had (almost) accepted the sad fact that I didn’t have any European Nightcrawlers left.
The last of my Euros had been left in a small system down in my basement – and not only was it very badly neglected, but a Red Worm population also ended up getting established (these two factors do NOT help Euros do well)! By the time I got around to rescuing the system last fall, all the worms were incredibly tiny (basically hatchling size) – and it was very difficult to even tell if there were any Euros left at all.
I thought I might have found one or two, based on their striping, but I really wasn’t sure.
As it turns out, my “rescue system” was (more…)
In the last update I mentioned my plan to finally harvest my VermiBag system (that had been up and running for about 4 months at the time). It had been neglected quite a bit, so I decided I should probably feed it fairly heavily first, in an effort to draw most of the worms up closer to the surface.
Well, I must say they went completely crazy for all that pumpkin I added – and it really seemed like my wood chip mix helped to balance it out nicely as well. The upper zone was crawling with “happy” Red Worms in no time.
As it turned out, I put off my harvesting plans during the holidays and then – much more recently – added yet another BIG load of pumpkin.
NOTE: I definitely don’t recommend adding this much of any type of food waste at one time. It is also a good idea to add in pockets or trenches so you are not completely covering the surface the way I did. (My “excuse” is that I’ve been doing this nearly 20 years now – and have a reasonable idea of what I can and can’t get away with – lol)
So yeah, it was a big dump of pumpkin waste that had been (more…)
I guess it’s been almost 21 days since my last blog post, since the one before this was my original post in this series! lol
I have some interesting results to share from my Tiny Tub 4-Worm Cocoon Production experiment! Just to quickly review – back in late December, I set up 3 little systems using sour cream tubs, and added 4 “breeder” Red Worms to each of them. One of the tubs had only aged manure as the habitat/food material, another one had wood chips (with leaves chipped in as well) + a small amount of the manure, while the third contained shredded corrugated cardboard + a small amount of the manure (same amount as in wood chip bin).
The basic idea was to see how cocoon production differed between the systems over time.
I ended up doing an assessment on Day 10 (and shared the results with the email list – but not here on the blog).
Here are the cocoon count numbers for Day 10: (more…)
Red Worm (Eisenia fetida/andrei) cocoon production has always been a topic of keen interest for me over the years – especially the potential influence that different materials/conditions can have on it.
I want to do a lot more experimentation relating to this in the months ahead, but for now I’ve decided to start a very quick-and-dirty, “just-for-fun-let’s-see-what-happens” trial with 3 different habitat/food mixes.
Yesterday, I set up (more…)
It literally feels like “forever” since I last wrote about my VermiBag system, so I will admit to being a bit surprised to see that the one (and only) previous VermiBag post was in the middle of August (2018).
The funny irony is that I could have sworn I had written at least one update about my current set-up. Bizarre.
Anyway, the key is that things have continued to chug along with this system and I’ve really enjoyed using it (in a pretty low-key manner, I’ll admit). Initially, my plan had been to primarily use comfrey, aged horse manure and tea bags as my food materials. As it turned out, I didn’t end up adding more comfrey – but I have indeed been periodically adding more aged manure and tea bags, along with some more typical kitchen scraps.
Back in March (2018) I decided to test out non-aerated worm castings “teas” – specifically with the goal of determining whether or not they would go foul without any sort of aeration (after the initial “brewing”, that is).
One treatment received some maple syrup as a “microbe food”, while the other received no amendments and all teas were sealed up in small ziplock baggies.
It didn’t take long to notice a distinct difference between the treatments – the amended teas getting quite cloudy, and starting to stink within the first couple of weeks. The no-amendment teas remained clear (with tea color, though), and no bad odors developed.