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 for more than 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!
There’s no denying that various forms of flying insects can end up being a pain in the neck once established in indoor vermicomposting systems.
Fruit flies and various types of gnats are likely the most common (be sure to check out “Getting Rid of Fruit Flies and Fungus Gnats” for a solid overview of my typical recommendations for dealing with them), but the one that might very well be the worst to deal with is the scuttle fly.
Although this fly is reported to have a life cycle in the range of 10-20 days (depending on temps and other factors), you’d swear it was 10-20 hours with the way they seem to explode in number.
My first encounter with these flies happened back when I was using a VB48 system down in my basement. I’m guessing they ended up in the system when I (more…)
It was around this time two years ago that I was in the middle of my “Tiny Tub” project – a series of experiments to see what sort of cocoon production I could achieve in small plastic containers (eg. sour cream and yogurt tubs). So, it seems only fitting that I’ve started a brand new project with a similar scope!
This time around I will still only use 20 worms as my starting population – but I’m giving them quite a bit more room to spread out in. I also plan to keep the systems running well beyond the usual 21 days (used for my tiny tubs).
Let’s just say I’m a wee bit obsessed with Red Worm population growth and leave it at that (for now)!
For the sake of keeping things manageable I am only setting up one (more…)
Time flies when you are having fun. It’s been well over a month since my last World’s Smallest Worm Bin update!
I checked on the system the other day and also realized that today was going to be “Day 50” (Day 0 was Oct. 30 in case you are curious). So, I figured it would be a great day for a blog update.
The good news is that in spite of the system receiving very little attention, things are coming along nicely. There was no sign of food, and the worms have clearly been working away on the shredded cardboard.
I was only able to find one (more…)
I always love hearing about people turning their worm composting hobby into a business – even more so when the budding entrepreneurs happen to be kids! So, when WFA member, Kevin Hatanaka, mentioned (earlier in the fall) that his family worm business was mostly run by his young son and daughter I “demanded” that he tell me more!
Kevin happily obliged, providing me with the full write-up you’ll find below!
I started vermicomposting about 9 years ago because I like raising animals and growing plants. This was at least a few years before my kids were born. My first bin was a Rubbermaid tub and I still have it today. My first worms were Red Wigglers and I eventually expanded to 2 tubs.
Once I got married and we had our two kids–Alyssa, who is now 7, and Will, who is 5–the worms were largely neglected, but some survived nonetheless. When we moved to our current house in 2015, I consolidated my worms back into one tub, which was kept on the side of the house. About 2-3 years ago, the kids started to notice the worms and they would occasionally poke in the bedding and pull out worms to talk to them and play with them. Will would have “worm races” on the lids of the bins.
In October 2019, Will helped me build a second (more…)
A topic I have written amount multiple times here – but something I still really haven’t tested out enough – is the use of biodegradable fabrics as worm bin bedding materials.
It just seems like a bedding with so much potential! These fabrics are soft, very absorbent, yet also support excellent air flow. They tend to break down very slowly, helping to maintain a quality worm habitat for longer.
And while maybe not as readily available as something like cardboard, most of us likely end up with an accumulation of old clothes and sheets that aren’t fit for donation.
Finding a dusty bag of my old clothes at my dad’s place a week or two ago, I finally decided enough is enough. It’s time to really test this out properly!
Right off the bat I should point out that (more…)
When most people think of vermicomposting they tend to think of it as more of a continuous, active process.
This is all fine and good – and could even be considered one of the advantages of this approach – but I think more needs to be said about the power and potential of “batch” vermi-systems.
It a nutshell, the idea is that you add everything to the system right away – or at least early on – and then basically leave it alone, letting the worms and other organisms work their magic over time.
One example I have written about is Mark Payne’s “vernmenting” method, which even seems to offer the added advantage of letting you process some materials that wouldn’t be well suited for a typical worm bin.
I really love Mark’s approach with sealed (but still ventilated) buckets, but I personally prefer something a bit closer to a typical worm bin set-up.
The good news is that there isn’t just ONE “right” way to set up bins like this. The possibilities are endless, in fact. Even the bins within a group I set up at the same time can vary a fair bit.
There are still some key recommendations to keep in mind – and I will come back to these a bit further along. First, let’s look at how I recently (more…)
Back in June I wrote about a DIY vermifiltration system I set up in my yard using an old leaky rain barrel.
The main idea was to collect greywater – dish rinsewater and cooking water likely the main sources – and to pour that through the system on a regular basis. As it percolated down it was worked on by countless microbes (assisted by the activity of Red Worms) and came out the bottom as a liquid far better suited for watering, and perhaps even helping to boost the fertility of nearby garden beds.
It was not a vermicomposting system in the traditional sense. Much of the starting material added early on was very resistant to breakdown – eg. expanded clay balls, woody materials, pine cones. This helped to maintain some structural integrity in the “filter” and created lots of surface area for microbial colonization.
That being said…
The system still provided me with an opportunity to (more…)