October 2012

Bentley’s VermBin 48

Just wanted to let everyone know that my VermBin48 is basically finished. I (gradually) built most of it with my dad outside over the course of several weeks, then moved it indoors (also with his assistance) so as to be able to use it all winter long. I say “basically finished” since I still haven’t attached the lid or installed the lid vent(s).

That being said, as far as I’m concerned it is ready for action! Setting up my VB48 system will likely be a gradual process as well, but I’m certainly excited that the wheels are in motion and that I’m now able to start writing about my adventure!

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Tomato Juice in Your Worm Bin?

Here is a recent “burning” question (could be viewed as a pun given the subject matter, but I’m actually referring to our recent contest) from Richard R.:

Yesterday my children found an old bottle of v8 vegetable juice that had been sitting in the sun for about 6 months. I opened it and it didn’t have a foul smell at all, instead smelled like tomato sauce. I poured it onto the top of my worm inn and my worms flipped out! They acted as if it burned them! They were literally spinning over and over, turning, the way a dog rolls over! I felt so terrible I quickly diluted the mass blob of v8 juice with water and the worms who moved out of the sludge settled down! The only ingredient that was worrisome was the citrus. Did I burn my worms? Is it safe to add v8 in moderation? I made sure to mix it up with rabbit manure and newspaper after it burned them as a way to ensure they don’t continue getting burned. I hope this was the type of question you were after!

Hi Richard,
While I’m sure pure lemon juice wouldn’t be the greatest thing to pour on your worms – and yes, it might cause them to writhe around (don’t plan on testing to find out!) – I’m pretty sure I know what the real culprit was in this case.

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Cold Weather Vermicomposting Questions Answered

I (understandably) received quite a few “burning questions” relating to the topic of cold weather vermicomposting for our recent “Win Worms Monthly” contest. Given the time of year (i.e. how relevant this topic is), I thought it might be fun to turn this into my very first (unofficial) podcast.

So I quickly put together a little background info, organized the questions, and started recording!

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Sow Bugs in Your Vermicomposting System

Here are a couple of questions I received about sow bugs (aka “wood lice”, isopods, “basketball bugs”):

I found sow bugs in my bin. Lots of them. What to do?
~ Patty C.

If the population of wood louse in the worm bin is increasing, how do i control its numbers? Do i flood the bin regularly to maintain high levels of moisture in the bin?
~ Jasmine T.

Let me start by pointing out that sow bugs (which are actually crustaceans, not insects) are not “bad” by any stretch of the imagination. They are actually quite beneficial since they help to break down bulky and resistant materials, thus rendering them more microbe-friendly.

That being said, it’s important to note that (more…)

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Worm Inn Journal-10-17-12

I recently promised that I’d post a Worm Inn update. As per usual, I have way too many things going on at once (lol) so it’s been awhile since I last wrote about this system. That’s not to say that it’s been totally neglected though – I have in fact been adding waste materials periodically.

Today, I decided to see how things were looking down below. It feels like my last harvesting session wasn’t that long ago, but looking back I now see it was actually at the beginning of June (i.e. 4 1/2 months ago). Time flies when you’re neglecting your worm bins, I guess! lol

This probably helps to explain why (more…)

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Win Worms Monthly

For quite some time I’ve been wanting to come up with a fun contest for fans of the site – but, as I discovered with my last attempt to set something up, these things can end up being hugely time-consuming if I’m not careful. I recently hit on the ideas of A) keeping things super simple by committing to giving away composting worms (or suitable alternative for those outside of USA) every month no matter what, and B) finding ways to link the contests with other things I’m trying to accomplish.

Those of you who have been on the e-mail list for awhile will know that I’ve been having trouble getting back into the swing of things with my “Worm Briefs”. Well, I thought one way to get back to those would be to do little Q&A emails based on questions I receive on particular topics. I’ve also been toying with the idea of starting to put together some (more…)

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Plastic Worm Bin-10-10-12

It seems to be “Neglected Worm Bin Day” here at Red Worm Composting (maybe I can even get a Worm Inn update posted this week – lol!).

I have indeed been neglecting my plastic “follow-along” system for quite some time, but if you’ve followed me for any length of time you’ll know that the mellow approach is typically “how I roll”. In fact, I highly recommend taking this same approach with your own vermicomposting systems. Perhaps this is a good time to remind you about one of “Bentley’s Golden Rules of Vermicomposting”:

“It is FAR easier to kill worms via overfeeding than via starvation!”

If you leave your system (especially one that holds moisture well, and contains lots of bedding) to sit for weeks on end without adding new food materials you’re not likely going to open it up and find that your worms have vanished (assuming all other worm requirements are being met). Typically, you’ll find healthy worms, no food in sight, and a lot less bedding!

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