August 2014

Vermicompost Just Plain Works!

Yet another WFAer shared something very cool with me today (there’s something in the air I tell ya)! Steve Churchill – owner of “Urban Worm Company” in Plymouth Meeting, PA – noticed a superb photo posted on the RWC Facebook group by Mary Ann Smith, and asked if he could add some text and share it on his site.

The result is the image I’ve posted above (great for sharing, so don’t be shy! lol)!

Thanks to Mary Ann and thanks to Steve for their joint effort in helping to promote the wonderful world of “worm poop”!
😎

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Compost With Crickets…And Then Eat Them?

WFA member, Julie P., recently shared an intriguing BBC article with the group called “‘Cricket compost box’ tackles food problem.”.

I’ve certainly come across the idea of eating crickets before (and am secretly interested in trying them some time – just don’t tell my wife! lol), but this is actually the first time I’ve seen mention of using crickets to process waste materials.

Before I get too worried (lol) about them eclipsing Red Worms and (more…)

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Moldy Bread as Worm Food

Questions from Nicole:

Hi. I have an indoor worm bin in my apartment. Can I feed my worms
bread that has gotten moldy? Will the mold harm the worms? Would it
make the bin too smelly? Thanks, Nicole.

Hi Nicole,

The short answer is YES, you can certainly use moldy bread – BUT it’s important that we explore this “moldy” topic in greater depth.

Fungal growth in a worm bin – and moldy food in general – is not necessarily a “bad” thing, but it IS something you might want to keep in check (assuming you are not actually trying to grow mushrooms in your worm bin – another topic of discussion altogether!). Fungi play an important role in the breakdown process, but if you allow them to grow to the “fruiting” stage, you can end up with clouds of spores billowing out of your bin every time you open the lid. For anyone with mold allergies (or with someone else in the house who has them) – and especially with certain kinds of mold – this is definitely not a good thing.

That said, it is typically not difficult to keep fungal growth in check, so there is no need to worry. The key is to (more…)

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Compost Tumbler Vermicomposting – 08-20-14

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…)

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Worm Inn Mega – 08-13-14

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…)

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Using Aquaponics Water For Worm/Compost Tea

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
process?

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
worm tea?

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)!
Thanks!
😎

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Is My Region Too Hot For Vermicomposting?

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.

Hi Mike,

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…)

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