December 2018

Red Worm Cocoon Production in Different Materials

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…)

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VermiBag Update

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.

The performance of the VermiBag reminds me very much of (more…)

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Non-Aerated Castings Tea – 9 Months Later

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.

By early in April I decided to toss the amended teas simply because (more…)

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Slow Progress with a VermBin48

A question from Kathy A:

I built a vermbin 48 a couple of years ago, it survives on neglect for the most part. My worms don’t ever get to the fat wiggly size, and I don’t have a huge quantity of them. It’s in my basement, which is cool 55-60 degrees. Suggestions?

Hi Kathy!

As I’ve shown with my “Insurance Bin” experiment, it is not difficult AT ALL to keep a culture of Red Worms going for many months on end with virtually no additional food (and relatively little bedding).

But there is definitely a decent difference between “survive” and “thrive” (as discussed in my “80/20 Vermicomposting” post).

Lower numbers of smaller worms is a tell-tale sign of neglect – but the good news is that it’s a situation easily remedied! Simply add more food and bedding, on a somewhat regular basis.

I recently “rescued” yet another badly neglected (very small) bin of mine by moving a lot of the worms over to a larger bin containing aged manure and various other goodies. Within a few weeks the worms went from (more…)

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Indoor Cat Poop Vermicomposting?

Thinking about how to kick things off with my Urban Worm Bag 2.0, I knew I needed to come up with something different.

I asked for feedback from the Red Worm Composting Facebook community – mentioning that I had been toying with the idea of a (compostable) cat litter experiment – and received some great feedback/ideas.

But the discussion seemed to keep coming back to the cat poop…lol

In the end I decided that’s what I was going to do (and will be using some of the suggestions people had for making it a bit more “worm-friendly”).

When I told the worms about my idea, they weren’t quite as excited about it as I’d hoped. Below is a dramatic re-enactment of the conversation (thanks to Will Ferrell and Fred Armisen for agreeing to help out on such short notice!)

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The Urban Worm Bag 2.0

Sadly, it has been nearly 5 months since I last wrote about Urban Worm Bags! It was bit of a weird/interesting summer (to say the least) – and I was pretty focused on getting an exciting new project off the ground in the fall.

In the meantime, Steve has gone and launched a brand new version of the UWB! As I’ve mentioned before, Steve is not happy with just making a “great” home vermicomposting system – he wants the UWB to be the best option available for home vermicomposters. And that means listening closely to customer feedback, and continuing to make design improvements.

I am definitely excited about the improvements he has rolled out with version 2.0!

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Indoor Food Waste Pre-Composting?

Now that the Walking Windrow bed is basically set up and “ready” for winter (apart from some ongoing bulking-up and feeding) I have a good opportunity to “play” around a bit – testing out different things etc.

One thing I had planned was to try installing some small “compost chimneys” to help get more oxygen down to the lower reaches of the worm habitat zone (which will help with microbial heating, and speed up the processing of materials in the bed).

This got me thinking about “worm towers” (what the chimney pipes were originally used for)…which got me thinking about worm “feeding buckets”. Concentrating lots of worms will be advantageous once my business opens again in the spring and, just generally, I think it will be really fun to test out different mixes and see which ones attract the most worms.

I remembered that I still had the big “holey bin” from my “Vermi-fertilization and Watering System“, and this got me thinking about creating some form of jumbo food waste bin I could keep inside.

Naturally, I didn’t want to just have a food storage bin full of holes sitting in the house, so I came up with the idea of a (more…)

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