50 Cocoon Challenge – Update #1

50 cocoon challenge bin

Hi Everyone – just thought I would provide a VERY quick update given the fact that it’s been a couple of weeks now since starting the 50 Cocoon Challenge. I know that some of you are eager to learn if anything new and exciting has happened in the bin (i.e. worms have hatched).

When I opened up the bin I was greeted by what looked like a scene straight out of a science fiction movie – like some sort of alien planet landscape.

The fungi have continued to thrive, as has the rest of the ecosystem sans worms. Well, ok – I don’t know for sure that there are no worms. As expected, I am having a very hard time trying to locate babies (assuming there are any yet). I saw lots of white worms, but not baby red worms yet. I will most likely have to wait until they are larger before being able to spot them.

As such, we won’t likely have anything more than a rough guess of how long it took them to hatch, and unless I start finding them at a very young age, our juvenile-to-adult maturation time might not be all that accurate either. Nevertheless, I am still very interested to see how long it takes for the worms to go from cocoon to adult in this system. I hope to replicate the experiment with the ‘ultimate’ food/habitat – horse manure with bedding. This should provide an interesting comparison in terms of how different foods can affect maturation time.

One other thing to mention – the contents of the bin were looking a little drier than what I consider to be ‘ideal’ so I added some water.

Ok – that’s all for now. Hope to provide another update in a couple weeks or so.

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  1. Hi Bentley,

    Not sure about your temps, but if you want a high hatch rate, get your temps around 75-80 degrees.

    • Bentley
    • June 10, 2009

    Hey Jerry,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    My temps are well below that (more like 68-70). Temperature is definitely one of those key variables, and one of many reasons why the results of this experiment shouldn’t be considered as set-in-stone for red worm growth in general. I will definitely keep the manure bin at the same temperature as well so I can at least make comparisons between the two systems.

    • AndreasDerKrieger
    • June 12, 2009

    I started adding coffee filters into my bin. The moisture levels obviously increased. within a few days…I noticed thousands of tiny, skinny, translucent worms crawling along the edges of my bin. Their length ranged from 0.5cm to a 1.0cm. I am now very excited. I hear the babies and youngun’s eat and produce more castings than the adults. I am in a constant battle right now w/ bedding to absorb this extra moisture because I have a bin that’s sans drain…I’m a cheapee. I’m hoping within a few weeks, I can put some trenches in the garden to help out the tomatoes.

  2. Hi Andreas,
    I don’t want to rain on your parade here, but those tiny worms are almost certainly ‘White Worms’. They are small relatives of the earthworms and can help with the composting process. They tend to appear in great abundance when pH drops – makes sense in your case since coffee grounds are quite acidic.

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