Breathable Bucket Bin – 12-19-14

It’s been a little over a month since my last “Breathable Bucket Bin” update.

In that blog post I mentioned my decision to try and “push my luck” by adding a bunch more food to the system. Since then, I have basically just left everything alone.

Today, I decided it was finally time to take a look and – more interestingly – dump everything out to see what’s been going on down below!

Right off the bat, it was pretty clear that the overall level in the bin had dropped a fair bit.

But based on the weight and just the “feel” of it, I was pretty sure there was still a fair amount of moisture down below.

My hunch was confirmed once I dumped the contents into an open tub. As is often the case with typical plastic enclosed worm bins (basic tubs, not stacking tray systems), the bedding etc at the bottom of the bucket was saturated and looked as though it had undergone little in the way of decomposition. There was also an obvious “swamp gas” sort of smell. Clearly some anaerobic stuff going on down there.

But nothing too crazy – since I still found plenty of worms down in that zone (so, different from the sort of anaerobic activity I wrote about in my last blog post).

Speaking of worms…

All in all, I wasn’t overly “wowed” by their abundance. I was definitely expecting to see higher densities of them. I found quite a few big healthy Euros, but I don’t think the population is growing as fast as it would in a typical tub system.

I’ve decided to leave to system to sit for at least another month or two. To help combat the anaerobic situation down at the bottom, I simply added all the dry bedding (that was previously sitting up top) first, before adding the rest of the contents.

All in all, I am a little less enthused about this type of system – at least when using kitchen scraps as “food”. Even when it is completely open (the long johns certainly aren’t keeping much moisture in I don’t think) it can get swampy down at the bottom – definitely wouldn’t be the case with an open plastic tub system.

If using drier food materials like manure, worm chow etc, I could see how these buckets might work well. I DO like the fact that they don’t take up much room!

Anyway – we shall see how things progress over the next couple of months!

Stay tuned

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    • joe
    • December 20, 2014

    Hey Bentley, I could see how the food scraps could get pretty wet at the bottom in a bucket (YUCK). I use a bucket system with a mix of black Michigan peat and worm chow with ANC’s which works really nice.

    • Ray
    • December 20, 2014

    I started a bucket experiment similar to yours, maybe a week or two before you wrote about this one. Starting at the bottom, I layered dry shredded paper, moistened shredded cardboard, a 30-count bucket of Euros from the bait counter, more moist shredded cardboard, a couple inches of kitchen waste, and a thick layer of dry shredded paper on top. I had several holes drilled in the bottom for drainage.

    I was just intending to let it set over the winter and see how many bait worms I wind up with in the spring. But, I got my experiments mixed up and wound up tossing in a handful or two of EF infested material into this bucket at some point.

    Anyways, you prompted me to dump it out and take a peek. I was pleased with how it all looks. It was more moist at the bottom, but not waterlogged. No foul odors. 90% of the food scraps were not recognizable. The worms were multiplying like crazy and were throughout the entire bucket. What amazed me was the quantity of cocoons. In each handful of material, I could see a dozen or more at a glance.

    Since I compromised the original purpose of this experiment, I did start another bucket on Thanksgiving with another 30-count bucket of Euros from the bait counter. It’s early on, but it does look good so far. A hasty count gave me 32 worms and i saw several cocoons when I fluffed up everything a bit.

    • Kirsty
    • January 9, 2015

    I keep a bucket as an insurance plan. It is a very deep bucket – probably too deep! I keep it well stocked with bedding and only feed it a handful of vegetable scraps every month or so. The lid has many drilled holes in it for air flow. It generally gets used as an extra coffee table beside a lounge. It is the most neglected worm bin ever! However it serves its purpose. About a month ago some very hot weather (43C or 110F) killed off one of my worm bins on the deck. I opened up my emergency supply bucket to find a thriving herd of worms. Two thirds of them went in the outside bin and one third were left in the bucket. Problem solved!

    • Jay
    • January 27, 2015

    It’s a good system, you just have to “toss” the buckets every week or so to areate the bottom portion. I just dump into an empty bucket once a week. It works really well for me.

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