It’s been quite some time since I last wrote about my DIY compost tumbler. Truth be told, until recently the system has basically sat idle. Same old, same old with me – lots of stuff on the go, so I inevitably end up focused on other things.
Well, for whatever reason it caught my attention not too long ago, and I decided to start adding lots of shredded cardboard and food waste to see what would happen. It seemed to take a LOT of material, and I must say I was very pleased to see it turning every bit as nicely as when I first constructed it (when I say “I”, you should should assume that means me and my dad – my trusty DIY amigo! lol) – even with the heavy load.
While I usually recommend that people DON’T use tumblers as worm bins (often not an ideal habitat – especially when being turned regularly and/or when sitting in a sunny location), it’s safe to say that if there were worms in this one they’d be thriving! It contains some beautiful potential-worm-food – plus it’s located in a shady corner of the yard so I don’t think it ever would have ended up too hot anyway. We’re getting a bit late in the season now for fun (outdoor) experiments (other than my upcoming winter composting bed, that is! lol), but perhaps I will actually try it out as a vermicomposting system next year just for kicks and giggles!
There are certainly plenty of other critters in the tumbler, including what I’m thinking might be some form of northern Soldier Fly. If I was going to name these, I’d call them “Yellow Soldier Flies” – and I should mention that a quick Google image certain turned up some photos that definitely look like the adults I’ve seen. They seem fairly common near my outdoor composting systems during the warmer months of the year, and I’ve been finding the larvae and pupae in the tumbler as well (interestingly enough, there are only pupae in there now).
At the risk of revealing my inner invertebrate geek (believe it or not I actually identified aquatic invertebrates for a living once upon a time), the pupae definitely exhibit features of family Stratiomyidae, so I think I’m at least on the right track with my ID (if any of you BSFL experts out there know of other related varieties please feel free to chime in).
Perhaps I should bring a bunch of the pupae indoors and see if I can get some adults. Would be really interesting to see if the larvae are anywhere near as voracious as the Black Soldier Flies.
By the way – this recent interest in my tumbler reminded me about my “DIY Compost Tumblers” info package (a product of mine that was previously advertised on this site), and I ended up bundling it in with my VermBin Plans Package as a free bonus. Just a bit more incentive to get involved, if you haven’t joined already!