I felt like an archaeologist this morning as I unearthed my ‘4 Worm’ BOM-6000 from beneath a heap of stuff down in my basement, and then brushed off the dust before nervously peering inside!
It has been ages since I did ANYTHING with this system, and even longer since I last posted an update here (the last update was “Four Worm Update – 02-16-10“).
I can’t say I was too surprised to see that the level of material in the bin had dropped drastically, and appeared as a much more amorphous mass of brown stuff, rather than the various different materials that had been added. I also wasn’t all that surprised to see that it had become pretty wet ‘n sloppy (with a beautiful sewer smell down in the bottom – haha) as well.
Something I didn’t end up writing about back in March or April (I think) was when I added a good heap of “Homemade Manure” to the bin – which helps to explain why things have become pretty wet over time.
The good news is that the system also happens to be full of big fat Red Worms, along with loads of worm cocoons! This highlights the fact that: 1) Red Worms are pretty tolerant creatures, and 2) Can survive (and even thrive) for months without any additional “food” being added to their system. That being said, it’s important to point out the fact that had I continued to add food waste to this system (without bedding) things definitely would have gone south on me and I likely would have killed off all the worms fairly easily.
That is an important distinction to keep in mind – and an important warning to those of you who don’t really add much new bedding after the initial set-up of your worm composting bins. You can certainly get away with this for awhile, but once the bedding you started with is mostly processed, you’ll almost certainly start to see what I’ve referred to as “Mature Worm Bin Syndrome” – even in a nicely aerated system like da Bom!
I ended up mixing in quite a lot of dry drink tray cardboard, and added a thin layer of it on top as well. I will check on the bin again soon to see how much moisture I am able to soak up, and if it still looks too wet I’ll simply add more.
At SOME point I will certainly be curious to see how many worms we have in the system! We are getting close to the 7 month mark since the bin was first set up. Obviously this won’t be a realistic demonstration of Red Worm population growth (since not even close to optimal conditions) but it will still be fun to do a count (or at least an estimate, if it looks like it’s going to take hours upon hours to do a tally).
Will likely provide another update in the next few weeks.