Four Worm Update-07-22-10

It’s amazing how time flies when you are having fun! Almost exactly one month ago (nice to see my vermi-reminder-clock is still working! haha) from today I posted an update on my “Four Worm Reproduction Experiment – Part Deux“. As you may recall, it had been a LOOOOOOOOONG time since I’d even opened up the bin (literally months), and it wasn’t too surprising that I found lots of sloppy, but fairly well processed material (along with lots of worms) inside.

I decided to add a bunch of shredded cardboard at that time to see if I could remedy the stinky anaerobic conditions in the bottom of the bin. My eventual aim was (and is) to do some sort of tally to see how far the worm population has come since the humble beginnings (with four immature worms all alone in a big ol’ BOM 6000).

When I checked on the bin this week I was happy to see that the cardboard had indeed soaked up quite a lot of moisture, but I must say that conditions were still pretty sloppy! As such, and also due to the fact that I have other plans for this BOM 6000 bin (stay tuned!), I decided to dump everything into one of my open worm sorting tubs. I’ll be honest – the smell that wafted up when I did this was much closer to “stinky sewer” than it was to “rich & earthy”!

This was yet another reminder of the fact that I did not take good care of this system. On a side note – I should mention though, that you can DEFINITELY get away with totally ignoring your worms for months on end much more easily than you can simply letting conditions get sloppy and anaerobic while you continue to add food waste regularly! Keep that in mind!

In an effort to prevent everything from drying out TOO quickly (and to provide the worms with some cover) I added a layer of coco coir and a layer of shredded cardboard (mostly consisting of old TP rolls, I might add – haha) over top.

Now, I will simply let everything sit! I have little doubt that all “sloppy” conditions will disappear fairly quickly with the contents spread out in this shallow (and completely open) tub. Once the worms have worked the material some more and it has a drier consistency I will think again about the prospect of conducting my tally!
I’ll keep everyone posted!

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    • Jason
    • July 22, 2010

    Very cool stuff! I see this site and I wonder about a self sustaining worm biodome. These guys seem like such great survivors and I see how well your plants do in the vermi-boxes that I wonder how long they would last untouched in a biodome type environment. Of course I have no idea where to start as I am new to worms, but I have a feeling you, Larry, or Mark have something similar started (or completed) that I just haven’t stumbled on.

    • Barb V.
    • July 22, 2010

    This epitomizes what I have learned from this site [and others] which has eased my newbie-fears. Worms will survive just about any degree of neglect. This morning I emptied a 15gal bucket that I had stuffed with compost/mulch and then forgot about while other yard chores took my 73yrold energies. That bucket was very wet and just FULL of worms. Healthy, fat, active worms. Go figure!

    • LARRY D.
    • July 22, 2010

    I would build a worm biodome.But i’m not sure if the worms would like me living with them all the time.I had visions of doming the whole block in.Worm city.Boy that would be the life!
    Hey! Wait a minute!You’re not talking small scale are you?

    Jason,that’s one that would be tricky.You would have to mimic nature i would think.But worms surprise me every day.They may be glad to be domed in.They can’t figure out who that guy with the camera is that keeps letting in all the light.:-)

    • steve k
    • July 24, 2010

    Jason- it’s fun to think about. As Larry said, you would have to figure out what all would live on the other half of the bin (other than MiniLarry), producing food for the worms. Some kind of plant and/or animals? In the mean time, why not try a worm bin, for starters, and see where that takes you? I have had a lot of fun with mine so far, and I suggest trying out Bentley’s BOM-6000, if you’re feeling crafty.

    • steve k
    • July 24, 2010

    Bentley- by the way, my BOM is still going strong and is full of worms and cocoons. I am amazed at how their ability to process the food scraps is accellerating as their numbers grow from the initial 1 lb order. A few fungus gnats and white mites have moved in, but they are small enough not to bother the wife. House flies would be a different thing. thanks again for your help!

    • Bentley
    • July 26, 2010

    JASON – That is an interesting idea, and likely something I would play with if I had a bit more time. I think you could definitely get a population of Red Worms to do ok in an enclosed terrarium with plants and a light over top – although, if there were NO waste inputs from outside of the system, I suspect the worms wouldn’t reproduce all that much or grow very big.
    BARB V – I’ve been amazed by the same thing time and time again! The neglected ones almost always look better than the ones I’m fussing over!
    LARRY – You just reminded me of the fact that – while Jason MIGHT not have been talking about a real life sequel to the academy-award-worthy Pauly Shore movie (yuk yuk), but with worms – I didn’t even consider the fact that there should be animals in the system (which would of course make total sense). With small frogs or salamanders etc I’m sure there would be more stuff for the worms to feed on – I guess their main concern in that case would be avoiding predation! haha
    STEVE – Mini-Larry? Now THAT would be something to see – I can only imagine what sort of projects he would start up if he was closer in size to the worms themselves! haha
    Joking aside, I am glad to know that the BOM is doing well!

    • Matt
    • September 6, 2010

    I am finding this all entertaining, so much to visualize, especially with comments about mini-Larry’s ;o)

    Can’t wait til the next update, almost a month and a half later, wow time does fly!

    I’ve only had my bin going a month now, WF360 seeing lots of worms, and without looking real hard 8 cocoons… another two weeks I figure time to put the second tray on.

    I can’t wait until I have enough worms so I can ignore!!!

    • Bentley
    • September 8, 2010

    Ack!!! I totally forgot to write an update on this. Unfortunately, I ended up having to dump out the bin without doing a count. In all honesty, there is no way I would have been able to do so anyway. There were SO MANY worms in there – would have taken me days just to count them. Next time I do this I will definitely need to do my count much earlier.
    Anyway – sorry folks! I’m afraid another one bites the dust.

    • Matt
    • September 10, 2010

    Not a biggy Bently, just to hear there were lots and lots! This has inspired me to try something with mine, will set up a seperate RM bin with some aged horse manure, newspaper and some cardboard… Will put 10 EF cocoons in it and see where it goes from there.

    Will count and report back New Years on it and maybe go a few more months from there.

    Thanks for all you do here Bently

    • Andrew
    • October 4, 2010


    Did I miss the final count? More likely you’ve been busy this summer with a bunch of projects. I hope you didn’t forget these guys and let them dry out. 😉

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