As I mentioned in my most recent (at time of writing) hay bale vermigardening update, when I noticed just how much fungal growth was developing in my treated hay bales, I thought might be fun to try testing it out as a worm food.
It just so happened that I had a tray of concentrated Red Worms on hand (you can find out why in my most recently published YouTube video), so I thought I might even end up with a big gob of them up in the hay.
To moisten the hay I dunked it in a tray of water and flipped it over a couple of times.
Next, I simply added it to the tray with the concentration of worms (sitting in mostly processed vermicompost) and covered it with a garbage bag to keep in moisture.
What’s interesting is the hay had a strong smell to it – reminded me of a brewery – when I first added it to the tray. I was actually worried that it was going to stink up the basement.
But by the next day the smell was completely gone!
Not too surprisingly, this seemed to be associated with the growing numbers of Red Worms that were venturing up into the material (quite obvious by the next day).
Within a few days, the material not only had a beautiful earthy smell to it, and loads of worms crawling throughout it, but it looked a lot different. Initially, there was a lot of obvious fungal growth (as you can see in the very first image above) – making the material look a lot more solid.
Once the worms had worked on it for a few days, it seemed much more like a bunch of grass stalked (unfortunately, this is not really all that obvious in the image below).
Researchers have found fungi to be an important source of nutrition for composting worms, so this definitely makes sense to me.
This also makes me a bit more optimistic about my hay bale vermigardening project. While the fungi have clearly been dominating the bales so far, it’s only a matter of time before the Red Worms take over – munching mycelia as they go – rendering the environment much more plant-root-friendly!
We just got another huge dump of rain yesterday, so I’m hopeful the tide is shifting already!