A recent comment on the Red Worm Composting Facebook fan page (expressing frustration due to the presence of springtails in a worm bin) reminded me that I really should get things rolling with my planned follow-up to the “Waste Optimization Challenge“. As you may recall, my goal is to determine what sort of impact (if any) the presence of springtails has on the vermicomposting process.
I’ve decided to scale things down a fair bit (in comparison to the Optimization Challenge) by using ice cream tubs instead of Rubbermaid tubs. As per usual I AM still keeping things very simple, though. I’ll only have two bins – one with springtails, one (hopefully) without them.
Today I did the initial set-up of the bins. I filled them with approximately the same amount of moistened shredded cardboard bedding. Each bin then received 100 g (0.22 lb) of boiled coleslaw mix. The aim here was to add something “optimized” – but I didn’t feel like waiting around for my frozen carrot strips to thaw out enough so I could work with them. Not 100% sure yet what my food source with be moving forward, but I will definitely keep it consistent (each bin will get exactly the same thing).
I am going to let the tubs sit for a period of time before adding worms (both bins) and springtails (one of the bins). I haven’t yet decided on the number of worms to add to each bin, but it will likely be in the range of 10-30. As for springtails, there is no way I’m going to attempt to count these guys so I will have to settle for “lots and lots” being added to that treatment.
Once the initial habitat is well-established (with worms and springtails added) I will likely try different food materials (optimized and not optimized) to see if there are any differences there. One of my hunches has always been that springtails help with materials that the worms won’t feed on right away, so I definitely want to see if this is indeed the case.
Should be interesting. Will keep you posted!