It’s been awhile since I’ve had any sort of fun challenge here on the blog, and as I surveyed a big heap of food waste I’ve been accumulating (wondering how I was going to manage to feed all of it to my indoor worms), it came to me in a blinding flash of brilliance!
Not only will I not worry about adding too much waste at once to my bins, I will do so with gusto – just to see what happens!
The total quantity of food waste is about 25 lb, so certainly not off the charts by any means, especially if I was going to use it to feed my outdoor beds – BUT I only have a handful of indoor worm composting systems active at the moment, and my total number of worms is actually quite small – perhaps a few pounds worth, if I’m lucky.
I DO however have some things going for me here. For starters, most of these systems are well-established, so the protective ‘habitat’ is present to help buffer against any nasty conditions that might develop. Even the newer systems will have quite a bit of buffer potential since I have a LOT of ‘compost ecosystem’ material at my disposal. This is basically partially composted materials from which most of the larger worms have been harvested – it is fantastic stuff for starting up a new system since, aside from the protective qualities it offers, it generally contains LOADS of baby worms and cocoons.
I also have the advantage of using open systems, thus preventing the build up of any noxious gases, and greatly improving air flow (and thus oxygen concentration) in the composting zone.
The waste materials themselves have been aged in my trusty kitchen scrap holder for as long as it takes to fill the biobag insert (perhaps a week or so), then placed outside where they froze solid. Today I have been breaking up the materials a little as well. I don’t want to help the worms too much though, since a common cause of ‘over-feeding’ is simply adding too much stuff that can’t be broken down quickly enough.
Well, in all honesty I actually don’t foresee any major problems developing (as in worm die off or mass exodus) – there are just too many variables in my favor here. What will however be interesting to see is how the worms respond, how quickly they process the materials, and what sorts of population explosions I’ll see among other compost critters. I’m sure there will be an increase in white worms, mites and springtails.
Anyway – should be interesting!
I’ll be sure to provide you with an update next week.