Time flies when you’re having fun! Here we are at Day 17 in our Waste Optimization Challenge.
Although most of the results were fairly predictable, it’s still been really interesting to see how things have progressed over the last couple of weeks. All the once-frozen carrots have now disappeared, and it doesn’t look like the last group (added fresh) is going to last much longer.
A lot of people tend to be concerned about having lots of springtails in their vermicomposting systems – assuming they are negatively affecting the worms’ ability to process the wastes (or harming the worms in some way). I’ve always been pretty mellow about them since I know they play essentially the same role as the worms. After watching them closely during this experiment, however, I’m actually starting to think that they can be quite helpful (not just “harmless”)!
One thing I’ve noticed is that, unlike the worms, they will start colonizing the wastes materials pretty much right away. I suspect that his can help with the spread of microbial decomposers. As the wastes soften and become loaded with microbes, the worms can then get in there are really start fragmenting and mixing everything (and of course, digesting a fair amount as well).
Perhaps my next experiment should involve vermicomposting systems with and without springtails to see how much of a difference (if any) they make. Looks like I’ll be wrapping this one up fairly soon, so that might be a good follow-up!