Waste Optimization – Day 6

I’ve been having fun with my “Waste Optimization Challenge” experiment so far – and apart from “Day 3”, I’ve remembered to take pictures every day. It’s always interesting to look back to the starting image when doing (photo) experiments like this. While it may seem pretty obvious that changes are taking place from one day to the next, I’m always surprised by just how much change has taken place when I look back through the previous pics.

Below I have included pictures from Day 0, Day 4, and Day 6 (today). Not too surprisingly, the frozen carrots are breaking down more readily than the fresh carrots. The carrot peelings (frozen, thawed, and aged) are all but gone now, so it’s safe to say we have a clear “winner” (again no surprises there).

Day 0

Day 4

Day 6

Looking a bit more closely, we can see that the originally-fresh carrots are being invaded now, but there’s no doubt that freezing alone can lead to much faster microbial-colonization – which then draws in the springtails (visible in the lower image) and worms!

Speaking of worms…I’ve been careful not to disturb the various treatments too much, in an effort to avoid any further mechanical break-down, so I really haven’t seen too many of them thus far. The ones I did see were underneath the peelings. I have little doubt that if I dug around in that part of the bin there would be a nice concentration of them just under the surface (likely quite a few of them underneath the previously-frozen carrot disks as well).

I’m now interested to see what happens with the remaining treatments. I’m sure the previously-frozen carrot disks will be the next ones to disappear, but I’m not 100% sure how fast the whole carrot will break-down in comparison to the once-fresh carrot disks!

Stay tuned!

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    • Melody Silverberg
    • February 16, 2012

    I have been chopping my veggie/fruit waste into small sizes and freezing it for a few days prior to feeding for some time. The worms seem to work through that preparation much more quickly than adding fresh matter or larger chunks. In addition, it seems to keep the fly and gnat populations down. Also, in the summer when I have lots of veggie matter out of the garden, the worms can’t keep up, so freezing assures me of a continuous food source for them during the winter months.

    • suzan
    • February 16, 2012

    what an interesting experiment Bentley !!! does anyone know how long does it take for worms to eat the food after it’s in the bin ?? my worms seem to be eating the food really slowly & it’s mush by the time i put in in there.

    • thuan
    • February 17, 2012

    In my worm inn, frozen vegetable gets eaten up in about 3 days, about 4 days with frozen pumpkins and melon rinds, frozen apple bits about 5 days, frozen carrots about 7 days… The fastest is frozen leafy vegetable and frozen pulps from juicing fruits and vegetables. Unfrozen apple takes forever, especially if I don’t cut them up! Ambient temperature about 40 at night and 65 during day time.

    • Peter
    • February 17, 2012

    If it’s mushy from freezing but uncomposted (no bacteria), then as it’s mush sometimes it can get nasty inside as it ages since it can’t breath. It all goes eventually but worms will work more slowly from outside in. In those cases mixing it with bedding, even if means mush covered cardboard but with air spaces, will speed it up. Or maybe added it more often in smaller amounts to stop any anerobic activity.

    I also like freezing my food (also have a Worm Inn) to keep flies and gnats out and have been playing around how best to handle mushy feedings. btw you can always take some old harvested VC and mix it into the mush to kickstart the process.

  1. My freezer is not big enough to freeze everything, but I did freeze a few pumpkins, cut into 2″-3″ slices last year. I was nowhere near as “scientific” as Bentley (lol) but the frozen vs. fresh went much faster, even with the fresh being in my 5 gallon bucket systems for longer than the frozen.

  2. Interesting experiment. For the past year I have been using a food processer (…purchased at at Thrift store) to chop up all my kitchen scraps. I think it speeds up the process. Every 3 – 4 days I stir up and aereate the top 1.5 inches. There is alot of worm activity in the top 3 inches of my homemade top loading, buttom unloading bin.

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