Worm Inn vs Plastic Bin – 04-22-13

While I’ve been pretty quiet about it, I’m happy to report that things have continued to move along with my “Worm Inn vs Plastic Bin” challenge. Last Tuesday (April 16th) I added some food scraps – specifically, watermelon and banana waste – to the two systems. Since the waste materials were pretty chunky (I’m sticking with John’s original suggestion to avoid optimizing them too much) it was tough to weigh out exactly-equal portions. As such, I decided to add somewhat smaller amounts to the plastic bin. Here are the weights added:

Watermelon Scraps
272 g (0.600 lb) – Worm Inn
255 g (0.562 lb) – Plastic Bin

Banana Scraps
352 g (0.776 lb) – Worm Inn
330 g (0.728 lb) – Plastic Bin

It should be noted that these materials were frozen then thawed. I am including this optimization strategy for the sake of not dragging this experiment out too long. One material I’ll likely be adding regularly is carrot peelings – and these can literally start sprouting if the tissue isn’t killed (via freezing or cooking) before adding to the worm bin.

On Friday (Apr 19th) I started the Red Worm stocking process as well. I happened upon a nice concentration of large “breeder” Red Worms in one of my outdoor beds earlier in the week. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t actually one of my worm beds – it was a raised bed garden I had added some organic matter (coffee grounds etc) to in the fall! I ended up with enough of these worms to allow me to add 75 of them to each of the two systems.

Obviously there are plenty more worms to add (I’m aiming for a total of 500 in each system), but I’m glad to at least have the ball rolling in that department. I’m sure the breeders will do what they do best, and lay plenty of cocoons in the meantime.

I’ve continued to save specific scraps (watermelon, carrot peelings, banana peels), and will likely add more food this week – along with more bedding, and (hopefully) more worms.

Stay tuned!

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    • Paul from Winnipeg
    • April 22, 2013

    Those are some fat happy worms Bentley!

    • GA
    • April 23, 2013

    Enjoyed your recent email and podcast – and would like to echo that I really don’t find cold a problem, worms will survive it (or their cocoons will) and not surprising to find them in your outside bed. Snow just melted in the yard here after a _long_ winter with minus 20C for considerable stretches. Found some wrigglers in the vermicompost I’d put around the base of some plants, and especially in small clumps of grass or other not-fully-processed within – most were smallish and some obviously just hatched, but they were there all right. This is days after the snowmelt and still chilly, and I know for a fact the top level of topsoil had frozen solid this winter, six-twelve inches, at least for a period.

    I’m quite sure my ‘cuttings dump’ pile will be heaving with them in weeks (that’s were I get my worms when I need). In short, I don’t know how they do it, but they can keep moving and digesting at low temperatures, even a bit below zero (albeit slowly), and in natural environments can withstand well below freezing and recover.

    • John W
    • April 24, 2013

    I do tend to freeze a lot of my stuff. I just don’t blend anymore like I use to. And if I am feeling really lax about feeding times I don’t even pre-chew the food like a mama bird anymore! 🙂

    • CS from Hawaii
    • April 30, 2013

    Following this “experiment”. I have been utilizing that exact plastic bin since January and it has been doing great. Been also been looking into a worm inn sometime in the future so this will be very interesting to follow.

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