Worm Inn vs Plastic Bin – 06-27-13

I’m sure everyone will be utterly shocked to learn that I really haven’t done much with this project since my last update (yep, that’d be sarcasm! lol). Anywho…the key is that I made some progress today!

I started, yesterday, by removing a couple of bags of food scraps from my chest freezer and letting them thaw overnight in a plastic tray.

Today I chopped up the scraps fairly well, and mixed in some wood pellets (along with some of the sawdust mix I’ve been using for kitty litter) so as to sop up all the liquid. As has been my habit lately, I also mixed in some rock dust for good measure. I then made sure to mix everything up really well.


Next, I filled an old coffee can with the stuff and weighed it out on my balance (with can tared of course) before adding it to the plastic bin. This process was repeated for the Worm Inn. It’s important to note that the Worm Inn portion ended up weighing a fair bit more. I’m not concerned about this, though. I figure as long as we know how much has been going in to each we will be fine (and better to err on the side of more wastes with the Worm Inn than the plastic bin, in my humble opinion).

Here are the weights of material that went in:

Plastic Bin – 1697 g (3.74 lb)
Worm Inn – 2171 g (4.78 lb)

It’s important to mention that this was more like a “homemade manure” (i.e. with bedding mixed in), and of course there is plenty of water-weight in there, so the numbers are a wee bit misleading.


Before adding the scrap mix I dug around in each of the systems. It looked as though quite a lot of the material (in both) has been well processed. I also saw lots of juvenile worms in both systems. It seemed like there were more in the plastic bin, but it’s more difficult to dig around in the Worm Inn, so I won’t jump to any conclusions just yet.

The Euros seem to be doing just fine in both bins. I didn’t see any obvious Euro cocoons, but then again I wasn’t really looking all that hard. I will aim to do more of a population assessment (for both species) some time later on.

Not too surprisingly, conditions in the Inn were a fair bit drier than in the plastic bin. The problem, of course, is that I’m not using it properly. I should be adding water-rich food scraps on a much more regular basis. This will help to create the “sweet spot” – the moistened zone in the middle where worms thrive and “magic” happens (lol)! That said, the system is still doing surprisingly well!

I will likely have more time to tend to these bins over the next couple of months, so we may finally get this challenge going properly! I am planning to start by adding another similar batch of material to the systems early next week.

Will be interesting to seeing how things progress in coming weeks!
Stay tuned.

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More Fun with Rock Dust

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Stacking Bin Euros – 06-27-13

Comments

    • David
    • June 27, 2013

    Hey Bentley, I have a worm inn and know that it tends to dry out quickly. I also have a small glass cup with apple cider vinegar with a drop of dish washing liquid to catch any gnats or random flying bugs.

    Anyway, there were always worms underneath my cup, so I actually threw in a spoon rest and small plates to create areas where moisture would accumulate. Lots of worms gather there because there’s a lot of moisture, so now whenever I add food, I always put something on top to keep the moisture in. =)

    • John W.
    • June 27, 2013

    haha…next time we are having a “speed” competition we will have to get someone else to do the experiment! 🙂

    Two updates in one day during Worm Season…My heart can barely handle the excitement! 😉

    • Sharon K
    • June 27, 2013

    Hey Bentley, when you assess the population, will you post a side by side pick of a euro cocoon and a red cocoon? I have a hard time telling them apart.

    • Bentley
    • June 28, 2013

    DAVID – Good strategy – I’ll have to try that in the Worm Inn. Maybe with a plastic plate or something like that.

    JOHN – We’re just getting warmed up! I needed to wait for the worm population to get big enough before REALLY getting this project started! LOL … yeah, yeah, that’s it!!
    😉

    SHARON – Good idea! In my experience, Euro cocoons tend to be considerably bigger and very round (not lemon shaped the way Red Worm cocoons are).

    • Sharon K
    • July 2, 2013

    Good to know. Thanks Bentley!

    • Sally Wagoner
    • November 21, 2013

    New to vermiculture, just got my Worm Inn after making plastic worm bin. I think I have a pretty good idea on what bedding to start with in the bin, but I need guidance on getting the Inn started so material doesn’t fall through the bottom
    (even with the hole closed, it still has a bit of an opening).

    Anyone want to help a newbie with Worm Inn 101?

    Thanks!

    • John W.
    • December 4, 2013

    High Sally
    Just click on the Worm Inn link at the top of the page. then scroll down to almost the bottom and there are links to most of the post about the Worm Inn. One of the first ones will show you how to set it up.
    Basically you just need a lot of cardboard at the bottom. This will absorb any extra liquid and will keep any stuff from falling through. Eventually when you go to harvest some compost you will not have to do that anymore. Once the system gets going there is enough material and pressure in the back that virtually noting comes out when it is closed at the bottom (unless you pour to much wet stuff in…in which case some liquid might drip out the bottom)

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