VermiPonics System-03-08-10

Vermiponics System

I’m sure some of you must be wondering how my vermiponics system is coming along these days. I haven’t written an update since Feb 19. Well, after what seemed to be a very smooth start, things kinda went downhill rather quickly. The water in the reservoir became ‘muddy’ looking and started to really stink!

Stinky Waste Water
This is what the water was starting to look like prior to me making some changes to the system

It was pretty obvious that the biological oxygen demand (BOD) was far beyond what the trickling water (and air stone) could provide. The radishes started looking really sickly as well – almost certainly due to the fact that grow bed was receiving reservoir water in the zone where they were growing.

Rather than throw in the towel, or wait around to see if the plants would start filtering the water a bit better, I decided to change things up a bit. I removed the water tube altogether and cranked up the output (it is adjustable) of the pump, basically creating a aeration fountain right in the reservoir. I also did some partial water changes, and ended up raising the level of water in the reservoir so as to make contact with the bottom of the grow bed.

Things have certainly improved a great deal since then. The water no longer stinks, and it also just looks a lot cleaner in general. The radishes made a nice comeback, and the lettuce has continued to grow as well (although, as mentioned, I think it would help to have a more powerful lighting system), so they are probably doing a better job of cleansing the water. Apart from relying on the wicking of water up from the bottom, I have also been manually pouring reservoir water into the grow bed from time to time as well.

I’m not 100% sure how the worm population is doing, but it should be interesting to find out once I decide to dismantle the system.

I am definitely looking forward to trying this on a larger scale outside on my deck this year once the weather is warm enough!

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    • Rayson
    • March 9, 2010

    Hi Mark,

    I just started researching worm composting and have been watching your videos for about three weeks now; I find you to be very interesting. Your enthusiasm is a little over the top, but I have learned a lot. Yesterday I received my first batch of worms, I bought about a pound/250 and I guess it is not enough for the 18gal. bin I have. I have been adding kitchen scraps into the bin for about a week and last night when I put them into it the bedding was just completely mush; this morning they were trying to get out. Should I start over or just add more newspaper cardboard and pete moss? Thanks for your help.


    • Bentley
    • March 10, 2010

    Hey RR,
    It is actually Bentley – Mark is a contributor here (and DOES make some videos as well – although, based on your “enthusiasm over the top” comment, I’m pretty sure you are talking about me – haha).
    A pound of worms should be more like 1000, not 250 – but even a normal pound might not be quite enough for a system that big (although they will certainly grow in numbers quite quickly).
    If you have a really high moisture content in the bin definitely add a lot more bedding materials – something chunky, like shredded cardboard would definitely be better than peat moss since it will provide some structure and allow for more air flow.

    Hope this helps

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