Bentley’s Ultimate Bin-09-21-12

Today I was getting ready to put together a self-mocking post entitled “Bentley’s Ultimate Bin…For Growing Isopods”, telling you all about how my “ultimate bin” project ended up being a total dud for Red worms, but a top notch way to breed loads of isopods (aka “sow bugs”, “wood lice” etc).

But then something strange happened…

I started digging around in the bin and found loads of Red Worms!

It seems our recent wet fall weather, combined with a significant drop in temperatures has brought the worms out of hiding! All my coffee-grounds-dominated outdoor beds are absolutely loaded with Red Worms now! I’ll admit that my wooden bin is still not quite in “ultimate” territory (lol), but it is amazing how quickly things can turn around when conditions become more favorable for the worms!

Getting back to those isopods…

For those of you who wants to breed these critters like crazy (as a live-food organism etc), might I suggest a well-ventilated, somewhat damp (but not wet) system containing lots of shredded cardboard, coffee grounds, and perhaps some food waste?

Previous Posts in Series
Bentley’s “Ultimate” Backyard Worm Bin
Bentley’s Ultimate Bin-05-18-12

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    • GA
    • September 22, 2012

    This is a question not really related to your bin, but I’m just going to ask: any experience or suggestions about vermicomposting sawdust? (I’m going to specify that this is sawdust without preservatives or wood treatment, just from regular untreated wood).

    • Alyssa
    • September 23, 2012

    What will you do with this bin in winter?

    • John
    • September 24, 2012

    (my internet has messed up twice…so hope this does not show up 3 times!!!!)

    I recently looked at the blog because I had kind of the same question (is wood chips in horse manure ok?) and I know i had read on his blog about another person who was wanting to use saw dust in his bin….anyways I found the blog post wher Bentley talks about it. Here is a link

    The short answer I think is No…sawdust is not the best thing to put into a worm bin. It has a very high carbon to nitrogen ratio and this makes it very hard for the worms to break it down.
    You would probably be better putting the saw dust in a “traditional” compost pile and maybe after it has been breaking down for quite some time you could place small amounts into your worm bin.
    Hope this helps,

    • GA
    • September 25, 2012

    @John – thanks for the reference. I probably should have specified that my goal is lazy trash reduction / eventual compost production, not disposal of very large amounts. So I’m experimenting a bit with adding some in to a large outdoor bin (that worms love).

    In my case, I figure the worst case is that the sawdust breaks down slower. Best case – worms love it as bedding and it ends up partially broken down/part of an eventual soil amendment anyway.

    • Bentley
    • September 27, 2012

    Sorry for the delay, GA – sounds like John helped out (thanks!) and you are just generally on the right track. Woody materials don’t really get “vermicomposted”, but gradually over time they do break down more and more. I’ve used a lot of aged horse manure that had been bedded with wood shavings and the worms seem to love it. If I had a good source of sawdust I’m sure I’d add it to my beds as well!
    Alyssa – this USED to be my actual “winter bin”, but in recent years I have either just left it as-is (unprotected) or moved the material to other beds that are better protected from the elements.

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