Mark’s OSCR – 01-25-10

Hi everybody,

I’m going into the 15th week with my OSCR. If you remember, one of the goals of the OSCR is to reduce labor by having the Vermicompost flow through. Well, that is not happening. In one of my earlier posts, I reported that the heater cable wasn’t working the way I wanted to and then I broke the cable. I resorted to a space heater in the harvest chamber because we were experiencing below zero temperatures.

The problem with that is the space heater dries out the bottom, as a result, no flowing through of the Vermicompost. One thing that had me scratching my head was, with all of the trash I have added, why is the bed itself only 10 inches deep? Or 11 cubic feet (thank you for the calculation Eve).

On January 16th, Letty gave me some melon.

She suggested that if we take the two halves, one faced up and one faced down, and put them in the bin, the worms would gather on the melon and we could harvest some worms. Before we did that I “fluffed” the bin.

On the 23rd of January, I could not find the melons. After pondering the disappearance of the melon and all other observations, I need to do a dump harvest. Enjoy this video.

Mark


‘Mark from Kansas’ is an avid vermicomposter from…well…Kansas, and contributing author here at Red Worm Composting. When he is not tending to his OSCR worm bin, Mark also enjoys spending time with his wife Letty (who also doubles as his trusty vermicomposting assistant) and picking petunias (ok, Bentley just made that last bit up).


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Comments

    • Rich
    • January 25, 2010

    It’s amazing how much water is in food waste.

    • Andrew
    • January 26, 2010

    Whoa! That’s quite a squirm you got there, Mark, to process melon rinds like that. Looking forward to seeing the final harvest. What you had already looked great.

    My much smaller flow through is considerably more moist. I won’t get that nice crumbly VC unless I dry it out. I’ve almost decided to just use the rough, unscreened VC that comes from the bottom of the flow through. It’ll have cocoons and worms, but I may just put them in a raised bed where I hope to start a small veggie garden. I’ll add decomposing leaves so the worms will have food to eat and hopefully they’ll keep on producing castings in the garden. Same concept as Bentley’s garden trenches…just on a smaller scale.

  1. You said you had loads of cocoons in your vermicompost- have you a way of harvesting them, or will you leave them in your VC?

  2. Thanks Andrew

  3. Catherine,
    I’ll try to hatch them, somebody might be interested in buying the VC as is, I just don’t know. What would you do? I have 3 big tubs already.

  4. Yeah, i hatch them in the VC, but I’m always looking for ways to sort them out and hatch them separately, because it would up take less space. As soon as I put a batch of VC in the garden the birds arrive to see how many worms thay can catch! And there are always some left.

  5. Awesome, Mark..love the video, especially the cartoon script. Letty is a great video guru–you don’t pay her enough!

    What would I do…put a winter squash or pumpkin rind on top of your bins, wait about 2 weeks…harvest the hatched worms…wait 2 more weeks, harvest the rest and use/sell the VC.

    • John H. from Orlando
    • January 28, 2010

    I think your set~up is unique in that both the top and bottom surfaces are dry. This seems contrary to the practices of other vermiculturists/vermicomposters, but I guess if it works for your stock then it doesn’t matter.

  6. Hi John,
    You know what I have found out is, each bin is different. They are as unique as the person feeding the worms. The way I work my bin in Kansas won’t be the same in Florida. I think that is the cool thing about it, there are no real musts.
    You know what does matter, is that we are all trying to do something to something that helps. whether it’s growing our own organic food free of chemicals or, in my case, trash reduction.
    Maybe your bin can go where no bin has gone before.
    Mark

    • Kuan
    • January 28, 2010

    Mark, another good one! I like that your melons just sort of disappeared. LOL!! Tell Letty to get more melons, worms seem to like them. I also wondered where the pumpkins went and I fed 2 big ones to them last week. All I saw was the stems.

    Crank up the heater because another snow storm is coming and I think it will hit your area harder than where mine is.

    Kuan

  7. Thanks Kuan,
    You had 2 pumpkins disappear that fast?
    (whispering… I split my bin and have 4 bins in the house)
    Mark

    • Kuan
    • January 29, 2010

    Yep. They sure disappeared fast this time. I saw some seeds sprouted yesterday so must be from those pumpkins.

    Wow, 4 bins inside the house? I was thinking of getting a bin started in my basement but don’t think my husband will entertain that idea too well though.

    I think I’ll hibernate for a couple of days before checking the worms again. We sure have some snow this time.

    Kuan

    • Smallzi
    • November 17, 2010

    I watched all of your videos and read all of your posts last night. Great stuff indeed! I really appreciate your attention to detail.

    One thing occurred to me, and i wondered if you had thought about it. Why not reverse the fan in the harvest chamber to create a negative pressure gradient, drawing air from the top down. This might help to mitigate the issue you had with the bottom layer becoming dried out.

    Just a thought. Worm on!

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