Mark’s OSCR-06-11-10

Hi everybody,

I harvested my flow through and it was a job! This is a picture of what USED to be our garbage. If you remember I started this bin back in October of 2009 to see how much waste I could put through this thing.

I harvested because: We needed some nice VC for our yard, to see what I could find at the bottom regions, and I was expecting a ton of manure (the manure still has not arrived).

I have been running my bin on the cool side (low 60s) to slow down the worms a little till I can get some more feed stock.

Those are all 18 gallon tubs except for that little one.

‘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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    • Kim from Milwaukee
    • June 11, 2010

    Wow, Mark,that’s a whole lotta castings! Are you considering your experiment a success?

    • Ted
    • June 11, 2010

    That is unreal to my eyes, great job. Is that as is, or was that screened?

  1. Kim,
    How have you been doing?
    I think as far as a large scale system goes, a success. I have learned a lot when it comes to large scale systems. What high lights this bin for me was the sudden unavailable food source (this has happened twice).
    The first time in happened, I sarted to panic. The second time, which is now, I learned that I can cool the bin down to slow the worms feed rate. This way, I can relax a little. my worms are doing fine and I hope to get 2000 pounds in the bin before October.
    Thanks for writing Kim, always good to hear from you.

    • LARRY D.
    • June 11, 2010

    Oooooh Wee!You have a lot of gold!Did you use your melon method to get babies?Your lawn is peeking through your window!

  2. Yea Ted, that used to be our trash. If you can imagine all the garbage you are suppose to add (and I added some stuff we are suggested not to!), that is what is left, I am amazed at the power of these worms.
    I screen to 1/8 of an inch.
    I would like to point out that this is what I can do myself in my garage with some good research from RWC. I can’t wait to see how Bentley’s Silver Lake project turns out, that one will amaze you even more.

  3. Hi Larry!
    This time I did not melon hatch the VC. I hope to use it on our yard.
    I planted some grass that was a diaster. It seems the VC holds more moisture than I thought, as a result of me using to much VC and overwatering, after the grass sprouted a really nice looking mold set in and killed 1/2 of it. Oh well, lesson learned.
    By the way, good job on the Silver Lake project looks like it is off to a good start!

    Your #1 fan

    • Barb V.
    • June 11, 2010

    Wowser! That’s this worm-head’s idea of heaven! Is that all from harvesting from the bottom, or did you harvest the bin from the top by sections?

  4. Well Barb,
    That is a top,dump,sift, put back on the top, take a brake,strain your back, and take some Tylenol method.

    If you recall, I had a major problem with the bin so, it does not flow through like it suppose to. However, the forced air from the bottom did help create a better environment for the worms

    • Anna (formerly from Kansas)
    • June 11, 2010

    I am REALLY impressed.

    • Kuan
    • June 11, 2010

    Mark, I’m impressed!!! Well, that is an understatement. I can’t believe how the garbage turned into black gold. Hope you didn’t get as much rain as we did. DH put the worms in the trench and half of them drowned. I rescused the rest by doing what you did; spade in hand, dump the muddy worms+compost back into the flow through bin, take a 5-min break, kill my back and start over. Lesson learned. Clay soil just doesn’t drain well at all and we had 3″ of rain in less than 12 hours. What a muddy mess. Sigh!!!

    Anyway, it is always nice to see your article. I saw that Bentley is also putting out a few new articles too so I’ve been reading them.


  5. Thank You Anna! What would you do with all that VC?

  6. Hi Kuan!!!!!!
    All of that rain you got is headed my way. They county has closed one road just in case the Walnut River spills out.
    We decided to roto till the back yard this year because of all the rain water pools in the back corner. This year the water drains better and as you can read above, I can’t seem to come to terms with the Tall Fescue Grass. Letty’s tomatoes and watermelons are looking super.
    Always good to hear from you and I hope everyone at your home is well.

    • Barb V.
    • June 11, 2010

    Mark — You and Bentley make a great team … both pushing the envelope to see what works and reporting faithfully what does/does not work. I may not be as adventursome/daring as you guys, but enjoy reading about your exploits … plus give me a better handle on what works and what doesn’t as regards my in-ground pit.

    • Anna
    • June 11, 2010

    Mark, I would have the biggest, most gargantuan hostas in the whole world if I had that much VC.

  7. Thanks Barb,
    Bentley is the real hero when it comes to this website.
    I know this sounds a little weird but, I was really envious of the Alpaca manure. There is a Buffalo ranch on the edge of town and I can’t seem to come up with the right words to ask the guy for some manure. Here is how the conversation might go:
    Mark: “excuse me sir could I ten pounds of your Buffalo turds?”

    Rancher: “what for?”

    Mark: “because I want some unique manure like Bentley has to feed my worms”.

    Rancher: ” get the #@#! off my land, you crazy %$#@!!!”

    I may be adventure some but not that daring!

  8. Hey Anna,
    Thanks for writing back!
    You need to be careful what you wish for, I used a lot for my Tall Fescue grass and like I shared with Kuan, too much held too much water and I had a nice 4 X 8 moldy patch. (Just between you and me, so don’t tell anyone, the guy next door asked me what happened to my grass and I told him I meant to do that, it was special grass mix).

    • LARRY D.
    • June 11, 2010

    The rancher says” Pick up all you want,the buffalo won’t mind.”

    • Mary
    • June 12, 2010

    Wow Mark – that is B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L !!!!!! I am really impressed and inspired. Thanks for posting the updates and photo’s. Always love to read about the adventures in VC!
    Kuan – last spring I had the same thing happen to me – an overflowing worm trench in torrential rains. Bailing out didn’t work, in fact one bucket got caught on my finger and the whole mucky mess came directly down on my head! Gross. Kids thought it was very funny.
    Luckily my husband came up with a VERY SIMPLE solution. Straw. We had some straw in our shed, I piled it up until it was mounded. Once I could get back to my trench a day later I couldn’t believe my eyes. I could have easily harvested all of my worms without effort. They were easy to see, all at the top and best of all – alive. The straw gave them something to climb up onto so they could get out of the water. I actually was considering purposefully overflowing my #1 trench so I could harvest the worms to put into my #2 trench. I would rather pick worms out of straw than compost anyhow. Bentley and Mark – do you see a problem with doing it that way?

  9. Mary,
    Thank you for taking the time to share.
    As far as the straw harvest goes, if it works, it works.

    • Kuan
    • June 12, 2010

    Mark, thanks for asking. Everyone is well here. Hope the same to your family. You probably have clay just like we do here but we really like the kansas premium fescus grass we have. My husband is a landscaper so he takes care of the grass/yard/trees/shrubs and I plant the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. 🙂 More rain coming and I’m sure heading your way as well. I am just so jeolous of your vermicompost. They look so velvety and I want to sink my hands in them. LOL. We have a horse, llama, and alpaca farm just 1.5 mile north of out house and I’m having the same problem gathering my words to ask for their turds. Sigh… One of these days, I’ll be brave enough to walk in and ask… I promise… 🙂


    • John Duffy
    • June 13, 2010

    That is really awesome! I would just ask the guy for his buffalo chips. Maybe you could barter for some fishin worms.

  10. John,
    That is a good idea but, I practiced the conversation with my 13 year old son and we could not stop laughing.

    • Barb V.
    • June 13, 2010

    Mark ….. This sounds like fodder for a SNL skit …makes you and your son laugh….are you ready for prime time TV? Returning to reality…a thread in the compost forum on similar vein … how to broach the subject…got lots of responses … when she got her nerve up, the manure-owner practically fell on her neck and kissed her in gratitude…..those big animals create a lot of ‘stuff’.

  11. Hi Mark–Wowza! Great gobs of VC…and you know I wish I could have it.

    I have a big case of Kansas envy, because:
    A. I have a serious need to harvest multiple large bins right now, and my garage is feeling hot as hades–think of all that work in upper 90’s heat and Texas humidity
    B. My bins are running pretty warm and there is NO WAY I could get them to 60 degrees, even indoors right now

    I am going to have to come up with some serious thinking on how to cool things down–I am now a little big to be putting the frozen water bottles in each bin every day.

    congrats on such beautiful stuff there, Mark. I bet if you put an ad up at the grocery, feed store, COOP, Craigslist, or paper–you’d get a quick call. I think I would enlist the natural entrepenuer in every 13 year old and give him a bonus for closing the deal on some worm fodder. Good luck!

  12. Hi Heather and thanks.
    What am I going to do with all that stuff?

    • Kim from Milwaukee
    • June 14, 2010

    Mark, you could make a fortune if you sold it in 1 cup bags. Eight bucks a piece…which is what they charge for worm castings of that quality up here in WI. Slap a label on it and you’re in bizness!

    • LARRY D.
    • June 15, 2010

    Hey…Bentley could start a contest to see who could win some of Mark’s black gold.Closest one to the weight or how much tylenol Mark needed toting that stuff wins!!

  13. Thanks

  14. well first i want to thank bentley and mark for all this info they are both providing. when i started my first tote bin, i had missed the point of how many worms to start with. so i started with 30 i got from local bait shop. that was about 1 1/2 to 2 years ago. then i kept running out of room in my bin so i added more bins till i had 6 (20 gal) and 2 (30 gal). i still ran out of bin room, so i ventured to build one out of wood. did alot of searching online, and still came back here to look at mark’s OSCR pictures, before the videos went up. i didn’t think i needed the heater cable and couldn’t find one any place. i chose to try not to use man made heat. i dumped all my little bins into my big one (4’x4’x4′). then i was in a race to add stuff, but had to be carefull a couple times the heat of decomposing was reaching almost 90 degrees F. lid open to help cool on the warm days. now bin full no room for new stuff, nights getting low 40 s and mid 30 s but inside bin is 86 to 64. i have a 30 degree difference betweet outside temps and inside bin temps. do you think i have a chance to get threw winter without freezing my bin solid? i am in upstate new york.

  15. oh! by the way mark, just go knock on the guy’s door and introduce your self, then tell him why your there, he will under stand, most cattle, dairy, etc.. farmers will tell you to take it!!! please!!! cause its alot of work and they sometimes run out of places to put it. my uncle had a dairy farm, we used to get cow manure all the time, we had to shovel it our selves (my mom and I). good luck! don’t keep putting it off just do it.

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