Lasagna Bed With Sod and Manure

I received this message from Sarah:

I have a large “lasagna” pile of 2 month old cow/horse manure and and
dead pasture sod strips (good amount of soil still attached).
The pile is about 9000 cubic feet (only 3 feet deep).
The pile is sitting outside in the back of our orchard in Western
My tractor is not heavy enough to turn it.
Might red wigglers compost it for me?
If I apply red wiggler worms would they pretty much stay in the pile,
or do we need to build a “bin” around it to keep them in?
Thank you for any info.

Hi Sarah,

This sounds like a fun project to me!

Sod isn’t the best material for a vermicomposting bed, but the aged manure certainly is, so I guess it would come down to the proportions of these two materials (ideally, you would have more of the manure than the sod). Moisture levels in the bed will also be an important consideration.

Rather than building a bin around the bed (the worms should stay put if you provide them with rich waste materials to feed on), my suggestion would be to heap on more manure if you can. If you have enough to basically bury the bed you have now, I can’t imagine Red Worms not thriving (especially given your location). Over time, everything should get converted into a nice rich compost, and you could even continue to vermicompost your manure by adding it in layers over top.

Hope this helps!

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  1. This REALLY helps – thank you very much!

    • pieter v.d. K.
    • July 1, 2012

    Dear Sarah and Bentley,

    I”m a little concerned about moisture levels and compressed materials in the middle of that pile. I have a suggestion that could help with this:
    dig a little canal about 1 foot deep over the full length of the pile. This is the place to add your worms. If the pile is to dry, you can first add water in this canal. Cover it with old hay, straw or other plant materials.
    Adding more manure over the top would make the worms feel good in the upper region of the pile. I think it wouldn”t help much to help composting the rest of the pile when its to dry or to compressed.


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