Here is a really good question from Bobby:
I really enjoy your website and have learned a lot. I have
2 old weber bar b que grills with attached tables and wheels works
great. I am thinking of putting all “food” in a compost pile for a
week or two and then feed that to my red worms. It seems it would be
easier to control quality and quantity of food. What would be the
advantages and or disadvantages of this method?
Not 100% sure I follow how you are using those grills for a vermicomposting system – but it sounds interesting nevertheless!
You are absolutely right – composting food waste for a short period of time (often referred to as ‘pre-composting’) before feeding it to your worms is an excellent strategy, but of course there are a few disadvantages as well. Anyway, as per your request, here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of this approach:
Advantages of Pre-Composting
- Partially breaks down materials, so faster vermicomposting
- Microbial colonization of wastes, so lots of food for worms (and less lag time before worms start processing it)
- Allows you to deal with excess amounts of waste and control amount given to worms
- Helps to avoid overheating in vermicomposting system
- Can kill weed seeds and pathogens (when present in your waste materials) if large enough volumes are composted
- Lets you create the ‘ultimate’ worm food mix before it goes in the worm bin
Disadvantages of Pre-Composting
- Requires that you have a yard and space for composting
- Can lead to infestations of outdoor pests (house flies, fruit flies etc etc) in your bin if enough there isn’t enough heat generated during the composting stage
- If not properly handled, materials can go anaerobic and be unpalatable for your worms
- Takes extra effort
As you can see, if you have the space and are willing to put in the effort needed to compost the materials properly, pre-composting can be a great strategy.
Hope this helps, Bobby!
[tags]composting, pre-composting, hot composting, vermicomposting, thermophilic, worm composting[/tags]