“Extreme” Worm Farming!

Ok – it’s video day here at Red Worm Composting! (one of my own coming up next).
The title of this one (along with the dramatic music) made me giggle.

Great advice though – freezing is definitely a solid strategy for speeding up the vermicomposting process. It is similar to blending / aging / cooking in terms of rendering the material far more accessible to microbes and worms.

You might want to be a wee bit cautious with this approach however – especially if you have a lid and don’t have drainage! It will be important to add lots of absorbent material if you have any hope of avoiding a lake forming in the bottom of the bin!

As you can see in this case, they have a nice drainage system in place. You’ll also notice that they are promoting the use of leachate as a worm tea. You know me and my cautions and warnings (haha) – I am at least glad they mentioned diluting it – this is definitely something I’d recommend. I also suspect that if enough liquid is flowing through the bin on a regular basis there will be less chance of nasty anaerobic metabolites ending up in the end product.

Don’t mean to be a supremely “negative Nelly” here, but I should also mention that leaving large amounts of soft food waste just sitting on the surface of you system is like an open invitation for fruit fly invasion! No, they won’t come from the food itself (one of the great things about freezing), but if you end up with even a few fruit flies in your house from some other source (fruit just sitting out before consumption for example) you’ll be battling an insane infestation in no time!

All that said, let me once again point out that I really liked this video, and commend the creator for a job well done! (honest!)

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  1. I had no idea a worm bin could be so productive. 1600 pounds. Sheesh.

    • Patricia
    • February 4, 2009

    Bentley, I am confused about the use of the plastic bags. Could you pls explain what they are trying to show?

    • Jason
    • February 4, 2009

    I think those bags would get pretty gross pretty quickly. Freezing is great and I do it myself, but I think a better strategy is covering with several inches of bedding (in my case, shredded cardboard or fall leaves).

    • Bentley
    • February 4, 2009

    Patricia – I think they are using the bags to help keep moisture in rather than using a lid or bedding.

    Jason – I definitely agree. Bedding is always a great option since it provides so many different benefits.

    • Nolan
    • February 4, 2009

    I’ve been freezing my kitchen waste since I started. My mom produces WAY too much waste for my bin to handle.

    But once Bin #1 matured, it was scary, the little guys were going thru 2-4 ibs of waste every 2-3 days. By the time I broke my ankle in December, i think they clean out my freezer in the garage (Which i had a stock pile of over 4 months worth or kitchen scraps).

    The big thing I found, as Bentley mentioned, was the liquid after the thawing. Initially i dumped it all in (my initial Bin had holes drilled thru, with a Clear-Rubbermaid Storage container on the bottom to collect). Now I just drain out the liquid first and then dump the greens in. Still a lot of moisture gets released into the bin. But it seems its just enough moisture to prevent a mass-DoDo Suicide jump (Pre-Drilling, Worms were escaping out of the bin…floor was just nasty).

    • Bentley
    • February 4, 2009

    Hi Nolan,
    Wow – 2-4 lb every 2-3 days sounds great. You said something I think is really important – “once Bin #1 matured“.
    Something a lot of people seem to assume is that their system is going to go gangbusters as soon as they set it up. In actuality there is a critical period early on when the worms are adjusting to their new surroundings and the ‘food’ they are being provided with. As you have shown, once the system has reached a certain balance point, it can be amazing how well it works!

    Sadly, a lot of people give up before this point is reached! Overfeeding is pretty well the most common problem early on – something that can lead to all sorts of different issues.

    Anyway – just wanted to highlight that. Thanks for your comment!

    • Chris Ramsay
    • January 27, 2010

    I have one of the high efficiency side-load washers that use very little water, and the low sudsing soap. I have three kids, so the water coming out of the washer has plenty of dirt in it. I capture the water in a 2 gallon bucket.

    I have been adding dirty water from the clothes washer to my house plants, and they seem to like that. Would it be OK to add the dirty water to my vermicomposting bin? Would the worms benefit from that?

    • gwelch
    • August 26, 2012

    Update video has been removed. So darn I want to see it to….oh well..

    Happy Worm time


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