Creepy Pants Update

I just thought I would provide a quick update on my ‘Creepy Pants’ vermicomposter experiment. Since writing my first post about the system I have had the chance to test it out a little and iron out some potential issues early on.

One thing I didn’t really touch on was the fact that jeans are themselves somewhat biodegradable, so the system is definitely going to deteriorate over time, eventually falling apart completely. This will likely take quite a long time, but it is something to keep in mind nevertheless. I’m sure you would have ample warning before materials (compost etc) start to fall out on their own, but you may still want to locate a system like this in an outdoor location, or at least in a basement (as I have done). One solution would be to use synthetic pants (wind pants / fitness pants) – these could work very well and would be very resistant to decay. Just make sure to keep them out of direct sunlight (a good idea just for the sake of protecting the worms anyway), since it will weaken the fabric over time.

As I discovered, it is also helpful to provide enough support ropes to keep the composter in an nice upright position – not only will this make it easier to drop waste materials down inside, but this also helps to keep the moisture distributed more evenly. I originally only had the one rope attached to two of the belt loops. I ended up adding another rope (for two more of the loops) along with a single bungy cord as well to help pull up a drooping corner.

Similarly, I realized that there should also be some sort of prop wedged between the two legs to hold them apart – otherwise you will end up with wet contact zone where the pants themselves are likely to start rotting much more quickly. I found that a single toilet paper roll works very well!

I’m not really sure how things are shaping up inside the composter, but I suspect the worms are doing just fine. I’ve added a fair bit of waste and have watered the contents of each pant leg every day. I’ll likely now just leave it as is (continuing to add water though) and monitor the waste zones from above (using a flashlight) to see if I can detect worm activity. Once I see that the materials are being consumed I will continue adding wastes once again.

Anyway, that’s all for now! I will continue to provide updates as things progress with the pants.
8)

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Comments

    • Patricia
    • May 6, 2008

    Bentley, thanks for the pants update. I have decided to hang mine from the frame of a 10x20ft shade shelter. It will keep it anchored when the winds pick up so my shelter doesn’t end up in the neighbors yard like last time. It will also keep the chickens out of my worms. Oh, a quick question. I have my worms in 3 brick enclosures that are 100 inches squared and two levels of bricks so about 12 inches high. I water them every afternoon and was wondering how can I process the castings? When I have scooped out some of the castings to separate the worms it is always too wet and they don’t separate. Read an idea on using the bag with holes poked in it letting the worms through but short of buying an expensive separator I think I am looking at alot of work. The problem I recently encountered was the worms were overfed by my kids wanting to help and they didn’t feed from just one side so everything is all mixed on top also. Where do I start?

    • Bentley
    • May 7, 2008

    Hi Patricia,
    I would personally use the garbage bag method myself (as shown in one of my videos) since a fancy harvester is simply too expensive.

    I’d recommend starting up a new system/heap, letting it age for a period of time (maybe a week or so) – this is where you will be luring the worms.
    Next, remove the upper layers of the heap you want to harvest (where most of the food scraps and a lot of worms are) and put them off to one side so they can be used to start up a new system (can actually be put directly in the new system that has been aging).

    You can then simply move all the remaining material and put it on top of the bag harvester (which should be sitting on top of the new system) – preferably in a sunny location. The worms should start moving down in the the new material quite quickly and the vermicompost on top should start to dry out as well. After a day or two it should be worm-free (for the most part) and a fair bit drier

    Hope this helps.

    B

    • Patricia
    • May 7, 2008

    bentley, thanks for the input. But here are a few other related questions. Would using a colander work for the worms to go through as long as the holes are at least 1/8th of an inch? I was trying to think of something my kids could use to help and maybe be able to see the separation. What if I have to completely empty this concrete bin inorder to start a new heap? Can I temporarily store worms and food in a bin until done separating? I have to say that the reason I have to ask alot of questions is that I guess I have done something right and I have more worms than I know what to do with. I was lucky to find someone who gave me a half cubic yd of worms for $50 and I am very overwhelmed right now after all the new babies during the last 4 months. A good problem to have I guess! TIA Patricia

    • Bentley
    • May 7, 2008

    $50 for a cubic yard of worms? WOW! I wish I could find deals like that!

    Anything with holes in it should work fine – I’ve heard of people using window screen material, onion bags (or any other mesh bag) etc. Worms will squeeze through very small holes. You will still need to let the sieve sit for a day or two though.

    You can certainly store the worms/food in another bin temporarily – if you keep adding to that container you could just as easily start up a new worm bin with it for that matter.

    If you’ve got ridiculous numbers of worms, you could also simply harvest the upper layer (worms/food) then add the rest straight into your garden. You will basically lose the worms that are still in the material below, but it saves the hassle of having to separate anything. The ones left over (and the worms in your other systems) will be enough to continue building your population up.

    B

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