Mark’s OSCR – 12-04-09


Hi everybody!

Itโ€™s been a while since I submitted an update on my OSCR. A ton of things have happened since I started.

On 11/21/09 I Added 3 pounds of vegetable scraps and 5 pounds of CG and left it uncovered. There have been some major breaches of the newspaper on the harvest chamber cables. What is odd is that about one inch of the finished VC has fallen along with some worms as I expected but, it leaves a 2 inch void in between the cables and the VC.

I suspect that the paper, manure, and leaves have created a layer of bulk that is suspending the VC from falling down into the harvest chamber. I have 6 bins containing moist manure in the harvest chamber to catch the VC, cocoons, and worms.

Tonight the bin has had cold spots – low 60s. The weather outside has been mild and I plugged the heater 3 days ago. I left the food uncovered to try out my gnat/fly experiment, if the temperature doesnโ€™t climb back to at least 66 degrees in the morning; I am going to scrap the experiment and cover with mulched leaves.

My gnat / fly experiment was to attract gnats and flies to see if the horse manure would repel these pests. My other goal was to help Bentley eradicate these insects from the face of the Earth and have them added to the extinct species list.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Hahahahahaha!


Honestly, I have never really had gnats in any of my outdoor bins and still only a few showed up but, a lot of people do have problems with them. I got a few gnats hoping I would fit in with gnat issues. A dozen gnats do not mean an infestation.

Darn my luck!

Please keep sending your question and comments.

Mark



Some vermicompost harvested from the OSCR


‘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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Comments

    • John H. (from Orlando)
    • December 5, 2009

    Another option for gnat deterrance are black soldier fly larvae. I have not been bothered by any other fly issues since I have allowed them access to my bins. Apparently they emit phermones that alert other species that they have quite an appetite and will devour everything anything laying around on the surface near them including eggs of other species. Though they aren’t very active in cold temperatures so that may limit them in exterior applications in cold cli
    ates.

    • AndreasDerKrieger
    • December 7, 2009

    I’ve noticed that if I add frozen food to the bin, the gnats aren’t bad. I try to freeze the fruit scraps like banana peels and apple cores. The bananas especially because the gnats lay eggs in them somehow.

  1. That is great. I think that the flow through design is really the best way to go for any sort of large scale worm farming. I do get fruit flies in the summer but I only get worried about them when I know I am going to have visitors. I have a large fan to keep my beds cool during the summer so I just turn it on high wave my hands to stir them up and then them suckers get blown away (my beds are in an open shed). That works well. I guess if I were indoors I would use traps.

    • Ron Thompson
    • December 13, 2009

    Mark,

    I’ve purchased the OSCR Reator plans and I’m ready to start building my first unit.

    Do you have or does anyone have photos of building an OSCR?
    If you do, please send them to me at signguy.ron@gmail.com

    Thank You …. Ron

  2. Ron!
    What’s up?!!!
    That’s A question I asked myself when I was building mine. I will tell you that the plans are presented in a way to reduce scrap as much as possible. I think this is what confuses a lot of people. Don’t tell anybody… I didn’t stick to the plans and spent more money than I should have (whispering)… I don’t have a lid on it, just a plastic tarp.
    Mark

    • Eric Wichert
    • August 11, 2010

    I read a statement from worms etc. that you should mix euros and red wigglers to achieve best results.

    “This mix gives you the best of both worlds. The reason for this is that each of those worms prefer different foods and the one eats what the other would leave behind. Also the euro breaks down tough fibrous materials that take a while for the red wiggler to do and the red wiggler will eat higher protein foods that the euro avoids.”

    How true is this in your opinion and do you use a mix of worm also?

    • Bentley
    • August 12, 2010

    Hi Eric,
    I know Matthew from Worm etc fairly well, and have quite a lot of respect for him. Based on my own experience though, I can’t say that I necessarily agree with his stance. I have yet to have a bed where both of these worm species are thriving. Euros alone seem to do great, but when mixed with Reds they don’t seem to do nearly as well. You’ve piqued my curiosity though. I think this is something I need to test some more!
    I do have Euros scattered in some of my outdoor beds, but the Reds are definitely far more abundant.

  3. Hi Eric and Bentley,
    After some more experience with the mixed worms I do think it would be more accurate to reword that statement to reflect the following point. Both E fetida and E hortensis are top feeders but E fetida seems to be a top feeder only and will not eat food that gets mixed down more than 6″. Whereas E hortensis will bury and eat much deeper cite (Bentley – Do Euros and Red Worms Get Along?) LOL. Thus since fiber breaks down slower and is more likely to be found deeper in the composting bins, having some euros in a system will likely produce a more completely composted end product. That is my theory but I have never tested it quantitatively.

    The red wiggler certainly will multiply quicker and overtime become more populous. And someone who was going to resale worms should definitely keep them separate. I keep my euro beds and red wiggler beds on different sides of the farm as well to ensure that they don’t mix. Them silly rascals still somehow on occasion do though.

    Bentley, thanks for all. I use your cite for worm info all the time. I still at times feel like a total novice.

    Matthew

  4. Crud no way to edit? cite=site haha oh well

    • Bentley
    • August 12, 2010

    Thanks for the clarification, Matthew. All that you mentioned sounds totally on target. In my experience the Euros definitely love hanging out down further in the system, and they seem to be quite good at plowing through bedding materials, producing a really nice vermicast in the process. Out in the yard, I suspect that the Euros are mostly hanging out down further so I don’t come across them nearly as much.
    Again, this has definitely made me curious to explore all this a bit more closely!

    Sorry about the no-editing ability – you need to share some of your ninja web development knowledge with me to get these sorts of things happening on the site! I can certainly edit it for you – but what’s the fun in that?
    Oh, and I definitely appreciate you citing my site as a good resource
    ๐Ÿ˜†

  5. Here is what I found out when I emptied out my flow thru last spring.
    The VC was consistent from top to bottom, 60% of the worms were on top 6 inches,
    15% were in the mid section and 25% of the worms were in the bottom 4 inches. The bottom 4 inches seemed to be an ideal environment due to the available air source and collected moisture. When I screened out the entire bin, I only found 2 or 3 banana stickers. When I laid all of my tubs of VC next to each other, I could not tell which tub of VC was from the top or bottom.

  6. Bentley, “Cite your site.” Haha, what a potential pun.

    Mark, I find that very interesting that the compost was uniform throughout. I guess not a huge surprise though since most composting happens near the surface anyhow.

    Hey, maybe one of us should do an experiment involving euros, reds, and africans nightcrawlers all in the same bin. Maybe we would find out which worm would win in a fight ๐Ÿ˜†

    • Bentley
    • August 13, 2010

    “Maybe we would find out which worm would win in a fight ”
    ๐Ÿ˜†

    Ultimate Worm Fighting! I can just see it now – there will be mini “Octagons” springing up in the basements of seedy bars around the world once the word (worm?) gets out!

    • Eric Wichert
    • August 13, 2010

    If I purchased 1 pound of red worms and they are in an “ideal” environment how fast would that 1 pound of worms grow, multiply, etc.?

  7. Bentley, That reminds me.

    I had a lady from Las Vegas call me and order some worms awhile back. She said that she had to have them the next day, so I had them overnighted. I asked her what she wanted them for since it seemed odd anyway. She said, “We are having a party tomorrow and we wanted to have a worm race.”

    That is the weirdest thing I have had someone order worms for.

    Eric, I am sure Bentley is going to add his input here but you can have a lot of little worms in about 40ish days. It takes them another 90-100 days to become breeders. Actual numbers can vary widely, little changes can have big impacts in my experience.

    • Eric Wichert
    • August 13, 2010

    The reason I ask is i do not have the money to purchase a large quantity at this time. I was hoping they would be fruitful and multiply in a reasonable time period. I am hoping to build a similar OSCR as Mark from Kansas did.

    What happens if you put too few worms in a large worm bin? It seems to be a dumb question but on (http://dirtmaker.com/14sqft_wormbin_manual.html) they make a comment that too few is not good.

    Sorry about the continuous questions I am really excited about this…

  8. Hey Eric!
    I only purchased 4000 worms. To populate the flow thru, I took the 4000 worms and added them to 4 – BOM 6000 after a few months I started to see a lot of cocoons. I then harvested the BOMs of worms added that to my flow thru, I then waited and baited the finished VC,
    and then added all of those babies. It did take some time and that time I took to wait, I spent it researching.

    Matt,
    I like your website. I also thought it was cool of you to test your products before you marketed them.

    Bentley,
    An octogon shaped flow thru? I may have to write to Larry about that one.

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