Coffee Grounds Vermicomposting-10-21-10

BOM-6000 ready to go for some coffee grounds vermicomposting action!

I decided that today was the day to finally move my coffee grounds experiment indoors. We’ve been getting some heavy frosts, and it looks as though we might even get a bit of snow tonight. I have little doubt that the worms would be just fine for a while longer, but I really want to get thing moving along a bit faster.

Before starting to transfer materials/worms from the stacking bin I added a decent amount of new shredded (drink tray) cardboard to the BOM. For the last little while I have also been adding all my coffee grounds to that bin in preparation for the transfer.

Not a whole lot has really changed in the stacking system since I set it up back in August. I found a few worms in the second tray, but it was mostly coffee grounds and shredded cardboard. I was happy to at least see lots of worms down in the bottom tray, along with plenty of cocoons.

I should mention that I decided to add some crushed egg shells to the new bin. I saw no signs of the system going “sour”, but I figure there’s no point taking the risk. Coffee grounds tend to be pretty acidic. It’s not as though it’s another food source – it’s simply a means of (hopefully) buffering the acidity a bit.

Interestingly enough the thick layer of newsprint at the bottom of the first tray was still intact! That’s a pretty good indication that things have been moving along at a snails pace in the stacking system. Again, it would have been nice if I had set up the system back in April or May rather than August. Oh well – there is always next year!

Temps down in my basement (where the BOM bin will sit) tend to be somewhat chilly over the winter (15-20C / 59-68F), but at least it’s fairly consistent.

I guess we shall see how it goes!
Stay tuned – I should have another update within the next month or so.

Stacking Bin Coffee Grounds Posts
Wooden Stacking Bin – The Return!
Wooden Stacking Bin-08-06-10
Wooden Stacking Bin-08-17-10
Wooden Stacking Bin-09-29-10

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    • eric
    • October 21, 2010

    wow, 15-20 for a basement? My house isnt even that warm durning to winter. My basement is about 10 degrees celcius with the whole house being about 15. Interesting about the grounds though thanks!

    • Bentley
    • October 21, 2010

    LoL – definitely closer to 15 once the really wintry weather arrives, but yeah we have a ‘rec room’ down there so we aim to keep it reasonably warm. 15 is actually pretty cold for vermicomposting, although the worms are supposed to breed more.

    • Kator
    • October 24, 2010

    Great news Bentley. I’m getting there .. significant portion of coffee grounds for the feed mix with newest bin setup.

    I know you’re really REALLY busy, but when you get a chance, would you mind doing a quick Ph on the VC ? If at all leaning towards acid, may shed some light on tolerance levels.

    • joe perreault
    • October 24, 2010

    Hi Bently,what is the main reason for the coffee grounds with the newspaper.Would the grinds take the place of much did you put in the bin and did you add it all the do they process the coffee grinds thanks


    • Bentley
    • October 25, 2010

    KATOR – Believe it or not I don’t even have a working pH meter (and have never taken measurements in my worm composting systems). I may get myself some litmus paper at some point though since it would be fun to see where we are sitting. Based on what I’ve read (and observed in various bins) Red Worms are quite tolerant of acidic conditions – but, I HAVE still managed to create a few “sour” bins over the years.
    JOE – The newspaper was simply added as a solid “floor” on the bottom of the first tray in my stacking system. The idea there was that it would discourage the worms from trying to get down into the reservoir, and that it would gradually decompose over time (by the time it was fully broken down most of the worms would presumably be in the upper trays). As it turned out, the newsprint didn’t really break down at all (lots of cool weather), so I am simply using it as a bedding in the NEW coffee grounds bin. It is important to balance “food” materials with “bedding” materials. Bedding helps to provide more habitat, improves air flow, absorbs/holds moisture, and balances the C:N ratio. Peat moss would actually be considered a “bedding” – unlike coffee grounds, there really isn’t any nutritional value in peat. As for the grounds, I have been adding them gradually over time. I will let you know how they do with them now that they are in a warmer system (was pretty slow going in the outdoor stacking system).

    • Tom
    • October 29, 2010

    I was told you shoild use coffee grounds and egg shells to balance the ph in a bin and it WORKS for me also did you know boiled egg shells encourage breeding so about every 7 days my worms will have coffee and get a little sexy. I use peat moss just to give the bin bedding material a little fluff and to hold in moisture. I have a trick for you I use a toaster oven to dry my egg shells out/cook and then I will grind them into a powder and sprinkle on top of my bins 3 days later egg shells are gone “no boiling needed”.

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