Hello everyone, my name is Bentley Christie and I am a homemade manure maniac. Please HELP me!
It’s true! I spent the entire morning blending up a mega batch of homemade manure for my indoor worm herd. They just can’t seem to get enough of the stuff. The zones in the bins where I’ve added it are absolutely writhing with Red Worms, and they definitely seem to be growing in size quite quickly!
Today’s batch, as per usual, was mish-mash of everything under the sun. It has coffee grounds (and filters), carrots, turnip, cabbage, squash, zucchini, pasta, apples, broccoli, bananas (mostly peels), and egg shells – among numerous other things I’m sure.
To help soak up some of the water (and make things a little more interesting) I added a bag of wheat bran I was originally saving for my next batch of bokashi. To really bulk the material up and add more carbon, I added quite a bit of coconut coir as well (the picture below is what it look like before the coir was added). This seems to be made for this purpose! As a bedding material on its own, the worms don’t really seem to like at all (in fact, I put a layer of dryish coir at the top of my breathable bags when shipping worms to discourage them from venturing out), but it really soaks up moisture well and adds a beautiful fibrous quality to the ‘manure’ – making it a lot like the real deal – at least in terms of appearance.
Luckily it is quite cold this week (generally below freezing) since I made far more worm food than I can add to my bins at one time. After adding another healthy serving to the bins this afternoon, I put the tub with my homemade manure mixture out on the deck where I know it won’t turn into an anaerobic mess any time soon.
Anyway – just wanted to continue sharing my enthusiasm for blended worm food. If you haven’t tried it, you definitely should give it a shot!
By the way…
I originally worried that this stuff would be way more prone to fruit fly invasion – but the more I work with it the more I doubt this prediction. Since you are basically creating a material that is a perfect worm food, they can start consuming it right away, and very quickly in comparison to whole food scraps. If you have a reasonable density of worms, they will likely out-compete any fruit fly larvae that happen to hatch. A chunk of apple on the other hand will be easily over-run by fruit fly maggots before it’s even soft/rotten enough for the worms to dig in!
Just some food for thought!
Food sludge before coconut coir was added.
**Want Even More Fun With Worms? Sign Up for the RWC E-mail List Today!**
Hi Bentley, I’ll ask the same question I posed last week. Tell us about the camera equipment you are using.
Sorry, Bob – I’m behind in my comment responses.
My camera is a 5 megapixel Canon Powershot A530
Definitely nothing overly fancy!
I use the food processor to mince my food, and they certainly eat it quickly. They get fed 2 4-litre ice cream containers per week. (thawed from frozen and squeezed of any liquid). Geesh now I’m thinking of blenderizing the food, just for farts and giggles.
I’m wondering if I start using the blender, if perhaps some old bread crumbs could be used to bulk it up, as opposed to buying coir. Where do you buy the coir, Bentley?
I would have thought that the coffee filters would plug the blades of the blender. When I add coffee grounds, I don’t put the filters in, because they take so darn long to break down.
When you theorize that the worms are “Out competing” fruit fly larve, do you think it could have to do with the cold temps where you live? Fruit flies reproduce extremely quickly in warmer temps, but their swarms usually reduce naturally when it gets cold. Are there even any adult flies hovering this time of year?
I’ve been pleasantly surprised with this old blender (which is actually just part of a food processor combo system) – I swear it works better than our stand-alone blender. It shreds up coffee filters and paper towels with no problems – even egg carton cardboard can be shredded (in liquid). That being said, I’m trying not to push the limits too much in an effort to avoid having it break down on me. I found that fall leaves can really gum it up though, so I’ll likely just add these manually.
I got my coir from Home Hardware – it is a product called ‘Beyond Peat’. It’s pretty expensive but I really like it. Not sure they will have it this time of year though.
My theorizing is entirely based on observation of my indoor systems. I have yet to see a fruit fly infestation spring up in a bin that has a really high density of worms – although I’m sure it could happen if larger, bulky waste materials are being added as food.
I actually have some fruit flies inside, but they just don’t seem to be able to get a foothold thus far.
I never thought of blending my food, usualy just throw it in the bin and let the worms do their stuff.
I will deffinetly look at blending and using the coir to absorb any moisture that will be created.
I should also mention that peat moss would likely work very well too
Hi, Bentley you have one of the best sites I’ve seen.reguarding using bran to soak up your worm food mixture. I thought bran would over bloat the worms, I know bran will cause slugs to bloat to death. Would you use very little bran or is my theory wrong?
Thanks for the kind words.
I haven’t seen any issues with the worms and the bran thus far.
Any idea about adding old flour , corn meal and oatmeal. Would it hurt them or help with other food scraps?
I would be cautious about adding anything starchy like that since it would have the potential to become a goey anaerobic mess. I guess if you were going to spread it out in a nice thin layer, and weren’t going to leave the material to sit (before feeding) for any length of time it could work.
Bentley, Do you think it is ok to use bokashi in the bin? Mine is homemade so I know what is in it. I used a little to see what happened – nothing bad that I can see but what about a larger amount?
I have successfully vermicomposted the material from bokashi buckets, but ran into trouble when I tried to add too much at once. In an enclosed plastic tub type of system I would definitely recommend adding this material in moderation. In a larger outdoor bed you could get away with adding a lot more I’m sure.
Is this mixture good for the Euros also, or just for composting? Should I just stick with the packaged worm bedding for the night crawlers?
I think homemade manure would work very well for euros – just make sure to use a lot more bedding if this is going to be your starting material (not just food once the bin is established). I wouldn’t bother with bagged “worm bedding” myself – they do great in shredded cardboard and well-aged manure (together or on their own).