Plastic Worm Bin-10-10-12

It seems to be “Neglected Worm Bin Day” here at Red Worm Composting (maybe I can even get a Worm Inn update posted this week – lol!).

I have indeed been neglecting my plastic “follow-along” system for quite some time, but if you’ve followed me for any length of time you’ll know that the mellow approach is typically “how I roll”. In fact, I highly recommend taking this same approach with your own vermicomposting systems. Perhaps this is a good time to remind you about one of “Bentley’s Golden Rules of Vermicomposting”:

“It is FAR easier to kill worms via overfeeding than via starvation!”

If you leave your system (especially one that holds moisture well, and contains lots of bedding) to sit for weeks on end without adding new food materials you’re not likely going to open it up and find that your worms have vanished (assuming all other worm requirements are being met). Typically, you’ll find healthy worms, no food in sight, and a lot less bedding!
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I should quickly point out, though, that if you are using a wooden bin (or just generally, one with really good ventilation) and/or your system is outdoors there are some other things that can “go wrong” when the system is completely left alone – but my “assuming all other worm requirements are being met” disclaimer (lol) was meant to address this. Obviously if, for example, a system is allowed to dry out or overheat (among other things) those worm requirements get tossed right out the window!

Moving on…

When I checked on the system the other day it looked like (surprise, surprise) the level of material had dropped substantially. As you can see in the image below, there is still a fair amount of bedding up on top, but if you compare it to the image included at the end of my last post (directly below it) it becomes clear that a fair amount of the bedding has been processed.


I figured I might as well feed the worms while I was at it – so I decided to dump in a bag of peas (Mr. Genius here took them out of the chest freezer – with the intention of moving them up to our smaller freezer – then forgot about them! lol). According to the package it was 750 g (1.65 lb) worth.

I was in a bit of a rush, so I didn’t really get the chance to add a lot of additional bedding at the same time.

Generally speaking, I wouldn’t recommend feeding like this – especially not with nitrogen-rich materials like legumes (peas, beans etc). Since I’ve been doing this for years, and since this particular bin has great ventilation, I certainly wasn’t worried – BUT, this is the sort of approach that can in fact lead to serious problems if you’re not careful.

When I checked on the bin today, the peas smelled pretty foul, and while the worms did seem to be feeding around the outer edges of the pea-zone (ahem), they didn’t seem to be venturing into the material at all.

I decided to break up the mass of rotten peas and spread them around the bin a lot more – this should definitely help to make them more worm-friendly.

Given how long this experiment has been going (a little over 3 months I believe), I’ll likely start thinking about harvesting fairly soon. Before doing so, I plan on feeding a bit more regularly so as to end up with a better quality end product (more nutrients in food wastes than shredded cardboard and paper). This should also result in more of the bedding breaking down as well.

I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted!
8)

Previous Posts in Series
Plastic Worm Bin Follow-Along
Plastic Worm Bin-07-12-12
Plastic Worm Bin-07-23-12
Plastic Worm Bin-08-01-12
Plastic Worm Bin-08-13-12
Plastic Worm Bin-08-30-12

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Wooden Flow-Through Bin-10-10-12

Comments

    • John W.
    • October 11, 2012

    Now don’t get my hopes up of a worm inn post if you don’t mean to do it! 🙂

    • Bentley
    • October 12, 2012

    LoL – well ok, it MIGHT be next week. But I promise to get one up!
    8)

  1. I already have a worm inn and have an old orange bin from the packing houses that I am planning to convert to an outside bin. I feel nervous about starting some worms in a plastic bin after reading how quickly things can go wrong! But the scientist in me cannot resist the temptation and since my neighbors all donate to my worm cause with their scraps, it seems I may have no choice but to do a plastic bin sooner than later! (too much rotting food sitting in 5 gal buckets go figure!)

    • Mike
    • October 23, 2012

    I was away from home for about a month, and figured on feeding them, giving them bedding, and leaving(they are in a rubbermaid). Since they were still only a month or 2 old and I didn’t start with a lot of worms, I figured the material would be digested slowly. I was wrong. I got back and it was all digested, and probably redigested. Probably lost some worms I am guessing. anyways I seperated the worms, and due to it being neglected, was very mucky. this muck is proving very difficult to dry and seperate. Anyways, now I am trying to get the worms to reacclimate to new food/bedding, and they don’t seem to like it…back to square one…but at least they still seem alive….some slugglish some better…

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