Worm Inn Journal – 02-02-10

Worm Inn Pro
Just over 4 lb of food (and other) wastes ready to be buried

I just wanted to post a quick “Worm Inn Journal” entry today. Back on Jan 22, I mentioned my decision to see how much food waste I could process with the system (see “Worm Inn Journal – 01-22-10“). As it turns out, I didn’t actually start adding more food materials until Jan 26. The total amount I have added so far is 9.83 lb – or the equivalent of roughly 1.4 lb a day. Not too bad, but I’m hopeful that I can improve upon this.

I am doing relatively little in the way of waste preparation. The materials generally sit in my scrap holder until the “BioBag” insert is full. At this point I toss the bag out on my deck to freeze for a few days to assist with further cellular degradation (specifically for some of the more resistant plant/fruit materials). Next, I simply dig a trench on one side of the system, dump the waste in, then cover with materials from the other side. Waste is added on alternating sides each time (and just so we’re clear here – I’m not literally adding 1.4 lb per day. I’ve actually only added wastes three times during the seven day period).

Given some of the (bulky, resistant) stuff I’ve been adding, in some ways I’m surprised by the fact that I’ve been able to continue adding materials at this rate. If this was an enclosed Rubbermaid system (with similar surface area), there’s no question that I would have reached the point of seriously “overfeeding” by now. So that’s cool!

I may make an effort to further grind/chop wastes at some point to see how much of an impact that has on the volume of material that can be processed. Will stick with the bulky stuff for now though – am somewhat curious to see if I’ll hit any sort of “wall” (causing issues in the bin and/or simply having no more room to add materials).

So far so good! I likely could have added materials on BOTH sides today if I had wanted to really push the envelope, but I figured it might be better to play things a bit safe for the time being.

Anyway, I’ll provide another update sometime next week for sure!

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  1. Wow!! That is a huge amount to be able to add to a system with a relatively small surface area!! How many worms do you reckon you have in there?

    • Bentley
    • February 3, 2010

    That’s the funny thing, Catherine – I don’t even think I’m close to maximum carrying capacity for worms in this system! I’m sure a LOT of this has to do with the fact that there is so much air flow. I also have a sneaking suspicion that other critters, like springtails, might be playing an important role as well.
    Will be interesting to see how the daily average changes over time – perhaps I’ve just been lucky so far!

    • Nathan
    • February 3, 2010

    What kind of worms are you using?

    • Bentley
    • February 3, 2010

    Hi Nathan,
    I am using Red Worms (Eisenia fetida/andrei)

    • John H. from Orlando
    • February 4, 2010

    It would seem that because of the air exposure from all sides that you have greatly increased the surface area. I suspect this is the reason why the capacity has also increased.

    How does the temperature inside the Worm Inn compare to the bin systems in the same area?

    • Bentley
    • February 4, 2010

    Hi John – yeah I would imagine that would be an important contributing factor as well. The system is definitely warmer than systems close by, but I’m sure that’s also due to the simple fact that I’ve been adding quite a lot of waste to this system lately (but not to the others). That being said, I’m sure this system would be warmer on average than a regular bin.

    • Jennifer S
    • February 5, 2010

    Hey, Bentley – thanks for giving me something to read other than the PTA website!

    How long does it take your compost bags to break down? They look the same as the corn starch ones I use, but in my system they seem to linger for quite a while.

    Do yours shred when you take them off the roll? Very dangerous for using while walking the dog!

    • Bentley
    • February 5, 2010

    Hi Jennifer,
    These bags DO take a fair amount of time to break down (in a worm composting system). I don’t think I’ve ever really paid enough attention to determine exactly how long, but I’m sure it would be months under typical conditions. I don’t worry too much about it, and will simply pull them out of an active system if I feel they are getting in the way (more than likely adding them to a more passive system).
    I haven’t had too much trouble with shredding, but if they are too full they’ll sometimes break when I try to pull them out of the holder.

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