Worm Inn Journal-04-09-10

I recorded a two-part (only because I accidentally stopped recording part way through – haha) “Worm Inn Overfeeding Challenge” update yesterday. Two more weeks have gone by, and once again I’ve been leaving the system unfed – this time primarily due to the fact that I wanted to start harvesting some worm compost. Letting a system sit (without feeding) for a period of time before harvesting is never a bad idea since the worms can then process more of the material for you. Plus, it can help to reduce the amount of moisture in the compost (assuming it’s an “open” system).

As I mention in the first video, the system was actually starting to head toward “sour” conditions a short time after the last feeding. I started noticing a familiar sharp, tangy smell (some of you may recall my experience with a sour Euro bin a while back – “From Bad to Worse – Sour Worm Bin Decline“), the appearance of more white mites and white worms, and a reduction in the number of worms in the upper zone (where the most recent food was). I’ve been adding a lot of acidic stuff, and I certainly haven’t been holding back on the amount of waste being added in general, so I can’t say I was overly surprised.

In an effort to restore some eco-balance, I decided to add some nice aged manure and some “compost ecosystem” material in the upper zone. Something like aged leaf litter would work very well also. Something I WOULDN’T recommend is adding a bunch of lime to try and increase the pH – you’ll likely just end up shocking the system and making matters worse. As expected, the materials I added really seemed to help restore some balance in the system, and I no longer noticed the strong “sour” odors when digging around.

Now, the BIG question of course, was whether or not the worm compost harvested from the bottom was going to be any good. I have been adding a LOT of waste to this system, and while it’s certainly looked as though the worms have been doing a great job with it – it’s been hard to say for sure. Well, the good news is that the material coming out the other end is beautiful, rich stuff – nothing like the stinky sludge I’ve grown accustomed to with some of my enclosed plastic bins. I was also really impressed with the absence of worms and cocoons in it. After I finished shooting the second video I continued to scrape more down into my container until I started seeing a few adult worms falling down (these were easily removed and put back to work). I’m pretty sure there is still a lot more good stuff that could be harvested (with a few more worms likely needing to be picked out) but I’ll leave it for the time being. In an upcoming video you will see how I put the material to good use right away.

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  1. Hey bently.I don’t know if you got my message if not i have a question:
    Can isopods be composters?I’m gonna try them out.I have quite the forum on them here:

    • Bentley
    • April 9, 2010

    Hi koolkid,
    Pretty sure I sent you an email not too long ago.
    Isopods (aka “sow bugs”, “pill bugs”, “baskeball bugs”) certainly contribute to the composting process – they help to shred down materials like leaves etc. After my failed attempt at “Collembolacomposting” (composting with springtails), I am not so sure that they would be all that effective on their own – but would love to find out if you test this!

  2. Kool btw my names cody 😉
    i’ll try it and post it on my blog!I’ll be sure to include your blogs link as well.

  3. Oh i got it now.Nice to see a guy who admires critters.Nah i’m not gonna house them together more of a contest.Worms in one bin isopods in the other.I made a sorta flow through system for the isopods.Just took a baby container and cut slits in the bottom.Then added that container into a diffrent slightly bigger one.It makes it so the exassive moisture goes into the second bin so that the isopods don’t drown.Just goes to show how much i care for them.

  4. Bentley,
    You know the more I see of the Worm Inn, the more I like it. It is perfect for someone who lives in an apartment. I will admit I was skeptical at first.

    • Bentley
    • April 11, 2010

    Mark – you were once a skeptic of the Red Worm Composting website in general, so I will definitely take that as progress! LOL

  5. Ha ha ha,whens the next update 🙂 ?

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