It’s been a little while since my last Worm Inn Mega update, so I figured I had better bring everyone up to speed on that front.
It seems all that chunky food waste (namely the pumpkin), without all that much absorbent bedding material ended up leading to a couple of different – slightly unpleasant – situations. For one thing the system started to smell – yes that’s right, even the almighty Worm Inn can indeed smell if you don’t honor the principles of effective vermicomposting! lol
It also started to leak out of the bottom. Again, absolutely NOT surprising – even with that nice absorbent false bottom I added when setting up – given how much water-rich food waste I added, and how little (relatively speaking) absorbent bedding I added.
Both “situations” were remedied very quickly and easily. To take care of the smell all I did was mix in some “living material” (in this case basically coarse vermicompost), taken from one of my open tub systems. I can’t emphasize enough the value of keeping this sort of material on hand (we’ll talk a bit more about that in a minute). For the leakage I simply placed a bucket underneath the Inn (I’m a genius!! lol).
I’ve basically left the system to mellow out since then, watching as the level of material continued to drop. Apart from serving as the ultimate worm bin deodorizer, it’s amazing what good quality living material (eg. really well aged horse manure, vermicompost, regular compost) can do for your vermicomposting process as a whole. It can really accelerate the process, and just generally help to restore balance. As I mentioned to someone in the comments section of the last “Mega” update, if you combine optimized food waste materials, with some bedding and some living material, it’s tough to go wrong when using a system like the Worm Inn. You can get away with SO MUCH more than would be the case using an enclosed plastic bin!
OK, moving on to today’s food addition…
This morning I gathered up various bags of food waste that have been accumulating around here. Only one was actually in the freezer (you may recall my plan to freeze/thaw wastes moving forward), but I still made a real effort to pulverize everything – so it’s safe to say the mix could be considered optimized. The total amount of food waste added today was 4383 g (9.66 lb), so not too shabby!
I added it in thin, alternating layers (starting over top of the previously “upper” newsprint layer) along with more living material, and some finely shredded paper. I then topped everything with a thicker layer of the living material and a really thick layer of the shredded paper.
NOTE: The images below simply demonstrate the layering steps (this was actually done several times before thick layer of paper added over top)
Now that I am adding absorbent bedding and living material at the same time as optimized food waste, I highly doubt I will encounter any more smell issues, regardless of how much food I end up adding (again my aim here is to process pretty well all the compostable kitchen scraps we produce – although I did slip up and add some waste lettuce to my VB48 recently! LOL).
Should be interesting to see how things go from here!