Cocoa Shells & Vermicomposting

weldin810(5)February 4, 2014

last year I purchased a large bag of cocoa shell mulch to use to top the soil of my house plants. This mulch is very small & lightweight & dark in color & it looked great on my plants until it started to mold & attract fungus gnats. I guess this mulch is known to form a white mold that is not harmful to plants but for indoor use it did not work. I removed all the mulch from my plants & threw it away.

Now I have a large bag of this mulch in my apt & I have no use for it. I was wondering if I could add this in small amounts to my vermicompost bin.

I did some web searching to read about it & I came across this piece of info "In some cases when the weather is very hot and humid, a harmless mold may appear. The cocoa shell contains protein which aids in decomposition to produce humu which stimulates beneficial soil bacteria. This is a sign of the protein at work."

I would still like to find the C:N & acidic content of this product. It smells like chocolate & I am a little worried if it would make my bin to acidic because I already add my daily coffee grounds to my bin.

My bin is a wood box, 13"l x 16"w x 8"d. It has been going for about 3 mo now & I'll be doubling the size soon.

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I have been working my worm bin now for a while. I just adopted my friends. My husband and I spent 6 hrs cleaning it and getting rid of whatever she was feeding her worms and what she wanted to call compost. It was horrible. We saved as many worms as we could. We now have 2 worm bins. Healthy worm bins.

Before I started my first one, I asked around on what to do with my leachate. Everyone I asked said to get rid of it. That was the bad stuff. That is why there is a drainage bin for it and you want to separate it from the worms and the compost. So when it drained out of the drainage bin, it drained into a pint jar and when that jar got full, I would always flush it down the toilet. We have a septic. I don't know if it is just coincidence or not, but the grass where the septic tank is has been getting very green and full since I have been doing that.

This year I will be getting my first greenhouse and I will be putting a vertical hydroponic system in it. I will have a water tank hooked up to that. I don't know if it would be safe to use the leachate in the water for the hydroponic system and if it is, how much would I use for every 5 gallons of water?

Can anyone help me on this???

Is this also safe to store until I use it - maybe in a freezer, or under the house where it may freeze depending on how cold it got?

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 11:34PM
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boreal_wormer(Alta Canada)

weldin810 asked
"Now I have a large bag of this mulch in my apt & I have no use for it. I was wondering if I could add this in small amounts to my vermicompost bin. "

I think that it should be fine to experiment with small amounts and go from there.

First I've heard of "cocoa shell mulch". It smells like chocolate (yummy) but this creates an unexpected problem for dogs which can eat it and become ill or die. See the link below for more info.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Hidden Dangers of Cocoa Mulch

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 12:29PM
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