Are the contents of my box shrinking?

homeinametronomeFebruary 6, 2013

I put in about 500 grams of compost in my box every week since I started in Nov. The levels are barely rising. I think the contents even shrinked in the last few weeks.

Is this possible? Have you had such an experience?

Did the water evaporate or something?

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billthewormman

I guess the thing to keep in mind that when your VC is finished you are only going to get about 10% of what you initially put in your bin. This number varies depending on food stock but for kitchen waste 10% is pretty close.

So the contents of a bin lowering is not really uncommon. As the waste becomes more processed it will also "pack" a bit which lowers levels.

Hope that helps.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 8:48PM
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priswell(9 CA)

Yeah, this is pretty much what happens. You pile organic material into your bin and a few days/weeks later, it looks like it's all gone. You pile a bunch more, and it disappears. You keep playing this game until at some point, you realize that your bin *is* filling up, as long as you don't look too close. After a while, the bin is brimming over and you need to do something with all that compost. It's a lovely thing.

You also realize that when it comes time to use the compost, a dab will do ya. Sure, you can use lots, but I tell people use compost like crumb cake topping.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 11:23PM
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equinoxequinox

We have experienced an outdoor compost bin doing this rather quickly. One day it is there and the next it pops like a balloon and seems like somebody took all the compost.

If your compost is disappearing then I think you are doing something right.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 8:35AM
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homeinametronome

Thanks everyone!

@equinoxequinox yes I hope I am doing this right! I obsess over this box, following all the rules I can, reading in the forums.

@priswell I think you can see how excited I am about the box filling up, like watching children grow almost!

@billthewormman - interesting %. Is this an actual number you read somewhere, or is this your general observation? It seems like this % is the reality for my box!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:55PM
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bdkofbc(z8 BC Canada)

My advice is 'DO NOT OBCESS" over your worm bins, they have been doing their thing for millions of years, you, however have only been at it since November.

The best thing to do is just to observe them. Put a cup full of food on one corner and check it every few days. When you can no longer recognize what it is, then put some more in another corner. Adjust the amount of food as you see fit. Fruits go faster as the bacteria love the sugar content and the worms eat the bacteria..

Overfeeding is a killer. The food rots too quickly and your bin becomes anaerobic and you have a real mess. If you set up a bin and it was running nicely and then suddenly left it for a month or two, the worms would just go through the bin and reprocess what is in there. Bins have been left for years and survived, just nicely.

If they are not happy they will migrate on to somewhere else. If they start to leave then you must investigate and see the problem. You can only do this if you are familiar with how their system works.

Relax and enjoy your new project. I've been at this for over 10 years.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 3:16PM
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billthewormman

I use a lot of food scraps from a local restaurant for food stock, from my experience 10% is pretty close to what you are left with. If you were to use something like horse manure for food stock instead you may end up with something like 50% when you are done. (which is one of the reasons manure is such a good food stock for worms) Also, I do believe I read that somewhere but I can't seem to locate it for you.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 1:08PM
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