What happened

daman1974February 15, 2010

They all died. Just when I thought things were going well. It looks like all my worms are dead. It got pretty wet in there. The diet consisted of leftover salad. Which must be real wet. But I went in the other night to check them and I think all of them died. And the bin stinks to high heaven. What in the world went wrong???

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To save from having to purchase more worms collect corrigated cardboard, egg cartons and coffee trays.

Put a layer or two of whole egg cartons or coffee trays. Line the outside of the bucket with the corrigated cardboard. Put in a couple inches of torn up egg cartons. Then a layer of the stinky vermicastings. Keep layering. Put bucket outside until it stops smelling. In the spring you should have lots of babies.

All the cardboard and egg cartons should be put in dry. No spritzing necessary.

You are trying to get air into the vermicompost.

Was there salt or oil or vinegar on the salad?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 2:18PM
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plumiebear(z9? CA)

This experiment by a worm seller may help explain what happened:
lettuce 1
lettuce 2


    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 4:38PM
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daman, how long did you have your worms? Did they have any bedding? What did you use for bedding? Was the salad dressed? A little more information might help. I would bet your worms were in too small a place with not enough bedding and too much salad. If you had them long enough there might be a chance that there are cocoons left there that you could salvage.. steve

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 8:39PM
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I had them in there for close to 10 months. They had never even gotten out of the first tray. I have the guasimoto (sp) worm bin.
I had my wife and kids go out and dig a hole in the green house and dump everything in it. I never thought about the cocoons. I wonder if I should go out and try to salvage some. It was pretty wet though. All the worms were dead.
It appear a couple may have tried to escape during this ordeal.
The salad was not dressed. It was just stuff out of the bag that we didn't eat. I would throw newspaper in from time to time. To try and sop up the moisture.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 3:59PM
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I looked at the lettuce post. I think that is what happened to my little "homies". SO do I need to continually add bedding? If so, what should I be adding?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 4:29PM
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Not continually, but from time to time. I top off my bins with a mixture of shredded cardboard and shredded office paper every few days.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 5:12PM
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Uggh. So I wonder if I should go back to where I had the boyz and my wife dump my worms and dig it up and put in a 5 gal. bucket till spring.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 5:27PM
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I would let them rest in peace. Plus they are not going to smell any better. If they are in a green house that is a good place for them. I would put an offering above the burial site of half a mellon every once in a while. Then peek underneath it to see if you have any "friends". These might be small to begin with as they hatch. These can be brought back indoors to start over.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 7:27PM
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One problem I have is the climate here. It still gets very cold in the greenhouse.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 7:31PM
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That is probably ok. Everything will hybernate until it warms up.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 10:35PM
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plumiebear(z9? CA)

daman, you might want to consider always maintaining a good top layer of dry bedding when you restart your worm bin. It should soak up excess moisture. Just peel back the top bedding when you feed and replace it to cover the food.

If you have a regular compost pile, you could dump the material from the deceased worm bin into that. Once the weather warms up the cocoons will hatch and your compost pile will become a wormery. Below is a link to a video of a recent worm harvest from my compost bin.


Here is a link that might be useful: Harvesting worms from a compost bin

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 12:32PM
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Thanks for all the advice. I have like a 3X2 box that I made for worms outside. I may fill that with horse manure and then put the leftovers from my worms in there until springtime.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 4:25PM
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I also have a Gusanito bin. When I started I got about 1,000 worms and fed about 1/2 ounce of food every couple of days. I fed around the outside edge and in the corners, lifting only the bedding and then putting the bedding back over the food. As I got around to the starting point, if they'd eaten the food from 8 days previous, I'd up the amount I fed by half an ounce.

I started the first of October. Now my worms are eating 7 ounces per day. I make sure to keep a couple of inches of shredded paper over the top of what I feed. I often leave the lid off for a couple of hours during the day, to let the bedding dry out some, because of the moisture in the food I give the worms.

Between the two of us we produce about 7 ounces of vegetable scraps per day, plus or minus. I have several bags of scraps in the freezer and feed from one of those bags rather than from the fresh scraps. Then I thaw the scraps in the microwave before feeding to the worms. If you get an infestation of fruit flies, like I did shortly after beginning, you'll know why I freeze and zap. ;-)

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 3:41PM
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