Results are in! 75 worms 6 months later.

marauder01February 26, 2010

Hi all,

Well as promised I have sorted my BIN 1 exactly 6 months on from when I started it, and this is what I found:

The weight was 422gms (or 14.9 oz). Almost a pound!

After the first 200 or so, I realised just how futile it would be to actually do a head count. There are so many babies, adolescents and adult that it would be near on impossible. Sorry about that. I didn't really think that there would be so many.

Bucket weighed 268 gms.

Above is the bin with all the castings / bedding returned to it. I did find that it was majorly wet. It still smelled quite OK, but it must have been close to the limit. I did find it interesting that there were more cocoons and young down in the wetter parts of the bin. THIS BIN HAD NO HOLES IN IT AT ALL, just a non-sealing lid. I have added LOTS of dry cardboard and shredded newspaper to the bedding as I have returned it to the bin. I'm not giving up on the non-holed bin just yet!

And now the big finale....

Back to work you guys!

Some other interesting things along the way:

-I have fed this bin only 10 times in 6 months. Initially only a cup every 2 weeks and now approx 3 cups a week.

-I add DRY cardboard and newspaper only when is looks a little wet.

-The best change I saw in the bin was when I went away for 2 weeks and ignored them. This really gave them a chance to work things over, and the light grey castings look great (all that paper).

-My worm calculator is very close to correct. It predicted just over a pound of worms, and the actual was close. I didn't get all the worms when I harvested, but then again, I didn't quite get all the bedding out of the worms either.

Bin 1 can just about be given to a new home (I'm hoping to give it to the local kindergarten. I think the 3 and 4 yr olds would get a blast out of it, and I could rotate their bin with my others at intervals, just to keep things working nicely). Yup, I like that idea!

Bins 2 and 3 are 2 and 3 months behind this one respectively, and bins 4,5,6,7 and 8 are about 2 months behind that again. All doing well.

If this is the kind of result I can look forward to from the other bins, I'm pretty stoked!

Now I just have to nail down the holes or no holes deal........


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Way to go maurauder!!! I love the idea of giving to a kindergarten. So would you estimate you have 750-1,000 worms now, a 10x increase in 6 months??

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 12:20AM
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hey Pete,

I actually estimate I have more like 1200+. There are many, many juveniles in that 1 lb or so, but I don't think it's about number per say, but mass (to eat mass of scraps). Still pretty cool though! LOL.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 12:25AM
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Very impressive! Thanks for sharing. I started out with holes and found them to be messy. Haven't used them in 10 or so months and the bins are just as productive. I do put cardboard on the bottom to absorb excess liquid, and leave the lid open for air flow. How many bins do you have?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 12:54AM
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plumiebear(z9? CA)

Excellent! Were the original 75 all adults? I think many of us would do well to keep your very slow feeding schedule in mind whenever we start a new bin. What will you have in another 6 months? 4-5 lbs.?


    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 2:33AM
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Hi marauder01,

Your wormies look awesome, so healthy looking and sure look happy! Hope mine turns out like yours. I love the idea of giving them to the kids. That's such a great way to teach them good stewardship. Can't wait to see how the rest of your bins turns out. Thanks for sharing your pics and lessons learned.


    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 2:36AM
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Hi Kath,

I do a similar thing, using dry cardboard to level out the moisture and all.

I have 8 working 35 liter (10 gallonish) plastics tubs as above, and a Reln Worm Factory (4 tray stacking). Between these bins, I consume (I meant, they consume) over 10 lbs per week of kitchen scraps and almost all of our junk mail (which was one of my early goals).

My current goal is to be able to GIVE away 1 lb per week and still maintain enough stock to achieve goal no.1. I think worms are just too expensive to buy for a first timer, as the risk of killing your first herd is high, normally by too much feeding. If you could try it for free, then maybe more people would wake up to the idea of vermi-cycling (hey that's not bad! VERMI-CYCLING! lol).

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 3:59AM
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Hi again Plumie (Andrew), thnks for the comments.

By my estimations, the number should be nearer 15 lbs in the next 5 months, but that assumes room to grow into and enough food and bedding. Since I won't be changing the container to a bigger one, I reckon you might just be right. They should achieve a maximum density sometime in the next 6 months, give their habitat.

If I happen to still have this bin in 6 months time (which I doubt), I'll do a re-count to see.

Definately slow feeding doesn't hurt your herd,. It may even be a good thing (for a small bin).

If all 8 bins are like this one, then in 6 months, my total should be close to 25lbs at maximun density (ie 8 bins @ 2 sq. ft surface area...1-2 lbs per sq.ft, 8" deep).

Nice numbers don't ya think? LOL!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 4:09AM
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Marauder THANK YOU for sharing the pictures and the progress of your experiment! ... please consider a Home Schooling family for one of your free bins. I can see so many educational possiblities in tending/waching a worm bin, that could be adapted to the skill level of each child. Math, creative writing, art, science....the lesson plan list is endless.... not to mention getting excited by the adventure stewardship. Being 'green' isn't this boring thing that grown ups drone on and on about .... it is FUN.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 11:21AM
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Sorry Andrew, I didn't answer your question. Yes, they were all adults (no cocoons or vemricompost added to start).

Thanks Borderbarb, I'll keep home schooling in mind. The possibilites really are endless, aren't they?

Couldn't help myself, I started seasoning another bin today (that'll be bin 9, the final piece in the puzzle). I've left cardboard to soak for a few days, then I'll add some compost (ex "hot" compost bin) and some food (maybe 2 cups of kitchen blended scraps), and leave to brew up for a fortnight. This time, I might add more worm than I started my others with. I think I'll do a sort from bin 1 (again, yes I know, poor planning, should have been ready to go now! Oh well.)and add a couple of hundred, just to boot things along a bit.


    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 9:15PM
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hahaha, nicely done. My Teens think I am nuts for having worms, composting tea, doing my gardening thing. I only have a couple of towers, but the gather about a lb/month-3 depending on the time of year of adult ones.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 3:09AM
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Hi Marauder

Did you ever decide on the "holes or no holes" question?

I an raising ANCs, and am currently using a RM bin with vents but no drain holes. I also add dry shredded newsprint and cardboard when things seem to be getting too moist, although it seems the youngsters prefer the wetter areas.

Do you tip the bin to one side so that the worms can choose their preferred moisture level?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 9:15PM
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Hi Tammy,

In short, no I haven't figured it out yet. As you'd expect, the bins with the air holes around under the rim seems a little drier, but as for population, they seem exactly the same.

I'd say it's probably a little easier to manage one with air holes, but in reality doesn't make much difference.

My bins live flat. I only elevate one end for a couple of days IF it seems a little too wet. The collected liquid is used on the garden.

I agree that they seem to like the wetter areas better, but I think you've got to be careful when sailing this close to the wind, as it were.


    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 10:43PM
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Thank you for the input Marauder. I guess I'll just keep doing what I'm doing. The vents supply plenty of air, and help to dry things out a bit. I could always use a turkey baster if things get too wet.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 7:32PM
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marauder01 you have blown out of the water the idea of NEEDing to purchase a pound or two pounds or five pounds of worms to get a good start on a worm bin. And of needing to purcha$e a bin $pecifically designed for worm$. You also have much patience. You can even let your starter bins sit a fort night before putting in worms. By then I'm trying to shake some vermicastings out of the bins. LOL. But clearly your way works and is super excellent.

Have you ever thought of putting all of the paper dry at the bottom of the bin and maybe not even tearing apart the paper and egg cartons? This would add air tunnels to the bottom of the bin.

Can't wait to see what practical ideas you come up with when you decide to try a flow through.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 11:30PM
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This inspired me to finally start another bin. I was going to start it with 100 adults but I thought it would be too time consuming to seperate and count. I have to do all major worm work 9 at night when the kids are in bed so I took the easy route. I took a couple handful of worms, my guess around 200, and threw them in a container that had been sitting for 3 weeks. Looking at my other bin, I think I have enough worms to add another couple handfuls to a third bin.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 10:14AM
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