Worms on Speed

chuckiebtooMarch 15, 2014

A few months ago, I started a little experiment....kinda by accident....involving changing the way I feed some bins (I have lots of shoebox-sized ones) because we eat lots of citrus stuff like oranges and pineapple and limes from my tree and I wanted to use those waste materials. Anyway, I had lots of citrus and because that stuff should be limited, I decided to dedicate five bins to a blender mix of the citrus and lots of other veggies presented in liquified form.

For all my worming years, I've chopped stuff up a little with minimal effort producing corn-kernel sized chunks or larger that, depending on the softness of it (pumpkin, bananas, etc), either became actively attacked by the herd or laid there until it was soft enough to eat. No problem if you feed at the same rate they eat.

We all know that worms get all excited when they attack food they really like. We also know that worms can and will become lethargic if they're allowed to lay around with no treats to snack on. Sometimes they'll become morose and down in the dumps, wiggle down into the cesspool that is the poop palace of their own making, and sulk. When they do this, they also tend to become extremely funked out to the point that they exhibit a drastic reduction in interest in the opposite sex which, of course, must be confusing to them since the opposite sex and themselves are one in the same. This further addles them to the point that they can develop a contempt of themselves.

But I digress.


From the very first days of my worming experiences, I've done it the old fashioned way, but along the way little tweeks have consistently proven to be for the most part practical. This is the most noticably significant positive improvement I've ever experimented with.

In comparing the five "pureed" food bins with the 5 chunky ones, I not only fed the blendered ones more frequently but also more volume.

This little test is ongoing, but I've converted over to the blended method with most of my bins.

One thing I've quit doing: adding water to the bins. The liquified foods provide the perfect amount of moisture and it ain't water. It's liquid nutrition which I think might cause a state of euphoria that arouses that most basic vermi emotion.......... father/motherhood.


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I don't know if I should blush or applaud. Chuckie have you ever consided joining Waddie Mitchell,Baxter Black and Red Steagall on The Country Corner? You cause me to view worms in a totlaly different light. I just never stopped to realize the little guys have good days and bad days for woopee.
Seriously,thanks for sharing the results of your research. Three questions. Are you feeding pulp only or peel and all? Aproximatly what is the ratio of citrus to veggees? Are you growing all those fruits?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 5:57AM
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Pulp, peels, seeds, stems...all of it is blended at about 10% of veggie scraps and especially pumpkin (the emancipator of wormdom libido). Actually, one of the main reasons I began making a slushee was to cause all the ingredients to become one so the orange peels, for example, wouldn't lay around un-decomposed until they were the only item on the menu.

I only grow the Mexican limes which are used to make a lot of Key Lime pie because my heart forever remains in Key West. After juicing the limes the remains are KitchenAided with celery, asparagus, lettuce, cabbage, carrots, potato peels....AND PUMPKIN (rind, seeds and that orange stuff).

If you read the posts here religiously you know I gather up lots of Halloween pumpkins around my neighborhood causing most of the donors of the gourds to look at me kinda funny.

The color of my pureed concoction usually: kinda camoflage....like greenish brown. If it's allowed to set around for a few days if forms a darker semi-crust that looks like moss on the underside of a rotting tree in the woods.


    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 7:46AM
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I am posting to second Chuckiebtoo (Che) 's experience of pureeing food scraps.
Ditto: liquified food instead of water.
I was doing it for my sensitive esthetics. ; )
Just got lucky.
In My Experience (IME) the pureed food is more of a magnet for passive migration than horse manure, possibly because it is so easy for the worms to process.

Consider allowing the puree to rot. Adding leachate as liquid did speed rotting.
The gallons of worm tea recently made as described elsewhere has white foam in the containers. Nice surprise for a first-time tea brewer.

Latest experiment: coffee grounds, no horse manure.

Observation/No conclusion:

The Worm Inn with no newspaper -- horse manure and pureed food only, has a huge springtail population.
The tub bins with shredded newspaper (which are 6 or more months older) have no visible springtails.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 1:11PM
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How is harvesting that worm inn?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 4:07PM
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Reminds me of what I do. I dont chop up food scraps [fruit and veggies]. I run them thru a juicer and save the pulp which is pretty much the same as puree. Only makes sense they can use that much quicker.

Also yesterday or a couple of days ago I thawed out the last of the watermelon rinds I over wintered and I noticed today the worms had already moved up into the upper tray where it was,, but before that hardly any worms were in that tray. I recently added this tray. They will make quick work of the melon as they always do. Made me smile to see how quckly they moved up into this tray, still food in the bottom tray of said bin.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 3:26PM
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I've got just the one bin. I stopped feeding them so that they could process their bin fully, so I can harvest in a month or so.

Because I miss feeding them, and hate throwing veggies into the green bin for the city to pick up (but of course, it's exponentially better than throwing it in the trash), I lined a 50 gallon pail with plastic and started a new bin.

The only reason I lined the pail with plastic, is because I want to be able to use it again for my shredded paper, etc and didn't want it to be stained, mucky.
No lid of course, duh, so they can breathe.

I gave them some rotted avocado as a treat to get them started. Pureeing is a great way to feed, as long as the bin doesn't get too wet.

Great post, CBT! Love your writing. :)

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 4:26PM
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My babies have been getting pureed food from the very start. There are NEVER any leftovers for sure. Big ahah and an Atta Boy to anyone who takes the time to puree. It is the best thing for them in the world. They have no teeth and veggie fruit smoothies certainly don't require any. One question though. Why do my worms go all the way to the bottom of the bin and then travel back up. I worry about enough air and so I aerate the bin for their safety. Does anyone else have deep dwellers too.????

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 7:51PM
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"The liquified foods provide the perfect amount of moisture and it ain't water. It's liquid nutrition" I agree with that chuckiebtoo. I believe our job is simply to provide enough carbon to match the nitrogen.

"I run them thru a juicer and save the pulp which is pretty much the same as puree." hummersteve tell me you either drink the juice or put it back into the pulp and do not toss the elixir of life down the drain as I have read in the past that some do.

Chuckiebtoo I accept your results as valid. I have been feeding whole items so as to have an even amount of food in the bin since I visit it rarely and grace it with enough bounty to choke a horse. I endorse your method and will sometimes use it especially when I juice for myself and have pulp. Other times they are getting the whole pumpkin and the stem 3 times. Now if I can only stop the mice from eating through the nice netting on the top of my worm inn and hiding piles of uneaten pumpkin seeds in the winter boots. No mouse activity lately.

"cesspool that is the poop palace" I disagree that the worm castings are negative. I think worms transform waste into castings and castings are nuggets lightly coated with calcium. These individual nuggets have space between the where things happen. A sheet of water film can be held. Things can happen in that film. The value of castings is this calcium coating that makes castings an aggregate(?) rather than a cesspool of muck. If not water harvesting then I think the nugget should be preserved and valued for the work it will do for us in the garden. Soil make up of particle sizes is important. I do not understand exactly how.

"so that they could process their bin fully" jasdip, didn't you want to pop a few worms into the new bin to seed it? But maybe you did because you mention the breathing. The new bin is a great place to put the large particles sifted out during harvest.

"I stopped feeding them so that they could process their bin fully, so I can harvest in a month or so." jasdip, they say a worm bin not fed and left alone for a long time will result in everything being fully processed and the top being flat. I can never be that patient but it would be cool to see. With no new food or bedding additions, each day should make the vermicompost more and more vermicastings. In a month your stuff should be gold just in time for spring planting if you are above the equator if using a map with north as up.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 11:25PM
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I have just the one bin, and am leaving the lads alone so that they can fully process what's in the bin. They're doing a fine job, it's just castings right now for the most part, some clumps of shredded bedding.

Being impatient, I started a second "bin" using a 5-gallon pail lined with a plastic bag. I mentioned it on another thread. No lid on top, for breathing purposes.

It's a temporary bin (maybe) so that I can still feed some scraps. If it works out well, I could keep it full time as a second bin.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 3:08PM
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This looks like it might be the solution to all my problems! I just got my bin a month ago and was given 1 bag (about a pound) of worms. My worms seemed happy and they were multiplying. But now they seem to have stopped multiplying and I have a fruit fly infestation. I also have A TON of waste in my freezer just waiting to be thawed and brought out to my worms. If blending my waste means I can get rid of even more food from my freezer AND they will like it better and multiply faster, it's music to my ears.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 4:36PM
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I am gonna assume that you are a lady wormer since I have a difficult time with figuring that out sometimes.

Anyway, the attached pic is a container of 3 banana peels, half a head of lettuce including the core, orange and apple peels, asparagus stems (the hard, stringy things you can't eat), cantaloupe and pumpkins rinds, some cabbage, onion skins, eggshells, pineapple rinds, and about 3 corncobs.

It is all now immediately edible and will be devoured much quicker than all that stuff laying around "chopped".

BTW, it takes longer when I chop stuff up than it does to blenderize it all.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 6:07PM
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I had some rolls in the freezer. (Leftovers from my house warming) Welllllll.....I took them out, mashed them up and added some syrup. OMG my worms are having a mega sugar rush. Now I know what to do with the leftover weekend waffles

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 10:55PM
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Has anyone used any hog manure with their worms?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 11:09PM
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Well this is an exciting thread. But then again somebody has a knack for that. My eyes are wide open reading "" and "". I'm gonna need more popcorn.

"No problem if you feed at the same rate they eat." Well I have no idea the rate they eat. But I know the rate I eat and it is variable. I expect the worms to adjust to my needs. But then again perhaps they have not read that instruction booklet either.

""Being impatient, I started a second "bin" jasdip Yes! I'm rooting for you! That is the vermicomposting spirit!

"SelenaD-Composter" consider egg cartons not the plastic ones your friends. The bin will like them any way you decide to provide them, torn up or whole. Do you or will you have access to an outside compost bin? If so you may have to release the pent up supply of goodies into the cosmos to increase the positive energy there. Or a 5 gallon bucket for bokashi. Release the freezer space before cohabbitants to the freezer freak out and become unreasonable in helping to meet the needs of the friendly, neighborhood vermi. It takes a long time to build up the population to meet needs. Excess start up nitrogen may only harm the efforts. For a while still a beginning vermicomposter may have excess nitrogen that needs still to find a new compost home or threaten the health of the newfoundling vemi bin.

" it takes longer when I chop stuff up than it does to blenderize it all." Good to know CBT. Yum... if I was a worm.

"BluButterfly323" with some syrup I'd eat the rolls in the freezer. Good Idea!

BluButterfly323 Fri, Mar 21, 14 at 23:09
Has anyone used any hog manure with their worms?
No but simply because a whole lot more people have radish kitchen scraps than hot manure. That does not mean a symbiogtic relationship could not be run. One that suits all animals.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 1:34AM
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That is some good looking slop you made for those lucky worms. It reminds me of split pea soup.

I have never blended any worm food. My hens get first dibs on all kitchen waste here. But you got me thinking.... Last week I split a year-old small bin into 6 small bins. I think I will deprive my hens for a week or 2 and when nobody is looking make a batch of speed for the new homes and tenants. Maybe add a nugget or 2 of equine goodness for seasoning!

TEST TEST TEST this is an experiment to see if my lovely dear bride lurks on this forum

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 12:12PM
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