Newbie Questions

DandyDearApril 28, 2012

Hi - I have "built" a 2 tier 10 gallon plastic tub composting system. I ordered a thousand worms (a pound?) that should arrive in a few days.

I am thinking I should build a second system for 2 reasons...

1) I should only put half a pound of worms in a 10 gallon tub.

2) One system may not be enough for all our scraps - 2 middle aged vegetarians.

Thoughts?

Many thanks!

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equinoxequinox

20 gallons of system seems small for 2 middle aged vegetarians unless you eat the whole stem of the brocolli, use a juicer that juices up the pulp too. Soon you may want a bigger system, but where you are starting at 10 or 20 is great. Add bedding. With no egg cartons available you may want to friend a few non vegetarians and get donations of their egg cartons. :-)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 3:55PM
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DandyDear

Thanks Equinoxequinox - then I seem to be on the right track.

We are mostly vegans but we do eat eggs (and eat "american" one meal a week). It just so happens that the small farms/backyard chicken owners in this area use styrofoam egg cartons. :-( I am saving them to give back and reuse.

I am a member of Amazon Prime so I get lots of things delivered in boxes. "Browns"/bedding will be my issue especially since we don't get the paper... No shortage of junk mail though!!

Dandy

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 4:18PM
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dowbright(z6 in Missouri)

I get a lot from Amazon too. Their boxes should go pretty far in a 10 gallon bin. Or maybe I'm picturing that size all wrong in my head. Sorry if so.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 6:20PM
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equinoxequinox

The seller should of said the weight of the thousand worms.

If they are new born they could be an ounce.

Sellers should state the pounds of pure worms not including bedding and specify it that way and the species. This would be if they were in the business.

A person who sells a few pounds of worms a year would not need to be so specific, but if they were, great.

A pound of worms naked of all bedding should look about the same size as a pound of hamberger or a mound about the size of a grapefruit.

That is a lot of worms.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 7:48PM
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DandyDear

I bought the worms on Amazon based on customer satisfaction...

Uncle Jim's Worm Farm 1,000 Count Red Wiggler Live Composting Worms. 4 stars out of 5, 184 reviewers.

That is quite a visual, Equinox! Frankly I hope I don't get that many. :-\ I may offer some to the neighbors who have a smelly traditional composter near our kitchen door.

Here is what one reviewer said: I'm in California and when I untied the cloth bag I found a writhing wriggling ball-o-worms. What comes is a ball between the size of a grapefruit or cantaloupe. I broke up the ball to see if it was mostly dirt or something like that. Nope, all happy wriggling worms, so you're definitely getting your money's worth.

That sounds like a great plan, Gotafish. I think I will have worms to spare if you want some! Maybe we should take up fishing.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 11:16AM
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patrick1969

The rule of thumb is that worms will process half to their whole weight in food scraps per day. So a pound of worms can handle a half pound of food waste per day. Not fresh food waste, either finely processed or frozen, then thawed. Since the worms don't actually eat the food - they eat the bacteria that eats the food - half a pound of fresh food could last longer than a week. Slightly or fully burying the food scraps will speed up the process.

Your Amazon boxes and junk mail (remove the plastic windows) will be great bedding once ripped up.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 9:00PM
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patrick1969

I agree that you should not feed too fast to start - might even give them a week to settle in as long as you have moist bedding. I chimed in mostly to encourage you to not give any worms away at the beginning as it takes a lot of worms to process a smaller amount of food. With two bins you can alternate between them. If you do get a full pound of worms and split them, you will only have capacity for 1/4 lb of food waste per day in each bin. The more preprocessed the food waste is the faster the worms can consume it. I have a bucket at work that gets an apple core per day, it takes over a week to see significant changes to each apple core. That's not half their weight per day by a long shot, but it's a fresh core.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 9:34AM
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hoorayfororganic

Who *doesn't* eat the whole broccoli stem? It's perfectly fine to eat!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 10:47AM
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equinoxequinox

I normally do not process the kitchen scraps for the worms at all. Hardly ever even break a corn cob in half. But if I had brand new worms and no compost to put them into I would process their food. It would get maybe even blend it with a bit of water, maybe frozen for 24 hours, dirtied even if just with garden soil, and smooshed into a bedding of egg carton or cardboard and shake it all up. Even the bedding I would actually tear up into tiny bits for my brand new worms.

Is it that worms do not eat for a week or that it takes the items in the bin a week to grow microbial activity to interest the worms?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 12:03AM
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Synn

Hi, I'm a newbie at this. We made our own worm bin out of two rubbermaid tubs. So far the worms seem to be doing good, after a few rough patches, lol.

My question is this weekend we noticed these black pebble like things all over the layer on top of the cardboard. I honestly thought they were rocks but they seem to be organic in nature. I've tried searching the web but haven't been able to find anything on it. So I'm hoping someone here can help me. I'm envisioning the start of some sort of invasion ;-)

thanks in advance for any help!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 5:55PM
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JerilynnC

Synn: Sounds like worm castings. How large are they?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 11:23PM
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dowbright(z6 in Missouri)

Agree with Jerrilyn!

I'm fairly sure they're precisely what you're aiming to collect! (Could be wrong. Often am.)

My worms love being on the top layer of bedding, and do a lotta crapping there. ;)

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 11:45PM
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