Sour bin solutions. Help!

rosegoneApril 5, 2009

Today is my 10th day in vermicomposting. My worms are still alive, but I'm afraid not for long. They looks pretty sluggish to me. YES, things can turn around pretty quickly in a worm bin. (For a newbie, YES!) I need HELP/ADVISE!

3 days ago, I got carry away putting too much worm food in the bin. But the problem came with a HUGE spoil taro I put in 10 days ago when I setting up the bin. (I think I over-fed at the very begining already) To make the matter worse, I put in some dry up rice in it. Last night when I checked the bin, I saw a over-growing of pot worms crawling all over the wall of the bin. (It's a very scary sight!) Out of panic, I sprayed 2 8-oz of water trying to wash pot worms to the bottom. I added more shredded newspaper. I have not smell anything wrong at this point.

This morning when I check on the bin, the drip bin has 16 oz of liquid, which is not surprising, and LOTS of worms! I think they had a massive escape planned last night. I recovered them and put it back to the bin, only found the bin is heating up. I dig up the layers to dissipate the heat. Most of the bin does not have much of the smell, but when I found that taro, that sour/foul smell became unbearable. This is what I did to fix the sour bin:

1. Remove excess worm food. Q: Can I add those excess/soured worm food back to the bin next week?

2. Aerate the bin.

3. Add more dry newspapers.

4. Add oat meals to soak up the moisture. Q: Wouldn't more oat meals added more starch, making the bin even more acidic?

5. Q: At what point, I need to start all over a new bin? With a foul/sour bin, is it still salvageable?

6. Q: With an over-wet/over-fed bin, I see mites all over; at what point I should start worrying about mites hurting the worms?

Thank you for saving my bin~~ !!!

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I would wait a couple of weeks before adding the food back in.
I would also stop adding any other food, which includes the oatmeal.
I would not start a new bin.

Just leave it alone for a few weeks. Things will eventually balance themselves out. I've had all of the problems you are describing, and doing nothing at all has resolved them.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 11:50PM
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    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 1:54AM
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I would shove the bedding over to one side, and in the empty side, put a bunch more fresh damp bedding. With your bin overheating (due to the rice and oatmeal, IMO), the worms need some place to go to get away.

Hold off feeding, keep the lid off to help cool it down.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 9:23AM
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Just add dry bedding. It will absorb your excess moisture rather quickly. Adding damp bedding will just exacerbate your moisture problems.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 7:35PM
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More bedding and time, less food. That's it

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 7:41PM
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rredbbeard(SE CT USA/zone 6)

I had read somewhere on this site that rice can be bad for worms, especially if it tends to get dry. If you have an excess of scraps, start an outdoors compost area, perhaps in an old garbage can with holes in the bottom.

As new VC'rs with 1 pound of worms to start, we are finding that 4 ounces of scraps every other day is about right for now. Each new handful of scrap is placed seperately, so we can see the progress of worms' feeding, so they are never out of food, but never have too much either. Ideally, scraps that were placed 8-10 days ago should be completely gone, and if the worms are happy, you will see them crawling through the food piles.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   April 7, 2009 at 3:52PM
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Rice is fine, it will just take quite a while to break down. In large quantities, it will also cause the bin to heat up. If it's just leftovers from a plate, 1/4 cup, in a typical Rubbermaid bin, you'll be fine. Larger bins can accommodate large amounts of rice. It's unlikely they'll dry out, since most bins are moist, and rice absorbs moisture.

RR is right, though. If you have an excess of food, you should probably start a compost bin. Either that, or wait until you have more worms.

It would help if we knew how large, and what kind, of bin you had for your worms.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2009 at 9:41PM
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Thanks to all advices!
mndtrp, my worm bin is about 12-15 gallon, I think. The amount of rice I put in was just about one handful, but that HUGE taro was at least 1.5 lb, I'd say.
I just got a 55 gallon barrel from a car-wash. It's still waiting to be cleaned and converted to a flow-through.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 1:27AM
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