Newbie to the Worm Composting

bibboMay 27, 2010

So I have my bins. 3 stackable black bins that sit in my garage.

Got worms. Created a bed and fed them kitchen scrapes. This was 3.5 months ago. Held back on the feeding after about a month and let them go for it.

Now I have about 3 inches of pure black muck. AMAZING!

So next step???

Do I just start filling the tray above it with more food and follow the process. Feed it for about a month and let it go for 2.5 months.

And the composted material (the 3inches of black muck), will the worms leave that and go up to the new scraps and how long will that take?

How do I make the "muck" usable? Do I dry it out once the worms have left. Can I make tea? I assume yes to all but how?

Thanks for helping out a new guy.

jack

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randomz

Interesting approach Jack. Usually feeding is fairly continuous, increasing as the population increases.

If the tray is full to where it will touch the bottom of a tray put on top, then go for it. The worms will come up for food, they won't know any different.

There will always be some worms in the bottom tray, but most will go up to where the new food is.

Once you get all trays full, remove the bottom tray, empty it and place it back on top to keep the process going.

Getting the castings dry is always a bit of a challenge, as if they dry too much, it sets like concrete and all the microbes die off.

If you are going to use the castings as soon as they are done, then wet or dry won't matter.

There are various guides to making tea, should be easy to find either using search on any worm forum, or use google and look for AVCT (aerated vermi compost tea).

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 2:59AM
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bibbo

I think that I generate to much kitchen scraps to feeds them every week. But I see what you are saying about how the population grows i could feed more.

thanks!!!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 1:19PM
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randomz

Under ideal conditions, the population can double every 3 months. This gets to mean a lot of worms over a year.

Regularity might be better than the feast and famine approach. Chop your food or run it through a food processor if you want the worms to eat it faster.

For a while I was measuring how much feed I was adding, and it was between .5 and 1kg/day between 2 COWs.

Now I pretty much put all the days veg scraps into the one COW after chopping with the food processor. This is from a family of 3 with a fairly high veg intake.

Just add more food once they start getting into the last lot. By the time they finish that, the new food will be ready for them.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 9:09AM
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monkeyknifefight

I've been going for several years and I bet you'll just get a feel for it and not worry as much about timing. I tend to feed my worms once the scrap bag in the freezer gets full so it comes in bursts. I generate a lot of veggie scraps and they go through it all (3 tier worm factory).

If i was starting a brand new level in a new bin I might scoop some of the black poo from the lower bin and mix it in with the scraps in the new level. Just to give the microbes a head start. Definitely not necessary though they'll get things going.

I also don't really harvest my castings very much. If i'm potting a plant I might scoop some out with as few worms as possible and add it to the mix. I also occasionally harvest some when things get really full and make tea for my veggie beds. I've never been able to generate as much soil as I need for my whole garden so really only harvest when things get too full.

As people said google tea recipes and you'll find some. Basically you will add some kind of sugars to some water, put the poo in some kind of cloth sack and soak it in the water while aerating the water. I use an aquarium pump for that.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 8:43PM
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bigtexworms

if your castings are like wet fudge then you need to add way more bedding with your feedings (this happens a lot when you feed scraps). You can use it like that but it is nasty and hard to handle. If you have a worm factory bin, just move it to the top and leave the lid off for a few days, the worms will go down and the muck will dry out.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 2:11AM
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equinoxequinox

Wouldn't you like to vermicompost more than just kitchen waste? The worms would love to help out around the house with egg cartons and a few small tasty bits or treats of corrigated cardboard. Coffee cup diapers? The things that help make a hot cup of coffee easier to hold.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 12:53AM
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pjames(8/LA)

I find my wife and I generate very little in the way of food scraps. We cook alot of vegetables but most have been frozen so they have already had the waste removed. Even when I harvest my salad stuff from the garden, I use a cut and come back approach pulling off the outside leaves so even then I have hardly any waste. Leftovers are put into the fridge for the next day. The banana peels and onion skins etc aren't really enough to keep a worm bin going. The majority of my kitchen waste is paper towels/napkins, coffee grounds and chicken bones. The bones go into my outside compost.

I rely on cellulose for my worms in the form of junk mail, office paper, and cardboard. Worm bins are an excellent place to put shredded documents. I add UCG from Starbuck's and my own kitchen.

I have brought in compost but I think that has been the source of some of the bugs I have seen. I am now actively 'hot' composting a batch to kill off any pathogens that might be present before I bring it in. That batch of compost has alot of dubious components-several squirrels, a little dog waste, chicken bones, vacuum cleaner contents, etc. It should make an excellent food to generate castings for tea, which has been my goal lately.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 8:04AM
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teaal4

Wait... You can add vacuum cleaner contents to your worm bins??

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 12:45AM
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sbryce_gw

You can add vacuum cleaner contents to your worm bin, but that does not mean that the worms will eat it. I suspect that most of what we vacuum up is not organic.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 1:10AM
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karendee(5WestOFChicago)

"We cook alot of vegetables but most have been frozen so they have already had the waste removed. "

frozen veggies have waste removed? I blended some up and put them in my bin. there was some nice fuzzy stuff growing on them too...

They were veggies that were in the freezer way too long and were yucky frostbitten.

Karen

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 11:42AM
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alabamanicole(7b)

"frozen veggies have waste removed? "

I can see what is meant here. No carrot ends or shells of peas or cores and stems of tomatoes, etc. Frozen veggies are generally ready to use.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 1:48PM
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karendee(5WestOFChicago)

oh good...ready to use is good.

Karen

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 2:03PM
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equinoxequinox

I do not compost vacume bag contents or dryer lint.

Potluck picnic is a great opertunity to feed the little guys with the rind of a watermellon. The people get rindless cubes. That is what my people got so the worms could get the rind.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 7:22PM
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pjames(8/LA)

As far as vacuum cleaner contents goes, the majority of mine is pet hair (three cats and long hair dog) which takes a long time to breakdown. Dust and whatever dirt is tracked in makes up the rest. I use a Dyson so you can see what it looks like. I get a little synthetics I'm sure. I do not put this directly into my worm bin, but rather into my compost. I have taken some of that compost and then turned it through an additional hot composting in my tumbler using alot of grass and UCG's. That was mainly to kill pathogens, hopefully.

Yesterday, I put about 1/2 gallon of this compost into each FT and my bucket bin. It was still a little hot when I first put it in but was cool a few hours later.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 8:53PM
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equinoxequinox

I agree on the long time for hair to decompose. If adding hair to the bin short would be better than long hair. Somehow a few strands of long, long hair got into my bin. When I dig through I worry I am guillotining worms with it. And it is taking forever to decompose. Not long hair would be fine.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 11:42PM
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nazemg

Please help me identify these worms

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 6:35PM
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