This always leads to an interesting posting. Today I fed the inside worms moldy melon, coffee grounds, strawberry tops, and banana. The outside worms got grated carrot, watermelon, coffee grounds, and tea bags. I just love having the worms!
Mine don't get specific food, but a mish mash of chopped food.
For example, the other day I chopped onion, broccoli, potato peels, carrot peels, cabbage cores, green bean ends.
Everything gets chopped fine, put into bags and frozen. Then I take a bag out, thaw and drain, and feed to the lads. So they got a bag of this stuff yesterday.
I have not fed my worms for a few days. Last week the men's ministry at my church had a camp out, and came home with extra food. I was there when the extra food was divied up. Besides food for myself, I got some extra for my worms. A couple of days ago I chopped up three over-the hill heads of Romaine lettuce from the camp out and fed them to my worms. I still have some salad greens from the camp out as well as some wilted celery, a few over-the-hill carrots and the last of a head of cabbage to go in the bin. When that is gone, I have horse manure waiting to go in the bin.
I have been saving the scraps and freezing them. I set a bag out for each bin and let it thaw for the day. I then drain the bags and dump them into a big bowl and stir it around and mix it up. I then disperse the contents into each bin evenly so they all three get a pretty good mix of what I had to eat the week before. This time it was banana peels, apple cores, peach pit and skins, celery, carrots, lettuce, green onion tops, cantaloupe rinds, coffee grinds and filters, some eggs shells, corn kernels, and some tomatos. This is ony my third week as a worm farmer but I have three OSCR, jr. bins and they all seem to be doing well. I do need to add some fresh bedding to top them off.
I have a Sam's Club-sized animal cracker container in the fridge for scraps. Once that fills up, I either dump it in the compost bin, or if the worms haven't eaten in a while, the worm bin. I dumped the container last week.
In it was:
several coffee grounds and filters
a few potatoes that went soft
half a pound of strawberry tops
a couple pounds of carrot and celery ends
napkins and kleenexes
toilet paper rolls
some junk mail
a torn up pizza box
some weeds pulled from the lawn
They'll work over that stuff for a few weeks or so.
HAPPY (belated) BIRTHDAY
Can you add a few weeks worth of food at a time??
You don't have to worry about the over feeding relate
diseases?? I would love to feed them a few weeks worth
of food right now since my freezer is containing more
worm food than human food right now. I need to reclaim
Hi All; I fed 2 5 gal. pales of slop made from old bread, layer mash, coffee grinds and filter papers, bananna peels, frozen and thawed, musk mellon rinds diced and frozen and thawed,tips cut from asperagus,potatoes and peels from them and an assortment of other fruit and veggie scraps from snacking. All was put through the food processor except the mellon rinds. Weight 70 pounds will last about 4-5 days.
If you can drain the scraps' water off & wring it pretty dry there is more leeway to add a lot of food safely; this doesn't mean the worms will dispense with it any quicker.
First let a colander or strainer drip away liquid & then plop the mass onto a kitchen towel that you bundle up to twist forcefully; take the pulp out, set it aside, wring out/change the towel & repeat the squeezing out.
What you want to avoid is a lot of wet matter if you don't have the numbers of worms to handle it.
When wet food sits it's weight compresses the air out of the mass & then different bacteria multiply; a fetid stink, even though the food is buried well, is a sign of trouble down inside.
Anaerobic conditions are detrimental to the worm, because they can not "breathe" & your population will decline.
When in doubt make pilot hole(s) to get a sample for examination of moisture to evaluate & if maybe even feel unexpected heat from dis-proportionate nitrogen in scraps.
Thanks for the response. It sounds like pretty messy
process to use kitchen towel to dry out the thawed out
kitchen scrap. I started add a bit more, okay a lot more
recently. I started my 1st 2 gal bin in march with 1 lb
of worms and quickly split them into 2 2gal bins next day
then move all into 1 10gal bin 2 weeks later and then moved
them again into a 55 gal flow through drum about 6-7 weeks
later, not sure exactly how long. I thought I should have
about 3 thousand(best guess). So I feed about once a week,
sometime twice, with about 4 lb of frozen scrap. Because
the bin is outdoor, the bottom of my bin seem to be dry
so occasionally I add a little water just to make sure
that they don't dry up and die. Recently, I might have
added a bit more water, I start to see potworms on the side
of the drum, so I added some drier newspaper and some
ground egg shells, and pot now not seeing pot worms on
the side of the drum any more, although I can
one or two when I shift through my worm population and
make sure that they are okay. I added some eggshells
because I started to some old blood orange and moldy
strawberries so I figure PH could be a little low.
I have been feeding quite a bit of frozen water melon
rinds lately and there is a layer of white stuff on
the them after a couple of days. If too much the
bin smell a little like sewer, I stop feeding and a few
days later, the sewer smell is gone. I hope this is all
Yesterday I fed my worms a dead chipmunk.
It was brought to me by my cat.
I don't mean to gross anyone out, but whenever one of my cats brings in a dead critter (or maybe part of one) I put it in my worm bin. I bury them deep, and then don't mess around in that part of the pile for a while.
They don't smell, and I don't worry about attracting dogs or anything because the bins are in the basement.
I've never yet found any identifiable parts in the finished compost.
This is easier than going out and burying the poor dead critter, and I kind of like feeling like I'm making a small contribution to our environment out of what is often a lamentable situation, like when the cat brings in a little songbird. (I have to admit that does happen.)
Otis: Thanks! Tomorrow is when the fiancee and I are "celebrating" my birthday, so your greeting isn't as belated as you might think.
coffeenut: First and foremost, I have a 30-some odd gallon flow through bin in the garage. I'm not overly concerned with how long it takes stuff to break down in there. I probably put more work into my compost bin, and I'm a cold composting, put stuff in a bin and forget it kind of guy.
I don't bury the food when I add it to the top. I just dump it in there, and spread it out relatively evenly. Every few days, I check on it to make sure it hasn't gone stinky, and might fluff it up a bit. Other than that, I just let the worms, mites, and whatever else might be in there at the time break things down.
I don't have a lot of creatures other than the the worms, but have had different population booms at different times. This doesn't concern me, as I don't use any of the vermipost inside the house, and everything seems to be breaking down fine. I don't drain anything, since the flow through would let extra moisture drain to the bottom section. This has only happened once in the year I've had this bin, and that was over winter when I had the bin covered for warmth.
I never thought about any diseases stemming from feeding the way I do. I don't use the vermipost on edible plants since I put meat and dairy products in it, as well as the fiancee's "feminine products". (I go through the trash each week before putting it out, and if something like that is easily dumped into the bin, in it goes)
Now, I can wait a long time for the vermipost if necessary. I use it mainly to get rid of stuff I don't want going on my garden. I've shoved roasted chickens into the middle of it after pulling off what meat I could. It smelled for a day, and then disappeared. The only thing I've found to really stink the bin and garage up is a beef bone. For some reason, those stink to high heaven for some time, while other meats don't.
Maybe I should clarify:
The "few pounds" of strawberry, carrot and celery ends means the ends from a few pounds of each. Not that the ends weighed up to a few pounds, but I started with a few pounds of vegetables, and then cut the ends off.
Also, if there is some concern with disease from feeding as I do, it would be nice to know.
Almost all of this was whole the fridge went on the fritz supplying most of the banquet. This was my first week with a flow through. It was all ate by the end of the week. I was just amazed at its processing ability.
Thank you lkittle for the useful instructions.
A head and a half of cauliflower
Two heads of celery
A nasty head of lettuce
The rind from a whole very large watermelon
A half bag of spinach leaves
Six large beets chopped up ( the worms don't seem to like them much ) The only thing that still looks whole.
Two bananas and the peels from the rest of the bunch
A weeks worth of coffee filters and regular table scraps
And one small personal sized watermelon that was wilt ripe.
Now I'm worried about where i will find enough food for next week.
Hi fosteem1; yur welcome ! I have all types of system bins and am still learnin the best management methods for each. We keep records as to results in addition to posting in several forums. Its a slow process to see how treating food and bedding effects the performance of the worms in both Biomass increase and casting production. All said and done I find my worms like it on the really moist side of bin conditions. Trickey to keep moisture high and compaction low so plenty of air flow in the bedding. I don't add water anymore just use the food water as the source of moisture.
Thanks for the clarification mndtrp. By diseases, I did not
mean for human but for worms - acidic bed. This is the
one thing I worry the most. I don't want to lose the whole
herd. As my worm population grows, they seem to be able
to handle a lot more than when I first started. So far, it
has been a good experience. However, I had read some
earlier posts that the poster indication everything was
going well but all of a sudden, things that turn and killed
all the worms. I am keeping my fingers crossed that that
will not happy to me, but being a new wormer, I just worry.
If I have something that I've never put in the bin before, I'll use a smaller amount the first time or two. It's pretty rare I'm concerned about something, though.
If I didn't have a larger flow through, I wouldn't put in anywhere near the amount at one time that I do.
Last week I found about a cup of cooked yams in the back of the frig. I rinsed off the butter and gave it to the worms. Yesterday I checked and saw remnants of the the bright orange yam -- and the largest tangle of worms that I have ever found in my WF! I am seriously considering cooking up another yam just for the worms and to encourage another orgy.
I put some horse manure in my bin. I think that stuff makes your worms grow teeth. I'm amazed how they go after it.
Last night, I found an old mushy cucumber in the veggie crisper (kind of ironic) that I went ahead and chopped into thirds and put one piece in each of my bins. This afternoon when I went to give them my weekly feeding, I uncovered the bedding and they were absolutely balled up inside the cucumber rind. I bet they are gonna love all of the goodies I put in there this week, including a fresh cantaloupe rind from this morning.
I don't understand the concern about acidic conditions in the worm bin. I have fed my worms whole tomatoes with no problems. The worms devour them in just a few days. I have also fed them orange slices with no problems. What my worms don't like is anaerobic conditions in the bin. I have lost worms by overfeeding and letting the bin go anaerobic.
acidic bed - I believe is anaerobic condition in the bin.
The worms get sick and need medication to get better or
they die. That is what I worry about.
I've read that if the change in pH is gradual, the worms can tolerate a very wide range, from fairly acidic to a little basic. If I've got something acidic, I just be sure to add a little first and see what happens. I haven't had pH problems. Now anaerobic from over-feeding... Yep, I've had that. It's one that's worth avoiding! (Esp in my studio apt!).
I did burry some straight protein once without problems, but I didn't dig that part up for a long while. I also found some stale dog food in the back of the storage that had been there for years (after I found out my dog was allergic to it.) I soaked and drained the kibble, then I burried it under at least 6 inches of bedding and had no problems. I did check for anaerobic conditions, and I didn't add more than about a quarter inch layer. Since then I've had too much stuff in the freezer and have needed that space more than the storage space, so I haven't tried any more. I'll get back to the dog food eventually. I think the dog food will be a winter thing. I like cantaloupe :-)
My stacking bins are more likely to go anaerobic than my flow through.