Another Can o Worms query

evoluke(Adelaide SA)July 30, 2008

I'm curious to know from others who have the can o worms how long it has taken for your 3 stacks to be full. I got my can o worms bin plus 1000 worms almost 1 year ago and at this point i'm only into my second tray which probably isn't even a quarter full. does this sound fairly slow, i don't think my worm population has increased that much, but it is certainly not diminishing.

I've now built a second bin out of a old recylcling bin and have put some worms in there to see if a different scene for them makes any difference.

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I filled up my can o worms fairly quickly. It is actually working quite well for me now, after a bumpy start. I don't think you are adding your waste quickly enough. If you wait for a tray to be fully processed before putting the next tray on, you are never going to get all three going.

I am also much happier now, since I added more worms. I started with less than a pound, given to me by a friend. That just wasn't enough. I added three more pounds, and the bin is working really well now. I just harvested my first tray this week, and I am very pleased.

Good luck with your worms.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 9:31AM
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bettyn_gardener(9 Sunset 14)

If you haven't lifted the trays to see what's on the very bottom, you may be surprised. I found a LOT of worms and enough "stuff" to nearly fill a tray.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 10:16AM
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evoluke(Adelaide SA)

yes betty i have noticed that the very bottom tray has alot of castings and worms in it. it still seems to be alot slower than i thought it would be. i can't see the point of adding extra food in, because thats not going to increase the consumption rate. to me it seems that the worm population is just not very large and that they have stabilised at maybe 2000-3000 worms, not the 15000 plus that i thought would be there after a year. i'm not really adding any more food in now than i did a year ago. i'll add a bit more now as i'd hate to think i was starving the little fellows.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 12:04AM
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zaleon(Gauteng ZA)

Hi there. I got my can of worms from a friend in about mid January of this year. This system is about halfway through its second tray now. Maybe that sounds a little bit slow, but our winter started June, with half of April, and most of May having been cold. So half of the time, the temperature caused the worms to slow down their activities in any case. In a way, this was a blessing, since it gave me time to learn the ropes of vermicomposting. Suddenly I read literature on worm composting with the eyes of (a little bit) experience, or differently stated, more critically. Also, I had to deal with pests (especially ants), and also learned that much more than worms live in the can of worms. I am now going to reread some of the material I looked at during a stage when I was only thinking about vermicomposting. I'm already contemplating increasing my involvement with vermicomposting by trying more bins, looking at trenches, etc. So, going slow have had its advantages.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 1:56AM
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Evoluke, I have a Worm Factory, which I think works pretty much the same as the Can O Worms. I've had it for two or three years, and before that I had 2 Rubbermaid totes.
I have always looked at my worms as being "responsible" for taking care of all my vegetable waste. I don't try to figure out if they are hungry or if they have finished what they already gave them before I add a new bunch of stuff. I just add it when I have it. Not only that, but I sometimes get garbage from friends who don't compost and who put it aside for me. I do have an outdoor bin as well, so once in a while I have put stuff there, but mostly the worms rise to the occasion.
Once or twice things have got too wet in the worm bin, and I had to add extra cardboard and paper. I have had a million fruit flies at some points, but they don't really bother me because they're down in the basement. Again, I add more dry stuff and put out some vinegar traps and they disappear.
I do admit that my Worm Factory is probably not big enough for all this garbage, because by the time I fill up the last tray, the stuff in the bottom tray is still full of worms. So recently I set up a new bin (flow-through type) so I can process more stuff. (Of course I am also getting more garbage from friends, and going out and getting horse poop, and tearing up a whole lot more cardboard, so I am probably fooling myself if I think I'm going to have enough worm bin space!)
Oh well, this vermicomposting thing does seem to have the ability to turn you into an addict.
But here's the bottom line: I have a zillion worms!
They are healthy and apparently are reproducing to beat the band. I have been giving them away on Freecycle this summer and I started two friends out with worms and I STILL have a zillion.
Now I know people have different needs and environments and experiences, but my inclination is to think that you need to just fill up those trays! Put in more kitchen scraps, add shredded cardboard, throw in a little horse or cow manure, and see what happens. Make 'em work for a living!
If I'm totally wrong here, I hope someone will throw in better advice, but that's my two cents' worth. It works for me.
Good luck to you, and GO WORMS!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 12:53PM
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zaleon(Gauteng ZA)

Go mbetts!! Way to approach things!!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 2:30PM
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I feed mine about every three days, after I have the food compost aerobically in a kitchen pail designed for composting. I haven't been feeding the bottem bin because that seems to have tha most babies in it. I think they prefer the predigested stuff. I try not to disturb the bin because they are thin and delicate. I can actually see through them and see the dark food that they have in their centers, like a long dark line through them. They have really multiplied in the four months sice I started. the bottem bin is only a couple of inches deep but it seems enough for them to grow in, and then move up to the feeding bin above. Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 1:41AM
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evoluke(Adelaide SA)

i borrowed a paper shredder a couple of weeks ago and so went mad shredding. i placed a heap in my second layer and when i checked yeterday there were tonnes of worms crawling through. i would have thought the conditions were ok for the worms without adding more shredded paper (the can o worms is dark enough) but it seems this addition has made the worms happier and me too as they are now migrating from the bottom layer. i'm one happy worm farmer now.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 6:50PM
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