Drying Vermicompost/castings Question

billthewormmanJuly 19, 2012

Hello all,

Just had a couple of questions I thought maybe someone could help me with...

What is the easiest/best way to dry out vermicompost/castings to give it a bit longer shelf life? Also would anyone know roughly the amount of weight which would be lost by drying it out? Sort of silly questions but something that was on my mind. I've spent quite a bit of time reading over various posts in this forum over the last couple years, very helpful. Thanks in advance for any help.

Bill

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mendopete

Hi Bill. I do not think drying your castings would increase the shelf life. I believe the opposite is true (keep damp) as long as it can breathe. I dry my castings to be able to sift it easier and more effectively, but I feel as though the castings may suffer some as microbes bake in the sun. I put the VC in heavy duty cardboard boxes or old milk crates for a few weeks. I store sifted castings in full shade, in sandbags which breath.The bags hold about a cubic foot and weigh about 40lbs. I sold a few last week for $20 each :)

Good luck

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 5:39PM
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PeterK2

I'll second the fact you don't want to dry them. For one thing it become concrete (vermicrete?) when fully dry and is very hard to get moist again. You'll also lose all the biological benefits of it.

What I do is I store them in a ventilated rubber maid tub (my old RM worm bin) which will include a number of worms and cocoons as I don't try and pick every single one out. So after harvesting, I break up any large chunks, spread things out (even tossed in some cardboard and the odd banana peel) and keep it for months. I check it every month or so as I use some, or add some more harvested stuff and will add a bit of water if needed. I find the aging and worms still working on it gives me a lovely moist and fluffy VC product.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 7:43PM
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billthewormman

Thanks for the replies. The reason I am asking such a question is as follows: I have a flow through bin made from a plastic 50 gallon barrel, it works very well and seems to process a lot of food. The finished product is thoroughly digested, it just seems very wet(not to the point of dripping). I removed 5-10lbs about a week and a half ago and put it in a plastic container with no lid, it wasn't more than a 4 days and i found that the bottom of the container had about 1/4" of "liquid" in it. It was stored in a dark place, but it has been very very hot here over the past couple of weeks. I think that the heat may have caused this problem???? What do you think? I have never had this problem in the past....

Thanks
Bill

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 9:34PM
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PeterK2

Is it a tall container? Then there's little surface area for a lot of wet compost. If you really want to dry it out, you can dry a long and wide but shallow rubber maid bin. This gives maximum surface area to help dry things out. The 10 Gal for example.
http://www.rubbermaid.com/Category/Pages/ProductDetail.aspx?CatName=storage&SubcatId=Roughneck&Prod_ID=RP091418

Some holes in the sides will help with some convection to get air flow going around also.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 11:23PM
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