Will alfalfa work as food?

tom123_gwJuly 4, 2008

I'm a newbie here. I've got three twenty-gallon plastic buckets which I am using to grow red worms, mostly for bait. If I get enough someday I might sell some, but that won't be any time soon.

I have been using kitchen scraps as food and I find that they stink when I dig them up to get at the worms. I was wondering if I can use alfalfa as a food for the worms. It shouldn't smell as bad. I still plan to use kitchen scraps, but perhaps somewhat less than I am using now.

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squeeze(z8 BC)

the stink is from improper management, a worm bin fed entirely with food waste should smell like good rich earth

the smell is from pockets of anaerobic activity, you have food waste rotting rather than decomposing - you may be adding too much at once, and the liquid [nearly all food waste is 85% water] is collecting in the bottom, driving out air ... the worms won't be hanging out in the area that smells offensive to you, they're picky too

as for the alfalfa, it's very high nitrogen, meaning when it gets wet, and mixed with the carbon material you have for bedding [you are using some non-food bulk material?], it's going to heat up with bacterial hot-composting .... and if it gets anaerobic, it'll smell just the same

I'd suggest figuring out why you're setup isn't working well .... it's not because of using food waste

Bill

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 12:27AM
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tom123_gw

Thanks, Bill, do you suggest that I throw out whatever seems to be smelling?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 3:29PM
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susanfromhawaii

Part of the problem might be not enough surface area to help with oxygen. I've read that a larger, shallower bin does better. Since clearly you've got the buckets already, perhaps 'fluffing' them once or twice a week would overcome that. Also, shredded cardboard on the bottom and a drain hole on the bottom might be the ticket.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 3:53PM
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tom123_gw

Thanks, Susan, I put cardboard on the bottom and fluffed up the rest. It doesn't smell too bad now and the worms seem to be doing well. I'm wondering about switching to a larger, shallower bin however--per your suggestion.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 2:38PM
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tclynx

we use 2' by 4' bins that are pretty deep. They are made of wood and allow more air through the bin than plastic does. Mixing in cardboard is the best bet with the stuff you have now. And some drain holes would probably be a good idea.

Here is a link that might be useful: TCLynx

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 4:52PM
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