Food to vermicompost proportion

squirmwurmJuly 11, 2013

I know this really depends on what you are actually feeding the worms, but does anyone have an estimate of how many pounds of food scraps that it takes to produce a pound of vermicompost?
Or for example how many pounds of food does it take to make a, say, 5-gallon bucket of castings?

For example, does anyone keep track of how much food they actually put into their basket? Something like - start out with 1lb of worms, feed them a total of 150 pounds of food for 9 months and that produces 3lb of worms + a full 5-gallon bucket of castings??

Thanks guys!

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    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 5:40PM
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Me neither.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 4:36AM
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The closest I have see are figures for BSFL Black Solider Fly Larvae. The food scraps or waste are 90 to 95 percent disappeared or cut down in volume I think. Also because water weighs so much and the amount of it in food scraps can vary so much perhaps it would be better to do volume than weight. Other than that I'm with the two guys above. Perhaps vermicomposting is more of an art than a science.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 4:12PM
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Perhaps?? Persure!

One thing I've learned lately: When I started worming a long time ago, it was easy to figure out what to do because there was about one authority on how to do it. You did what "Worms Eat My Garbage" told you to do.

Now, there are experts everywhere....all with their own different "best" ways of doing it. It is absolutely harder for newbies to figure out what to do.

Newbies: what to do: Get a copy of the book "Worms Eat My Garbage", follow those wonderful lessons and when you become good at it, make it lots more complicated with your "new, improved" way.

The reason all those different ways work: because the worms are so damned forgiving and easy to work with.

Frankly, if a wormer has a disaster worming....and it ain't heat-related, said wormer probably oughta re-read the book and cut back to a basic little plastic tote bin, a few worms, and grow with the herd.


    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 4:39PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I went to a class at the Ag center. The lady that raises lots of worms said to give them a cup of food a week and to give them lots of shredded newspaper and kept it wet not flooded. I have about a foot of castings already after only 3 weeks of having my worms. 5 gallon bucket? My God! You would need a ton of worms! I used to have about 300 worms and I only got about about a quart of castings from them in about a year's time.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 6:35PM
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A cup of food a matter what, or how many worms.

If I gave a cup of food on Monday, and it was visibly gone on Wednesday, I would rachet up the cup of food schedule. Conversely, if after a week that first cup of food was only depleted a little bit (always put the food in one spot in a little pile) I wouldn't introduce any more food until that first cup was visibly gone.(moderation)


Moderation, diversity, patience

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 7:01PM
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I think Chuckiebtoo gave the definitive answer. At one time it was estimated that cow manure reduced down to 1/4 of its original volume. I suspect anything else we feed the worms reduces down more than that.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 9:40PM
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squirmwurm: you might want to check this out. Is this what you're after?

Here is a link that might be useful: From a member of another worming forum

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 10:26PM
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otis11 I like your link. What I like most about it is they not only track the food input but also the bedding input. So many new vermicomposters are thinking food input without thinking about similar fresh bedding input. Food % added compared to bedding % added is a critical point. So often new vermicomposters do not have the information to along with adding food also add bedding as a critical step of vermicomposting. An unlimited amount of food might be added as long as a percentage wise (300%?) (by weight or volume ?) amount of bedding is also added.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 12:21AM
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eqeq: so, this is the one I'm most agreeable with, just as you mentioned because it records the bedding input. I might be over thinking this whole thing and end up in a circle. What about water input? And the wormfood, how many % of that is water and in between recording, how many % evaporated? Like 1 lb of watermelon vs 1 lb of potato peel or carrot pulp from juicing.
I estimated my input in lbs. (mind you: estimated/eye-balling not recording) but measured my output in gallons.
I did the output in lbs. at the beginning until one day I had a wetter harvest and started thinking: when is the correct time to weigh it? At what stage of dryness?
Mind you, my style of wormfarming is s u p e r low-tech and poor man style as much as possible so I stay away from acquiring expensive gadget like moisture meter and the like. I do have a moisture meter I bought years ago for about 7 bucks. However, whether I soaked it in water or stuck it in dry sand, the needle pointed at the same spot. I guess I got what I paid for.
It's like buying soil, one bag is labeled in volume (@ what stage of compression?) and the other in weight.(how wet is it?). How to compare the price???
Sorry for the rambling but maybe somebody has a solution/suggestion. I'm having a head ache and it's so hot out, need a glass of beer.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2013 at 2:01PM
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priswell(9 CA)

>>I used to have about 300 worms and I only got about about a quart of castings from them in about a year's time.Worms are ultimate trash compactors. You pile up a bunch of Organic Material, and in a few days it seems to collapse into nothing! You pile it up with some more OM, and in a few days, it looks like you're back to square one. You keep doing this over and over until somewhere along the line, you say to yourself, "Hey! My compost bin is starting to overflow with compost!" That's when you start making plans to separate out the compost from the worms and do something with it.

The first year is the longest.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 9:31PM
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