Problem: Very dense compost

lville72August 10, 2008

Hello,

TWO ISSUES:

1) I have been vermicomposting since last fall. It seems that I'm getting a lot of nice dark coloring in what I'm harvesting lately, but it seems like it's quite heavy material. It almost feels like a putty. There's nothing resembling what I hear castings look like. Is something wrong?

2) I bought one of those soil testing kits and tested the compost the other day. Ph was 6.5 - Phosphorous and Potassium were abundant - Nitrogen was deficient. I suppose there's a chance I did the test wrong, but it's pretty straightforward. I assumed that, if anything, it would have a high nitrogen content. Did that part of it leak out the tiny drainage holes in the bottom of my bin?

Just some extra info: I usually apply fruit and vegetable scraps, chopped up relatively fine, spent coffee grounds, a little bit of grass or yard waste. And if I add bedding it's usually wet shredded newspaper.

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squeeze(z8 BC)

for starters, home soil tests are a waste of your cash, real soil analysis requires exacting techniques in lab equipment, even home pH kits are just an approximation

nothing wrong, sounds like you've got the right stuff, fresh from the bin it'll always be dense unless you haven't fed for months, and the nitrogen went into growing bacteria and then into humus ... be aware that worm castings are a soil conditioner, not a fertilizer, and like other composts will be low on the scale for all the major nutrients, but have a wide range of all the micro-nutrients, just like the food that supplied the feedstock

Bill

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 7:13PM
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cynthia_h

It sounds like the castings are just too wet. If you're using the Divide and Conquer method of harvesting, the castings will dry out a little bit as you remove the worm-less castings from the tarp/working cloth.

It sounds like you have good compost there! I wouldn't worry too much, given what you've fed the worms--everything sounds very nice.

in el cerrito

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 10:08PM
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