Vermicompost/Castings - Compact & Muddy

ArvinBSeptember 22, 2013

Hey there, need some help from the pros. My vermicompost bin is ready for 'harvest'. There's no waste left, lost of tiny red wigglers as well as the adult ones, and lots of cocoons also. I'll get them out of that bin by upward migration to another bin with bedding and waste. The vermicompost is very compact and almost muddy though. I was wondering how on earth can I get something like those you see on various websites where the vermicompost is dry and almost sandy-like. If I leave the muddy product to dry, won't it become concrete like? Thx,

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sjensen2533

I have the same question. My thinking is that if I stop adding moisture, the remaining worms will turn the muddy castings into dryer vermicompost. Is this what other people do? Or is it too late at this point?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 3:32PM
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11otis

Depends on how much muddy product. For small amounts I used an old aluminum roast pan (we don't throw out those disposable roast pans, I always "re-purpose" them). Line it with cardboard (bottom and sides) and spread the mud on it. You can use newspaper too but it breaks apart once wet. Cover with 2 layers of newspaper because I keep forgetting I have this thing drying and don't want the top layer to become rocks. Sort of fluff it every second day or so. About a week or 10 days I will be able to process. It will take longer now that the warm days are over.

In an enclosed environment, worms cannot turn mud into nice crumbly VC w/o our help. The water/moisture has to go somewhere. For the sake of argument, even if they "drink" it, it has to come out again, so it stays in the bin.
In other words, you have to help with evaporation or add rolled up corrugated cardboard and bury them in the mud chimney like. These will help absorb the moisture and even though in small amounts, will help with evaporation.through the corrugated part.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 5:25PM
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armoured

This suggestion may not be appropriate for what you want to do with it - but what about mixing it with regular earth from the garden or soil from potted plants (either when you're re-planting to a larger plant or ones that have died)? At any rate, I think not adding moisture and manually 'fluffing' it or turning it once in a while would also work.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 10:35PM
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merrygardener(z8olywa)

Mine changes from muddy to fluffy with the combination of adding a bit more bedding and benign neglect for about 3 weeks- no feeding at all... Or just no feeding!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 2:39AM
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mirendajean(Donegal, Ireland)

I've often wondered the same. I vermivompost in a big reclaimed crate that is loosely covered. The worms are happily thriving. The stuff I harvest is like wet bread dough. I just take handfuls and fire it directly into the garden as needed.

I'm going to have a surplus this year because it's been unseasonably warm this month (warm days and we've yet to see freezing temps at night.) I'd like to dry and store some over winter. Ireland is so damp! I can't figure how how I'll dry it.

Signed,
A confused woman from VA

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 6:26AM
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armoured

Mirenda: more bedding always seems to be the answer.
Now, what was the question?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 1:30PM
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mirendajean(Donegal, Ireland)

Lol. I've always wondered how to create fluffy, crumbly vermicompost instead of my damp stuff.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 3:32PM
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11otis

I find that using mainly corr. cb (as supposed to newspaper only) makes my VC fluffier, with the proper moisture/water management of course.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 9:51PM
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armoured

My experience is also best with using corrugated cardboard, with next-best results from dry leaves. That said, I find most vc will become very nice, damp but not wet, and almost perfect doing very little except turning occasionally for air, keeping out of rain, and giving it time.
To turn a phrase, 'time heals all verms' ).

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 5:39AM
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mendopete

All the castings I have seen are compact and wet like bread dough but not muddy, when harvested from a non flow-thru system.

I like to dry it by first breaking it up (as good as possible) in a wheelbarrow with a garden rake. Then I dump it into a cardboard box and store in a dry place. The CB absorbs moisture and allows air in. I repeat this again when I am ready to use

WARNING!! the bottom of the box will likely be gone in a few months. The new baby worms that hatch from the cocoons you missed need something to eat and they live damp cardboard. Change or dry the box every few weeks.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 10:46AM
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hummersteve

Ive been told adding more brown to the mix will turn it from mud to fluffy., more cut up cardboard , egg cartons etc.. Certainly turning the entire bed on occasion every couple of weeks or so to keep it from being anerobic,

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 5:56PM
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