how to keep compost moist?

CelbriseSeptember 14, 2012

im trying to start a vermicompost pile. it's actually a compost pile consisting on 2 different things. 1 worms ( i think majority of them are burrowing worms :/) and milipedes. the milipedes don't get huge and they are small and non toxic.

i know milipedes compost.

the thing is they both need moist environments. i was wondering how do you keep it moist i mean i know you spray the surface here and their but what about the bottom and middle as well?and also how often do you need to moisten it.

PS- yes i know i ask a lot of questions on this section that is just because im new to vermicomposting and want to do it right the first time around i do compost regularly but that is a whole different story and easier but slower imo

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I am confused as to why the top of your vermicompost bin keeps drying out and needing water. I keep wondering if you could just flip the bin over into a new bin so the possibly very wet bottom could now be the top? This would have the added advantage of suffocating any fruit fly larvae in the process.

If the bottom of the bin smells really, really bad then it need3d more oxygen. To get that evened out maybe fork the material into a bin that has tons of dry bedding on the bottom.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 2:17AM
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it's evaporating because someone threw away the lid to this square bucket. the top portion is drying off. but i kept kept pong lining on it to both block out sunlight thats comming in from the windows and to stop it from evaporating to quickly. it's on losely so it doesn't suffocate them and i remove it so often during the day to get more air.

as for the fruit flies and smell. the smell isn;t the compost itself it's some weird fruit i put into it. it's a root actually but it went spoiled and has some vingary smell to it so i found out it was that and some bok choy leaves as well that i put in that making it smell bad.

the fruit flies are just their because i didn't burry the foot till later now they are burried. but come monday i think i will remove it turn the bin mix the materials and put them in a round bucket and i know we have load of lids for those and i already have one set up that way it can help the evaporation and keep it dark more easily. to solve both my problems.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 5:00PM
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I lay sheets of moistened newspaper on top of my pile and spritz it periodically to keep it moist. Rarely have to spritz. Always seems moist.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 5:10PM
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buckstarchaser(5 MI)

The cure to all that stuff is to make the pile very large and put it outside. The size will keep enough water and the right temperatures somewhere in the heap that there will always be a perfect spot. Trying to replicate that in a home is more work than it's worth unless you are really into it.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 8:29AM
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actually leaving it outside will actually dry it up fast. outside is in the high 80's since i live in Hawaii. indoors is much cooler. i have done this before without worms the compost had dried up within a day.

it only seems as the top is getting dried up the rest of it is staying moist so i don't think i have much to worry about if i spray it once per day. i have been doing this lately seems to be fine

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 8:08PM
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buckstarchaser(5 MI)

It gets into the 80's here in Michigan too, but the speed a pile dries at is related to how much water is held inside it, not just temperature, wind speed and humidity levels. If you have a mound of dry leaves and palm fronds and spray it with a hose for an hour, practically none of that water will have actually absorbed into the pile. Dry leaves are not porous so there's nowhere for the water to go, and palm fronds are waxy and repel water.

If your piles are drying too quickly, try adding paper and cardboard products. You can even add finished compost to hold the moisture in your new compost. Covering or surrounding the pile will also help lower evaporation.

My comment about doing a worm bin outdoors was more related to the large decrease in the effort required to make it work when you increase its overall size and mass. As you opened this thread with a perceived problem that related to excessive effort and worry, an outdoors bin seemed like a valid suggestion. If your bin is moist and fine as you now describe, then there was no issue to begin with.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 8:31PM
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yes i just turned it as their isn't much worms in the bin only about 2 and i have a seperate bin indoors for milipedes to compost in.

but i don't think composting outdoors here will be viable theirs no shade at my house so the worms would just get cooked alive/baked pretty much. i don't plan on keeping an outdoor vermicompost anyways too many stray cats and people would love to steal the worms/compost in general as they are already stealing our fruits and vegetables -.-

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 10:12PM
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