Feed Milorganite to Worms?

iLoveLawnOctober 5, 2013

Is anyone here into organic lawn care or organic gardening? Ever wonder if worm bins would accept a 1/4 C of Milorganite? Anyone ever try it?

If you don't know what Milorganite is, it's a by-product of a water treatment center (treated human poop), used as a lawn fertilizer but has a really low NPK percentage.

Just curious...

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Buddy of mine who professes to be extremely knowledgeable regarding soil microbiology (Texas A & M) advises against using any type of sludge.

He states, if we insist, to only utilize this compost on non-edibles such as flowers, bushes, etc. And never use any that does not come without an ingredient breakdown.

Milorganite = biosolids. Biosolids is just a commercial name for "sludge" repackaged to make a buck.

I'm kinda partial to my wormies. I'd never put them through that. LOL

It would be safer to use your own poo.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 2:19AM
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"It would be safer to use your own poo." That's pretty funny, I hope you're not serious.

Maybe your buddy can make a more informed post.

Biosolids have been in use for decades as a soil amendment and fertilizer in agriculture, including fruits and vegetables sold in grocery stores. So tell your buddy he's 30 years too late in his advice.

I poked around other forums, and found another vermicomposter interested in the topic

See Link: http://vermicomposters.ning.com/profiles/blogs/vermicomposting-biosolids?id=2094123%3ABlogPost%3A60016&page=1#comments

which led me to this research published in the Compost Science and Utilization Journal


Pretty interesting to read vermicomposting biosolids has been done before...but haven't found any info yet on home experiments.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 6:53PM
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I suppose, in your wisdom, being an assh*le equates to intelligence.

I was kidding. But YOU might as well poo in your own compost if you're considering this. OR you could just trust the bio companies too, like Monsanto. But, then, I suppose it's gratifying to hang out on the internet and pretend to be an expert because you can read scholarly work.

My buddy is busying winning awards and creating scholarly work. It's why I didn't use his name.

Do let me know how ignoring age-old wisdom works out for ya. Mmm K?

Carry on...

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 7:44PM
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I did not know what Milorganite is. Now I know.

In the 70's a teacher brought us to a polluted river bank. There he said he used biosolids (did they call it that back then?) from the water treatment plant in his food garden. Said it was perfectly fine. I have no problem with carefully treated poo probably on non edibles but I am not with the other chemicals, metals, etc.

"home experiments" what home experiments? This is how grandpa did it, how everyone did it, until the house was plumbed in the 70 or 80's. His garden was great. He had only a tiny bit of land but it was all garden. The composting methods would help for those in city multi family tenements.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 9:52PM
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Coupe -

Never said I was an expert, far from it. When questions are posted here I'm assuming the replies would be objective, include personal experience, and yes, include sharing of reliable sources - not "i know a dude who..." or "use your own poo".

But if you really think I should use my own poo I am genuinely interested. Have you done this? How did it go?

Equinox -

Thanks for your response. My question asked if the worm bins would accept biosolids, not asking about the use of biosolids in the garden / edibles. This isn't a gardening forum.

Just as vermicomposters buy and feed Worm Chow to their wormies to enhance the end product, I am wondering if anyone feeds Milorganite or any other biosolid as well to better their bin.

Since my post has obviously piddled out, I'm guessing no one has done it. Once I grow my worm population I'll have to experiment with it.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 12:51AM
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As a former creator of Milorganite, I wouldn't give it to the worms. We eat and poop out pretty nasty stuff in Brew Town. I don't get why one would pay for stuff just to add to a worm bin. For me the point is to turn garbage into something useful. You're already making fertilzer. If you want to see how castings and Milorganite work together, just add them both to the garden. That's my two cents.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 3:06PM
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Ain't it kinda funny that in every other aspect of wormin', we operate under the mantra that "we'll feed them no animal fat, or too much acidic stuff, or salt, or any of all the things that are bad for we humans to eat".

Using that supposition, if we are OK with providing them with poop of any and all persuasions, isn't it logically assumptive that we should be OK with partaking of those same things?

Understand......I do not present any excrements into my bin environments so I wouldn't be assumed to follow those edicts.


    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 6:52PM
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Please perish the thought of ever using Milorganite (sewage sludge) at all.

The only good connection with worms and milorganite/sewage I've heard so far is to use worms on an industrial scale to decontaminate sewage of heavy metals and toxic chemicals that will not breakdown under a normal treatment or compost cycle.

The worms concentrate some really nasty stuff in their tissues so after the castings are retested and the contaminants are at "safe" levels, the worms themselves become the toxic waste that are sent to the furnace. This reduces the toxic waste volume and thus the cost of toxic disposal.

What is more cost effective than using industrial vermiculture is to con home owners and inorganic farmers to BUY the rebranded sewage as "Milorganite".

No one is suggesting using human excrement in our gardens since this is very unpleasant and there are real risks involved. ChickenCoup may have been facetious about using your own excrement would be safer than using Milorganite to feed your worms but the science does back it up.

As an individual, you are aware of all the things you eat, the medications you take, the chemicals you chose to flush. Multiply that risk by the consumption and irresponsible disposal habits of your entire city. For example, there are many medications that women take that are not broken down by sewage processing (I'm a guy). Not to mention chemo drugs...etc.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2013 at 2:02PM
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I have wondered whether Milorganite is made from the solids that went through humans (from the primary settling basin) or from the sludge of bacterial and other microorganism biomass grown in aerated basins in the nutrient-rich water and deposited in the secondary basins, or easily it could be both. The Milorganite website is not clear on that.

For worms, I'd want to read up a little on their tolerance to high iron and phosphorus, and maybe even to alum. Reduced iron (ferrous sulfate) is added, I believe, to oxidize and coprecipitate troublesome phosphorous into the microbial sludge. Alum may be used also to or settle solids. As may polymers.

It's an interesting question.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2013 at 8:33PM
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