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What should go in each composter?

Posted by battygardnr 8b CenTX (My Page) on
Sun, May 25, 08 at 19:32

I have had an outside compost bin for a year or so. I just set up a worm bin. My DH was not too thrilled about the outside one but is now on board and planning to build a new one. He is not thrilled with the worms either. My compromise was to start really small/cheap. I had a clear 19 qt (so about 4 gal) sterilite bin I wasn't using and filled it 1/3 full with a mix of corrugated cardboard/junk mail/napkins/UCG. I bought a small tub of 50 red wigglers at Petsmart. So my cost so far is $4. If it goes okay I plan to buy more worms soon. I did all of this today and haven't even started feeding them yet. Most still seem to be in the bedding from the tub still.

Anyway, what things are best added to which bin? I use the little newspaper I get from my weekly newspaper for the birdcage then that goes into the outside composter, I assume any poo on it could be too hot for the worms. I have quite a bit of cardboard and figured the worms could get the corrugated and the outside bin could have the soda/cereal boxes.

Should I use 2 collection bins for the house or just put the worm stuff directly in their bin? I finally have the kids/hubby trained on what is compostable so I don't want to confuse them too much. I know the few worms I have won't be eating much at this point, I'm thinking ahead.


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RE: What should go in each composter?

for starters, unless you're keeping the bin in a totally dark environment, paint it or wrap it with something, light is not good for worms - in addition 4.5 gal isn't big enough for much action, it'll be difficult to maintain ideal conditions .... you certainly won't need a 'collection bin' to feed that small a worm bin, even with a larger population, you won't be able to add much food waste [the primary thing to use, in addition to paper/cardboard bedding] without it heating up from bacterial action

OTOH, bacteria is what you want - worms can survive on carbon alone, like leaves and paper, but the point of a worm bin is usually to take care of kitchen waste so it doesn't attract critters to the outdoor compost bin ... if you want castings, but usually bin compoat your kitchen waste, then feed the worm bin on freshly finished hot compost, they love it and will turn it into castings, as well as increasing their own population so you don't need to waste more money buying worms

a short answer is you can add anything to a worm bin that you'd add to a compost bin, but you have to consider the overall management - temp and moisture are the most important things, along with the need for all feedstock to become microbially active before it'll interest the worms, and the fact that they can only eat so much

Bill


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