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Help they're running away

Posted by kansastropic 5 (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 8, 08 at 12:48

I have about 2300 red wiggler worm in a 28 qt. rubbermaid container with 4-6 inch deep material consisting of leaves, rotten twigs and dirt. I keeep it about as wet as a wrung out sponge. Recently about 10 pounds of apple peelings and cores were added to the mix. The bin is in the basement so it's dark most of the time. I really just want the vermicompost for my plants so I figured a dense population was OK. I think they may be overcrowded but I'm not sure. Can anyone tell me why they keep crawling out the top?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Help they're running away

My guess would be that the apples added enough extra liquid that things are a bit too soggy in the bottom of the bin. You might pull the contents of the bin aside and tip the bin up to see if there is liquid pooling down there. If there is, remove it with a turkey baster, or add pieces of dry corrugated cardboard to soak it up.
I'm not sure what you mean about crawling out the top. Do you mean the worms are climbing up the side of the bin? Is there no lid on it?
If you have the lid on, that will keep the worms in, but you do need ventilation. If the lid is tight, that exacerbates the excess moisture problem. How is your bin ventilated?
Don't worry about the worm population being too dense. If they have food, they will expand their population. If there's not enough, the number of worms will diminish.
Hope this helps.

RE: Help they're running away

  • Posted by sqh1 z7 NC (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 9, 08 at 22:03

I would guess 2300 reds would be about 2 lbs.
Adding 10lbs of apples into a 7 gallon bin seems almost impossible.
2lbs of worms would not be able to handle 10lbs of food for weeks and the food sitting there would cause many problems. (ie heating, too much moisture), causing your worms to flee to a better environment.

RE: Help they're running away

most likely the major problem is the apple [trust me] - apple waste is extremely acidic and large quantities of it immediately get anaerobic, and may well generate heat as alcoholic fermentation and acetic fermentation [vinegar] proceed rapidly

also as said above, the bin is waaaaay too small for that quantity of waste and worms, not to mention the fact that twigs and "dirt" [I assume you mean soil, not something you got outta the vacuum bag] add nothing to vermi bedding


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