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'Pre composting' food

Posted by sk290 9b ( on
Sun, Nov 15, 09 at 16:41

I've read a lot of comments in this forum about 'pre composting' food, as in 'store it in a bucket and let it rot for a couple of weeks before feeding it to the worms. I was wondering if you guys get bugs and stuff in it. Will it smell?

My bin is new and the worms are not up to speed with the eating and I end up throwing away the little kitchen scrap we have. The freezer has 3 large containers already and my boyfriend will soon be complaining I'm sure. lol

I've ordered a pound of worms to add to the bin so I expect the consumption to be increasing. However, pre composting sounds like a good idea. Afterall, that process has to happen anyways before the worms can eat the food anyways. Is that how it works?



Follow-Up Postings:

RE: 'Pre composting' food

Throwing food in a bucket to let it rot is not the same as pre-composting. Composting requires airflow. If you just throw food in a bucket to let it rot, I would imagine that it would stink and attract bugs. If, on the other hand, it is composted, it should not stink, though it may still attract bugs, and the worms will go bonkers over it.

It takes a while for a new bin to get established. What you are waiting for is a good crop of microbes to take over the bin. Feeding compost can only help. Feeding stinky food that has been left to rot may not help, since that isn't the type of microbes you want in the bin.

The bottom line is that the worms can't eat the food until it is mushy, and the won't be interested until it is loaded with microbes. Leaving food out for a day or two to start decomposing might help, or you might just as well put it in the worn bin to start decomposing.

RE: 'Pre composting' food

If you really feel a need to precompost, use a 5 gallon bucket. Add lots of cardboard, egg carton, or leaves. It will only get the process started.

You might just have to throw out the scraps until the bin becomes more active. If you have a garden to put them in, you could just bury them. They'll compost by next spring. If an animal digs them up, oh well. If you know someone else with a compost bin, donate them to that person and later ask for some half finished compost to add to your worm bin. The worms go nuts for it.

RE: 'Pre composting' food

You don't want a stinky anaerobic mush, so aeration and a mixture of material is necessary. Throw in some shredded newspaper or brown leaves along with the kitchen scraps. The advantage for me personally in letting the scraps start to rot outside the worm bin is that I can put it in partial sun. That speeds the decaying process up a bit. My worm bin is in a dark place. Of course scraps will eventually decompose there also - just a little slower. As temps cool down it might be significantly slower.

None of these preliminary steps (freezing, chopping food, pre-composting, etc.) are necessary to vermicomposting. It just speeds things up. I'm guessing some of the preliminaries can also improve the consistency of the compost and make harvesting easier, but I won't be able to verify that until I see my first harvest with this system.

RE: 'Pre composting' food

That's great information. I never thought about the relationship between composting and air flow. It totally makes sense!

I wish my worms would hurry up and do their thing. This patience thing is getting to me. lol



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