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Hellbender Bin Update

Posted by hellbender 6, VA (My Page) on
Fri, Dec 7, 12 at 9:26

Well, it has been 9 days since I started my OSCR Jr. bin with one pound of EF worms. The initial feeding has gone away. The worms are actively munching on the second feeding and are just getting started on the third feeding.

I pulled back the bedding to reveal what is going on with the second feeding and took a photograph which is included.

Most of the worms are congregated around the vegetable/fruit matter with very few to be located elsewhere. The worms get a very consistent diet composed of salad vegetable trimmings, banana skins and coffee grounds.

There must be a lot of worm movement close to the surface. I say this because each morning I notice raised areas on the surface of the bedding not unlike mole runs that you would find in your yard. Has anyone else noticed this?

The bin smells like damp paper. I guess I should not be surprised since that is mostly what the bin contains. I believe everything is functioning well.

HB

This post was edited by hellbender on Fri, Dec 7, 12 at 9:52


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Hellbender Bin Update

HB we need an update. I like the pic:)

My worms are top fed and spend most of their time in the top 3-4" of the bed. They like the air, and keep the surface fluffy.


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RE: Hellbender Bin Update

mendopete writes:

"HB we need an update."

Things still seem to be going well. I made my fifth pocket feeding today. The worms seem capable of dispensing with about a pound of garbage every 2-3 days. A couple of times recently I have discovered small worms (red and about 3/4-1" ling) wandering lethargically on the surface of the bedding. I leave them alone and they go away. Could these be a new generation of worms after only a little over two weeks.? I have also noticed that the worms seem to be getting bigger and more active.

"My worms are top fed and spend most of their time in the top 3-4" of the bed. They like the air, and keep the surface fluffy."

Since eventually I need to coax the worms upwards into another bin, I think at some point I will try top-feeding to get them used to the idea that the goodies lie above. :)

HB


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RE: Hellbender Bin Update

"top-feeding to get them used to the idea that the goodies lie above. :)" Well the good stuff does fall on to the top of the pile, out of the sky, like magic, onto the worm beds, from the backside of animals.

Worm Factory sellers tried to explain this to worms in their handy dandy manual. Many worms still preferred the cellar.

We need smarter worms.


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RE: Hellbender Bin Update

My worms also go for the veggies. The like the pulp from carrot juice I make every morning. I pour the pulp in a little corner and thats always where I find every single one of the worms the next day. They say screw the cardboard dand the coconut coir and go straight for the decomposing veggie pulp instead.


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RE: Hellbender Bin Update

OK. It's been a month since I started my OSCR Jr bin. I have made a complete cycle of pocket feedings. After having been away for the last week I wanted to do a little excavating to check the health of the bin. The worms were alive and doing well. The last two areas of pocket feeding were sunk down about an inch. I never noticed this before because I was always messing with things. The bottom inch of the bin was quite compacted so as long as I was disturbing the worms anyway, I fluffed the entire bin. I was quite surprised and happy about the fact that there were virtually no identifiable food remains in any part of the bin. There were clumps of material which I broke apart which seemed to be composed entirely of castings. The moisture content seemed about right. The overall color of the bin contents was much darker and I would estimate that one half of the original bedding had been consumed. See image. I think that after another month of feedings, that I will be ready to add another tub. I am concerned about adding additional bedding (currently about 7-8 inches thick since I am getting some compaction. I am thinking that I will continue to add food for the next month and assuming that most of the bedding has been consumed by then . . . . adding another tub.

Comments/advice? Thanks.

HB


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RE: Hellbender Bin Update

I assume the new bin will be a second tier for this bin. One more month may not be long enough to get you there.

From what you are describing, you are doing everything right. With 7 to 8 inches of bedding, you don't need to add more, especially if you want to add another tier in a month.

You can do one of two things....

Keep feeding this bin for several more months. If you do that, you will want to add a thin layer of new bedding every time you feed, but stop adding bedding a few weeks before you add the new tier.

Add a new tier in a month or so. If you do that, don't add any new bedding to this bin. The new bedding will go in the upper tier.

Most of the worms will move up, but some will prefer to stay in the lower bin. Give the lower bin a couple of months to completely break down and most of the worms move up. Harvesting the lower bin should be pretty easy after that.


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RE: Hellbender Bin Update

organicpanik: "They say screw the cardboard dand the coconut coir and go straight for the decomposing veggie pulp instead." " "We can't have them gallivanting up there like kangaroos, can we?" The worms are headed straight for the sugar in the carrot residue. Unless that is not a quote from Mary Poppins but instead by David Glasgow Farragut.

But the way you described it is pretty much the way it goes. Just like on the Titanic... Watermelon and sweet potatoes first; Egg cartons and cardboard last.


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RE: Hellbender Bin Update

hellbender: I'm going to pick on you now. Ready?

Mostly because your bin started off so perfectly. We should all be so blessed worm wise. But we aren't.

At first look what I see is it appears is unknownst to you the worms have in the evening crawled along the upper unbedded edges of the bin and pooped. This actually means the bin is doing well. Very well.

"I believe everything is functioning well. HB"

So didn't we all at some point. We all felt this way.

"Comments/advice? Thanks. HB" Ummmm. You did everything absolutely positively perfectly. I have never seen anybody do that before. Are you sure you are not a cyborg?

Insert picture of perfectly in every way bedding of perfect structure and size.

"From what you are describing, you are doing everything right." Perfect sbryce, perfect. Who does that? Cyborg I tell you. Cyborg vermicomposters. They are here. Everygbody else messed with the instructions. He followed them perfectly. Who? does that? Cyborg I tell ya.

"you will want to add a thin layer of new bedding every time you feed," I though at first you said a thin layer of vermicompost. At some point the bio-dynamic compounds and preparations inside of cow horns is what we are producing.

Doesn't the fact that the worms do not move out of material mean vermicastings are not toxic and when the edible material is gone the worms will gingerly move?



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RE: Hellbender Bin Update

sbryce advises:

"Add a new tier in a month or so. If you do that, don't add any new bedding to this bin. The new bedding will go in the upper tier."

So do I understand correctly that I should continue to feed, but not add additional bedding, until the new bin is placed on top . . . . at which time both feed and bedding will be added to the new bin?

HB


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RE: Hellbender Bin Update

equinoxequinox writes:

"At first look what I see is it appears is unknownst to you the worms have in the evening crawled along the upper unbedded edges of the bin and pooped. This actually means the bin is doing well. Very well."

Why do the worms do this? I have noted this is a recent development and wonder why. Why is this good?

"hellbender: I'm going to pick on you now. Ready? . . . . . . .. Everybody else messed with the instructions. He followed them perfectly. Who? does that? Cyborg I tell ya. "

:) Yep, I can certainly follow instructions. However, frequently we know what to do but not why. And I never saw any instructions for the OSCR Jr bin telling how to manage the transition between the lower and subsequent bins.

HB


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RE: Hellbender Bin Update

> So do I understand correctly that I should continue to
> feed, but not add additional bedding, until the new bin is
> placed on top . . . . at which time both feed and bedding
> will be added to the new bin?

Given the amount of bedding you still have in your bin, yes.


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RE: Hellbender Bin Update

  • Posted by gerris2 Zone 7a Delaware (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 18, 13 at 9:37

Interesting reading. What does OSCR acronym stand for?


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RE: Hellbender Bin Update

Oregon soil corporation reactor


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RE: Hellbender Bin Update

  • Posted by gerris2 Zone 7a Delaware (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 18, 13 at 15:52

Hey, thanks, Pete. I found the plans for making the OSCR Jr. which will help me.


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RE: Hellbender Bin Update

Hellbender, I'm a blind organic gardener with LOTS of fruit trees and pretty close to vegan and do a lot of juicing, so from the moment I first heard of vermicomposting, I was hooked! Yet I was reasonably concerned about the challenges a lack of vision might pose and leary of dealing with little escape artist...not to mention having them in my house! And even though the more I read and researched, the more I knew it was something I really, really wanted to do, it was reading your first post that actually pushed me off the fence..so thank you! As soon as I finished reading that and all of the responses, I set up my bin and ordered my worms a few days later so they'd arrive a week later. Like you, I did my research and it's paid off, so I just wanted to thank you and everyone else for your posts and responses before sharing my own experience in detail...if I can figure out how to write a new post...:) Thanks Again, BB


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RE: Hellbender Bin Update

  • Posted by gerris2 Zone 7a Delaware (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 11, 13 at 8:01

Hi BB, happy to see you here on this forum. It is a great way to learn by visiting Gardenweb. Start a new post using the input boxes at the bottom of the page.

Joseph


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RE: Hellbender Bin Update

Thanks again, Joseph! As you know, I did finally figure out how to post. The challenge is that my screen reader converts what you all see to text links and it's sometimes difficult to translate a verbal description of what you see into what I can find since screen readers can only utilize graphics when they're properly labeled, which is becoming more of a problem these days. But as with most things, patience and persistence pays off!


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RE: Hellbender Bin Update

Blink,
How does one label a graphic so that it can be properly utilized by your screen reader?

Searching on the subject gives me the impression that some of them have a tactile display, rather than simple braille.... Which would make some types of images pretty interesting.


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RE: Hellbender Bin Update

buckstarchaser, my particular screen reader is Window Eyes by GW Micro, which uses an audio voice to relay information to me regarding what's on the screen (I'm not an accomplished braille reader beyond knowing and sometimes using the very basic alphabet). And when programmers don't label their graphics with text, the screen reader can't identify them. You can learn a bit more about that at this link. Due to my current version becoming what I consider more complicated and less reliable (perhaps because I haven't kept up with the changes in technology), I recently bought a MacBook because I got an iPhone 4S last year and was amazed by how accessible it is. So I'm still in the process of learning how to navigate the net with Apple's VoiceOver technology. And the only "tactile" output I'm aware of when it comes to screen readers is the use of a braille display,, which optionally translates the text I hear to braille. Hope that answers your question and thanks for expressing an interest. :)
BB in FL


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