Friday, July 6, 2012

Lessons Learned: Month Three of Worm Bin # 1

Ironically soon after painting a reminder to have patience regarding my worm bin, I had the biggest distraction of my life (Welcome, Erin Elizabeth!) and neglected the poor thing for several weeks. When I finally popped the lid, I was stunned by the drastic changes.

Obviously, there was little to nothing left of the food scraps I had last fed them. Well over half of the contents of the bin had turned into pure castings, and my worm population had increased significantly. Moisture content was a little high, however, and I could see right away I would need to do things a little differently next time.

I'm pretty anxious to start over with fresh materiel, and an improved bin system, so yesterday I just jumped right in to the sorting process. Unfortunately, I'm stuck picking out some large chunks of bedding that were not shredded small enough as I occasionally added new bedding. I think next time around I'm going to have to be much more conscientiousness about the size of the materiel and food I put in there.It took me forever, but I was able to send a bag of nice, fresh vermicompost home with my mother. Here are a few tips I've learned along the way:

  • Worms really actually do not favor the citrus. I thought maybe that was just a nit picky suggestion, but no...it's true.
  • If you plan to add eggshells, do crush them very small beforehand. It was really inconvenient having to pick through large chunks of shell in my finished product.
  • Punch enough air holes in your  worm bin, especially if you are using a plastic tub. You want to control the moisture content as much as you can, and plastic makes that difficult enough. You don't want to end up with mud, and you don't want to "drown" your worms.
  • Keep your food scraps in a container on the counter for a few days before adding them to your worm bin, it will help speed up the feeding process. Your worms are not eating the scraps, they are eating what happens as the scraps begin to decompose.
  • Don't choose a hot day to sort your worms from your product. Choose a day that is bright, but preferably not cloudless and sunny. 
  • Don't be careless when it comes to maintaining your worm bin, but, relax! I made many mistakes along the way and still ended up with some pretty good product. 

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