Tag Archives: worms

Worms Update

Checked the worms again today. I was hoping to switch out a bucket of castings for the latest bin of waste material. Happily, the worms are still thriving, even when we were away for a few days, and I couldn’t be there to lift the lid for them (for a bit of fresh air).

I have been unable to find the original post that prompted me to try this experiment. Here is a semi-similar one though: http://vermicomposters.ning.com/profiles/blogs/5-gallon-bucket-experiment-1. I found his results interesting.

My worms are multiplying. They remain near the top of the bucket and do their business there. They are not drowning in worm juice as I feared they might.

I hypothesize that the leaf litter and tiny sticks mixed in on the bottom of the buckets are creating a sponge for the juices. Whether it’s the air pockets created by the crossed sticks and eggshells in the bucket allowing them fresh air or my lifting the lid, I don’t know. Maybe it’s both.

Bucket #1 is just now getting to the barely-recognizable stage of decomposition. Bucket #2 still has mostly moldly, slimy-looking food residue. Neither, however, are ready for emptying. I definitely need to re-vamp with more worms if I want to make this a feasible option through the winter. Based on bpearcy10‘s findings, though, I would need to be sure to find the right ratio of food to worms and split them off, once they have multiplied. Maybe it’s time to invest in a scale . . .

Worm Check-Up

Dumped our second simplehuman bin-full of waste today into the 5-gallon bucket vermicompost system. The bucket is full. That’s what I thought would happen.

The worms are still alive. That’s good. I wasn’t sure they would be.

Last year I experimented with our 5-gallon bucket humanure with worms. I thought, Hey, why not? I’ll toss in a handful of worms into the full bucket and see what happens. They died. I assumed it was from lack of oxygen.

Maybe it wasn’t lack of oxygen after all, since theses worms are still alive. Could it have gotten too hot, and they had nowhere to escape? There was no odor, so there was a good balance of carbon to nitrogen. Hmmmm . . .

I have been lifting the lid once a day to freshen the oxygen. I also wonder about there not being a tap at the bottom to drain the worm juice, but possibly the little sticks mixed in with the leaves will do a fine job of creating a drain grill there. I may have to add a lot more worms if these ones don’t hurry up their activity, because at this rate the whole laundry room will be full of 5-gallon buckets in a few weeks!

Worms and Composting

The 55-gallon worm bin I made a couple months ago is now full to overflowing. Moving should be interesting. I didn’t bother putting it on casters, because I knew we would need to lift it up into a truck anyway. When I originally transported them from Pike Valley Farm a few months ago they were in a spa bathtub system we had rigged up from a bunch of discarded tubs the previous owner had collected.

The kids and I just went to the farm with 5-gallon buckets and emptied the tub out. Thankfully, everything was mostly composted at that time. However, I know for sure there is a good bit of not-as-yet composted, um, “resource” material at the top of this bin. It could get ugly . . . As a band-aid measure, today I implemented a super-simple system I read about but have a hard time believing it will be sufficient for our family. Experience will tell us.

simplehumanIt’s a two 5-gallon bucket method. One bucket serves as the reserve for when the first bucket fills. In my first bucket I placed about 2/3 of a bucket of rotting leaves, since they will settle. On that I placed our latest simplehuman trashcan-full of food/paper scraps. Then, I grabbed a handful of worms from the worm bin, along with a few sheets of damp newspaper and set them over the food. Over it all I put a little blanket of more rotting leaves.

Voila! Today’s compost is taken care of. I hope it lasts.

I love my small simplehuman step trashcan, by the way, and I get no money for saying so. (Many thanks to the woman on permies who first recommended it). Why do I love it for compost?

#1) It’s hands free. #2) It holds just about a day or two of our food/paper scraps. The amount that it needs to hold to highly encourage me to empty it as often as I should, thus discouraging any bad smells or possible breeding insects. Just keepin’ it real folks. :-) #3) The most awesome feature: it has an inner plastic bin that easily lifts out for dumping and cleaning!

I’m really not trying to advertise for them, but this has been a huge improvement over my previous composting endeavors. For the sake of a balanced review, I should say that there is a small gap in the lid where the hand lift comes out from the inner bin. Flies and fruit flies can find their way in there, but if you empty daily and put all waste paper in the bin daily, it is not a problem. However, simplehuman if you can hear me, if you ever to decide to branch out into compost bins, leave it almost exactly the same as your mini, minus the open finger gap. Then, it would be perfect.