Thursday, March 26, 2015

Vermicomposting, Ch 3

{Please excuse my first attempt at video documenting.}

This is my kitchen Vermicomposting bin. I stocked it with a starter batch of about a dozen worms and partially finished compost from an etsy seller almost four months ago. I got off to a shaky start, but things are really moving along now. After having the bin for about two months, I realized I was adding way too many used coffee grounds from my French press, and, as a result, the bedding and materials were too acidic. In the last month I have seen a dramatic increase in the red worm population in the bin. In this video you don't see the full extent of the population because the worms have taken to hiding towards the bottom of the bin what with the bright light next to the window I filmed near.

-Sorry about the popping sound in the video. It is a result of the case on my iPad. I'll remember to remove the case next time.-


Two days after posting this walk-through, I harvested this from the bin.

There were more worms in that van and I even thought possible! I don't have any pictures of the worms, but at one point I flipped over a piece near the top on top of the burlap, and there were over a dozen worms in about 2 square inches. I saw little worms, fat worms, skinny worms, pinkish worms, red worms, fast worms, slow worms, great big granddaddy worms,… It was kind of like a Dr. Seuss book. I'm truly can't believe how fast that snack size Ziploc of compost and 10 worms multiplied. I also saw and put back in the bin at least a dozen eggs.

I harvested the compost by using my hand rake and sifting through the material with gloves on. I started in one corner and worked till I got to the bottom and had to pluck out worms from the material. There seem to be a bit too much water at the very bottom, so I took extra care to get the really wet compost out and replaced it with some dry bedding. I'm hoping osmosis will do the rest. There was no standing water, it just seemed too wet and had a bit of an odor like rotting leaves. The rest of the bin smelled just fine.

I'm guessing I took out about half the material in there. It was mostly compost with about 30% decaying bedding.There were not many food scraps to be found, so after I give the worms a chance to recover from the harvesting process, I'll add a good amount of food and bedding to the bin.

I plan on using this mixture of about 50% vermicompost and 50% shredded brown packing paper to start my summer lettuce. I am very curious to see if the vermicompost makes a good seed starter. I actually decided to harvest the bin tonight because I did not want to spend more money on dirt. I'm hoping there is a better way than buying dirt to make a seed starting mixture that prevents things like pill bug damage and damping off which was a HUGE problem for me the last two seasons.

I have a gallon size Ziploc full of compost that I will decide how I want to use tomorrow.



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