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When using a flow through bin do you ever, occasionally or otherwise, place new layer of bedding on top as the food has been processed or do you keep adding food layers?
Every time I feed the worms in my FT I always sprinklewith some crushed egg shells and cover with a thin layer of crushed leaves that have been mixed with rain water. I find tthe leaves an abolute necessity to keep the flying critters away.
The dry leaves seemed too dry (especially during the winter when I have to use a heat cable.
Thanks Larry, I am planning to go with leaves as bedding next year. We certainly don't have any shortage of leaves in my neighborhood.
Gardener Larry, I have 2 questions.
1. Can you describe your heating cable setup?
2. What kind of climate is the bin in?
1) It is a reptile (I think 18 watt) heating cable that is hooked up to a thermostat so that it only turns on when the temp gets below 70. I lay it right on top of the soaked crushed leaves I lay on top what ever food I put in the bin. Then I lay cardboard egg crates on top of the wire and water a bit. The crates help distribute the moisture more evenly and maybe keep some of the heat in.
2) My FT bin is kept in an insulated un heated garage that has gotten as low as 28 degrees.
I use some old harvested VC to do a light covering over a feeding. I do have lots of cardboard mixed in with my feedings already so don't really need more. But the VC on top allows the worms to work from the top down as well as bottom up (they populate it very quickly) and helps keep any smells down as I have a worm inn with a mesh open top.
Peter, thanks for the tip on covering the food. I covered my last feeding with a thin layer of bedding rather than burying the food under an existing layer. The squirm now feeds from just below the food layer and from the top down. The majority of the worms are now residing more towards the bin layers just below the surface rather than the lower or middle layers where they were when I buried the food.
I usually add a layer of shredded/torn up paper & corrugated cardboard bedding every 4-6 feedings. Or I'll toss in a bucket full of leaves I collected the previous fall. Generally when I feed, I mix in at least some bedding of one variety or the other.
When I feed, I use a garden fork to pull back the last bedding/leaf addition and put the new food just under it. Then I cover it back up to (as others have mentioned) lower the prevalence of flying critters. As my bins are outdoor and on the medium-large size (45 and 80 gallons respectively) I don't worry too much about critters. Like Gardener Larry, I also add ground up eggshells every few feedings.
Also like Larry, I use a soil heating cable in the larger of my two bins during the winter. Costs me ~$3-4/month in energy, and keeps the worms operating at high efficiency all winter long. I also agree that slightly damp leaves work much better than dry leaves.
I agree! I soak corrugated cardboard pieces in a bucket of rain water until they are saturated, and cover the top layer after a feeding. I also bury the food to not only lower the chance of critters, but also to cover the not-so-sweet smells- my Wigwam is in the corner of my basement :)
I aggree with Ben & Gardner more importantly in indoor systems, its sometimes not necessary in an outdoor system unless the red mites & midgies are getting excessive, dry leaves if left in a sealed bag for a month or two work well as a pest cover & bring in the ideal platform for growing fungi numbers that the worms love, keeps the casting loose as well.....IC