Vermicomposting, worm bin, composting with worms community and forums
i was reading the book "worms eat my garbage" and it talked about how worms eat things like rock dust or something like that to basically grind the food so they can digest it. however i was wondering is this a must have in your bin?
when i see people set up their bins on youtube i have watched countless of them not even mention putting in rock dust a slim few have but not a lot of them do it.
also i was wondering 2 other things
1. can i use basalt sand for this? the sand is pretty fine i think it's made for conrete you mix with concrete. it's just the sand itself if wet it does not do anything however it is powdery like.
2. is their any other alternatives then rock dust that anyone can get in their house? i tend to use coffe grounds and eggshells not sure if they do the same job but i would assume so
Hi Jacob: I don't think there is anything that is a MUST other than not letting your bin dry out.
Fine ground egg shells will do the same job, or fine sand. I don't even know where to get rock dust or basalt sand and I won't even bother trying to find them. We are pamperingthe worms too much. I think they'll be happy just getting their food ( not over fed)
I agree Sue, there aren't many MUST's in vermicomposting, except the basics... With starting a worm bin for the first time seeming to be the most risky period for failure. And then once things get going even the basics can be minimized.
However, I have come to believe that a steady supply of diverse additions to the worm bin(s) can lead you to expect an overall better outcome; healthier, more robust worms, and great quality vermicompost. I haven't tested or compared this belief, it's just from my experience with worms AND from many others whom I've come to believe and respect. One day I do want to get my VC evaluated from a lab to have some facts stare me in the face.
1. Try a little of the basalt sand in only a corner of a bin for a couple of months, and observe what does and does not happen. I'd try it if I were you.
2. I can't think of anything else around the house except the soil you have outside your door. I'm not sure but I think that most soils have some level of grit in them and small amounts of that (think "dusting") should be an OK amendment. I currently don't, but in the beginning I added a handful of soil to each new bin per my reading of Mary Applehof's book. Currently I do add UCG and eggshells on a regular basis. My worms, like many other's, seem to really like UCG and crushed eggshells. (I've been mixing them with fruit and vegetable waste, leaves, and compost and these "mixes" seem to really be a hit with the worm crowd.)
I occasionally use a little agricultural lime.Horse manure has sand in it.I get plenty of grit.So don't need to add ag lime.But the worms seem to love it.Adding sand doesn't hurt.Just don't add a lot of it.Eggshells will work.I personally don't use those because my wife has a deadly allergy to eggs.They likely even use paper to help break up food.I have put worms in test vessels with no sand.And the paper is all they have.Maybe it is why they like paper? Dunno?
how much ag lime do you put? i have a lot and need to get rid of it lol
Jacob i sprinkle it like i am seasoning a steak.You can add more than that.I'll try and do a little experiment if i can.Worms noticeably seek out ag lime in my bins.They are kind of occupied with loads of Pumpkin.I'll try and pick out a nice open patch in my bin and add a small pile and post a picture before and after.If it gets churned up around the pile i'll know the worms are trying to wash all that Pumpkin down.Lol! By the way the pumpkin is changing the worms to a more beautiful color.If you see some funky looking colored worms it is the coffee you are using.No kidding!
I know.... they're paper munching machines.
The rock dust does 2 things, first it can increase the pH (reduce acidity) and also it can give grit for the gizzard of the worm. Most worm bins will do just fine without adding rock dust or limestone. If you are having a problem with mites then adding limestone will help. By the way rock dust and limestone are kind of the same thing with only a slight difference.
Coffee grounds will actually increase the acidity, but this is not always a problem as worms can tolerate a wide variety of pH levels.
Worms have an arsenal of microbes that help them break down food, and although they do have a gizzard (gizzards require grit, such as sand to operate) to grind food, the composting worms do not rely on this as heavily as the soil worms like nightcrawlers.