Vermicomposting, worm bin, composting with worms community and forums
The study of worm cuisine preferences is so interesting. They are teaching me a lot about what they like.
The freezer had held a package of corn on the cob, store bought, for almost a year. So... I thawed it and let it sit a week before placing the 8 3-inch pieces around in two bins. Almost immediately they were swarmed. Now after 6 weeks of heavy activity, about 1/2 of the kernels are consumed, a favorite of the very small worms. They like corn on the cob!
One bin was looking over-populated, so I wondered what would collect them. My sweetheart had made too much waffle batter. I opened a small trench the length of that bin on one side, and poured in about 2 cups of batter along the trench. I covered this with shredded paper. Ten days later I checked, and this strip was solid worms, easy to pick out (3 pounds!) of mostly young ones for my outside bin that is still under populated. They like waffle batter!
The tail end of the Christmas bread machine loaf had collected green spots, so I thought, what would they do with bread? I placed it dry on top of some fairly moist almost finished stuff two days ago, and replaced the cardboard and carpet covers. Today the underside of the bread is swarming. wow. They like bread!
I laid a large handful of shredded leaves mixed heavily with used coffee grounds into one corner of each of my two RM bins in the basement. After two weeks it holds only the very largest of the worms in the bins, in good numbers. Hmmm. I wonder if I can use this method to sort out the big ones? Or do they like it for breeding? Gotta watch this some more.
What have you fed your worms that got unusual feeding activity?
I haven't started composting yet but found your thread informative and enjoyable. Please keep posting.
I continue learning the wide variety of consumables.
They like maple leaves better than oak leaves. They take to maple after 3 days and to oak after 20 days & then don't really populate until after these leaves have had a long slow decay. The tannin in the Oak leaves is toxic to many bacteria, I'm told, so until it dissipates, the worms don't get serious. Oak is among the best leaves for nitrogen, but are very difficult to compost because of the tannin.
My flower gardens have lots of daylily plants. Their leaves go brown & die in the early winter, so I collect spent leaves for composting and for the worms. Worms love them soaking wet and do not delay their invasion. I have mixed them with used coffee grounds & served them plain. They seem to like almost anything better with some UCG, though sometimes the UCG heats up the mass of carbon, and they wait for cooling. I am trusting the worms will completely process the long stringy daylily leaves before they work down to the bottom of my flow through bin.
I have a large magnolia tree that is a mass of blossoms that are falling now. I put a tarp underneath to catch the petals to see how the worms like tree blossoms.
Aren't worms fun!
About the long stringy daylily leaves: The feeding frenzy at first application will taper off when the easy part of the leaf is consumed. The fibrous elements linger and the worms go elsewhere. The jury is out about whether those stringy carbons will become fully consumed by the time they travel the 20" to the bottom of the flow through bin.
This teaches me that the worms may feed on an item in waves as various bacteria do the job of decomposition. It also makes me wonder whether I need to do something different with this daylily leaf. I have a lot of them! I may have to do an in ground bed that stays in place longer than the flow through.
Oak leaves could sit there also, in an in ground bed. And then... I wonder if a different worm would do better on these tannin rich leaves and the fibrous parts. I have seen that nigh crawlers drag the spent daylily leaf into their tunnels. Hmmm...
About Magnolia blooms: I didn't get them collected. Maybe next year!
Rotten whole Bananas and cabbage leaves I get from a local veggie outlet, that is my main feed composted with dry leaf sweepings. Household waste and a little chicken manure forms a small portion of the feed. Water Hyacinth gets added from time to time. They seem to slow down eating when food types change drastically, perhaps them adapting to the differing micro-organism's present. Leaf mould is a treat > Tie up some "dry" leaf sweepings in a plastic bag and pour over a cup of vermicast and sour milk or whey, keep it moist but not dripping leave for two months & offer with your regular feed...................IC
Wow Ian! You stretch my thinking! (that is a good thing!)
I have seen bananas on the "don't feed this to your worms" lists. I send my peelings through the blender (less the woody stem!) and have no problem.
I suppose in your area there are many varieties of banana whereas in the US there is a one species dominance. Hmmm....
sounds like banana is a major part of your feed! How much time do you compost it and how (hot?) or do you just dump it in the bed? Do you chop?
"dry leaf sweepings" is what species of tree?
I guess we need a step by step tutorial! LOL
HI Daniel, Im very hap hazard on my feeding, I can get away with it as Ive a fairly large bin with a good surface area and well drained. My composting is done at work, at any one time I can get whole rotten bananas or cabbage leaves these are simply put in layers whole NOT CHOPPED (too much work) and mixed with the old compost from the previous month, I always hold a little back to innoculate the heap. As there is not enough carbon material and the bannanas are so moist they do not heat up in the first two weeks. The pile size does drop to about half it's size in two weeks, I then place the warm partially decomposed waste into bags & take home for feed. The worms are fed every two weeks with this bulk feed and every other day with a little household waste and a sprinkling of bone meal and charcoal on occation. Only one variety of Banana is used commertially here grown locally and it is sprayed/gassed with a ripening agent much the same as with sugar cane, this seems not to affect the worms. I sometimes see whole/half black bananas completly full of worms in side.
I guess in a perfect world and for optimum production I should compost for at least a month to circumvent herbicide/chemical residue deposits and also water every three days. DRY LEAVEs are mainly Masasa or Munondo with some Privet & Lady Chancellor. The composting process removes many toxins no doubt will do the same for the mildly toxic tree leaves, perhaps steer away from the seriously poisnous ones and those containing oils fragrances & milk sap.......IC
Thanks, Ian. Sounds like you are as over-committed as most of us!