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For those that haven't seen my original posts about the 5 gallon bucket experiment(s), here's a link to those posts which should bring you up to date.

It's been 5 days since I separated the worms from the buckets. I placed them in a 64 Quart plastic holding bin that I use for various purposes including local sharing and my really-small- time sales initiatives. It's the kind of plastic bin that fits under a bed for storage.

You may recall from my recent post that the worms were very tiny, though large in numbers.

I added about 2 gallons of pre-composted rabbit manure from an outside bin Sunday evening and a little more on Monday night, but I have that has been sitting for about 2 weeks. And haven't really looked at the bin since Sunday....until about 20 minutes ago.

All those tiny worms are having a feast! It's a major worm party out in the garage right now. That inspired me to start some more buckets. Actually I had already planned it, but that helped nudge me into doing it today.

I prepped the buckets with a lot of cardboard on the bottom (much more than the first time). I added about a quart of rabbit manure from my outside bin and about 100-150 EFs to each bucket. I didn't count them, but my estimate should be pretty close. These worms were all breeders.

I covered everything up with shredded newspaper and newspaper torn into long strips. I am hoping that the various sizes of material I used including big cardboard, small cardboard, shredded newspaper, and torn newspaper will help improve on the quality of bedding I ended up with last time. I plan to add large and small pieces of cardboard as needed to keep things aerated better than last time.

I am using much more food source to start and I'm going to be adding more food source than in my previous experiment. Last time I took a hand off approach, but this time I'm going to keep much more food in the buckets. Checking on them weekly should suffice.

Last time I added small amounts of rabbit manure, paper, and food scraps. This time it's only going to be lots of rabbit manure for food and I'm going to keep the bedding material more plentiful too. I'll try to keep the two buckets relatively the same.

I've got two more buckets handy, and if these two buckets progress well for a few days, I'm going to set up the other two buckets with a 1/2 lb of worms each and add 1/2 lb to these first two (2 lbs total in 4 buckets).

I'm still experimenting, but I think 1/2 lb of worms might be the "right" amount for 5 gallon buckets the way I'm trying to do it.

I'll end this by saying that I ended the last experiment a little disappointed, but I've definitely perked back up today regarding the potential of drastically increasing worm supply with 5 gallon buckets and a holding bin.

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Comment by bpearcy10 on October 24, 2010 at 12:49pm
It's interesting how much the newspaper and cardboard settled in 48 hours. I filled the bucket within an inch of the top on Friday and today it's barely half full. I added two more layers of rabbit manure separated by layers of cardboard and newspaper. Until now I've been using aged rabbit manure that was already partially composted from my outside worm bin. This afternoon I need to start another pre-composting batch.
Comment by Paula Allen on October 26, 2010 at 9:06pm
So you have to drill holes in your buckets. Or is that what the cardboard is for on the bottom. I will keep keep following this. I have several buckets.
Comment by bpearcy10 on October 27, 2010 at 5:43pm
I didn't drill holes in the bottom. I put the cardboard in the bottom to collect excess moisture. Last time the cardboard stayed in tact for about 6 weeks before it disappeared. This time I added twice the cardboard and in different sizes. I limited the holes to the lid only so that I can still use my buckets for buckets in the future if needed. If things get too wet, simply pop the lid off for a few hours. It seeems to dry things out fairly quickly. I'm still experimenting with buckets, but so far so good.
Comment by bpearcy10 on October 30, 2010 at 3:54pm
I added 2 more buckets today for a total of 4. I think I'm going to add a couple more tomorrow.
Comment by bpearcy10 on October 31, 2010 at 12:55pm
I added 3 more buckets today and started the 2nd row of my pyramid. Only three more for 10. I picked up a big box of culled produce yesterday (cucumbers and squash mostly).
Comment by Paula Allen on October 31, 2010 at 3:30pm
Im going to have to give your bucket method a try once my worms produce more worms. I have plenty of buckets LOL
Comment by Andrew from California on October 31, 2010 at 5:08pm
Thanks for reminding me to feed my bucket, Brian. I have a feeling my guys aren't going to do much better the next 2-3 months since the weather is cooler. In any case, I've added straw & leaves so the bucket is 3/4 full and will bury food in there every week or two.


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