Vermicomposting, worm bin, composting with worms community and forums

A couple weeks ago i gave my sister in law Debbie a pound of worms. Between less worms and the heat the food processing has dropped off considerably. Just as well there is no way i could have kept up such massive feedings.

I am still feeding in a circle rotating around the bin and find that there is recognizable food 2/3 the way back around the bin. Or in about 5 to 6 days. I have cut down on the food like i said. Before the heat and the culling the food would be eaten half the way around in about 4 days. I have to say its a relief to not have to come up with quite so much food for them.

It has been in the upper 80s to 90s. I have been adding ice every afternoon to my bin to help keep it cool. Last week i discovered that i could add frozen food to the bin instead of ice and it works just as well. So i froze watermelon in smaller bags, just over a pint. And every other day i add the frozen melon instead of a ice bottle. I do make sure there is a thin layer of fresh shreds where i place the iced melon. Just to be sure I'm not freezing some worms. It is working very well keeping the top of the FT nice and cool. One thing i have noticed thou. The worms take a little longer eating the pre-frozen melon than they do eating fresh melon. Odd, it just may be that they don't start eating it until its completely thawed. Something to think about.

I have had to start watering the bin again. Around 3 gallons a week without a drip. I think part of that is because less wet food is being added along with the higher evaporation rate in the heat. I take advantage of the watering to cool the bin by making sure the water is not warm. I add it to the middle and the next morning the worms are concentrated in the middle of the bin.

The weather reports are for over a 100 for the next few weeks. I hope all my experimenting pays off.

Views: 29

Comment by rom mendoza on July 23, 2009 at 8:40am
Freezing slows the decomposition process so my guess is that it may take a little longer for the microbes in the melon to start up again. The frozen melon is probably a better 'net benefit' than a frozen ice bottle for cooling ... less energy used on something that adds no other benefit.
Comment by Susan B on July 23, 2009 at 3:04pm
Watermelon is mostly water, so freezing it (and thus killing any microbes on it) might slow down it's processing, I'm not sure. In general, freezing breaks the cell walls of plants, allowing the microbes to get into the cell more quickly than they might in unfrozen food. At least that's my understanding.

I freeze and believe it speeds up processing, but my main reason is to kill fruit fly eggs. Every time I relax and toss something in I regret it.
Comment by Eve on July 24, 2009 at 5:32am
Rom you may problem right about the microbes having to restart.

I added a larger bag of watermelon yesterday morning almost a quart. It got to 100 as predicted and there is a little ice left in the watermelon this morning. The bin was 80 just 6 inches from the iced melon.

I haven't been worrying about the fruit fly's too much since i put the bin outside. The come and go now. I do get frogs inside the bin when there are a lot of them. They like to sit in the shredded paper and pick off the flies. I love it.
Comment by rom mendoza on July 27, 2009 at 12:39pm
Sounds like a great mini ecosystem. If you find some other critters that like to eat frogs you can start singing about the circle of life.
Comment by Cathy Luna on July 27, 2009 at 5:21pm
My husband is cutting up a watermelon as I read the posts. I will cut the rind into smaller pieces and freeze it. In the past I have thawed it out before I give it to the what I am reading is to put it in the worm bin frozen? Hummmm I also have been putting in a bottle of frozen water daily for cooling purposes. I put the frozen bottle in the top part of my gusanito bin - the worms can't get to it.
Comment by Eve on July 27, 2009 at 6:08pm
I have just been putting smaller amounts in the bin than i would have normally "feed". The frozen watermelon seems to take a little longer to thaw sitting in the dry shredded paper than the bottle of ice too.
Comment by rom mendoza on July 27, 2009 at 8:07pm
I've put frozen melon pieces right into the bin but on the surface. I figure the worms have room to move away if it's too cold and it does cool down the bin. One downside is the excess moisture. I find that if I thaw the melon first there is a lot of moisture I can drain off before putting it into the bin.

If you're trying to cool the bin it may be worth the extra wetness, maybe add some shredded cardboard to soak it up. I figure the net environmental benefit of putting the frozen melon in the bin for cooling purposes is better than adding food and frozen water, which adds no benefit other than the cooling. Likely very little global impact but I feel good about the little things. That was the main purpose of the worm composting in the first place for me.

BTW yes cardboard is recyclable so maybe not the best environmental bedding but it works so well and I don't use that much. I also have a 3/4 tonne truck so I can't really lecture anyone on environmental causes without expecting some backlash.
Comment by Cathy Luna on July 28, 2009 at 7:07am
"BTW yes cardboard is recyclable so maybe not the best environmental bedding" Rom what do you mean by this comment?
Comment by Eve on July 28, 2009 at 8:13am
Cardboard is recyclable but the major percentage of it isn't recycled. The last figures i seen says that only 30% of cardboard is being recycled at the present time.

If you are lucky enough to have recycling to take cardboard away that is wonderful. I don't even have garbage collection here. But i used to have the whole shebang before i moved and have given it a lot of thought. I look at it this way. The cardboard is yours. You bought it along with whatever object came in the box and are allowed to do with it as you please. If you have a use for the cardboard that is 'REUSE' and is a legitimate environmental use of an object. I place composting under personal reuse. Its in the 4 Rs - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and the new one Refuse (as in refuse to buy the object with all the extra and/or non biodegradable packaging).

I am reusing the cardboard as compost, enriching the environment localy. Even if it is only my personal garden. And mixed in with newspaper cardboard does make an exceedingly good worm bedding.
Comment by rom mendoza on July 28, 2009 at 9:00am
It's great worm bedding. I use it in mine and stopped using shredded newspaper completely. Our city started a recycling pickup program along with garbage pickup and I keep wondering if I am doing more for the environment by sending it to be recycled rather than in my worm bin.

True though, I don't really know where that cardboard goes and what they really do with it. At least in a worm bin it's being used and kept out of landfill. Basically, I put all my newspaper and cardboard with colored or glossy images on them in the recycle bin and use the 'plain brown' cardboard for my worm bin.


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