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it is difficult to state information as being constants. everyone has heard that plastic totes without holes get soggy wet on the bottom, become anerobic and the worms either head for better pastures or die from the anerobic conditions.

below are some photos i took today of a bin; mostly PE's, but probably 20% EF's. i have been trying to systematically redo my bins, setting up production containers, mostly 5-gal buckets. i should reach my goal of a million worms in 4 months. i had not paid much attention to this bin because it is PE's and i started with the EH's, then the EA's/EF's so this was the last small container to pull the castings out and getting the worms ready for their new homes.

what i found was sopping wet horse manure and full of worms. i don't know how it had so much water, it has been about a month since our last rain,  the bottom too inches was totally water logged and anerobic. the pictures of the clumps of worms were in anerobic stinking muck. the deeper i dug the thicker the worms. they could have fled the tote. note that the worms were full size, not stunted. all were adult size worms, i found no young so they had stopped producing worms apparantly because of being so crowded.

 

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Comment by Rich Feiller on May 29, 2012 at 8:57pm

this shows the bottom couple of inches of muck with worms

Comment by Rich Feiller on May 29, 2012 at 8:58pm

here is a pic of the tote and a tray with the material from the tote

Comment by Rich Feiller on May 29, 2012 at 9:12pm

it will be a couple of drying out days before i can even use the light method to collect the worms. it will be over a week before i can send the castings through the harvester.

i think the PE's are a lot more tolerant of unfavorable conditions. they are very efficient composters while at it. some of my large bins are full of them. by the way the brown line in the tote is the top of the muck, there was 2-3" of partially processed horse manure above that line.

folks that are in a warmer part of the world might find these little guys more tolerant of their living conditions. they do produce good castings for those that are in the VC business or just raise worms for the benefit of their gardens.

Comment by Rich Feiller on May 30, 2012 at 7:55am
One thing that is evident is the beautiful coloring of the PE's
Comment by Ar-Pharazon on May 30, 2012 at 10:29am

Yeah, that blue iridescence is really cool looking!

You're totally right about rules not being absolute, Rich.  I've found plenty of worms and cocoons at the bottom in slimy sulfur-stink too.  I think even if one doesn't conform to dogma, as long as it's reasonable, the worms will make it work.  I think a consistent pattern of care might help too -- worms seem to thrive in the environment into which they were born.

Comment by Ar-Pharazon on May 30, 2012 at 10:32am

...one million worms.  Wow.  Will you have more worm biomass than human at your home?

Comment by Rich Feiller on May 30, 2012 at 11:27am
Oh yeah! Working on starting a green waste business
Comment by Rich Feiller on May 30, 2012 at 11:30am
It really surprised me that they stayed in that enviornmen, which leads me to believe PE's are more tolerant.
Comment by Ar-Pharazon on May 30, 2012 at 11:34am

They must have been able to get oxygen down there somehow, despite how it seems!

Comment by Rich Feiller on May 30, 2012 at 11:50am
Gas exchange takes place in any pervious substance. i did this thread especially for newbies that need to know that there are no absolutes. And i am as guilty as anyone about making statements as absolutes. Accepting whatever is said particularly if written as gospel actually hinders the development of new folks in their learning process.

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