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Extreme Vermicomposting!

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

How’s this for testing the limits of a Vermicomposting System?

What’s in my INN (right now)? ūüôā

36 rotting apples in various stages of decay (Actually many have totally broken down and have been consumed by the worms already, but I’m not digging in to count).

1 large bag of spinach we never got around to eating

Guts of 2 large pomegranates…no wait, we eat the guts…everything but the guts of 2 large pomegranates.

2 large pineapples sans the cores.

3 softball sized pumpkins (Average softball sized –¬†two larger, one smaller).

Miscellaneous produce scraps produced over the last few weeks.

LOTS of cardboard toilet paper tubes. lots of strips of newspaper,  and a few empty cardboard egg cartons.

By anyone’s standards, I’d say this is an excessive amount of scraps to feed a couple pounds of worms.¬†¬† But the worms are LOVING it….no smells, no bugs,¬† just happy, healthy worms eating away.

How is this possible?¬†¬† The pieces of produce not yet rotted create¬†air pockets¬†in the Inn.¬†¬† Because the Inn breathes so well, air flow is constantly flowing¬† through these gaps.¬† The rate of breakdown is slower than it would be in a plastic bin with little air flow, but that’s okay….this slow decay keeps the bag aerobic, ¬†and gives the worms time to eat the produce as it decays.¬†

The alternative is what would happen in a plastic unit¬†fed this¬†volume ….stink, vinegar, dead worms.

What COULD I have done to screw this up?

I could have blended all of the produce together, creating a sewer in the bag.  Even though the bag breathes, a dense ball of rotting produce mush would not allow air to penetrate, becoming anaerobic and smelly.

I could have reduced the amount of bedding in the bag.  This would have been an invitation to every fruit fly in the state!

I could have layed some of the rotting produce on the top without covering with bedding.  Even the remnants of one apple would have been enough to invite bugs!

So there you have it.¬† Extreme worm composting with a little pseudo science about what’s going on in the bag to help understand how this is possible.¬† It’s superior air flow.¬† And air flow is the key to successful worm composting.

Keys to EXTREME Vermicomposting in The Worm INN

LOTS of bedding…if there is space in the bag, fill it with damp fluffed¬†bedding.¬† The worms love it, and will turn the bedding into castings anyway.¬† The bedding surrounding the produce¬†acts as a filter…Lots of rotting vegetation, no smell!

Don’t¬†create a sewer and expect to not have a sewer?¬†¬† HUH?¬† ¬†What I mean by this is that if I dump a 5 gallon bucket of¬† broken down, liquified produce sludge into the system all¬†at once, it’s going to smell like 5 gallons of¬† produce sludge.¬†¬† And if you’re still awake by this point, hopefully you now understand why this is not a good idea.¬†

Lots of damp, fluffy¬†bedding!¬† Did I remember to mention this? ūüôā

Who Cares?

Anyone that has ever had problems when vermicomposting and doesn’t realize why.

Anyone that has a lot of produce scraps to get rid of.¬† Had this been a plastic bin, I’d be bringing out small amounts of scraps every few days to feed the worms.¬†¬† Not my idea of fun….¬†

Hopefully this explains some of the How’s and Why’s.¬† It’s not the size (mass)¬†of the produce, it’s what you do with it that counts.

What’s Next?

Because the bag is extemely full, I’ll let the worms munch away for the next few days and take some pics of their progress next week.

Keeping Things Interesting!

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Let’s face it…although worms are amazing creatures, there is only so much worm related information that can be given.¬†¬†¬† After awhile, most every question has been asked.

In the near future, I’ll be including some new and interesting things.¬†

1.  Links to websites that are extremely interesting, having to do with worms, growing things, or both.

2.¬† Some really cool experiment’s I’ve been working on lately.¬† All of them can be done at home.¬† Many of them would be great for working with kids!¬†¬† If you like growing plants, you’re going to love this!

At the end of the day, this is still a Worm Website.¬†¬† Feel free to continue to ask your questions, and I’ll be happy to share my experience with everyone.

I hope you and your families have the Happiest Holidays ever!

Jerry

Can Worms Eat Pineapple?

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

Many¬†people have asked, “Can worms eat pineapple”?¬†¬† The fear is that because pineapple is acidic, and can tenderize meat, ¬†it will tenderize worms!

After putting the skin of¬†a¬†large pineapple in my Worm Inn (Yes, the same Worm Inn that is processing 36 apples,¬† an entire bag of old spinach that we forgot about, and now, the skin of an entire pineapple) I’m happy to say, YOU BET!¬† ¬†The Worms love pineapple!

Remember, this was done in a Worm Inn, the only composting system that truly breathes.¬† I can’t tell you what would happen in a plastic bin.¬†

The Worm Inn – Rot On!

I Got the Gardening Bug…bad!

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

 

  

This fall, I got the gardening bug….bad!¬†¬† This is the “Bug” that makes you spend all your waking hours¬†learning about various gardening techniques, things that you can buy for gardening, how to get the greatest yields, etc.¬†

Of course, as soon as I plant my crops, we get record low temps (Below freezing in California is definitely not the norm), and days and days of dreary, rainy weather.  I guess I should be thankful for the rainy weather, but considering I just spent a ton of money installing a custom drip system for my beds,  the rainy weather did nothing but stop ME from going outside and enjoying my new garden! 

 

 

My plants have all received their liberal dose of Worm¬†Castings, and are doing incredibly well…..except for the tropical pineapples that I planted as I hoped for summer temps all winter…duh…¬†

Anyway, I’ve got some fun new things to show everyone coming up.¬†¬† Stay Tuned!

 

2010 HOLIDAY REDWORM SHIPPING SCHEDULE

Friday, December 10th, 2010

In order to make sure your Red Wigglers arrive happy and healthy for the Holidays, listed below is the 2010 Holiday Redworm  Shipping Schedule:

Please contact me about holiday shipping dates on nightcrawlers at TheWormDude@Comcast.net

CHRISTMAS:

Shipping Saturday December 18th for Christmas Week.

Please turn in these orders by Thursday, December 16th.

This will give the packages some extra time to arrive before Christmas in case of delays.

NO WORMS WILL BE SHIPPED ON MONDAY DECEMBER 20, OR TUESDAY DECEMBER 21.

  

NEW YEARS:

Shipping Monday December 27th for New Years.

Please turn in these orders by Friday, December 24th.

There will be fewer packages in the system this week, so I would not expect significant delays.

NO WORMS WILL BE SHIPPED ON TUESDAY DECEMBER 28TH.

HAVE A HAPPY AND SAFE HOLIDAY!!!

 

What Customers are Saying About The Worm Inn

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Everyone LOVES The Worm Inn.¬† The customers that started with plastic systems love it even more. ūüėČ

Here’s a note from my friend Jason, a definite Worm Inn fan!

I look at a lot of videos of large scale commercial vermicomposting operations such as Sunburst Biotech, Worm Power, and American Resource Recovery.  All of them go to a lot of trouble it seems to get the materials ready such as composting, shredding, saturating with water then squeezing it out.  One thing I like about The Worm Inn is you just throw in the material whole with little fuss.  I do shred paper, but I remember having a few newspaper sheets that I balled up in my hands and threw in my Worm Inn and the worms ate it no problem.  I still find the large scale vermicomposters fascinating in the volumes they process, but they use a lot of energy, machinery, and fuss to get materials ready initially.

¬†Thanks Jason, I couldn’t have said it better!

The Worm Inn 36 Apple Experiment….and MORE!

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

 

It’s been several weeks since I added 36 small apples in various stages of decay to my Worm Inn.¬†¬† We’ve had a record cold November, with several evenings below freezing …(OK, don’t laugh,¬† that’s cold for California).¬† Because of the cold temps, ¬†many of the apples still have not yet broken down, although the ones that were more rotted have.¬† In addition to the apples, I’ve added a medium sized pumpkin, and continue to add our weekly waste.¬† How are the worms handling all this in The Worm Inn?¬†

You tell me ūüôā

Man Invents Machine That Turns Plastic Into Oil

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

This has absolutely nothing to do with worms, but it has everything to do with saving the earth! Check it out and let me know what you think. I believe you will agree this is VERY cool!

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36 Apple Worm Inn Experiment

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

We just had three nights¬†of freezing temperatures!¬† Unusual for Northern California.¬†¬†¬† I thought this would be the perfect time to check on my Worm Inn.¬† It’s¬†currently loaded with 36 rotting¬†apples!¬† As I opened The Worm Inn, I took note of how it looked.¬†

No bugs…check.¬†

No smell…check.

As I moved some of the bedding covering the apples, the worms looked great.  They were active and lively.  It looked like the apples still had not broken down.

..until I picked up a couple of them.

The apples were starting to get mushy.  Not sewage type rot as if sitting in a garbage can, but they were getting soft and starting to release moisture.  Perfect for the worms.

I then poked around just to make sure there were no problems. 

The¬†apples were¬†breaking down nicely…worms galore around the apples….everything looks great.

Never one to be satisfied with the norm, I decided to throw in¬†ANOTHER whole pumpkin.¬† Doesn’t get much easier than this…and no moving parts. ūüėČ

Interesting pH Facts

Friday, November 26th, 2010

What’s my latest passion?¬†¬†¬†Learning everything I can about gardening.¬† Not just any type of gardening,¬† but also cool and interesting exotic fruits and vegetables that can be grown in our California Mediterranean climate.

Using Worm castings has defenitely accelerated the gardening experience…once you use some Worm Dudee on you plants and see the results…you’re hooked.

Here are some interesting pH facts.  Just a reminder, the pH scale is logarithmic (And counterintuitive), so a substance with a pH of 5 is ten times more acidic than one with a pH of 6.

Check out the pH level of some of these items.

8.5  Baking Soda                         

8.2  Seawater                              

7.5  Human Blood                     

4.5  Tomato Juice                    

3.1  Apples                                  

2.5  Vinegar                                

1  Battery Acid            

If you’re wondering¬†how these pH numbers have anything to do with raising worms, remember my recent Worm Inn post where I’m currently composting 36 apples!¬† Updates coming!¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

*From the book, Organic Gardening for Dummies