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The Food Waste Problem – Week 4

Monday, May 20th, 2013

I got a late start on the blog today as I’ve been working in the backyard all weekend.  Spent the early evening picking giant veggies (I’ll write about them shortly).  Anyway, the lighting in my garage was horrible (See below).

Sorry about that reflection.  The weight was 3.75 pounds (The bowl weighs .73), so let’s call it 3 pounds (Net) of scraps for today.

As usual, I took a pic at how far down The Worm Inn is this week.  Check this out.

…and another thing I like to do is check and see how broken down stuff is in The Inn.  This is definitely optional.

Everything looks good, so I’ll dump in my new mess of scraps.

And cover everything up with toilet paper tubes and more shredded newspaper.

Yep.  It’s that EASY.

Previous Total – 10.04 pounds

Todays – 3 pounds

Total waste diverted from landfill after four weeks…13.04 Pounds.

Why I Recommend Not Buying a Plastic Bin For Worm Composting!

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

Here is a typical email and pic from a couple that just bought their first worms…..

We had trouble with keeping the worms inside the Worm Fxxxxx, and keeping vinegar flies outside, so yesterday we tried to put some more dry newspaper on top but the worms have started to escape on a large scale since this morning…
We don’t know what to do…!!

Thanks if you can help!

This is a common problem with plastic bins, and quite frankly, why I do not and have not sold plastic bins in years.

1.  Plastic is non porous and does not breathe, even if you drill holes in it.

2.  Think of a plastic bin as a bucket.  Have you ever kept food scraps in a bucket underneath your kitchen sink?  When you opened the bucket, what did it look and smell like?

3.  When dealing with plastic bins, you can easily create anaerobic situations (Stink due to lack of oxygen).  This can kill worms quickly.

4.  Plastic bins hold water so well, you’re usually dealing with MUD, when you want are nice, light castings (Think damp coffee grounds).  Additionally, mud and pressure (From stacking trays. is the recipe for making adobe bricks!)

5.  Worms LOVE to crawl around the side walls of plastic bins, and often times they want to crawl out.

All of these problems go away when you use The Worm Inn.  Properly filled with LOTS of bedding material, you can fill it with a LOT of scraps without issue.  The sides of The Worm Inn do not stay wet, so worms NEVER crawl up the sides.  Because THE WORM INN has so much breathability, it does not stink even when loaded up.  The reality is, when fruit and veggies break down, they should smell a little sweet (except for broccoli and brussel sprouts…lol).

We ship worms in breathable bags, not plastic containers.  Why do you think we do that?

Buy a better worm composting system and enjoy the experience.  Buy THE WORM INN.

The Food Waste Problem – Week 3

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Now we’re starting to pick up steam.  Had a big Mother’s Day brunch that ended up with Fresh Grilled Pineapple, Brown Sugar, and French Vanilla Ice Cream (You can thank me later for this one…it’s the bomb!).  Anyway, had a bunch of skin from today’s Pineapples, and some of the usual waste.

Quite a bit…today’s waste weighed in at almost 4 pounds.

Here’s how my Worm Inn looked before I did anything today…..

Worms are happy as can be….doing their thing….

Everyone in the pool!!!

Here’s a twist.  I had a customer come by to pick up a Worm Inn and some worms.  He needed newspaper more than I did, so I gave him what I had on hand.  No worries….I like newspaper as a base because it holds water really, really well.  But, once I’ve got that base, I can add other stuff in lieu of newspaper…..Like this!

I could have run the tubes through my paper shredder (I have a really high end shredder), but, no need.  Over time, the worms will break down these toilet paper tubes, paper towel tubes, and egg crate just fine.

I then zipped up the bag and because I had a bunch of other things to do, I didn’t even water the TP tubes in.  No big deal…the underlying paper was plenty damp.  I’ll water the system either tomorrow or the next day.

See how easy The Worm Inn makes worm composting!

Week 3:  May 12, 2013 – 3.91 Pounds

YTD (3 Weeks) 10.04 pounds of waste that will never hit the landfill.

How much food waste did you send to the landfill over the past 3 weeks?

The Food Waste Problem – Week 2.5

Friday, May 10th, 2013

I’ve received lots of emails about the current blog thread.  In fact, more emails than any other topic I’ve written about.  People are fascinated about reading the weekly posts showing just how much the worms process…..and you ain’t seen nothin yet!

The first thing I wanted to share is just how fast the level of bedding has dropped.  Amazing, isn’t it?

The next thing I usually do is just take a quick peek at the worms, and see how they are eating away.  Even though I’ve vermicomposted for years, believe it or not, worms still fascinate me.

Time to weigh todays scraps…..3.38 pounds…that’s more like it.

I simply dump in the scraps and holler for the worms that dinner is ready.  Compare trying to do this with a stackable plastic bin with 3 inch deep trays…..

Then, I just cover up the scraps thoroughly.  I had some additional newspaper, so I added it.

Then I simply zipped up the top.  What could be easier?

This entire process literally took a minute.  I don’t know anyone that “Literally” does not have a minute to spare.  At this point I could water the system (I just mist right through the mesh top)…..or not.  The area where the worms are is damp, so the new paper on top doesn’t need to be watered down until I get around to it.

Week 2.5 – May 9, 2013 – 3.38 pounds

YTD (Actually only 2.5 weeks) – 6.13 pounds of waste that will never hit the landfill.

Worm Inn Customer Testimonial

Thursday, May 9th, 2013
I’m writing in regards to one of your recent blog post about how much and how fast the Worm Inn processes material.  I just wanted to chime in because I partially harvested both my Worm Inns this weekend and took a couple pictures.  I had last harvested them sometime during late Fall.  That particular harvest resulted in enough castings for me to brew five gallons of worm tea just about every weekend since the fall, and provided enough castings for me to plant my veggie garden this Spring.
I attached pictures of material fresh from one of my Worm Inns and a couple pictures of the castings after being put through 1/8″ screen.  The last picture shows the total castings from both of my Inns.  My Inns contain a mix of Euros and Reds.  Anyway, as a fan and supporter of the Worm Inn I just wanted to share some pics that might help you with future questions since you help so many on the blog and in the forum.  Feel free to share them if it helps you out at all.
Raw Castings

Screened Castings

Pretty Huh!

Tea anyone?

The Food Waste Problem – Week 2

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Lets see what progress has been made this week.

Did the worms process most of last weeks scraps in The Worm Inn?

Let’s take a look.

Yep. Most of last weeks scraps are gone.

This is the worst month of the year for us when it comes to fresh fruit. The winter fruit season is pretty much over, and it’s too early for stone fruit (Unless you count the fruit picked unripe and imported)…aka..imported crap.

We’ve been away several days this week and only had 1.35 pounds of scraps. MUCH lower than a normal week for us.

Here’s the quick “Dump” into The Worm Inn.

Covered the scraps well, and added some additional newspaper like I wanted to do last week.

Had some paper towel tubes and some egg carton material, so that went in also.

I could shred them, but why waste my time?  The Worms will process these just fine.

WEEK 2 – May 5, 2013  1.35 pounds

YTD….2.75 pounds (Just wait, some weeks will have 10 pounds of scraps)

The Food Waste Problem – It’s MUCH Worse Than You Think!

Monday, April 29th, 2013

I provide the worms for most of our county and city composting programs.  Because I attend many events, I’ve met several interesting people in the field of waste reduction. After a recent long conversation about the issue of Food Waste, and the struggles our local governments have with this issue, I decided to dedicate a blog series about food waste.

What’s the big deal?

How are we “Managing” it?

Is what we are doing sustainable?

What is my “Waste Reduction Footprint”?

As part of this series, I also took the opportunity to see just how much of a difference my own recycling habits have made.   We recycle a large percentage of our food waste using composting redworms,  but I wanted to quantify my “Waste Reduction Footprint”.   I believe you will find this blog series eye opening.  Please feel free to share it with your friends.

Step 1. Start a Fresh Compost Bin (We’ve been using The Worm Inn for years.  It’s the system I manufacture, it holds LOTS of food waste, and it makes Worm Composting very simple and painless.

Even though I’ve got hundreds of Worm Inn’s available, I’ve been using this recently harvested one for the last 3 years.  No reason to dirty up a brand new one when this one will work perfectly fine.

Step 2: Load The Worm Inn with newspaper bedding that has been soaked for 24 hours. I recommend filling The Worm Inn completely with 25 or more full newspapers. Unfortunately, I’ve given away so much newspaper to customers in need lately that we only had about 15 newspapers available.  This filled my Worm Inn about half way (Filling it full with damp, fluffed, newspaper is optimum)…but, life is not always optimum.  Also, I knew we didn’t have very many available scraps on hand this week, so overfeeding wasn’t going to be an issue.

Step 3:Fetch my available food scraps, and then weigh them.  My state certified scale, (Using the appropriate tare weight for the container) shows that I’ve got 1.4 pounds of food waste today that will never see the landfill.

Step 4: Place the food waste in the bedding, and be sure to cover it up with plenty of damp, fluffed newspaper.  This virtually eliminates bugs 99% of the time.

Step 5: Weigh  Composting worms.  Here is your normal pile of 2 pounds of Red Wigglers. (Doesn’t everyone have pounds and pounds of worms just sitting around)?  I’m starting off with 2 pounds because that amount should take care of most of our food waste.

Step 6: Add composting worms.  They will work their way down into the nice, damp, fluffy bedding pretty quickly.

Step 7: Act fascinated that the worms all go down so quickly.  lol…okay, I can’t say I’m actually fascinated by this after many years in the business….but I thought you might be. Now you see them,  Now you don’t!

Step 8: Zip up the bag, Go inside, and enjoy some nice cold ice water.  This is really the most important step, because it shows just how quick and simple it is to compost with worms, and do your part to help reduce food waste going to the landfill.

I’ll update this at least once a week for a yet undetermined period of time.  I’m really curious to see just how much of a difference we can make.

Stay Tuned!

WEEK 1 – April 28, 2013  –  1.4 pounds.

ZOMBIE Worms are Here!

Friday, April 26th, 2013

They’re cool. They’re huge. They’re the scariest looking worms around.  They’re ZOMBIE worms.

Simple to raise in damp peat moss, or a couple of inches of oatmeal, with a few slices of apple or carrot.  That’s all you need!

Unlike small mealworms that need to be kept chilled, Zombie worms LOVE room temperature.  No worms in the refrigeration needed (You’re welcome mom).

Feed your Zombie worms to your chickens and reptiles (They will go NUTS) chasing down the Zombie’s.  Keep a few Zombie Worms for breeding purposes, and you will have perpetual feeders.  Zombie Worms will morph into beetles, the beetles will lay eggs, and then die…leaving you with up to 500 Zombie Worm babies.

You can’t go wrong with these easy to breed Zombie’s.

The Worm Inn. EZ Worm Composting. How Much, How Fast?

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

There are two main questions that people ask about The Worm Inn.

How much can it process?

How fast will it process?

The Worm Inn (Pictured above), has been set up in my garage for appx. 8-9 months.    I decided to empty it today for a few reasons:

1.  I’m going to start totally fresh, taking pictures every week and monitoring just how much goes into this system (And showing how much waste is avoiding the landfill every week).

2.  I wanted to show the amount of useable castings come out of the system.  You’re looking at approximately 9 gallons of unscreened castings.  Just the stuff straight out of the system.  I sell 5 gallons of castings for approximately $50.  At this rate, the Worm Inn pays for itself in less than one year!

3.  When I take the weekly pictures, I will also include bedding that I add to the top of the system.  You will not BELIEVE how fast the bedding level drops.  And the bedding that I add to the top could be many things….from newspaper, to junk mail, to toilet paper tubes, to paper towel tubes.  No paper shredder?  Doesn’t matter.  You’ll see.

African Nightcrawlers…Great For Raised Beds In Warm Climates!

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

I constantly get requests from all over the country for worms that help break up clay soil. My answer is always the same, Get some Alabama Jumpers, along with adding a lot of organic material and some moisture….a natural solution!  To this day, I smile when I see Jumpers in every shovelful of soil in my yard.

But, what about raised beds?  Because raised beds are built to not be walked on,  aeration should not be a major concern.  Additionally, raised beds are typically filled with LOTS of organic material…The smart gardener would never add only garden soil to a raised bed. Sooo…you’ve got a raised bed filled with organic material, and (Hopefully) lots of plants. But you want WORMS,…..LOTS AND LOTS OF WORMS eating the organic material, and…ahem…processing it.

This is where African Nightcrawlers come into play.  African Nightcrawlers are relatively large, active composting worms that would love to “Process” all over your raised beds. Don’t worry about them eating your live plants, that’s not what composting worms do. Soon your raised beds will be full of beneficial bacteria, and you’ll have a smile on your face from seeing worms every time you garden in your beds.