How’s this for testing the limits of a Vermicomposting System?
What’s in my INN (right now)? 🙂
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? 🙂
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.
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.