Vermicomposters Unite! Official Worm Farmers Thread

TrippleDip

Well-Known Member
..... I have some more worm bin questions. Mostly about the amount you feed.

1) So I have been feeding a 750mL container of waste with about 1L of bedding each week (with thr goal of working up to twice that). This week I weighed the container and it was only a half lb. In the worms eat my garbage book it says a 2.5 sq. ft. bin should be fed about 2.5 lbs a week. That is a half inch of food waste or 3L of waste each week. Is that right?

1b) In the book again, she says 2lb of worm are required to process 1lb of food waste each day. This means there should be only 0.7lb of worms in the bin, but that seems small, I probably started with more than that.. Is that right? Am I severely underfeeding, are you feeding a half inch of food waste each week, that seems insane!

reexamining life so maybe not until 2022 Lol.
Hopefully that means you are too busy working on other projects because simple distractions can sometimes provide the motivation to work on larger and harder things.
 

loco41

Well-Known Member
I was reading the worm forum here https://www.icmag.com/ic/showthread.php?t=60422&page=12 and Clackamas Coots mentioned adding EM-1 in your worm bin. Does anyone have experience with this they could share? Happy New year!
My worms seemed to love the bokashi bran I made a while back. I have like half a gallon of some activated em1 that I've been meaning to use up still, just need to find some cheap bran somewhere local and I'll make some more up. Only thing I worried about was the ph dropping a bit from the bokashi, so tried not not overdue it too much. I think @MustangStudFarm made/used bokashi a lot more in his set ups than I did, so maybe he can offer a bit more.
 

myke

Well-Known Member
..... I have some more worm bin questions. Mostly about the amount you feed.

1) So I have been feeding a 750mL container of waste with about 1L of bedding each week (with thr goal of working up to twice that). This week I weighed the container and it was only a half lb. In the worms eat my garbage book it says a 2.5 sq. ft. bin should be fed about 2.5 lbs a week. That is a half inch of food waste or 3L of waste each week. Is that right?

1b) In the book again, she says 2lb of worm are required to process 1lb of food waste each day. This means there should be only 0.7lb of worms in the bin, but that seems small, I probably started with more than that.. Is that right? Am I severely underfeeding, are you feeding a half inch of food waste each week, that seems insane!


Hopefully that means you are too busy working on other projects because simple distractions can sometimes provide the motivation to work on larger and harder things.
Ive been adding my food to one spot,then after a week I can check how much is left.I mix spread around whats left then feed again in a different spot.
 

myke

Well-Known Member
A question,I notice the bottom 2" of my 15g tote can get compacted.Should I be turning the whole tote?
 

raggyb

Well-Known Member
..... I have some more worm bin questions. Mostly about the amount you feed.

1) So I have been feeding a 750mL container of waste with about 1L of bedding each week (with thr goal of working up to twice that). This week I weighed the container and it was only a half lb. In the worms eat my garbage book it says a 2.5 sq. ft. bin should be fed about 2.5 lbs a week. That is a half inch of food waste or 3L of waste each week. Is that right?

1b) In the book again, she says 2lb of worm are required to process 1lb of food waste each day. This means there should be only 0.7lb of worms in the bin, but that seems small, I probably started with more than that.. Is that right? Am I severely underfeeding, are you feeding a half inch of food waste each week, that seems insane!


Hopefully that means you are too busy working on other projects because simple distractions can sometimes provide the motivation to work on larger and harder things.
Haha yeah, I think i have a lot of projects going on including the examining life one. i think sometimes it helps to back off on projects that are not going well and wait for some enlightenment. Definitely like your question and would like to hear more opinions on it. I recall someone writing how neglecting their bin for a real long time like weeks and weeks worked out real well for them. So on the other end of the spectrum I wonder how much food can you shove in there without things going bad?
 

TrippleDip

Well-Known Member
i think sometimes it helps to back off on projects that are not going well and wait for some enlightenment.
Good advice too.

So on the other end of the spectrum I wonder how much food can you shove in there without things going bad?
I think I found my answer anyways. From urbanwormcompany.com's vermicomposting 101..

The grossly over-optimistic rule of thumb that worms can eat 50-100% of their weight in organic waste each day is leading new vermicomposters to certain failure.

Even if worms can eat 50% of their own weight, I‘ll bet you dollars to doughnuts the worms aren't going to completely finish off 10% in 24 hours. And the reason is pretty simple. Worms are eating more than what you feed them ... worms are also eating the “brown” material we consider to be bedding, which is decomposing, albeit at a slower rate than food waste.
They then go on to say that almost all problems are caused by overfeeding not underfeeding


I mix spread around whats left then
That's new to me. many places say to go through a sequence of spots but for some reason I imagined it going up like a circular staircase. That definitely makes more sense.
 

IRod187

Member
These threads are awesome. Im starting a bin for the first time n its great to get insight n knowledge from y'all. Question on adding spent beer grains. Any experience?
 

IRod187

Member
There is some discussion of that topic on page 80.
Thanks. I was reading through that n it's actually what inspired my question. Sorry, I should of been a bit more specific. I read over this article n was curious if anyone can vouch for the microbial activity in their ewc after feeding a balanced diet of spent beer grain specifically. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31470229/#:~:text=Brewers' spent grain (BSG),biotechnological processes, such as vermicomposting.&text=Higher fungi and yeast abundance,accompanied by higher dehydrogenase activity.
 

MustangStudFarm

Well-Known Member
My worms seemed to love the bokashi bran I made a while back. I have like half a gallon of some activated em1 that I've been meaning to use up still, just need to find some cheap bran somewhere local and I'll make some more up. Only thing I worried about was the ph dropping a bit from the bokashi, so tried not not overdue it too much. I think @MustangStudFarm made/used bokashi a lot more in his set ups than I did, so maybe he can offer a bit more.
I used greensand, azomite, basalt, OSF, and barley seed in my worm bin. The Grokashi works well to make thermal compost and keep the bin warm in the winter, plus the population explodes after using it. My problem is that I usually get mice that eat my worms because I have big outdoor bins. We don't have that bad of winters in Okla, so keep that in mind. I found red wheat bran at a feed store and I found rice bran at walmart that's labeled for deer feed in the hunting section. Where I live, I have more feed stores than grocery stores so I don't know how hard it would be to find red wheat bran? I had some oak leaves that I had stored for about a year, then I brought them to my worm bin to finish. I ended up with pure leaf mold in about 2 years(Clackamas Coots method). However, Clack admitted that buys his black leaf mould from a friend.DSC01284.JPGDSC01117.JPGDSC01121.JPGDSC01127.JPG
 

MustangStudFarm

Well-Known Member
Thanks. I was reading through that n it's actually what inspired my question. Sorry, I should of been a bit more specific. I read over this article n was curious if anyone can vouch for the microbial activity in their ewc after feeding a balanced diet of spent beer grain specifically. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31470229/#:~:text=Brewers' spent grain (BSG),biotechnological processes, such as vermicomposting.&text=Higher fungi and yeast abundance,accompanied by higher dehydrogenase activity.
Spent beer grain is missing the enzymes, it's the best part of the grain. I use a pale barley because it's supposed to have more enzymes. However, I wouldn't stop using a free input. If you have a good source of free barley, you should make an outdoor bin for sure! Like my post above, just add leaves and you have compost. You can add stuff to leaves to make it faster than a 2yr process, I mean nitrogen. Nitrogen and sugar would get things cooking, both will help with microbial activity. Just don't have sugar/molasses in your soil when you plant, it's phytotoxic. Give it enough time to break down. Fish hydrolysate and spent grain should give you good fungal growth in a compost/vermicompost bin. I would use fresh grain on a potted plant though, like a topdressing. If you buy it, just get the cheap 4 row from the beer store. I'll get the pale 6 row when it's on sale, or if I'm feeling lucky. You should use this with some form of chitin input like crab.
 
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MustangStudFarm

Well-Known Member
I was reading the worm forum here https://www.icmag.com/ic/showthread.php?t=60422&page=12 and Clackamas Coots mentioned adding EM-1 in your worm bin. Does anyone have experience with this they could share? Happy New year!
I replied above, but if you want a detailed discussion on Clackamas Coot's soil recipe, here is an awesome pod. I refer to this often and the host Tad Hussey is pretty cool himself. Here is a 3pt series on here with Clack, listen to some of the others too. I found Dr. Steve Solomon to be helpful talking about soil remineralization. I was chasing Mn problems at the time and he explains that cannabis is Mn sensitive and it's hard to find sources of Mn, like rock dust and kelp don't have enough Mn or Zn.
 

MustangStudFarm

Well-Known Member
Thanks. I was reading through that n it's actually what inspired my question. Sorry, I should of been a bit more specific. I read over this article n was curious if anyone can vouch for the microbial activity in their ewc after feeding a balanced diet of spent beer grain specifically. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31470229/#:~:text=Brewers' spent grain (BSG),biotechnological processes, such as vermicomposting.&text=Higher fungi and yeast abundance,accompanied by higher dehydrogenase activity.
Good link, I'm reading it now. The reason why the enzymes can be helpful in barley seed, let's say that you follow Clackamas Coot's soil recipe and you use crab/crustacean meal(chitin), you will need the enzymes(chitinase) to break down the chitin. Otherwise, you won't really break it down and it will just sit in the soil. I did a little research on my own and took it a step further, I found that the streptomyces bacteria in Grokashi(from the beet juice) also produces chitinase. So, when I do a topdressing now, I'll use crab, barley seed, and grokashi together. The grokashi will make a layer of mycelium, then cover that with a compost topdressing and the mycelium will grow through your compost.
This is the first topdressing with crab, barley, and grokashi. This is in a Earthbox, which is covered with a shower cap. This will push microbes to the max. It's supposed to be like the floor of the Amazon rainforest. You can still see the grokashi grain.
DSC01261.JPG

I wait about 4 days for the mycelium to form, then I topdress it(pic above). This pic is another 5 days after the compost topdressing, so maybe 5 days since the top pic. I've played around with this method a little and I found ways to get a thicker mycelium mat the first time around.
DSC01263.JPG
 

MustangStudFarm

Well-Known Member
Those are probiotic SIPs. Here is a link for more info https://www.rollitup.org/t/greens-probiotic-method.985411/
I don’t believe the worms can survive in a probiotic SIP, but @MustangStudFarm would be able to better answer.
I think that it gets too acidic for worms. I used a Ph meter the other day and it was around 5.2, so I had to start using more calcium and rock dust in my mix. I'm using ferments that are really acidic too, so that is probably the culprit. I'm about to get a soil test and pay an agronomist to look at my compost results.
 

CrunchBerries

Well-Known Member
I think that it gets too acidic for worms. I used a Ph meter the other day and it was around 5.2, so I had to start using more calcium and rock dust in my mix. I'm using ferments that are really acidic too, so that is probably the culprit. I'm about to get a soil test and pay an agronomist to look at my compost results.
Thank you! That’s some good info!
 
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