Well my little Red Wiggler breeding experiment continues to move along successfully but, as with most such ventures, there have been stumbles as well. Primarily, the opportunities for learning have come in regards to temperature, moisture...and bugs.
I believe that the temperature and moisture issues have actually been working together. My first bin often needed water added once in awhile, but the 3 main ones that I have been running lately have all become quite soggy in the bottom, despite having drain holes. One of them was actually draining some water out, including some VC and even some worms. I had to retrieve the wanderers or they'd have eventually drowned. The other two bins merely got soggy in the bottom and I have had to do plenty of stirring and adding of absorbent bedding in order to avoid smelly anaerobic activity.
I suspect moisture issue had two causes. One is simply that I have been feeding the worms things that have had a higher moisture content, like cast-off pumpkins from our fall harvest. The other factor is temperature. The one main bin that I have had here in the condo has been by far the least soggy of the three, whereas the worst of the three seems to be the bin that has been sitting on the cool floor of the basement at my parent's house out at the farm. So I think the trick is going to be keeping them off the floor and, if I can, away from the cool walls. These cooler temperatures really seem to slow down the activity of the worms, both feeding and breeding. Now that I have eased off on the feeding of water-heavy things to the condo bin, I am starting to see some very nice and nearly finished VermiCompost that should be ready for use in the greenhouse within a couple of months. Hopefully the other two bins will catch up quickly.
The more frustrating issue has been bugs.
In the last update I wrote about the fruit fly infestation that I was fighting. Well no sooner had I won that battle than I had an infestation of small manure flies which came from some dry cow patties that I brought from the farm. These little bastards are tiny things that like to come to my computer desk and fly up my nose when I am working or watching something. I don't know of any way to get rid of them other than to remove all food sources and let them die off, which is hard to do when trying to actively breed bins of worms in my condo. However soon I will be able to move the bins from here back out to the farm where bugs are much less of an issue. Let this be a lesson, however. Don't bring manure into your house unless it has been properly composted already. Its a lesson I should have known already but I am a boy after all!
But if you're wondering why I brought the cow shit into the condo, well, it makes GREAT longer term food and serves as bedding. As bedding it can come in real handy for sopping up excess moisture if the manure is very dry. And of course, plenty of bedding over top of added food that might attract bugs is always a good way to not attract them in the first place.
3 weeks ago