So, it’s been almost a month since I can call myself vermicomposter and here goes a worms update.

My worms are still there, despite all my fears. Sometimes I feel anxious about them and I start thinking they don’t like their bin and instead of getting rid of my garbage I’ll end up with a bin full of a very strange substance. All because when preparing the bedding I ignored recommendations and used not only black’n’white paper, but some color prints and even some glossy paper. These days, who knows what printing ink is made of?

In the first week I wondered if my worms would be able to process all my kitchen wastes. I read that they eat 50 to 100% their weight per day (I bought 500 grams of worms). So first of all I set up an experiment: I was feeding them all my kitchen scraps in order to find out the maximum quantity of food they’d be able to eat on a constant basis. I’d know by odors when they can’t cope with it, in which case I’d add more shredded paper and stop feeding them, say, for a week. Well, as I keep my worms indoors I actually gave up before I sensed any odors and made a break. When I saw lots of them in the new material, I resumed feeding and now they eat virtually all my organic wastes.

Since my “bio-fermenter” is essentially a plastic bin, harvesting worm castings implies turning the bin upside down, dumping its content and manually separating compost from semi-processed materials. To make life easier, I used non-degradable net to divide the bin into several layers. The worms don’t care, but it will be a lot easier for me to manipulate the bin contents when the harvest time comes. Using this simple technique I don’t have to dig in the garbage to feed my worms — all I do is just pull up one side of the net.

Finally, some words about … biodiversity? There’s quite a lot of different creatures wondering in my bin. Besides the earthworms that I bought, I could find:

  • Pot worms — tiny white, almost colorless, creatures about 1cm long and very slim. I suspect that I introduced them together with the red worms, mixing them for baby red worms. I see them wiggling together with their red cousins, but I don’t mind, as they essentially do the same job.
  • Fruit flies — I usually see a couple of them inside the bin, which means that their eggs and larvae are somewhere in the garbage. They aren’t exactly a pleasant neighbor, but as long as they are not many I don’t resort to drastic actions. I will just bury my fruit scraps (their favorite food) somewhat deeper, so that the flies that hatch in it get suffocated in the garbage.
  • Some white variety of mites — I can spot these microscopic white balls moving quickly on the walls of the bin. Can’t estimate their number, but they don’t seem to be a menace.

As long as none of the species is threatening the balance, let them be there and eat my garbage.

Leave a Reply