Thursday, May 14, 2009

My worms are working hard...worm bin 5th week

I checked the bottom tray of worm compost in my worm bin yesterday. I have about 2000 worms working on two trays at the moment- the bottom tray is slowly getting the last of its newspaper and food scrap remnants finished up by the remaining several hundred worms hanging out in there, while the top tray is now the active tray that gets all the new food scraps. The worms are slowly moving up to the top tray through its mesh bottom, migrating to where the new food is being offered.

Here are photos of the top 'working' tray, the one I am putting the new food scraps into:

You can see lots of newspaper strips, coffee filters, and cardboard mixed in with food scraps and worms.

Here are photos of the bottom tray, which is being left alone for the remaining worms to finish processing. All that's left are some raggedly newspaper strips that are now rapidly decomposing. There are no more recognizable food scraps, and it is full of good castings already. Should be ready to harvest in 2 or 3 more weeks and apply to my vegetable garden:
It's so cool. I was surprised to find the bottom tray about 70% 'processed' already and looking like fine black earth (it's really black castings). Everything has a lovely smell like a forest floor. My bin is only 5 weeks old.

At this rate in about 3 more weeks I'll have about two gallons' worth of worm castings to add to my leaf lettuces and tomato plants in the garden...all magically made for FREE from kitchen scraps. My little pets are working hard!

The "Gusanito" worm bin I have has 5 available trays, and I'm currently only using two since my bin is only 5 weeks old. Keeping the spare trays in the basement for now. I imagine I might eventually have 3 or 4 trays going at the same time, in various stages. You only feed the top tray, and you harvest the bottom most tray when it looks done and is about 80 or 90% castings with few visible scrap remnants left. The worms tend to leave it by that time anyway, and move up where there's some better food prospects, but you do have go through the harvested finished compost to rescue remaining worms before you apply the finished vermi-compost to your garden.

The species of composting worm I have, Eisenia Foetida, would not survive our cold winters here, so putting them in the garden would be pointless. There are at least a couple of native earthworms species I've seen in my garden soil that I'm happy to encourage outside instead.

Here is a beensy new baby worm from my bin, saying "Hallo!" to you and waving her teeny weeny little dirt hanky! Notice she is also wearing a dainty dirt tutu...

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