This is the new home of my red wiggler worms. No, my worm farm didn’t fail. The reality is it was too successful. Suddenly, there was a population explosion in the worm bin. This meant more feedings, more liquid to drain off, in short more maintenance, and in one heartbeat I decided I had had enough of the worm bin. Thankfully, I have a compost bin outdoors and it was easy to act on my impulse and carry the whole bucket outside and dump it. I have not regretted it for a moment. The worm bin was a fun experiment, but I will stick to the outdoor composter now. Moral of the tale: Try new things, but when you have had enough…get rid of it! 🙂
I promised when I started this blog to be truthful when a project fails or has a problem.
Vermicomposting (Worm Farming)
Problem #1 – My worm farm is going strong and thriving, but in the time I’ve been “farming” the worms I’ve run up against two very “stinky” problems. Most of the time my worm farm smells fresh, a bit like the fragrance that wafts upward when you rustle your feet along a woodland path. A sure proof way to foul that nice smell is to feed the worms leftover broccoli. OH MY!!! The smell was absolutely horrendous for days. Thankfully the worm farm is in my basement, and the smell didn’t escape too far into main house, but it was definitely noticeable at the top of the basement stairs and in the hallway. Happily, the worms seemed to really like the mushy, stinky broccoli, and ate it quickly. Hooray! But…I will never, ever, ever feed them a cruciferous vegetable scrap again. Only apples and other sweet-smelling leftovers from now on.
Problem # 2 – Do not feed your houseplants the worm tea as fertilizer. The worm tea had very little odor when harvested, but seemed to develop an off odor after applied to the soil of houseplants, even though it was very watered down. Lesson learned – Save the worm tea for outdoor plants.
Problem #3 – I have had two escapees. I think they slipped out the holes in the side. The unlucky fellows didn’t even make it a yard past the worm farm. Since I keep the bin in the basement the concrete floor acted exactly as a sidewalk does…think dried and shriveled worms in the summer sun…the escapees seemed to have instantly dried up and died on the basement floor.
To read about the start of my worm farming click on these links:
A quick update on my vermicomposting project. Vermicomposting is a fancy name for worm farming. You can read my initial blog post on worm farming here: The Worm Farm.
The “farm” is doing terrific. I found a wonderful blog that is helping me along. Vermicomposters.com contains the answers to any question a newbie vermicomposter has about worm farming. You can take a look at the site here: Vermicomposters.
One of the topics I found to be of great help was on the subject of what the worms like to eat. I saw that cantaloupe and other melons are a worm favorite. I had an old piece of cantaloupe rind in my fridge that was beyond the date of safe human consumption so I decided to give it a try. I scooped out the interior of the melon and placed it in a corner of the worm farm. What a surprise awaited me in about ten days or so…the cantaloupe seeds had sprouted. You can see a few of them in the picture above. After reading a blog post on Vermicomposters.com, I was assured that this is common and is an indication that you are doing things right. You can read the vermicomposting post here: Sprouting Seeds
Another surprise has been the fresh air smell that wafts out of the composter. I was prepared for a sour odor…not so…the smell that awaits me each time I feed the worms is that of the floor of woodsy forest. It is in no way offensive.
I feed my worms every five days. So far I have given them lettuce, apple peels, crushed eggshells, a minimal amount of coffee grounds, and the cantaloupe. They are thriving. The bottom layer of newspaper bedding I added at the start has since turned into compost. I’m thrilled! The liquid capture kitty litter bucket has been filled with bits of compost and liquid, again no odor, and I have added this to the water I give to my houseplants.
Need I even say that so far my worm farm has been a success! If you’ve ever felt a nudge to give it a try…please give into your inclination. It is so much fun.
I will post updates about my worm farm progress through the next few months…check back.