Monday, October 06, 2008

Anatomy of a Worm Composting Bin

Minimal size for a conventional composting bin is 3' x 3' x 3'. This is a size that is managable for handling by hand and for building up composting heat. It 's important for you to understand that the bacterial action going on in the pile is what is causing the heat.

When you combine Carbon + Nitrogen + Water + Air you provide the perfect environment for massive bacteria growth which is consuming (composting) the material in your bin. Once your conventional compost pile heats up and then cools, you turn the material in the bin to move fresh material to the center of the bin mixing air back into the mix, and composting begins again and the heat in the bin builds again.

When worm bin composting you want to be very careful that you do not get the heat you produce in a conventional composting bin.

1. When you mix materials for a new bin always allow the material to sit before you add your worms to make sure you have not created a haven for massive bacteria action. HEAT!

2. Once you know the material is not going to heat up, separate out some of the bedding into another container and add only a small portion of your worms to make sure the bedding is safe and the worms will like it.

3. As soon as you suspect a problem, if you can feel heat, it smells bad, and or your worms are trying to escape IN MASS, get them out. If you are not sure of your bedding, use wet, shredded newspaper. Keep a supply handy at all times.

4. If you have a bin that has been active for a while and you develope a problem, there is a possibility that you have cocoons in the bedding and you loose your worms, don't throw away your bedding. Leave it and you may have worms hatch once the bedding becomes habitable again.

Just remember, heat kills worms.

Good Luck,

Until next time.

Vermiculture Northwest

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