Here’s part 2 in Bentley’s excellent series on prepping your food scraps for worms for the best results. Learn from the master!
This is part one of a 3-part vermicomposting series done by THE dude Bentley Christie. Follow these tips and your worms will give you no hassles, ever.
The Worm Inn MEGA is the latest improvement on the original Worm Inn system.
With this system you can turn huge quantities of organic materials into worm castings fairly quickly, without the hassle.
Simply add a layer of shredded cardboard, some shredded paper, a dash of leaves and of course food scraps. Let the material sit for a week while you order the red wiggler worms for the system. Anywhere from 3-5 pounds will do.
From there, it’s as easy as adding your food scraps each week and removing fresh castings from the bottom via the drawstring opening.
This system reigns superior over the others simply due to its huge capacity in a footprint of just 20″ x 20″ and its exceptional airflow which prevents it from getting oversaturated.
If you aren’t working with a lot of space and want to compost year round, the Worm Inn MEGA can really make it happen for you.
Definitely digging this MASSIVE Worm Inn.
My main question is regarding how to empty it… since it’s so huge when you open the drawstrings I can imagine material just flies out of that thing. I wonder how heavy it is…definitely over 100 pounds when full, if not closer to 150 lbs!
If I had one of these, I’d pretty much have to stop my other compost projects since I don’t have a whole lot of material, but man it’s tempting to get one anyway!
My current Worm Inn is just enough capacity, but there have been times where I wish it was bigger.
After a few months of not adding substantial amounts of material to my Worm Inn (I slow down the feeding to my worms in the warmer months), I decided to take it outside and poke around in the castings.
There was a good six inches of beautiful, crumbly castings…great stuff!
However, there was also several pieces of plastic film…huh?
Then I remembered, a few months ago I placed some waxed paper, an ice cream carton, and a chinese food container (without the metal handle)…and that’s what’s left! I don’t recommend adding this kind of stuff to a worm composting system, but my curiosity got the better of me.
What’s sad is that a large portion of single use paper products have plastic liners embedded in them to keep the contents from leaking out all over the place. I can’t imagine that plastic liners are a favorite of worms…so I think going forward I’m going to keep all paper products other than cardboard and (dull) shredded paper out of the system.
Recognize the item in the lower left? Yep, that’s a tea bag.
It looks like the worms ate the contents, but the bag must be synthetic. There’s definitely some fully compostable tea bags out there…look for those. I guess the string isn’t appealing, either! Good thing I took the staple out.
In the warmer months, I have challenges with fruit flies surrounding my Worm Inn from time to time. The key is to pay attention to the moisture level inside the Worm Inn and cover your deposits with bedding materials to keep them to a minimum.
I decided to try putting my fruit fly trap on top of the Inn instead of on the ground beneath it. I found that I caught nearly all the fruit flies overnight by having it on top!
If you haven’t made a fruit fly trap before, they’re really quick and cheap to make.
All you need is:
-A few drops of dish soap
-1 cup of apple cider vinegar (wine works, too)
-A piece of plastic wrap large enough to cover the opening of the jar
Pour one cup of apple cider vinegar (or wine) into the jar. Add a few drops of dish soap and put the plastic wrap over the opening of the jar. Poke a few holes into it so the flies can enter. They’re attracted to the smell of the vinegar/wine, and will go for it. The soap makes the surface a bit thicker and the flies are caught.
Happy composting/fly catching!
Well, how many Worm Inn owners hang up theirs underneath the steps using a couple screws (with threading exposed)? Probably next to none of you (if you do, leave a comment!).
I decided to extend the life of the loops (made of a tough fabric) by threading keyrings onto each, shifting the weight to the metal rings. So if you’re attaching/detaching the Inn often, or it’s hanging one something other than the stand kit, try some keyrings!
For fun, I decided to add some materials that would break down eventually in a compost pile to my Worm Inn:
I decided to add a disgusting Jimmy John’s wrapper and also some little blueberry muffin cake things left over from Thanksgiving I forgot about. Seriously messed up on that one- my mom makes killer food. Sorry mom! I’ll let you know if the worms like it.
On a side note, did you know that the majority of “paper” cups you see contain a plastic liner in them? If your end castings seem to have bits of shiny plastic in them, and you put a paper cup or two in the worm composter, chances are the remnants are what’s left from the cups. Crazy, right? More info to come shortly…
I live in a super old and drafty house, and in the wintertime I always wonder if my worms will survive. The worms reside in the colder half of my basement, but apparently it’s no problem for them: I was reading my Worm Briefs email subscription and there were testimonials of people that had worms surviving in both sub zero and above 100F temperatures! Check this out:
“I’ve had redworms survive Winnipeg winters for 2 years in a
row. Frost gets down past 6″ as I recall (could be wrong)
and we do get rather severe winter temperatures. This year we
have a thick blanket of snow but last year the sledders were
complaining quite a bit. Not sure of temperatures under the
snow but this evening we’re at -32 C (- 25.6 F) heading for
-34 C (-29.2 F). On top of that they’re giving us a wind chill
of -43 C (-45.4 F). I was very surprised to find my worms in
the lasagna bed last spring.”
I complain about temperatures in the teens, I have nothing to complain about! And on the other side of things:
“Just a quick comment re: temperatures that red worms can survive
in. I live in Adelaide, Australia and have my worm farm set
up in a large wooden crate with plenty of ventilation holes
and a moist towel over the top with a wooden lid over that.
We have recently had a couple of days where the temp has reached
45 C (113 F) and the worms appear to be ok and a couple of
years ago we had a heat wave when the daytime temp did not go
below 40 C (104 F) for 2 weeks and they still survived so as
you say they are pretty resilient.”
Wow! Chances are pretty good my worms will make it through the winter just fine…
Then the wintertime came, and somehow the mice found their way into the house. I’ve spent so much time shoring up the perimeter of my house, but there’s one section underneath the backyard decking that I can’t reach very easily and they must be getting in that way somehow.
I guess they found the Worm Inn quickly, since it’s in the basement and it has plenty of food scraps in it. One day I came downstairs and noticed some tiny rough spots in the mesh lid. It appears I’ve gotten lucky and they haven’t ripped a hole. Now I have to hang the thing up much higher so they can’t get to it.
So why the bucket, you ask? Well, I like to check on the worms and play with them somewhat often… I’m not able to do that when hanging them up extra high to keep any pests from getting to it. So once my kitchen jar gets full, I unhook the Worm Inn from the ceiling (this thing is heavy!) and put it inside a 5 gallon bucket…it fits pretty nicely. Then I can open it up, check the progress and add new material.
My basement is super cold, and I was surprised to see that they’re still in there doing their thing…resilient little guys, aren’t they? They’ll be getting a lot of extra attention until springtime rolls around, that’s for sure…I wasn’t able to build a pile large enough to make it through the winter, but the worms will pick up the extra slack with no problems.