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After a week, there are still many food pieces left but they are all difficult to break down food pieces (banana peels, avocado skins, citrus skins etc...) but as you can see on the below images, the level has dropped down quite a bit.
Tonight, my kitchen scraps collection bucket is full again. The other worm bins have already been fed over the weekend so I wanted to retry the previous challenge and see if I can consistently get the same results or if it was fluke. But this time I won't prepare the food scraps and will dump straight on top of a thick layer of shredded cardboard. This is how the content looked like before I added anything as part as today's experiement. You can see it has dropped quite a bit, almost like if the 10L from the last experiment have all vanished... As usual, a lot of dry bedding material is added...
On March 18th I decided that the Swag was ready for a food challenge and dumped into it 10L of kitchen scraps that I have gradually collected over the week in a indoor composting bucket. Reminder: that Swag has been started about 3 months prior to the experiment and was filled with bedding and worms from several RELN Worm Factories (Australian domestic worm bins). The food scraps has prepared by mixing it with hand torn newspaper and adding a little bit of garden lime (calcium carbonate) to help control the pH (acidity). I usually add dry bedding materials (newspaper, corrugated cardboard) to...
It seems that whenever we human make a step forward we also make two steps backwards. What I mean is a lot of time when with our intelligence we come up with solutions and products that is meant to enhance or speed-up what Nature does perfectly for millenia, we are actually destroying the structure of that natural process and in the long run it bounces back at us.
This is what happened with modern agriculture. We are tilling our soil, applying chemical fertilisers and pesticides in order to speed-up and increase yield, but now we realise (obviously not all of us...) that these practices are actually damaging our soil and the impact reaches far out. What we've been doing so far is just killing all the life forms that were present in our soil transforming it to just bare dirt leaching chemicals to groundwater.
With modern life, rare are the urban people who have space or time to compost their scraps and grow their own food. Landfills are piling up rotting material which releases methane, an even more dangerous greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
This is where worm farming (vermicomposting and vermiculture) might help us change the shape of our future. Compost worms and their friends are Nature's workers doing the nasty jobs of converting decaying matter into nutrient rich material we call vermicompost or Black Gold. When done properly, composting with worms will turn your kitchen waste into the best natural fertiliser on Earth, no methane off-gassing, no smell all organic. Applying vermicompost/vermicast to your garden instead of chemical fertiliser, will not only provide your plants with nutrient but more importantly with a wide array of soil microbiology which will help keeping your soil healthy which in turn keeps your plants healthy, boosting their immune system and hence reducing the need for pesticides.
If every household have at least one worm bin, even if that will not be enough to process all the waste generated, it will globally reduce the amount of waste going to landfills by a lot. And did you know that some compost worms are also excellent bait for fishing? So if vermicompost isn't useful for you, maybe you can grow the worms for your hobby.
Worm Farming is not the only way, alternative composting solutions include:
Both methods have their own pros and cons and can actually complement one another rather well. I personally use traditional composting for hot composting horse manure and garden waste, worm farming for my veggie and fruit scraps and BSFL compsoting for meat, dairy products and other scraps usually avoided in the other methods. Nowadays my green (garden) bin is almost always empty, the red (waste) does not stink and only contains stained material that cannot be recycled in the yellow (recyclable) bin.
My name is Quoc-Huy NGUYEN DINH (Huy for short) aka The Little Worm Farmer. The Little Worm Farm is a little worm farming (vermicomposting & vermiculture) operation based in Wyoming (Gosford area) on the Central Coast in NSW, Australia. I provide worm farming products (compost worms, worm bin, worm farm conditioners etc...) and services such as kitchen scraps collection, troubleshooting or coaching mainly around the Gosford area.
My main objective is to help people get on with their composting projects, I would like to see more people diverting their compostable waste from landfills. To reach this goal, I'm trying to provide correct and accurate information because there are a lot of wrong technique being taught out there on the forums, Youtube etc... and many people have failed because of them. So if you encounter any issue, whether you have your worms from me or not, don't hesitate to reach out to me for help.
My favorite compost worm: the European Nightcrawlers (ENC). I have both ENC, Red Wigglers and Blue Worms but also being a fisherman I naturally have a preference for the European Nightcrawlers for being great fishing bait. ENC area also easy (but slow) worms to breed. However, for the beginner, I recommend starting with Red Wigglers as they will be less frustrating if you want to do worm farming to harvest vermicompost for the garden.
I recently added Black Soldier Fly Larvae to the team. Those larvae are amazing composters and can consume types of food scraps usually avoided in a worm composting system such as meat of dairy product. This is really closing the loop for me as we are now diverting almost all of our kitchen waste.
My favorite worm bin: CFT (Continuous Flow Through). I made myself one out of pallet woo, it is a single compartment worm bin which dimensions are L 3.3 x W 2 x H 2 ft. A large bin is way easier to maintain and a CFT has double the aeration due to having two surface areas (top and bottom) in contact with air, it thus can sustain double the worm population density. My second favorite is also a homemade worm bin designed as a horizontal migration bin, it is also single compartment but with a closed bottom, its dimensions are L 4 x W 1 x H 1 ft, being less deep but still large, it draws in enough oxygen to sustain the worms.
My recommended beginner worm bin: the Worm Inn, Worm Inn Mega or the Worm Swag if you want the best ratio composting capability over space required. The popular stacking tray systems are decent systems if you only need to make a little bit of your own natural fertiliser, however they won't be able to process as much food scraps. You can also even start worm farming with a simple Rubbermaid tub or a broccoli styrofoam box as worm bin.
Their scientific name is Eisenia Fetida. They are the most popular compost worms and for a reason: they are most docile worms to grow and can survive in a wider range of bedding temperatures than other worms.
Red Wigglers are relatively fast breeders and eaters. They are the ideal earthworms for home composting. However, due to their size and the smelly liquid they release when stressed, they are not ideal fishing bait. Some fish don't mind it though.
Their scientific name is Eisenia Hortensis (formely Dendrobena Veneta). They are gaining in popularity amongst vermiculturists due to the fact that they are bigger (longer and fatter) than their smaller cousins the Red Wigglers. They are thus good fishing bait but, however, have a slower breeding cycle but can survive a similar range of temperatures than the Red Wigglers.
The European Nightcrawler (ENC) is bigger than Red Wigglers making it a great choice for fishermen. The Kookaburra Worm Farms (one of the largest worm farms in the world) reckon they are the best fish bait compared to other species such as African Nightcrawlers (Eudrillus Eugenia) or Cod Worms (Amynthas Gracilis). Although they feed slower than the Red Wigglers, the ENC worms remains excellent composting worms.
Very often confused with the Red Wigglers with good reasons, ENC worms are very close cousins with the Red Wigglers, when young or small, it is nearly impossible to tell them apart. But when given space and food, E. Hortensis can grow much longer and fatter than E. Fetida.
Their scientific name is Perionyx Excavatus. Blue worms are the most controversial compost worms, some people hate them, some people love them, most people discover them by accident either having their bin invaded by native Blue Worms or having received an order of Red Wigglers with Blue Worms mixed in. They are definitely not the worms for beginners.
They are loved for their fast breeding cycle and their voracious apetite which makes them excellent composters.
On the other hand, the beginner will have hard time dealing with this worm because of it's temperamental nature, they tend to do a mass exodus if they don't like something: rainstorm, bedding, disturbance...
However, if you learn to contain them, you might be able to convert hate into love.
Their scientific name is Hermetia Illucens. Black Soldier Flies (BSF) are not like the common house flies, they look like black wasps, they don't sting and don't eat. Not being attracted to human or their food, they don't annoyingly hover around us. Female BSF deposit their eggs on a dry surface adjascent to decaying food. Their larvae (BSFL) start white and gradually get darker and end up almost black.
Black Soldier Fly Larvae can consume a lot of food and pretty fast. Each larvae can consume up to 1 gram of food per day. Young they are white/cream, that's when they are most active and voracious eater. However, at their pre-pupal stage, they get dark and stop eating for the rest of their lives, that's when they start escaping (self-harvesting) the environment where they have grown up to bury themselves in the soil around getting ready to transform to adult flies.