Friday, February 22, 2013

Getting Started Vermicomposting Part 2

Continued from:


In any kind of bin, other decomposers like to move in and sometimes even predators that want to eat your worms will be found in the bin. Two common predators are red mites and centipedes.  Centipedes can be controlled by picking them out while harvesting the castings.  However, if you are unfortunate enough to get a case of red mites, its best to throw away the worms all the bedding (both used and unused).  Clean everything including bins, all tools used to work with your worms, and the room they area they are kept in thoroughly, then buy new worms and start over.  

Foul Odor
Foul odors are caused by anaerobic bacteria.  If you have a bucket that stinks, anaerobic bacteria have taken over.  This is usually caused by:

insufficient ventilation;
mass worm death due to inhospitable conditions; not keeping conditions within the four parameters;
not cleaning bins often enough; or
• not cleaning the bins thoroughly enough.

If your worms are still alive, pick them out, discard the food/bedding, clean the bin really well, let dry completely preferably in the sun, and refill with fresh food/bedding. 

White Mites
Another common and annoying issue are white mites.  The white mites won't hurt your worms, but they will invade any house plants you may have if your bin is indoors. If pH is kept closer to neutral, you will not experience the white mites in as many numbers.

Gnats and Flies
I have never had an issue with gnats or flies, and I believe it is because I am careful to not overfeed my bins, harvest frequently, clean the bins and re-bed/feed on a two week schedule.  

Mice and Rats
To avoid mice and rats, make sure food is ground small and mixed well within the carbon source (browns). 

A Note On Composting Rurally


Where we live (our back yard is separated from a national forest by a dilapidated barbed wire fence) we cannot leave garbage or foodstuffs including compost out-doors because of the many black bears, coyotes,  bobcats, opossums, raccoons, porcupines, the occasional cougar, etc.  If you live very far out, and would like to have a vermicompost bin out-doors, be sure to check with your local fish and wildlife agency to see if it is safe to have a compost pile outdoors.



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