Allan Ewan

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since Nov 20, 2012
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Recent posts by Allan Ewan

short answer - it depends

i remember something about some manure causing issues a few years ago

the links i had are lost but i know Bentley has some info collected.

new dung is dangerous. if you have the option definitely go for the year+ old grey stuff.

*please excuse my lack of reading comprehension - verm on the brain
7 years ago
iirc rice and potatoes and simply carbohydrate stores?

they might take a bit longer to break down but i imagine, being a source of sugar/energy, the worm bin micro-organisms would do just fine given time.

diary and meat products are ok in bins to a point. a bit of butter in your mashed or chicken stock in some pilaf is minor. just as long as you always allow your bins some wiggle room to adjust to environments that might go bad.

*you might already be aware but from what i know it's the fat in diary and bad bugs in spoiled meat that can cause problems - both for the worms and people. the worms i know are mostly vegetarian but a few bones and shells have been known to turn up in the vc from time to time.*
7 years ago

Sam Becze wrote:

Allan Ewan wrote:I'm assuming you have a two bin rm system.

Sorry, I am quite new to this process. So i'm not sure what you mean by "rm"? I do like the idea of stacking bins though. I was previously thinking of some sort of flow through bin, but I was having trouble figuring out how to get the finished compost out without emptying the whole thing. But the stacking idea would eliminate that problem. All you would have to do is add a new bin with fresh bedding when the one on the bottom got full. I wonder about the timing though. Do you know approximately how long it would take the worms to migrate from one bin to the next?

whoops - rm=rubbermaid

a stacking bin system is absolutely possible though i'd be careful not to compact the lower bin with the weight of the upper - some short sticks or what-not in the corners would help keep the weight off i imagine.

*on separating worms from vermicompost* just to clarify - the finished vc(bin with drainage holes) is placed on top of a new two bin or 'nested' rubbermaid system. it helps to have some extra bins/systems around for this shuffling or storing/curing bedding material/vc.

with a bright light and continual skimming i imagine you could get a bin separated over the course of a day or sooner but ultimately everything in this endeavour happens at worm speed anyway so it's kinda' up to them.

you will inevitably scoop up a few worms in the process but most will get caught up in the 1/4 inch screening needed to get 'processed' vc. the cocoons will fall through but if you leave your vc to 'cure/finish' for 6 weeks or so you will be able to save some worms with a second screening.


7 years ago
The most efficient way i know is a diy trommel set-up.

the kindler gentler way is to allow the worms to move on their own from a finished area into fresh bedding/food. I'm assuming you have a two bin rm system. The drainage holes in the bottom of the first bin should be large enough to allow worm to move through - 1/4 or so. I haven't tried it but i imagine if you set the bin with drainage holes inside a bin with fresh bedding you would be able to repeatedly skim off finished vc while forcing the worms eventually into the new bin.

you could also just drop 1/2 the finished vc directly onto the bedding of your new bin. It will help if your new bedding is seeded with some old/finished bin material and left to 'cure' for a week or more. After a few days of skimming you should be able to dump the second half of the finished bin and repeat the process. A bright light will speed the process.

another way i know would be to dump out the finished vc onto a small tarp and divide it up into piles and strip away the vc from the piles until you're left with more worms than vc.

There are horizontal set-ups that encourage a steady migration through material and vertical flow-through designs but as far as rm's go that's what i know or can remember atm.
7 years ago
sounds like you need a couple of nested bin systems

the last bunch i bought cost under 30 bucks for four rubbermaids. iirc we got them from the great canadian stupid store.

30-40 1/4 holes in the bottom of the top bin works jut fine to drain off the leachate. drill some holes in the one lid and you're set.

i try to keep my bins on the dry side but i have the luxury of processing capacity. if i find leachate/puddling in the catchment bins i'll pour it into the top of another bin. if i have a serious problem with moisture in a bin i'll stick some newspaper in the catchment bin to absorb the excess liquid/moisture in the bin. *a couple of sheets of newspaper on top of the first bin will regulate bin moisture as well

it sure sounds like you need a 2nd bin system to keep up with the food-stock your are producing. two rubbermaid bin systems mean ? (1000 worms = 1/2 lb of waste per day as a rule of thumb) 2000 worms = 1lb waste per day. a rubbermaid is more like 1.5x1ft. but 1/2lb per 1000 worms is an ideal anyway.

you are in tough for good browns this time of year. the best are dead/decaying leaves. they already have a bunch of good microorganisms to bring to the 'table'. the ground is kinda hard right now but if you find a big old willow i'll bet you'll find a pile of dead/decaying leaves under the snow. my guess is you should be able to peel up a few layers of frozen leaf material from underneath that grandaddy willow. i used to use cardboard as bedding until i tried dead/decaying leaves. it's so much easier using leaves.

anyway - just some thoughts from a fellow vermiculturalist north of 60
8 years ago