Keith Odell

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since Dec 09, 2012
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Recent posts by Keith Odell


I think you should modify at least 1 of your trash cans similar to Nancy's set-up.  I make bins like that in 11-gallon, 23-gallon and 55-gallon sizes.  The air flow coming from the harvest hole on the lower side thru the compost increases the microbe/fungi/wee beastie reproduction which speeds up the production.  I would use garden stakes, all-thread or conduit to support a false floor of cardboard/newspaper above the harvest hole.  You would need a drill or something to make holes for the stakes and a jig saw, or utility knife to cut the harvest hole.   Then either buy a pound of worms or go to a horse farm to get some manure (almost certain to have red worms).  You set it up that way and they will be eating everything you can throw at them by the end of summer.  It's what they are made to do.
1 month ago

Your design will work - eventually.  20 worms will take a while to make a difference.  In that time you will need to make sure you don't overfeed and create an Ammonia cloud - not dead worms, they just disappear.
Also, are you sure they were red worms and not earth worms or nightcrawlers.  Red worms will reward you eventually, earth worms or night crawlers, not so much.  
If we assume that you are feeding ok and they were red worms, the main issue is space.  It takes 2 to tango and the dance floor is huge for 20 worms.  They'll get there, it will just take longer.
I will start a small bin - 1/2 gallon with 20 worms so they can get to know each other.  Then when they have multiplied sufficiently, I'll start a bigger bin with them.
The other thing to watch out for is heat.  If your black worm bin is in the sun much at all it will cook your worms.
Good luck.

2 months ago
T - sorry your wormbin is not cooperating with you.  It sounds like you are overfeeding.  
I tell my customers that if they have liquid in the bottom they are either over-feeding, under-bedding or both.
I think either cooler will work well.  

You could freeze/thaw your scraps and then pour off the liquid and just use the mush.
This would both prep their food and reduce the liquid you are adding.
Another option is to let your scraps rot elsewhere and again pour off the excess liquid.

I use everything for bedding - cardboard, newsprint, junk mail (not shiny), office paper, paper towels, kleenex, straw wrappers, etc.
Some is more absorbent than others.  Add more of the stuff that absorbs well if you are having issues.
If I do get liquid, I push corrugated down the sides to wick it up and make more worm food.

I would also make a small bin as a safety net using a small bucket or container for 2 reasons.  
Now not all of your worms are in one "basket" and in a small bucket they will find each other easier and do that thing they do.

Good luck.
3 months ago
Congrats on the pond.
I'm green with envy.  Your pond is 6X's of my lot!
If I ever get a pond or a friend with a pond that is close,
I would 100% do floating gardens of some sort.
Good luck.
3 months ago
Arthur and John both gave you really good advice/information but drastically different in the amount of Jen time the compost will take.  
I'm really glad that you're trying again.  I also hope you don't stress over compost.  It should be very chill.  
Everything rots (I stole that!)  Is there a specific reason you are trying to get a hot compost?  
I'm a worm guy and you said it was loaded with worms.  Great job.  Spike the football and go work on something around your place that only will get done by you.  
Let the worms take care of your compost.  They will definitely get you useable compost by Spring.  
Keep them fed, wet and add lots of cardboard/paper/leaves and they will reward you for leaving them to do their work.  


I'm going to go chill and harvest my worms and compost.
5 months ago
black soldier fly larvae - bsfl
They are harmless and will outcompete everything else so not an awful thing for your bin.  
They are ravenous and don't leave much behind.
So great for getting rid of waste, poor for leaving a lot of finished product.  
Good quality compost and great chicken/fish food.  Bad if you or your spouse don't like the word maggot - ask me how I know!
They show up in wetter, heavy food waste situations - full tumbler.
If you're in the south they will carry on.  If not they will die when it gets cold.  Freezing for sure, maybe earlier.

Mother Nature may not do what we want but she does do what she wants and is pretty predictable.

edit - I see now that you are in NY.  They will carry on until they freeze.  
If some of the larvae get to pupae stage they will bury themselves and hatch out next year to repeat the cycle.
7 months ago
Great job getting started.  Previous answers are good.
Tumblers are good for making almost finished compost.
Tumblers work best if you can assemble the ingredients, add them together and then tumble.

I would stop adding to it and continue to tumble it for another month or two.
Another option would be to bucket or tote the compost and let it sit - adding red worms would be an easy finishing step.
7 months ago
Composting has a recipe.  Getting the ingredients right but in the wrong portions will leave you sad - for a while.
Everybody knows green and brown but also white (air) and blue (water).
Sounds like you were short on blue and maybe green.
Add lots of water initially and a good activator - comfrey, dock, grass, coffee grounds, urine.
It is excess pumpkin season here and they make great compost ingredients.
And if you get tired of turning, add another color to the recipe - red (worms).
They do all the heavy lifting and make a better compost to boot.
Good luck and have fun.
7 months ago
Mother nature does a pretty good job of taking care of herself.  I would suggest a filter for you, for drinking/cooking water - multiple ways to do this depending on what you're concerned about.
For your yard, I'd make weed tea, add organic materials and make more compost.  When your soil becomes healthy, the worms will show up.  Good luck.
8 months ago
Sorry that I repeated a lot of what Luke had already posted.

another example
10 months ago