Friday, 26 January 2007

Added: parsnips, teabags, apple peelings, carrot peelings, broccoli stalks

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Added: banana skins, kiwi fruit skins, peas, onion skins.

Friday, 12 January 2007

Terrorists strike the worm bin?

Well i'm still not sure whether I have centipedes or millipedes in my worm bin. In my experience centipedes are an orange/brown colour, these are white but this could just be down to their age. I know the difference between the two (millipedes have 2 pairs of legs to each body segment whereas centipedes have just one) but i'm not convinced yet. It appears that millipedes are actually very conducive to the worm bin environment as a quote from this website shows:

'Millipedes are detritivores, earth's natural recyclers. They feed on plants and animals that have died, which recycles nutrients back into the soil much faster than waiting for the plant or animal to decompose naturally.'

However whilst millipedes appear to be a good thing centipedes are not; they like eating worms and it appears that they don't take to kindly to human contact either:

'Centipedes bite. They have strong jaws that inject venom into their victims. A centipede bite is a very painful and unforgettable experience. The affected area will become increasingly painful, inflamed, and will secrete pus. You'll be sorry if you attempt to touch or handle this creature.'

If I do have centipedes then should I risk my precious hands or let nature take it's cause?!

Worryingly as the image shows below it looks like part of a worm has had an unfortunate incident resulting in loss of (part of) body. Initial investigations by the Worm Police Department (WPD) suggest that there are two possible suspects; firstly a gang of (potentially) centipedes roaming the worm bin set upon the poor worm while he/she wasn't looking, or secondly human intervention at feeding time could have resulted in 'accidental limb severing'. The investigation continues.

Waste added today: it was all a bit mushy and smelly but i think there were probably potato peelings, onion skins, apple cores, teabags and lettuce leaves in there.

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

As the image below shows the worms are getting through the food very quickly which is great because I need to clear the backlog of waste I have and the rancid smell it's giving off in my waste food box isn't pleasant at all!

a little full perhaps?

Added today: potato peelings, onion skins, teabags

Sunday, 7 January 2007

Today's waste was added and whilst doing this I made a few interesting observations. Firstly I saw a couple of wood lice running about in the bottom of the bin (see image). Secondly I appear to have a small family of centipedes or millipedes in the bottom part of the bin. Having seen a centipede in the bin before and expressing my delight at my ever-expanding collection of pets I now know that centipedes are in fact predators to worms (millipedes are not apparantly) so I need to attend to this problem. Again the worms seem to love the food next to the perspex and I got a good shot of them feeding on it before the light scared them off.

Added today: potato, carrot, onion peelings, teabags

Saturday, 6 January 2007

All is well...

It seems that putting food at the front of the bin next to the perspex to observe the worms eating was a good idea with the worms playing their part very well!

I am also going to place the waste daily in a rotation system as I have quite a backlog of waste to get rid of which is starting to smell a bit!

Food added: Carrot, potato, apple peelings, teabags

Friday, 5 January 2007

2007: The year of free worm love?

This exclusive or you might say intrusive image shows that it's not all hard work in the vermicomposter as what you might call a worm 'orgy' takes place.

FACT: In one year two mature worms can produce 1,500 worms per year in ideal conditions

This fact may well be coming to fruition in my bin as the worm population continues to increase! Many sightings of worms not more than a few weeks old have been seen recently which is generally a good thing in my opinion because it means that the bin is fully-functional with new worms seen, organic waste being composted and worm castings being produced. If the worm population gets too big for the bin then I shall probably build an overflow bin.

A new year, a new approach...

Whilst reading the worm composting bible that is Mary Appelhof's 'Worms eat my garbage' I discovered that she suggests to put just one or two handfuls of soil in the bin with the rest being comprised of bedding and organic waste. Given that 95% of my bin is made up of soil I have questioned whether I have been doing things correctly; I concluded that the bin was working fine and there were no obvious problems which may be resulting from the amount of soil in the bin, however it is a new year and so I have decided to change the composition by subtracting around about a bucket full of soil and replacing it with bedding. (see below) The castings and soil that was removed will be put to use very soon-watch this space!

The book also suggests that you can just add organic waste when you have it, using the rotational placement system and not worry too much about how much food is in the bin. I have also decided that it would be a good idea to place waste at the front of the bin next to the perspex sheet so that I can observe the worms eating the food and get a good idea of how long it takes for certain foods to decompose (see above).

Organic waste added: green beans, onion skins, banana skins, lettuce, potato peelings, normal teabags, roasehip infusion teabags, nettle tea leaves, carrot peelings, crushed egg shells.

Whilst carrying out the soil removal I came across many new members of the bin and some which could have been no more than a week old (see images below) and see the video!