Vermicomposting - Week 6

While vermicomposting is going well with managing about half the kitchen scraps our household generates, more can be done to aid the worms in reproduction. Several weeks into composting, I was still unable to find any cocoons despite hours of searching under red light.

Further research indicated the colony (250g) might be too small for the size of bin (76L). In order to remedy the situation and promote reproduction, a new bin (20L) has was constructed using a scale down model of the original. Feeding was resumed as per the regular schedule and with continued monitoring of pH, moisture, and temperature as well as regular observations under the cover of red light.

The system consists initially of two bins with a bottom bin for catching castings, leachate, and to provide support space for bottom aeration of the reactor bin.  The bottom of the middle reactor bin was cut away and replaced with screen with about a 2mm mesh
opening. A second vessel with 80mm mesh bottom is placed on top and filled with fresh bedding.  Feed stock is initially introduced into the middle bin, where casting and leachate pass through the screen and are captured in the bottom bin.  Worms are free to migrate into the upper vessels through the 80mm screen opening once the bottom vessel has been completely exhausted. A new bin is added to the top and the process is continued in top bin with fresh bedding and feedstock added incrementally.

After reducing the volume of the worm bin considerably as well as reducing moisture levels, the worms have begun to lay cocoons.

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