the wormies

are still doing great and i can't be happier with how this project has come along over the past fourish years or so.
recently i've had the bean pods from shelling to get integrated into all the bins and those are now almost all done. one more round of feeding will do it.
one of the things i've done over the past year that is different is to start a "natives" bin to see how that goes. what that means is when we worked on a garden last summer i took some of the worms and put them in their own bin apart from the rest of the bins. these are not compost worms, they are earthworms of at least two kinds. one type is pale and lives down fairly deeply. the other is darker red to purple and will also go down deep, but also can be found nearer the surface. as of yet, both seem to be doing ok. i'm not sure if there are little ones yet or not. i'll give them a few more months and then see what the population looks like.
the other thing i've done differently is to add some meat scraps, bones and fats to the bins (in small amounts down deeply enough that it won't be noticed). we don't really cook meats that often but once in a while when we do i'd much rather use those scraps than throw them away. so i've been seeing how these types of things fare and how the worms react. as of yet, i can't say there's any real difference at all. note i am using a mix of worm species and i also use dirt which many people who do worm composting do not do at all. i think that makes a lot of difference. i sure don't smell anything at any time other than when i'm digging down into a bin deeply enough that i get near the bottom where it may be soggy and swampy, but to me that is fine, i don't mind the smell then, and it is gone as soon as i put the scraps in and cover it back up. the worms themselves are usually down that deep too and don't seem to mind it being too wet or soggy and swampy. as long as they can come back up for a breather from time to time...
i no longer count the numbers of worms in the bins because that would take too long. i just know that each spring when i put them into the gardens there are plenty and i keep enough to restart all of the bins.
so far i've had several people ask me to sell them worms, but i don't want to do that, i'm not set up for sorting and picking through bins. in the spring i just dump 'em out in the gardens and keep some for the next round.
this is a very inexpensive and low tech way of doing worm composting of scraps. each year i take between 150-250lbs of stuff out to the gardens and bring in about 100lbs of garden soil to be refurbished and recharged by the worms over the next year. the soil here is heavy clay and so it doesn't take much of that in each bin to be "enough" to mix with the food scraps, paper, etc.
i think the biggest positive for me is that during the depths of winter i can still get my hands in some garden dirt and see a working ecosystem and continue my studies of how things rot and get recycled by such interesting creatures.
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