Foo - worms vs composting
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03-28-09, 11:41 AM
OK I have this basic confusion. If you give some worms a bedding matrix (shredded newspaper, say) and then throw them lots and lots of foodscraps, the whole pile turns into worm castings. Is that primarily from worms eating the food and then pooping out the castings/dirt?
Vs composting, which I think of as a process of microorganisms processing the food scraps (and any other organic material thrown in) and producing compost.
I guess if there's more food scraps than the worms can handle, then composting goes on too, but the hallmark of composting seems to be a lot of heat, which one would think would cook the worms.
Is that dual view correct, is compost just a completely different product from worm castings?
I blend about 25% food scraps, 50% yard debris and 25% dirt and my compost pile gets warm but not hot, and the worms survive (and thrive) just fine. It's probably not heating up to it's optimum temperature, mostly because I don't have a chipper any more, and breaking the yard debris down into the smallest pieces possible seems to work the best for compost. Since it's not heating up enough to kill weed seeds, I try to keep the weeds out of it in the first place now.
03-28-09, 12:11 PM
At home I throw in grass clippings from my neighbor's and my yard and all of my kitchen scraps and it composts great. Actually worms have recently volunteered back to the pile which has not been as hot lately (no grass clippings for months now).
At my son's school, we have a garden w/ a big worm bin that gets all the cafeteria scraps (~25 gal per week more or less), plus I mix in some dirt to bury it, and then there's a LARGE compost heap that is essentially all plant trimmings. That compost heap barely moves at all, it more like mummifies in place. The worms right now are colossally rocking and rolling.
I'm wondering whether it might be a better idea to combine the worm bin and plant clippings somehow, or if the plant clipping pile really gets going (w/ more food scraps for fuel and moisture), the worms would just get cooked.
03-28-09, 12:21 PM
you guys are so scientific about this. i just dump any organic matter from the garden and house into a corner and forget about it. when i dig it out it is crawling with worms
one of the keys to successful composting is turning it regularly, so it stays aerobic. the grass clippings are a great source of nitrogen, which is also necessary for successful composting.
03-28-09, 01:21 PM
I prefer pigs. Pen up some wild pigs, and starve them 3 days then feed them what you need to get rid of. You will need to plan ahead and have multiple traps set at any given time. One very important last step, keep them pinned up for 24 hrs after feeding them to make sure teeth and other mater doesn't get possibly left on the neighbors property.
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