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Help with My Vermicompost

THX 5280
18 days ago

Hi, everyone. Looking for a little help. This is going to be a bit of a long post but i'm new to vermicomposting, this is my first time trying, and i want to make sure i'm doing things right, or that i can fix anything that i need to.


I made a 5-gallon bucket system based on this.


Once set up (around end of July, early August), I added shredded brown paper, food for the worms , the worms (red wrigglers from Jim's Worm Farm) and then soil. I probably had too much of all the components; there was a few inches or so of stuff in the bucket.


Once the food started to decompose, the bin started to heat up and the worms tried to leave the bin. I kinda freaked out so i added a bunch more soil and even separated out some of the contents of the bucket into a smaller bucket. Things seemed to stabilize a bit; the worms were no longer trying to escape the bin.


I've added food a few more times but now I have about 5-6 inches of stuff.


I have two fundamental questions:


1. Because I started off with potting soil, which is very dark in color when moist, how can I tell what's castings and what's soil? Furthermore, like I said, I have about 5-6 inches of stuff in the bucket. I thought that the worms basically stay an inch or two below the surface. Because (I think) I started off with too much stuff in the bucket rather than starting at say an inch or two and gradually adding, what's going on with the stuff below the worms (ie, the bottom inch or two)? Is that likely just soil? If so, should I just mix up everything between feedings to make sure that in the end i'm left with a uniform product?


2. When do I stop adding food, if at all? I'm confused because if I add food every week, how will I ever be done? I guess the question is, is there a point when you stop adding food, wait, and then collect the castings? Or can you add food up to, say, a week before you harvest the castings?


Any help would be greatly appreciated. Happy to elaborate more or add vids or pics.


thanks!

thx.5280

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