Monday, February 1, 2010

little critters in your worm bin part 3

As we have talked about before, the food scraps you add to a worm bin today, isn't really touched by worms until at least several days later. The food has to start to break down first. How long depends on how quickly a population of microbes can begin to decompose that material, and make it ready for worms to consume. The frustrating part is a great variety of food waste harbors fruit fly eggs, which hatch quickly in the bin. They are actually a good sign of a healthy bin. But can be reduced, but that is for another blog.

If we could only encourage worms to start eating that food waste right away, before most of the flies are born. Actually, we can do this! Just let food waste develop this microbial population before it goes in the bin. If you collect food waste in a counter top food scrap container, try this:
1. cover the container with a towel (to prevent fruit flies from pestering you) and let it sit indoors for a week. For an even better start, sprinkle finished compost or vermicompost directly onto the food waste as you toss it into the food scrap tub.

2. freeze your food scraps until needed. let them thaw out, then put them in your worm bin. This reduces fruit flies and the freeze/thaw also breaks down the food faster. Thus, encouraging the worms to dig in quicker!

1 comment:

Algernon said...

I like the idea of freezing for later. Even with just me here, I am exceeding the capacity of my very small worm bin (nested plastic bins about 14" on a side and maybe 8" deep). I have tiny black gnats galore, and fruit flies. I managed to rework the air hole scheme and covering such that fruit flies no longer get out, but the tiny gnats are just too small. Very wet, though I now put in more shredded newspaper than I used to.