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Anyone got a well-established wormery? I need troubleshooting advice

(21 Posts)
bumbleweed Sat 17-Feb-07 15:50:12

Our wormery is from wiggly wigglers.
It has been on the go since last summer - about 9 months.
I put our veg and fruit waste in regularly as well as paper. When I remember I put the lime pellets and worm treat in that you get with your wormery start pack.
I often see a few worms near the surface so I know there are some in there.
Today I dug a bit deeper - there is an inch of unrotted stuff on top, then an inch of rotting/rotted stuff. But it doesnt seem to be getting eaten quickly enough by the worms - its just like an enclosed compost bin really.

Anyone really good at wormeries?

Or know of an eco-issues forum?

NappiesGalore Sat 17-Feb-07 15:59:34

email wiggly wigglers... they'll know what to do.

cant help myself as ours is in its infancy...

gooseegg Sat 17-Feb-07 16:26:38

Ours is about 18mths old and is only just recently becoming efficient.
The worms appear to be breeding alarmingly and chomping through lots of cooked waste.
I separate our food waste into two plastic buckets - cooked and uncooked - and have only been giving the worms the cooked waste ie left-overs/plate and pan scrapings etc which they seem to munch through quicker and seem to be finding aphrodisiacal.

suedonim Sat 17-Feb-07 16:28:30

I can't help, Bumbleweed, so am sympathising instead. My wormery has never really taken off properly, which I'm about. It's in Scotland and I think maybe it's just too cold there.

NappiesGalore Sat 17-Feb-07 16:31:05

yeah - they seem to do bugger all in the cold. at least thats what im hoping. i got mine just as the cold snap started so havnt even dared give them any real food yet - teyre still on the powder stuff i got with the kit.

so gooseegg - do they prefer cooked to raw then?

gooseegg Sat 17-Feb-07 16:33:58

They do get through it quicker, yes. The raw stuff just sits on the top and slowly rots - but not fast enough to keep up with the waste supply from the kitchen.
I've got a normal compost bim for the raw and my local council also collects it

suedonim Sat 17-Feb-07 17:05:36

That's interesting, Gooseegg, about the cooked stuff. Our local council says not to compost cooked food but I'm not sure why? I was hoping the wormery would feast on veggie peelings etc but they don't seem to like them.

NappiesGalore Sat 17-Feb-07 19:05:17

hmmm... my vision of a hingry wormery eating all our kitchen scraps is not realistic it seems... oh well.
i need an idiot proof, rat-proof normal compost thingy as well then... dont suppose you have any suggestions?? <apologies for hijack - do tell me to bugger off to own thread if you like!>

bumbleweed Sat 17-Feb-07 19:38:17

this is all interesting

we have hardly any cooked food waste but a fair bit of peelings and cores and the odd bit of veg past its best - it defo isnt getting eaten at the rate I expected

also wondered about the cold - yet wigglywigglers info says they can cope outside in the cold just not in heavy frost

I am also fairly north suedonim

we avoided getting the big plastic compost thing from the council because when gardeners world did a test, they didnt come out very effective, and they are quite hard to get the stuff out of the little door at the bottom

maybe bokashi is the way to go?

cece Sun 18-Feb-07 19:44:19

We have bought a wooden compost bin from crocus.co.uk. It cost £29.99 and was delivered within about 4 days I think.

Was alo thinking of getting a wormery for our cooked waste...

fortyplus Sun 18-Feb-07 19:53:14

Cooked food is bad because it attracts rats - it compsosts perfectly ok!

I have a normal compost bin with a healthy population of 'Tiger Worms' that my Dad gave me a few years ago - don't know if they're the same ones you get in a wormery.

But in any case, the composting process id always miles slower in winter.

It helps if you keep the compost aerated by turning it. Also, you have to keep the Nitrogen/Potash mix right or it will just go smelly and slimy. It helps to include shredded small branches from the garden and if you can be bothered you can tear up loo roll centres etc into little pieces about an inch square. Also kitchen towel, egg boxes etc - but nothing with shiny print on it.

Aloha Sun 18-Feb-07 19:54:27

I'd rather have rats than worms, tbh. Ugh!

hatwoman Sun 18-Feb-07 19:59:54

bumbleweed - I've had mine for two years ish now and I've always been disappointed in its capacity - there's plenty of worms and plenty of noshing, but they just can't keep up with all our veggie scraps. Do email wiggly wigglers - they're really keen to help - so they might have advice. (I emailed them about my horrid tiny white worms) I wondered whether to try bokashi too - but was a bit reluctant to splash out £50 odd or whatever it is without an objective recommendation - which I've never yet found - so would be interested to know if anyone has used it.

fortyplus Sun 18-Feb-07 20:05:52

I would post you a pot of my worms if you promised to be kind to them

bumbleweed Sun 18-Feb-07 21:59:21

ah the little white worms were worrying me as well - they looked like maggots but not as fat. gross.

the thought of turning it is quite vile though fortyplus, because its quite packed in and would spill all over if I tried mixing it up a bit.

it is quite slimy inside, I wonder if not enough lime or not enough cardboard / shredded paper (I do the egg box thing but maybe not as often as I should because the tearing up is a bit of a pain)

I will email wiggly wigglers and let you know what they say

fortyplus Mon 19-Feb-07 08:41:52

Aha!! All packed in! That's why it's not working properly! It needs air throughout.
Do you shred your bills etc? You can mix the shreddings in - that will help increase the potash content.
As for the white 'maggots'... Have you ever mixed in any old compost from haning baskets, etc? If so they may be Vine Weevil grubs. Nasty little blighters - eat the roots of plants and kill them.

hatwoman Mon 19-Feb-07 08:47:54

the white worms are usually something harmless - can;t remember what but they're not a problem, apparently. I have been desperately trying to work out why my mind is wired up to find 4mm white wiggly bits of worm SO much grosser than four inch fat ones. I can;t trian myself out of it. no matter how many times I say they're just the same, the truth is they're NOT.

suedonim Mon 19-Feb-07 14:08:24

So cooked food is okay in a wormery? Not that we have that much left over, tbh! Does the stuff in a wormery need to be turned, like a regular compost heap?

My wormery is out of action as we're living abroad atm but I want to give it one more go. Worms are pricey, though. It's not a cheap option, especially when your dh manages to knock over your wormery and all the wrigglers escape!

bumbleweed Mon 19-Feb-07 19:16:56

fortyplus, yes you are probably right now I think about it - I have been piling stuff on top and maybe if I put the next tray ontop and started to put the food in there ....

how do you mix it up though? you couldnt use anything as worms might get chopped up - a gloved hand?!

hatwoman, yes I know exactly what you mean about the little white worms - its irrational but for me its because they look like maggots

suedonim, yes apparently cooked food okay in wormery but not in compost because in wormery supposedly getting eaten rather than just rotting down

fortyplus Mon 19-Feb-07 21:50:03

I use a garden fork - must kill a few worms but still plenty left

bumbleweed Wed 21-Feb-07 18:11:23

Just an update - wigglywigglers response by email was:

- yes the wormery will slow down alot over winter if kept outside but will pick up again in spring
- mix things up a bit to keep it aerobic
- add 25% paper or cardboard (already do that)
- keep rain cover on at all times to stop it getting too damp

Will be ringing the changes this weekend - watch out worms here I come

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