TROUBLE SHOOTING INDOOR WORM BINS

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Here is our “Easy Bin” after three months, if compared with the last “update” post http://www.naturesperfectplantfood.com/2012/01/26/easy-bin-update/ you can see the bedding has deteriorated and the size of the vermicast/worm material has doubled.  This is exactly the type of progress you can expect.  We were unable to spot any eggs today but found plenty of juvenile worms and about 30% of the population are large breeders.  A good example of a young bin.  When you’re starting out keep these simple guidelines in mind.

BAD SMELL, if your bin developes a bad or foul smell, this is commonly described as rotting food or hot summer day garbage odors.  the most likely cause is too much food, if the worms can’t eat the organic waste material in a timely fashion, it will begin to anaerobically compost or rot.  The anaerobic bacteria have taken over this area and the offending material should be removed to an outdoor compost.  It can also indicate that your been needs more air and could be too wet,  again giving anaerobic bacteria a chance to take hold.  You may add more bedding and reduce the moisture content of the food by freezing then thawing and draining the scraps.

FLEEING WORMS, if you find worms trying to escape the bin by climbing the sides or abandoning the compost material and heading for open ground, for sure they are over crowded and not getting enough aeration.  This occurrence is not accompanied by a foul odor so can throw people off.  It’s time to split up your worms, add more bedding and clear out vermicast.  Check the bin’s ventilation to make sure air is flowing freely.  

NOTHING’S HAPPENING,  the bin has stalled and food hangs around too long, even though you can’t really see anything wrong the worm population is falling.  Check the white worm to red worm ratio, though not usually a serious problem, white worms (Enchytraeus buchholzi) can develop in a bin very quickly.  If they are found in abundance, clean out the bin and try to separate the worms discarding the white worms as you see fit.  Hint, aquarium fish love them.  You may have a poisoning on your hands, household chemicals may unwittingly have affected your bin.  This happens, clean out the bin and add some outdoor compost to replace the beneficial bacteria. 

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