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Conventional composting vs worm composting

Category: Worm Bin Composting | Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 10:00 pm

There is a difference between conventional composting and worm bin composting. Having worms in your compost bin does not classify your bin as a worm bin.

Your conventional compost bin is generally 3'x3'x3' or there abouts. It is located outside exposed to the ground with the sides generally slated to allow air circulation. You attempt to get your porportions mixed properly to get the contents to heat up to the 250 degree range which is to kill all your weed seeds and pathogens. The contents then cool and you turn your contents to get the outside inside and attempt to get the contents to heat up again. Of course there are other versions of composting which just let the contents sit and let mother nature take it's course.

With the bin exposed to the ground, whenever the environment is favorable for worms you will have worms. If and when the contents heat up too much for the worms they will vacate into the surrounding environment or just to the outer layers where it is cooler and when the pile cools they will move back in. However, this is not worm bin composting.

Worm bin composting is when you provide a confined space, (a rubber tote, wooden box, etc.) which you fill 2/3 full of a bedding material, (I use horse manure initially then layer on leaves, grass, shredded newspaper, etc), add moisture and worms and keep the environment from heating up and let the worms do the composting leaving behind their castings to be harvested with the completed compost. The result is a more beneficial finished product because the compost has not gone through the high heat killing everything, therefore the variety of beneficial bacteria is of a broader spectrum and there is more of it. This information is from an expert in the field. The key difference here is the high number of worms being kept in a controlled environment so you are harvesting a material that is highly concentrated with castings. (The material I harvest from my bins is 50% worm castings.)

Worms in any of your compost is a good thing, just not the same as worm bin composting.


Last edited: Wed Jan 17, 2007 10:02 pm

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eileen wrote on Wed Jan 17, 2007 11:29 pm:

So glad you pointed out the difference to us WW. I may not have a worm bin but I must say I'm happy with the amount of worms I have in my compost each year.


cajunbelle wrote on Thu Jan 18, 2007 12:53 am:

I know the worms will eat their way to the top as you place new food for them. How do you separate the worms when you are ready to harvest the compost?

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