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Yes Im a realgirl ,geeesh
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Registered: 05/23/99
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Easy Compost Recipie that works
    #568069 - 03/02/02 09:30 PM (21 years, 11 months ago)


Treatment to material and ingrediance to add.

Wet down.* Wheat Straw one bale, or Stable straw with 10% horse manure, ( 50 pounds.)

Let it sit:

Let it sit:

Add - dried poultry waste and Urea.

1 Pound - Dried Poultry Waste & 1.2 ounze Urea.

Let it sit:

Flip pile and wet down.*

Let it sit:

Flip pile and wet down.*

Let it sit:

Let it sit:

Add - dried poultry waste and Urea.

1 Pound - Dried Poultry Waste & 1.2 ounze Urea.

Flip pile.

Flip pile and wet down.* - Add 2 pounds - Cotton Seed Hulls.

Let it sit:

Flip pile and wet down.*
(Note: Compost will naturally start to heat up to high temperatures, this is good.)

Let it sit:

Add - 3lbs. Cotton Seed Meal, 2 lbs. Gypsum, 1 lbs. Rape Seed Meal, 1 lbs. Peat Moss.

Turn pile, water lightly.*
(From now on keep the pile in a more compact format to allow heat to build up.)

Let it sit:

Turn pile, water lightly.*

Let it sit:

Turn pile, water lightly.*

Let it sit:

Turn pile, and fill containers.

Ready to Pasturise at 142 degrees F. for 6 hours.

First stabalize at 132 F. for 3 hrs. , then raise to 142 F. for 6 hrs.

Finish compost contains 65-70 percent water content.

Slowly let cool for 2 days. Slow clean air ventilation required.

Well made compost is blackish and has a lightly carmel type coating covering the straw. Over composting will lower mushroom yeilds.

Compost is pasturised to kill any existing undesirable fungi growing in the compost. It can then be innoculated with mushroom spawn.

* Wet down just enough to moisten the material and not enough to cause water run off. Run off washes away the added nuitrients.

Note: Compost should be made on a solid surface to prevent the washing away of added nuitreints. (Concrete, asphalt, plastic, wood.)

The above formula was originally from a larger volume formula. This smaller volume formula may require additional composting time.

Information listed here is for entertainment only and is neither real or proven

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Registered: 10/19/01
Posts: 224
Re: Easy Compost Recipie that works [Re: bluhoney]
    #576802 - 03/12/02 11:23 AM (21 years, 11 months ago)

damn seems like an awful lot of work for shit hehe.

"Come on you raver, you seer of visions,
come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine!" - Pink Floyd (Wish You Were Here 1975)

"Never underestimate the power of denial." -from American Beauty.

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Re: Easy Compost Recipie that works [Re: bluhoney]
    #576849 - 03/12/02 12:08 PM (21 years, 11 months ago)

Any Pics. of the results??

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Re: Easy Compost Recipie that works [Re: bluhoney]
    #576934 - 03/12/02 01:41 PM (21 years, 11 months ago)

Thx 4 the 411. I'm looking 4 a good method. I posted a bit ago wondering if anyone has seen Old timer's quick 7 day method. Guess you haven't heard anything about it, eh? That must be some writers cramp he's got.

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Error: divide byzero

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Re: Easy Compost Recipie that works [Re: mrdasani]
    #576936 - 03/12/02 01:42 PM (21 years, 11 months ago)

Its a lot of work, but for compost, not shit... big difference.  Besides, I like to think of composting as an art form... and good art always takes some work.  :smile:

Just another spore in the wind.

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Re: Easy Compost Recipie that works [Re: bluhoney]
    #1279937 - 02/04/03 10:27 PM (21 years, 22 days ago)

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Re: Easy Compost Recipie that works [Re: Anno]
    #1279947 - 02/04/03 10:40 PM (21 years, 22 days ago)

Compost Recipes
Huge thanks to GRiFFiN for putting these together!

Here is something that I found on the net for making mushroom compost:

Day - Treatment to Material and Ingredients to add.
01 Monday - Wet down.* Wheat Straw one bale, or Stable straw with 10% horse
manure, ( 50 pounds.)
02 Tuesday - Let it sit:
03 Wednesday - Let it sit:
04 Thursday - Add - dried poultry waste and Urea.
1 Pound - Dried Poultry Waste & 1.2 ounce Urea.
05 Friday - Let it sit:
06 Saturday - Flip pile and wet down.*
07 Sunday - Let it sit:
08 Monday - Flip pile and wet down.*
09 Tuesday - Let it sit:
10 Wednesday - Let it sit:
11 Thursday - Add - dried poultry waste and Urea.
1 Pound - Dried Poultry Waste & 1.2 ounce Urea.
12 Friday - Flip pile.
13 Saturday - Flip pile and wet down.* - Add 2 pounds - Cotton Seed Hulls.
14 Sunday - Let it sit:
15 Monday - Flip pile and wet down.*
(Note: Compost will naturally start to heat up to high
temperatures, this is good.)
16 Tuesday - Let it sit:
17 Wednesday - Add - 3lbs. Cotton Seed Meal, 2 lbs. Gypsum, 1 lbs. Rape Seed
Meal, 1 lbs. Peat Moss.
18 Thursday - Turn pile, water lightly.*
(From now on keep the pile in a more compact format to allow
heat to build up.)
19 Friday - Let it sit:
20 Saturday - Turn pile, water lightly.*
21 Sunday - Let it sit:
22 Monday - Turn pile, water lightly.*
23 Tuesday - Let it sit:
24 Wednesday - Turn pile, and fill containers.
Ready to Pasteurize at 142 degrees F. for 6 hours.
First stabilize at 132 F. for 3 hrs. , then raise to 142 F.
for 6 hrs.
Finish compost contains 65-70 percent water content.
Slowly let cool for 2 days. Slow clean air ventilation

Well made compost is blackish and has a lightly carmel type coating covering
the straw. Over composting will lower mushroom yields.

Compost is pasteurized to kill any existing undesirable fungi growing in the
compost. It can then be inoculated with mushroom spawn.

* Wet down just enough to moisten the material and not enough to cause water
run off. Run off washes away the added nutrients.

Note: Compost should be made on a solid surface to prevent the washing away of
added nutrients. (Concrete, asphalt, plastic, wood.)

The above formula was originally from a larger volume formula. This smaller
volume formula may require additional composting time.

I found this in a book about mushroom growing

Vedder, P.J.C.,Moderne Champignonteelt, culemborg, The Netherlands, 1971

-------Till Method------------
A method of preparing a nutrient base for Agaricus bisporus without composting designed by a german researcher named Otto Till.

The recipe is as follows:

chopped wheat straw 120 kg
peat 50 kg
calcium carbonate 50 kg
cottonseed meal 15 kg
soybean meal 15 kg
lucernmeal 50 kg
water 700 kg

These (dry) materials are thoroughly homoginized and the moisture content is brought up to 70%. pH= 6.8
Iron barrels are filled with this mixture and are sterilised for 5 hours at 130oC.
When the barrels have cooled down they are spawned with sterile (grain) spawn.
Aeriation is provided by tubing that blows HEPA filtered air. [Because no mixing takes place] Mycelial growth takes more time than usual; 5 weeks. After this timespan the fully colonised mixture is mixed with 5% moistened and pasteurised cottonseed meal. Normal trays are filled in a layer of 11 cm. This is covered with a normal layer of non-sterile casing soil.

Yields were high, but no commercial farming takes place because of the high costs and the difficulty of the proces (sterile work.)

well since high costs are only relative, and we know our sterile techniques....

It's kind of a compost surrogate, or a fake-compost as you may like to call it. BUT......
Wouldn't it perhaps be possible to use this mixture to grow some of the difficult species?
Maybe some improvisations may be needed to obtain all ingredients, but something like it should be possible to make.

By preparing compost, you are creating an ideal medium for mycelial growth. Basic mushroom compost is made up of wheat straw, horse manure and gypsum (calcium sulfate). There are a variety of optional ingredients that may be added. A brief outline of some materials used in making composts follows:

serves as a carbon source (carbohydrate) source wheat - considered the best - contains xylan oat, barley - break down more rapidly than wheat rye - breaks down slower than wheat also corn cobs, oak and beech leaves, etc.

Other Carbohydrate Sources:
Rice straw, molasses, brewer's grains, cottonseed meal (provides the fatty acid - linoleic acid -which is reported to stimulate yields.)

nitrogen source, provides organisms essential to composting horse - most commonly used, fresher the better poultry - higher in nitrogen and phosphorous than horse, not so rich in potash (provided in wheat straw), faster and hotter than horse, use dry pig and sheep - must be used before they become sticky - used partly dry

Other Nitrogen Sources:
Blood meal (dried blood), bone meal urea, ammonium sulfate ((NH4)2SO4) Gypsum: calcium sulfate (CaSO4) - essential to mushroom compost preparation - prevents the compost from becoming too "greasy" - by forming an equilibrium matrix with the water, also helps the colloids to flocculate producing a compost with a more granular structure with increased water holding capacity: provides Ca++ ions; a mineral essential to mushroom growth: helps to prevent the loss of nitrogen (from the breakdown of proteins during the act of composting) by chelating the ammonia

Optional Mineral Sources:
Superphosphate; is said to promote vigorous mycelial growth, but an excess may make the beds too acid too soon which depreciate the crop. 14 lbs./ton of compost should be added at the last turn. It should not be used if there are a lot of droppings 9 fresh) in the compost.

Sulfate of potash; used in synthetic composts. the ubiquitous calcium carbonate.

Activators; compost "activators" can be obtained from nursery and garden stores and assures the presence of the organism essential to composting.

The following recipes create about one half ton of compost. One half ton of compost will provide enough compost for about 60 square feet of beds (surface area). At least one quart of grain spawn per 15 square feet of bed surface should be used.

Sample Compost Recipes:
5 bales wheat straw, half a pickup (half ton) horse manure, third of a pickup of horse manure, 30 lbs. gypsum, 2 lbs. activator, 70 lbs. chicken manure, 4 lbs. Blood meal and 30 lbs. gypsum.

To prepare compost, the straw must be soaked for several days until it just about, but not quite, squeezes water out in your hands. The compost pile is then built by stacking alternating layers of straw, activator, manure and gypsum until all the materials are used up. The stack should be 4-6 feet high.

In about 48 hours the heap will begin to generate heat and will sink somewhat in height. By the fourth to sixth day the temperature in the interior of the pile should reach 160?F (71?C). Temperatures of up to 160?F are due to thermophilic organisms. Temperatures over 170?F are due to chemical bonds being broken as well as other chemical reactions. Temperatures over 160?F are undesirable. After the pile reaches a peak temperature the temp will then begin to fall and the pile should be turned. The pile is turned by moving the middle half third to the bottom, the top and sides to the middle, and the bottom to the top. If any parts appear excessively dry, water should be sprinkled on those parts at this time. There should be no need to add any water after the first turn.

The heap will again heat up and be ready for a second turn after six more days. It should now be turning a rich brown color. With the second turn, no water should be given unless there are very dry patches - wet sparingly. One more turn should complete the mixing but if the temp (peak) is above 130?F a fourth turn may be necessary, (some authors recommend even another turn). If on the final turn the compost is too wet or has a greasy appearance, more gypsum may be added.

When done, the pile should be brown to gold in color, open in texture, and have a rich humus smell. The straw should break readily when twisted, and the compost should be just moist enough to bind together when squeezed in the hand. Initially the compost will have an alkaline pH. When mature and ready for inoculation the pH should be between 7.0 and 8.0. The heating of the compost has pasteurized the compost by the action of the thermophilic organisms. These organisms will not grow at the lower temperature at which mycelium grows. With proper composting the resulting compost will be free from competing organisms. Insects in all their forms will be absent from the medium and the rapid growth of the thermophilic composters will have also eliminated bacterial and fungal competitors.

Inoculating Beds: The compost is then filled in boxes about 10-12 inches deep. The temperature should be 80?F or less and there should be no ammonia fumes present when the boxes or beds are inoculated (spawned). The compost is inoculated with grain spawn either by mixing throughout the compost in the bed or box or by sprinkling a tamped down box with spawn and then covering thin layer of compost. In either cased the compost and spawn are then tamped down and covered with moist newspapers or a sheet of plastic to retain the humidity. The inoculated compost should be allowed to sit for 2-5 weeks (until the mycelium has taken over the compost). It may be necessary to moisten the newspapers occasionally during this time.

When the compost is permeated with mycelium it is then cased for fruit initiation. A drop in temperature and increase in ventilation induce fruiting. As the mushroom and mycelium grows there will be a drop of pH from the excreted metabolites until the pH reaches 5.0-5.5 at which time mushroom production will cease. At this time, the boxes/beds should be removed and the area thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.

The following is a document created by benzi


Composting is the biological action of a mixture of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria on the organic refuse of everyday life. This part of the Ecosystem starts the degradation process on waste products that eventually results in the nutrients and stored energy being liberated and put back into the life cycle of organisms such as ourselves. The mushrooms themselves are mostly saphrophytic, which means they feast on dead and decaying matter although some infect living organisms which can be destructivley anti-social.

The composting process where mushrooms are concerned releases from the vegetable waste and complex carbohydrates and polysaccharides a mixture of lesser and more useable sugars as well as callose cellulose lignin and xylan broken up softened hydrated and as a result of the temparature of the process reaching in excess of 150 degrees Fahrenheit a comprehensivley sterilized mixture light of texture and high in food value. Without the process of composting breaking down the waste, the food value of the pre-composted material is much lower and more difficult for the mycelium to get at which would result in a considerably lower yield and less compatible growth substrate. Also, if you have ever tried to bulk sterilize straw in a large pot, doing it this way is easier and less annoying.

Making the compost (1): Commercially manufactured compost is generally prepared in very large containers although the small scale version is similar. First of all you should attempt to obtain at least one bale of wheat straw (other straw works but this is best and has the highest food value) this is loosened up from its bindings and using a hose or bucket is soaked until it will absorb no more water with the excess being allowed to drain off; next you should spread a layer about six inches deep over an open area, at this point the activator is sprinkled on. Activator is a mix of bacteria enzymes and nitrogen bearing material which starts the composting reaction off and is available from gardening centres, commercial operations use pelleted chicken sh1t at a ratio of about five pounds per bale, traditionally cow or horse pies can also be used and these are also great, without the activator the reaction could take six months instead of six weeks. It is important to add a source of nitrogen to the compost mix as the active bacteria use it to carry out their task and mushroom compost without nitrogen is like a day without sunshine. After you have used up all the straw and activator you should find a place to allow the process to go on, in a corner of a wall or in a composting box or tub is good even a large plastic refuse container or even a dumpster, although the main point of this is to help retain heat and moisture you could just make a small mound and put plastic wrap or even old carpet on it, all should work well. As you transfer the composting mix to its temporary home it is a good idea to sprinkle evenly between the layers of the new mound at small intervals an amount of pink plaster of paris, this is a technique that has been commonly in use since the 1930's and ensures that the compost is kept fluffy and light and prevented from becoming doughy and airless, it also makes the mixture slightly acidic which will help the decomposition of the straw and encourage mycelial growth at a later stage, the plaster is added at a rate of about three pounds per hay bale. Some people do not like the thought of using animal butt biscuits for growing food so a good alternative and very cheap source of nitrogen that acts as an activator is wheat bran, if this made into a doughy mix before being added it will feed and promote the bacteriological action while adding valuble nutrients, add about four pounds per bale, even fresh fine grass clippings are effective. After the mound has been standing for about ten days it is important to mix it over and reform the pile, this helps to keep the mix light and admit fresh oxygen for the ongoing process, as a result of this there should be no doughy bits where air ran out or uncomposted straw where it was allowed to dry out, a weekly turn until four to six weeks have passed should result in a very obvious rich crumbly allmost odourless material with only a minimal resemblance to straw that is ready to use.

Making the compost (2): If the above seems a bit involved and challenging then method two could be the one for you. Go out for a drive in the countryside until you see a farm with stables. Say hello and look round the back for the pile of mucking out waste that is a natural byproduct of this industry. Once you start digging into this pile, providing it has been there for a few months, you will find that (a) the top 12 to 24 inches is just dirty straw, (b) the bottom of the heap is jellied turd5, but (c) the layer near the top should be brown crumbly odourless nutritious *COMPOST* take a friend a shovel and as many sturdy plastic bags as will fill your car, try not to laugh hard as you shovel this brown gold before returning home, this stuff will last for ages in storage in the bags and does not give off any odour - a sure sign of quality. Even going out at night with a bucket to gather cow pies and mixing them in your back yard with any straw, providing it is turned occasionally would give very acceptable results, the farmer may get deeply confused at the pie rustling that is going on though. Both types of compost are good although the first sort can give yields of four pounds per square foot, the second method less.

For spawn that will be inserted into the compost I generally use P.F type cakes that have produced their first flush of little friends which is then broken up into chunks of about wallnut sized, it is a fair test of the freshness and vitality of the spawn if it still bright white and makes an appley crunch as you break it up. commercially the compost is tumbled with infected grain and packed in 25 kilogram heat shrunk plastic bales, this results in massive concurrent flushes that can be seven pounds the first week and six the next per square foot of substrate surface, so if you grow on grain this would be the ideal way to make use of it by mixing it evenly with good compost. If you have a lot of compost it may be wise to grow the stuff outside, for this purpose it is best to build mounds of compost about three feet wide by two foot high with a roughly triangular cross section and as long as the compost lasts then after you have inserted the spawn chunks at even intervals over the surface of the compost case it with about two or three inches of earth, the mound shape will allow the rain to run off and the entire enterprise will run in a fairly maintenance free way all summer. If you use less spawn the sprouting will probably just take longer to fully establish itself in the compost before fruiting over a wider time spread.

For indoor use a wide variety of containers may be used, old drawers, cardboard packing boxes, tupperware or even inflatable swimming pools. I have found that the wooden or cardboard boxes can sometimes breath too readily resulting in the compost drying out quite quickly and needing more regular maintenance so generally I use cheap washing up bowls.These bowls are sturdy, a good size and cost less than a ?1 or equivalent in most places that sell kitchenware, the four foot wide paddling pool cost about ?3 and generates much amusement in all interested partys. For a standard 14 inch washing up bowl the ideal depth of compost is about six inches, more is not usefully consumed and less is just diminished returns, you could poke in a few small chunks of spawn to a depth of about two inches or many pieces on two or three layers depending on whether you prefer rapid massive flushing or a more progressive build in yield over a longer time, could you dry ten pounds if they popped up at the start of the week? Once the compost is colonised, a layer of casing soil to a depth of about one inch is placed on top, you could use vermiculite or crushed chalk, the important thing being that the top-coating is not solid and allows the substrate to breathe. The compost should be comprehensivley colonised by the white fingers of spreading mycelium in about two to four weeks, the casing layer is infiltrated in one to two weeks and pinning should start to occur after that. If you prefer you can leave the casing off till later on so that you can watch the substrate colonise before casing up and fruiting. It is worth keeping the bowls covered during colonisation to retain moisture, if it starts to dry out a little you can mist it with a hand sprayer. Once the spawn starts to run through the top casing layer then mushrooms are nearly here and a more spacious covering will be needed, this could be a stick in the middle of the tub with a transparent garbage bag over it to make a pup tent, or perhaps some curtain track with plastic sheeting over it to make a more roomy accomodation, my personal favourite being to make a small geodesic dome out of drinking straws and pipe cleaners then covered with a thin plastic bag, the moisture in the tub combined with occasional watering should keep the humidity just right and produce pounds of majestic giants for months.

I am passing this information on as a result of the way mushroom growing has evolved over many hundreds of years and is now at a very effective stage, well it is for us. For reference purposes method (a) is refered to as the Waverley or lowland technique after the large mushroom farm occupying the railway tunnel, under the capital of Scotland from the Waverley train station, that was reputedly the largest farm in western Europe in the first half of this century, Method (b) is refered to as the Ingliston, or highland method after the large amount of splendid compost we saved after the Royal Highland Show at Ingliston (there was 150 tons of this stacked fifteen foot high next to the airport, it was frightening the planes!) almost a car load. I will try to get the relevant pictures scanned in the next week or two to go with this article, which will hopefully make a little more sense. Enjoy --benzi

BluHoney's Recipe

Nitrogen source:
70 pounds of horse manure
50 pounds of chicken manure
50 pounds of cow manure
20 pounds of blood meal
Carbohydrate source:
4 bales of wheatstraw
20 pounds of rice straw
50 pounds of cottonseed meal
Blending and curing items:
80 pounds of gypsum(essential for compost, prevents it from becoming greasy, provides Ca++ ions, a mineral essential to mushroom growth)
20 pounds of Superphosphate(promotes vigorous mycelial growth, but dont use to much it will turn the compost acidic to soon)
20 pounds of sulfate of potash( calcium carbonate)
1 gallon of compost activators.
Directions for use:
Soak the wheat straw for about a week, then drain out water and place in a large dark colored bin. Mix in all other ingrediants evenly and use water as needed to keep it moist not soaked. At about three days the temperature inside the compost will reach very high temps. Thats good, everything is working right. when the temperature begins to fall, turn the pile and mix it up again( around 6 days) do this until the pile turns a rich blackish brown color. Very airy with a lot of texture. My friend let heres cure for 3 months. But This time can be shortened. Depends on how much you have and how you want it cured. Now for the descrete people, here is a mini tek: 5 pounds chicken manure,(reason for chicken is its higher in nitrogen and phosphorous than horse and cow) halfbale of soaked wheatstraw(essential), 1pound bloodmeal, 2 pounds of cottonseed meal. 1 cup of superphosphate, 1 pound of potash, 3 pounds of gypsum,1 8 oz bag of activators.
Both of the above recipies can be altered very much in amounts. You just have to experiment. And remember to check your ph regularly. Try to keep it at around 7-8. This can be done by purchasing a small ph test kit at a pet store.

posted by Learner at the shroomery.
by The Learner

Worm Castings
worm shit for the laymen.

Check this out, not everyone has access to cow manure or horse manure to get some of the best growing subtrate for our fellow cubies and many of the exotics such as the dung growing Panaeolus' and Psilocybes.
Abundant Earth(http://www.abundantearth.com/) has 15 pound bags of organic worm shit I think for like $15.
This is not the only place you can get them, but I am listing this source for those that are lazy or cannot find any unadulterated worm castings locally.
For those with more time and money to spend you can get back to communing with nature. For $80+ you can order plastic worm boxes of varying sizes, designs and even some exotic condominium style setups. Red Worms are the worms you need to get and they sell them too. So if you are hard of obtaining the good horse and cow poops then you can now buy or make a huge pile of super dark worm castings.
Gardeners, this worm shit is so concetrated only a small amount is needed compared to other composted fertilizers... imagine what it will do for shrooms!

Why Compost With Worms?

Worm composting is a method for recycling food waste into a rich, dark, earth-smelling soil conditioner. The great advantage of worm composting is that this can be done indoors and outdoors, thus allowing year round composting. It also provides apartment dwellers with a means of composting. In a nutshell, worm compost is made in a container filled with moistened bedding and redworms. Add your food waste for a period of time, and the worms and micro-organisms will eventually convert the entire contents into rich compost.
The following information is based on the experiences of a network of worm composters linked to City Farmer, Vancouver, and the excellent and practical book: Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelhof.

What Do I Need To Get Started?


We use wood and plastic containers. Either build or buy, or use your imagination and recycle something like an old dresser drawer, trunk, or discarded barrel. We prefer wood because it is more absorbent and a better insulator for the worms. We use plastic containers but find that the compost tends to get quite wet. Experiment and find out what works for you and your worms.

Guide To Size Of Container

In Worms Eat My Garbage, Mary Appelhof suggests weighing your household food waste for one week (in pounds), and then provide one square foot of surface area per pound. The container depth should be between eight and twelve inches. Options to one large (and heavy) box are a number of smaller containers for easier lifting and moving and more choice of location. The book illustrates a variety of containers.
Depending on the size of the container, drill 8 to 12 holes (1/4 - l/2 inches) in the bottom for aeration and drainage. A plastic bin may need more drainage - if contents get too wet, drill more holes. Raise the bin on bricks or wooden blocks, and place a tray underneath to capture excess liquid which can be used as liquid plant fertilizer.
The bin needs a cover to conserve moisture and provide darkness for the worms. If the bin is indoors, a sheet of dark plastic or burlap sacking placed loosely on top of the bedding is sufficient as a cover. For outdoor bins, a solid lid is preferable, to keep out unwanted scavengers and rain. Like us, worms need air to live, so be sure to have your bin sufficiently ventilated.


It is necessary to provide a damp bedding for the worms to live in, and to bury food waste in.
Suitable bedding materiaIs are shredded newspaper and cardboard, shredded fall leaves, chopped up straw and other dead plants, seaweed, sawdust, peat moss, compost and aged manure. Try to vary the bedding in the bin as much as possible, to provide more nutrients for the worms, and to create a richer compost. Add a couple of handfuls of sand or soil to provide necessary grit for the worm's digestion of food.
It is very important to moisten the dry bedding materials before putting them in the bin, so that the overall moisture level is like a wrung-out sponge. The bin should be about three-quarters full of moistened bedding. Lift the bedding gently to create air spaces which help to control odours, and give freer movement to the worms.


The two types of earthworm best suited to worm composting are the redworms: Eisenia foetida (commonly known as red wiggler, brandling, or manure worm) and Lumbricus rubellus They are often found in aged manure and compost heaps. Please do not use dew-worms (large size worms found in soil and compost) as they are not likely to survive.

Where To Get Your Worms?

If you feel adventurous, find a horse stable or farmer with a manure pile and collect a bagful of manure with worms. Check your own or a friend's compost bin for worms. You can also purchase worms. Call the Compost Hotline for more details on local (British Columbia) sources of redworms.

How Many Worms Do I Need?

Mary Appelhof suggests that the correct ratio of worms to food waste should be: for one pound per day of food waste, use two pounds of worms (roughly 2000). If you are unable to get this many worms to start with, reduce the amount of food waste accordingly while the population steadily increases.

What Do I Feed My Worms?

You can compost food scraps such as fruit and vegetable peels, pulverized egg shells, tea bags and coffee grounds. It is advisable not to compost meats, dairy products, oily foods, and grains because of problems with smells, flies, and rodents. No glass. plastic or tin foil, please.
To avoid fly and smell problems, always bury the food waste by pulling aside some of the bedding, dumping the waste, and then cover it up with the bedding again. Bury successive loads in different locations in the bin.

Where Should I Locate My Worm Bin?

Worm bins can be used indoors all year round, and outdoors during the milder months. The advantage of mobile bins is that they can be moved when weather conditions change. Indoors, basements are excellent locations (warm, dark and dry), but any spare space can be utilized, so long as temperatures are between 40-80 degrees F. We know dedicated worm composters who have convenient kitchen counter worm bins. Outdoors, bins can be kept in sheds and garages, on patios and balconies, or in the yard. They should be kept out of hot sun and heavy rain. If temperatures drop below 40 degrees F., bins should either be moved indoors, or well insulated outdoors.

How Do I Maintain My Bin?

If you have the correct ratio of surface area to worms to food scraps, there is little to do, other than adding food, until about two and a half months have passed. By then, there should be little or no original bedding visible in the bin, and the contents will be brown and earthy looking worm castings. The contents will have substantially decreased in bulk too.
It is important to separate the worms from the finished compost, otherwise the worms will begin to die. There are several ways to do this. and you can discover which is best for you. The quickest is to simply move the finished compost over to one side of the bin, place new bedding in the space created, and put food waste in the new bedding. The worms will gradually move over and the finished compost can be skimmed off as needed.
If you have the time or want to use all the compost, you can dump the entire contents of the bin onto a large plastic sheet and separate the worms manually. Most children love to help with this process and you can turn it into a fun lesson about worms for them. Watch out for the tiny. lemon-shaped worm cocoons which contain between two and twenty baby worms! By separating the worms from the compost, you save more worms for your next bin. Mix a little of the finished compost in with the new bedding of the next bin, and store the rest in plastic bags for use as required.

Where Do I Use My Compost?

The compost can be mixed with potting soil and used for houseplants and patio containers. It is an excellent mulch (spread in a layer on top of the soil) for potted plants. If it is screened, it can be added for potting mixes for seedlings, and finely sprinkled on a lawn as a conditioner. lt can be used directly in the garden, either dug into the soil or used as a mulch.

Common Problems And Solutions

The most common problem is unpleasant, strong odours which are caused by lack of oxygen in the compost due to overloading with food waste so that the food sits around too long, and the bin contents become too wet. The solution is to stop adding food waste until the worms and micro-organisms have broken down what food is in there, and to gently stir up the entire contents to allow more air in. Check the drainage holes to make sure they are not blocked. Drill more holes if necessary. Worms will drown if their surroundings become too wet.
Worms have been known to crawl out of the bedding and onto the sides and lid if conditions are wrong for them. If the moisture level seems alright, the bedding may be too acidic. This can happen if you add a lot of citrus peels and other acidic foods. Adjust by adding a little garden lime and cutting down on acidic wastes.
Fruit flies can be an occasional nuisance. Discourage them by always burying the food waste and not overloading. Keep a plastic sheet or piece of old carpet or sacking on the surface of the compost in the bin. If flies are still persistent, move the bin to a location where flies will not be bothersome. A few friendly spiders nearby will help control fly problems!

The Final Word

Taking worms out of their natural environment and placing them in containers creates a human responsibility. They are living creatures with their own unique needs, so it is important to create and maintain a healthy habitat for them to do their work. If you supply the right ingredients and care, your worms will thrive and make compost for you. Happy and successful composting!
The Learners Improvements
Design a stackable worm bin system where you can grow your worms in one container and when the food is depleted you can remove the lid and place a second identical container full of fresh worm foodstuffs on top.
Holes in the bottom of the stackable containers will allow the worms to migrate up to the new container leaving behind all the fresh worm shit! You can keep stacking to your hearts content pulling off the bottom container to retrieve your valuable worm castings.

How to harvest your little wormies


1 onion bag or nylon 'delicates' laundry bag, closure for top
2 or 3 buckets for finished compost and worms (one should have a cover to set on loosely)
Worms favorite sweet snacks (kiwis, apples, melons)
Plastic sheet or large garbage bag for harvesting area

Steps to Harvesting

Feed your worms one last time before harvest and leave them for at least 10 days (you want to starve them a little).
Get a small onion sack or laundry bag with holes large enough for worms to crawl through. Fill bag with some of worms favorite foods, sweet things like apples, melon peels, kiwis, etc.
Bury bag with food in next corner as you would their regular feeding. Leave for a day and a half (check) to two days.
After two days, the worms should have migrated into the onion bag. If so, remove the bag and set in a covered pail for the moment. Make sure you leave air venting.
You may want to put down a plastic sheet or bag in the harvest area as there will be some mess. Now, beginning in the opposite corner to where you last fed, start to pull out handfuls of the finished compost and dump into an empty bucket. You should find very few worms. Place any you might find into the covered bucket with the bagged worms or another smaller bucket if you like.
As you get nearer to the area where you had the bag buried, you may find a few more straggler worms. You may want to do a dump and sort with this last bit of compost - or build a small mound of finished compost, exposed to the light and sift off the top so that the worms dive down.
Once you have all the compost and worms sorted, rebuild the bed with your moistened leaves, newspaper, and couple handfuls of dirt.
Take the bag of worms and bury them in the first corner. This will be their first feeding. Make sure you put all the stragglers that were outside the bag in too.
In a week or a little less depending on how much food was in the bag, feed your worms in the next corner. In a few days, you should be able to lift the bag out of the first corner and shake it free of castings. Most of the worms should have migrated to the next feeding area and voila you've just harvested your bin!
By having all your worms in a bag, it is also easier to see how many you actually have so that if necessary you can divide the population at that time - and start another worm bin for yourself or a friend.

The Learner, Oh lord, let these influx of ideas never stop!

mushroom culture history making ...Mr. Allan is the best .....

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TCB Baby
Registered: 09/17/03
Posts: 3
Last seen: 20 years, 5 months
Re: Easy Compost Recipie that works [Re: fugu]
    #1934546 - 09/20/03 02:34 AM (20 years, 5 months ago)

Psycrophiles like it cold,Thermophiles like it hot,Mesophiles like it just right.

"cryophilics': 5C-10C

"Mesophilics": 10C-40 or 45 C

"Thermophilics":40C or 45C-70C or 80C

psycrophiles are microorganisms which thrive in low tempertures,Usualy around 65 degrees F and below.as they go to work on organic matter their biological activity produces heat causing the enviroment in a compost pile to warm.at around 40 degrees F Mesophile organisms join the party and take over the job of reduction as temps become to warm for the psycrophiles (Psycrophiles top out aroud 65 degrees F). at around 105 degrees F thermophilic microbes enter the the system,taking over when the pile temp reaches above 110 degrees F the max for mesophiles.Thermophiles can survive in temps of upward 155 degrees F.At much over 160-165 degrees F,however,Most microbial is destroyed or forced into dormacy.Mesophilic and thermophilic microbes are the most rapid decoposers,to be sure.composting takes place,Yes,but slowly in the psycrophilic range. as the microorganisms reduce the material resources neccesary for their survival decrease reducing biological activity and reducing temperature in the pile. Earthworms,Mushrooms and fungi populate the pile in the Mesophilic range futher reducing the organic material.Kind of Kool huh?

Got to love them!

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