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Using Hot-Pile Compost as Worm Bedding

17 years ago

I use both a hot-pile composter and a worm bin in my household. I need a lot of compost for my garden, and the worm bin is too small to meet the need. On the other hand I don't generate enough waste to get everything I need out of the hot pile. So the system I hit on was to get compostables in bulk from local restaurants and the like and build hot piles as fast as I could get them to go, while using the worm bin to handle my modest household waste stream.

This works pretty well, and recently I hit on the idea of combining the two: using compost from the hot pile as bedding in the worm bin. This works great so far: the worms love the hot-pile compost even more than they like my regular kitchen scraps, and I've read that processing the hot-pile compost through the worms has the same effect as aging it for several months.

But I do have a question in all this. I'm using a "Wriggly Wranch" continuous flow worm bin. The idea here is that when the material in one working tray is fully composted by the worms, it's time to add another working tray on top of it (eventually you remove the finished compost from the bottom tray and start it over).

I added a working tray with compost bedding a week ago, and it's already teeming with adult and young worms, so I know they like it. The thing is, since the bedding is already composted, I don't know how to tell when it's "done" and time to add another working tray.

Has anyone else done this? Any ideas on how to tell when compost bedding has been "re-composted" by the worms?

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