Toil
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How to cook your worms

So I finally discovered how much bokashi is too much for a worm bin. I took the lid off today, and what worms have survived are around the edges of the bag (my bin is a suspended bag). Worms have been squeezing through the polyester felt and get stuck and die. The surface is steaming hot, a thermometer at the surface reads (i was going to say 95 but then it went up. I will edit it when it stops) ok it reads 116.1 F now.

It's a massacre.

I'll just put some worms from my plastic bins when it cools down, but for now I have to apologize to the worms.

On the other hand, this gets me thinking - if you are trying to heat up a pile, try mixing in some bokashi. My "pile" is tiny, but it is really cooking. In a large pile it could be great. And it's a fine way to compost all those invasives that can't go in compost. Pickle them first!
Last edited by Toil on Wed Apr 14, 2010 9:25 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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soil
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murderer :lol:
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the thermometer now reads 122.5 F
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applestar
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I think you've gone beyond pasteurizing -- usually 150~160, I believe -- to pre-sterilizing. If I remember correctly, this could result in survival of pathogenic bacteria while killing off all the good guys.... :|

Just how much did you put in, and was the bokashi at the same level of "readiness" that you usually use?

Toil
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ok it's up to 137F :shock: Remember though, the heat source is below the thermometer and there is a lid right on top as it is totally filled.

I don't know how much I added. The bin doesn't hold that much! I did try using wheat bran as bedding.

It was as ready as i normally use. About a month of fermentation
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applestar
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So are you considering the worms in the bin lost at this point? Are you curious to see how high this gets? Why aren't you dumping the whole thing out and spreading them out to cool?

Just curious. :wink:

p.s. Wheat bran huh? So do you think you've basically inoculated the whole worm bin with the bokashi and are now fermenting bokashi in the entire worm bin, digesting the cooked, dead worms as well?

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Do you think there's a connection between using a synthetic fabric for the "bag/container" and the over-temp condition? Synthetics can trap heat vs. breathing when compared to natural fibers, e.g., cotton, wool, etc.

I'm completely inexperienced with bokashi methods, but I've been sewing clothing, costumes, and now quilts since I was 12 and wonder about the fabric: could it have been a contributing factor?

Do you know yet what triggered the over-temp, or is it simply a function of bokashi that I'm not recognizing?

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Toil
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the bag breathes quite well - much better than a plastic bin.


it overheated because I was careless and in a rush to empty the bokashi.

apple - it's not fermenting, it's cooking. but yeah the worms are lost. I have so many worms, it's not a big deal. I'm just going to hot compost then add the worms.

And hey, that makes me wonder, if people did a hot container of bokashi with some compost on top, and fed the result to worms, you might get a good system there.
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So if I understand this, Toil. You didn't put Bokashi directly into your worm bin, you put compost that you had pickled in there. Is that correct?

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no i put bokashi directly in the bin. lots of it. and then some raw bran and half done compost as bedding.
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I see so you pickled and then baked your worms. I don't think you'll be winning the Betty Crocker cook off, but it is different.

On a more informational note, I just got my Bokashi bin going, it's no where near full. My plan is to feed the pickled compost to my worms, something I believe you were doing, before you murdered them. I thought about adding a little Bokashi to my worm bin but I didn't and since you took the lead, I won't. Just remember that the little buggers didn't die needlessly we all learned something.

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oh it's ok to feed some. just not too much at once. They don't get pickled. In fact, bokashi compost seems to encourage reproduction.
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Toil wrote:oh it's ok to feed some. just not too much at once. They don't get pickled. In fact, bokashi compost seems to encourage reproduction.
Maybe that's because you're "heating things up" just a bit. I guess some "like it hot." ;)

Sorry, I couldn't resist. I read through this whole thread and couldn't help laughing. Those poor, poor worms. I hope things go better in the future.

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oh it's ok. my other bins are crowded.

Yes the problem is heat alone. They love bokashi as much as manure.
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Cynthia-the type of worm bin toil has (correct me if I'm wrong!) is similar to the bin the worm dude patented and has for sale now. It's award winning and considered the best type of bin as it is much more breathable then the usual plastics and much harder to kill worms!
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Toil-Wheat bran? As bedding when you're adding bokashi? :roll: Jeeze :lol:

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I did a search here for bokashi.
It was long and difficult. So, I went to wikki and again did a search for bokashi.

If I got this right it is basically a culture to get rid of kitchen scraps? It is bran etc and you compost with or without air, right?

There were 15 pages in this forum, no one is going to read all 15 pages to figure something out!

Can someone, in a nutshell, tell me what pickling has to do with composting kitchen scraps in bran?

I don't want to do this, I can get rid of peels in gee 2-3 minutes, have chicken will eat, but I do so want to understand what it is that my friends here are talking about.

Can we get a sticky explaining bokashi and its relationship to pickling, as you folks are using this terminology. I know that I can't be the only person who just doesn't understand what is happening here.

Oh I get it, the compost got hot and cooked the worms. What I don't get is, why? Why not just feed the scraps to one or the other, the worms or the compost bin? Remember I keep neither one.

Pickling, adding salt and smashing stuff up for lacto fermentation... bokashi is composting on a miniature scale...
worms are composting on a small scale...

Would someone please connect the dots for me?
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bokashi as practiced around here is not aerobic like a compost pile. it is run by lactobacillus mostly, just like sauerkraut. You got it right - scraps are layered with a bran that's been fermented and dried, then sealed up to ferment. A little bit of air is ok but you try to mash it down. It gets very sour (like silage).

now whether it is composting is a word game made more difficult by narrow-minded north americans. To me compost is any composite of organic matter. so it's a compost. but it's not humus.

anyhoo - in my bokashi bucket, the compost does not rot. It pickles! For some reason, after pickling, stuff that normally does not heat up too much becomes like manure. That is how I cooked the worms.

btw, the thermometer I had in there was made of white plastic. Just from being in the bin overnight, it has yellowed a whole lot.

werd, eh?
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Toil
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Dixana wrote:Cynthia-the type of worm bin toil has (correct me if I'm wrong!) is similar to the bin the worm dude patented and has for sale now. It's award winning and considered the best type of bin as it is much more breathable then the usual plastics and much harder to kill worms!
I learned a LOT from Jerry G!
Toil-Wheat bran? As bedding when you're adding bokashi? :roll: Jeeze :lol:
the bag was right next to the bin, and I got lazy.

sigh...

it occured to me that this might not happen in a plastic bin. Every unit of heat means there was enough oxygen to allow microbes to generate it.
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Dixana
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I just could not resist poking fun Toil! :D
But I agree COMPLETLY that we should have a bokashi sticky!! There are a handful of good, helpful threads about it, then some mish mash random stuff and it's pretty hard to locate the good info!!

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Oh, one other thing....Toil can you post how you made your bin? I've been wanting to buy one from the worm dude...but...well...........I'm cheap :oops:

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well if we are talking the same bin, it's on instructables.com - just do a search for worm bin bag.


all due respect to worm dude, but if it's the same design his patent is worthless. It was published on instructables and other places long ago.
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Dixana
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It's not quite the same thing. The fabric is the same stuff they use for horse blankets/backpacks. Marketing how to make something vs making and selling the actual product is two totally different things. Not to mention he didn't patent it ;) he bought the company/design whatever it is from someone else.

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I used to raise a bowl of microworms to feed to my tropical fish. Using bran and stuff, man that thing stunk when opened.

For some odd reason, I keep getting a mental picture of this culture that I used to raise those worms. I was like soupy stinking sour stuff.

I also raised meal worms, and they often turned into beetles, I remember that dry culture for them. It stunk too, but it was dry, or slightly damp.

I am trying to mentally combine the two, then add kitchen wastes. A tough stretch for me!

Can someone post a picture of their active bakashi bin?

I saw the ingredients on Wikki. I just can't relate how, a dried bran culture is going to compost, digest, whatever terminology one would use, kitchen scraps. And how does it get wet enough to induce lacto fermentation? It just must be a whole lot of wastes, compared to my feeding the cultures for the fish? Is that where I am missing it?
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Toil
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OMG the pile is cooling off a bit with the lid off, and there are WORMS! How did they survive? The juveniles especially are running wild.

:shock:


OL, it smells sort of sour, not unlike a brewery.

I'll snap a shot of my bin when i can, but it really just looks like a bucket. I'm thinking you want to see a pile of fully fermented scraps? I need 3 weeks, just sealed up a full bucket.
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Dixana
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The other thing about nearly killing them is there is a good possibility they threw mass cacoons which would even more worms :D

Toil
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If only they tasted good and didn't get stuck in my throat.

I have too many worms as it is!
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StorageSmart2
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Toil wrote:If only they tasted good and didn't get stuck in my throat.

I have too many worms as it is!
If you have too many worms, you could consider selling or giving them away by posting a note on a website like craiglist. I'm sure a lot of gardeners in your area would be happy to take some off your hands.

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yes great point! I wish someone had been around when I was starting. I went straight to craigslist if I recall.

I'm going to put them on freecycle if I need to. But we got a fresh crop of gardners at the community garden, so I am starting there. Thanks for the reminder.
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iceburgslimm52
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Bokashi composting

I have been composting the bokashi style for some time now...I made my two sets of 5gal buckets to use as my composting...as troll said he used wheat bran..I do if i have it...but i will use newspaper thats been wet with microorganisms, mollasses & let the good bacteria grow...in short time I have the bacteria going & than I will layer my kitchen waste on top of newspapers & close tightly...than after bout a month I open the buckets & drain off the liquids & feed (diluited) to the soils of my plants & i will feed a handful of finished bokashi to my worm bins & the rest I will bury...the worms luvs it the soil benifits from it cause of all of the microorganisms that is added to the soils..roots of plants greatly benifit froms it

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