sepeters
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Killed worms in vermicompost box, what to do with leftovers?

Recently I became ill and someone else was caring for the garden for me. They innocently forgot to water the worm bin for a week or more and all the worms cooked to death.

I scraped out all the vermicast from the bottom but still have a lot of unfinished material left and am unable to start a compost heap. I don't want to get more worms til the weather cools off. Until then, if I leave the stuff in the closed, dark bin and turn it will it finish into regular compost, or just rot and smell? I'm not sure what was added to it while I was out of commission but the dead worms are pretty rank and I do not know what to add at this point to rectify that. Should I just chuck it out?

And should I bleach or otherwise disinfect before I start the new worm bin in the same container?

tomc
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Re: Killed worms in vermicompost box, what to do with leftov

I think your zone is too hot for vermi-culture. Spade the contents into your garden. Resume in the fall.
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applestar
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Re: Killed worms in vermicompost box, what to do with leftov

Bury the dead? Dig a trench and bury the lot, I think.

...I don't know about bleach. I dunno -- a lot of people say that there's nothing wrong with bleach and that chlorine just goes away in the sun, air,.... But well.... They recommend hydrogen peroxide for cleaning the AACT buckets -- I'd tend to go with that.
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cynthia_h
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Re: Killed worms in vermicompost box, what to do with leftov

Use what you can of the worm castings. As for the rest:

Mix in shredded newspaper with the uncomposted ingredients. Add some water, like you normally do with new bedding. Put the box in deep shade. Feed occasionally. (There may be eggs....)

Don't worry about it again until the heat breaks in the fall, except to feed and water occasionally.

This is pretty much what I'm doing myself right now:

Life has been Quite Weird the last three months; I *may* have lost my worms. I haven't had the heart--or the ability--to check but have had DH put food and bedding into the box, along with draining leachate. (The box has become more difficult for me to reach than ever due to accumulation of STUFF in the carport, at the same time that my right hip and pelvic region are refusing to cooperate with me in the processes of lying down, sitting, walking, driving the car, etc., much less bending over, climbing over, wiggling around things).

Thus, I may or may not have worms in the worm box ATM. I do have some in the BioStack, from which I plan to repopulate or at least re-invigorate the worm box when I can get to it again.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

sepeters
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Re: Killed worms in vermicompost box, what to do with leftov

Good tips all, thanks!
I hadn't considered that there might be eggs in there! I've already harvested all the corn and pulled up the stalks, so I dumped all the "leftovers" in that spot. It should finish breaking down rather quickly in this weather. Hopefully they won't die from the heat. But, to be honest, this is not the first time I have accidentally killed my worms. :oops:

Applestar, I am also reluctant to use bleach. Haven't the worms suffered enough at my hands? :roll: Used the hydrogen peroxide, and it took a couple cleanings, but it doesn't smell putrid now. :)

As recommended, I will be waiting til the fall to start over. One day I'll get an indoor system, but am still feeling weird about it being in the house, what with all the other bugs I have seen in my bin in the past!

sepeters
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Re: Killed worms in vermicompost box, what to do with leftov

Cynthia, I hope you are doing ok and wish you a speedy recovery!

ruggr10
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Re: Killed worms in vermicompost box, what to do with leftov

I would not clean with bleach or anything else. Any bacteria or viruses in there would be taken care by the next set of worms you put in. Of course, do what some others say and see if any worm eggs hatch. They are pretty tough.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Killed worms in vermicompost box, what to do with leftov

I do keep my worm bin in the house in the winter, because it is too cold in winter here for them to be outside. It is a bit of a problem indoors, because it does tend to get some flies in it. (A few other things too like pillbugs, but I don't worry about them, because they stay in the bin.) But it has never had major infestations of flies or anything else and I don't think it would, if you don't let it get too wet. So, I keep living with it.

Sorry to hear you are having trouble, cynthia.
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