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RE: Grindal worm bedding (long)


The odor will increase at the culture matures. It is probably bacterial in
nature...dead worms, worm waste etc. The culture will crash over time
because of the accumulated waste.

A couple of things you can do to solve the issue...re-culture from time to
time...but then you have to plan on down time...or remove some bedding and
replace with new material. I use a combination of both depending on my
needs. The culture will always have a slight odor...if it's a little
offensive you may want to consider changing out some of the material. I find
that all of the cultures do smell a little...but not bad enough to keep out
of the house. Still one of the least offensive of the live cultures to deal
with...at least we don't find them in our flour or crawling on the fruit.

The culture will last longer with a greater mass in the culture...and will
last a shorter period with less culture AND less feeding and harvesting.
Harvesting is important as the worms can literally out produced their
environment (and die etc). The worms crawling up the sides could be from a
number of issues...pH to low, temp to high...not enough food in the box for
them to find...low O2 is a sleeper. When their environment does not suit
them, they go looking for solutions. When they are "happy" they stay in the

The depth of the medium does seem to be an issue...too shallow (less than an
inch perhaps) has been less successful than deeper. A friend used to culture
his in 5 gallon buckets, 3/4 full of peat. I tend to use more shallow
containers with 1 1/2-2 inches of medium, causing me to have to
re-culture/replace more frequently.

Worms in general have fairly straightforward pH requirements. Too acid and
their toast...they will move on if they can. I find that the peat moss
provides it's largest contribution in moisture control rather than any other
issue. Straight potting soil would work but would be more difficult to keep
moist. I mix the potting soil and peat 50/50 to mitigate any pH risks.

Cultures tend to get more wet with use (worm waste). I start with a soil
mixture that keeps it's form when I squeeze it with my hand yet dry enough
that it will not drip water as I squeeze. People used to describe the
moisture level as similar to "pipe tobacco"...but with less smokers around
now days, it's become a "huh?" type of description.

Jim Atchison
The Bug Farm

West Coast Weekend X
West Coast Weekend LIVE

--> ------------------------------
--> Date: Mon, 9 Apr 2001 10:17:24 -0500
--> From: "Tomoko Schum" <tomokoschum at earthlink_net>
--> Subject: Grindal worm bedding
--> Hi everyone,
--> My grindal worm are multiplying very well.  I have
--> managed to split them into three Rubbermaid
--> containers I happened to have on hand (shoe box
--> size but shallower).
--> This morning I noticed a slight odor in my
--> original culture.  I suppose it is time to move
--> them into new bedding.  I am planning on moving
--> them to a new container/new bedding material
--> (hopefully this evening).  I am hoping that
--> someone can provide some answers to my questions
--> before the move.  Here is the list of my
--> questions:
--> 1. How frequently I should change their bedding
--> material.
--> 2. Would a deeper container with a lot more
--> bedding material work better?
--> 3. Some people suggested half peat half potting
--> soil.  Is this for keeping pH higher?
--> 4. What moisture level and pH level should I keep
--> my bedding at?  I noticed worms are crawling on
--> the side and top of the container on older
--> cultures.  Would too high humidity/moisture level
--> cause them to crawl out of the bedding?
--> Thanks in advance,
--> Tomoko