Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Red whats?

It may look look like a pile of trash in a bin but this is now home a couple hundred little red worms (red wigglers or Eisenia fetida if you like). This shredded paper is used as bedding for the worms. Paper is used for several reasons, it's easy to find, it's cheap (Junk mail has found a use!!!), and more importantly it retains water well. This is important for the worms to breath, dry worms are dead worms so a moist environment is very important.

Why worms you ask, well it's simple really, worms break down organic matter by eating things like protozoa, fungi, and bacteria. All three of these eat the rotting organic matter (This also part why compost smells; bacteria and everything living on the compost release the smell as they eat the rotting matter; vermicompost doesn't smell as bad as regular compost.) and in turn are eaten by the worms.

More to follow...

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