London Worms

Home » Compost Experiments

Category Archives: Compost Experiments

Worms Vs The Daleks Update 2 weeks later

Otherwise known as Yes! We Have No Bananas.

Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun!

Two weeks ago we started with two banana skins of similar age, size and weight with the aim of seeing how two different composting systems compare: The typical garden composting ”Dalek” bin, and the worm bin.

For most of this week the temperature in the Dalek held at 40 degree C, but as you can see this dipped towards the end of the week to 33 degree C:

Termometer showing 33 degree C

Termometer showing 33 degree C

This means for most of the two weeks this experiment has been running, the Dalek held, and was breaking down the banana skin, at a very respectable 40 degree C and is only now starting to cool off a little.

The temperature in the worm bin has held a consistent 14 degree C all week.

So what have we got this week? Well, the banana skin at the top is from the Dalek, the skin at the bottom is from the worm bin.

Tray showing banana skin from the Dalek

Tray showing banana skin from the Dalek

Huh? You can’t see the skin at the bottom? Click on the pic to enlarge. Still can’t see it?

That’s because it’s not there!!!

That’s right, the worms have completely consumed the banana skin. So despite being somewhat distracted earlier on with the unauthorised addition of a juicy apple into the worm bin, they’ve not only eaten all of the apple but went back to finish off the banana! Leaving behind a nice little pile of vermicompost ready for use 🙂

Banana skin with vermicompost

Banana skin with vermicompost

So there we have it.

In the intergalactic war on turning food waste into compost the Daleks are a formidable contender but they’re no match for the humble worm 🙂

Two weeks to go from fresh banana skin to usable top quality vermicompost.

What’s not to like about worms 🙂

The remaining skin will go back into the compost Dalek and will in time break down completely with the help of all those microbes and compost bin critters to form fantastic quality compost which I’ll add to the veg plot.

While you could never call this a ”scientific” experiment, I hope you found it interesting to see how the two systems compared in this instance.

Let me know below if you have any thoughts, questions or comments.

Londonworms
(with pictures by Sorcha)

Advertisements

Worms Vs The Daleks Update 1 week later

So, as promised here’s the first of the weekly updates in this experiment.
To recap, here’s what we started out with:

Banana skins ready for the bins

Banana skins ready for the bins

The skin on the left as you’re looking at the picture – the one at the top – went into the Dalek compost bin, which was showing a reasonable 40 degree C temperature, and as you can see from below, it has held that temperature all week:

The temperature in the Dalek held a respectable 40 degree C all week

The temperature in the Dalek held a respectable 40 degree C all week

The temperature in the worm bin at the start of the experiment was 15 degree C and it fluctuated slightly between 14 and 18 degree C during the week.

Here’s what the banana skins look like one week later:

Here's the banana skins after one week in the compost bins

Here’s the banana skins after one week in the compost bins

Banana skins ready for the bins

Banana skins ready for the bins

Here's the banana skins after one week in the compost bins

Here’s the banana skins after one week in the compost bins

There’s been a dramatic reduction in volume in both skins, but the one that went into the Dalek is definately ahead at this stage!

However!!!

There has been an adverse incident which I suspect has affected the outcome at this early stage…. someone put some green leaf leftover and a badly bruised apple into the experimental worm bin during the week by mistake, instead of into the precomposting bucket I keep for these household leftovers.

Well, the worms were all over it like, well, like worms all over an apple!!!

They appear to have all but abandoned the banana skin in favour of the apple – who knew worms had favourite foods and could be as fussy as a three year old with a plate of broccoli???!!!???

Just take a look at this short video to see what I mean!

As you can see, the worms abandoned the middle of the bin where the banana skin was and made their way over to the edge of the bin where the apple was hiding!

So at this stage, the Dalek is in the lead – but we’ll see if that’s still the case a week from now.

My money is still on the worms 🙂

Londonworms
(Photography and video by Sorcha)

Worms Vs The Daleks!!!

It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a council supplied and heavily subsidised Dalek compost bin is an excellent little back yard composter.***

But is it as efficient and effective at composting as a worm bin?

Enquiring minds want to know!

Earlier today, I took two standard sized bananas:

The one on the left is for the Dalek - the one on the right for the worm bin

The one on the left is for the Dalek – the one on the right for the worm bin

And after eating the contents:

...and they were yummy

…and they were yummy

Proceeded to add one of the skins to the Dalek:

The hungry compost Dalek with additional air vent covered with a piece of old nylon

The hungry compost Dalek with additional air vent covered with a piece of old nylon

Which was showing a respectable 40 Degree C:

40 Degree C at the centre of the Dalek

40 Degree C at the centre of the Dalek

This skin was placed at the centre of the bin where it's hottest.

This skin was placed at the centre of the bin where it’s hottest.

And added the other banana skin to one of my home made Two Minute £5 worm bins:

Two minute £5 worm bin

Two minute £5 worm bin

Which was showing a comfortable (for the worms!) temperature of 15 Degree C: It looks like it’s reading 17 degree C but that’s due to the angle the photo was taken at.

Nice and snug for the worms

Nice and snug for the worms

I buried the banana skin about 12cm down in the bin:

Worm bin with banana skin added

Worm bin with banana skin added

And now we watch and wait!

I placed these banana skins in situ on a lovely sunny day on the 6th June 2013.

I’ll take a photograph of each skin every week and publish it here, documenting the progress of each bin – until a clear winner emerges.

Release the Microbes and let the games begin!!!!!!!

Londonworms
(with thank’s once again to the superdooper photographer Sorcha for her patience and skill in taking such great pics)

*** I received a Blackwall 220 litre composter from this company some years ago for the sum of … wait for it …. four, yes that’s four, of your finest British pounds!!! Four quid – can you Adam N’ Eve it!!!!
£4 because they are hooked up with my local council and provide heavily subsidised composters to residents of the borough.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, in any way, shape or form associated with this company nor do I know anybody who is. I am highlighting them here because of my experience with them which is very positive.

If you haven’t got the space, time or inclination to make a compost bin of your own – which I am all in favour of and would prefer – using recycled materials – then at least go to their website and simply enter your postcode and  find out if they’re partnering with your local council and grab yourself a bargin. With a price like that, you really have no excuse not to be doing some back yard composting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!