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Compost Worm Experiment

Every three weeks we have access to 80 to 100 kg of insect castings. These castings are from Meal worms, Cockroaches and Crickets. The waste is manure and leftover feed which is pollard and similar products. We use the waste in different ways and as the material is very high in nitrogen there is a need to consider the best way to approach the management processes. Usually I have been putting the waste into a chicken cell and then adding sawdust to it and the chickens process it. However I won’t put it in the cell if it is less than 3 weeks before planting so that the high nitrogen has had a chance to be processed out. So at times when its our turn to pickup the “bug poop”, as we call it we need to find some other use for it. Today I set up an experiment to see if compost worms will process it. I know that black soldier fly will process the material and I have designs and ideas to use them, just not the time at the moment.

I set up a half poly drum that has a drainage hole in the bottom and put a bag of the bug poop in , added some water to moisten the material and then added some compost worms with some of their castings and mulch that they were living in. I will monitor their process and see if it is to their liking. If they go well then I will set up a bigger system. We will feed the worms to the chickens to supplement their diet and hopefully increase the egg production.

I went up the back of the property to see if the macadamia nut trees up there were producing and didn’t really get many maccas but checked out the Dendracalamus asper bamboo stand and it was just starting to shoot so managed to harvest a nice big shoot and a couple of small ones. Another bonus!!

Dendrocalamus asper bamboo shoots.
Dendrocalamus asper bamboo shoots.

Well, another week down. I feel like we are making progress, the property is slowly coming back into a resemblance of order but I think the wet/growing season is beating me but hey the more biomass the better!! I’m trying to be organized before I go to Jordan for 17 days so will be even busier next week.

Originally published

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Feature Photo: Will compost worms digest Meal Worm waste experiment.

Tom Kendall

Tom Kendall is a permaculture farmer with a lifelong broad acre agricultural background. He is co-founder of the PRI Sunshine Coast Inc and PRI Luganville, Vanuatu and runs PDC and Practical Life Skills training courses on his Permaculture Demonstration Site “Maungaraeeda”. He is part of the Permaculture Sustainable Consulting team and does regular personal consultations. He has extensive experience in tropical, sub tropical and dry land climates and has the ability to read large scale as well as smaller scale landscapes. With his farming background, Tom is a very hands on and practical man and is solution focused. He has extensive travel experience, integrates easily with local cultures and people and enjoys studying landscapes, buildings and the effects of climate on structures, flora and fauna.

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