In the month of September, we composted 198 lbs of waste. Admittedly, a bit less than expected. But the shortcomings came in exchange for some hard-learned lessons. This month, the bed was humming along. That is, until I added 150 lbs of okara waste (not included in the composted waste above). Okara is the waste product from producing tofu. In this case, it came from a Cincinnati company called Foodies, which produces "Pumfu", a pumpkin-based tofu. Unfortunately, I did not realize that pumpkin seed, the primary component of "pumfu" okara, contains cucurbitacin. This compound paralyzes worms and is used by herbalists as a natural dewormer. On top of that, the highly-dense nature of okara caused the okara section of the bin to heat up to 130 F. The worms, instead of retreating to the cooler part of the worm bed, proceeded to make a mass exodus from the bed. The squirmed through the bottom grating and all over the floor! I tried to save as many as I could, but unfortunately lost a few thousand overnight.
Mistakes are a part of life. The best you can do is learn from them. So, I removed all the okara from the worm bed and donated it to the backyard compost. Thankfully, I have not seen any more worms try and escape and things are slowly returning to a happy, steady normal.
Besides the "okara" incidence, there were some positive highlights. I created our first soil blend, aptly named "island Mix" after the tropical ingredients including pumice and kelp.
Next month, I am hoping to construct a harvest trommel to make harvesting more efficient.
Fun Fact: Worms don't have lungs, they breathe through their skin. The mucosae on their skin helps to dissolve the oxygen.
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