Wet and claggy

If you are having problems with an existing wormery, or just need some advice - then ask it here
Post Reply
Lilwriggler
Member
Posts: 104
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:08 pm

Wet and claggy

Post by Lilwriggler » Wed Apr 29, 2020 6:51 pm

The bottom tray in my wormery has had a bit of a soaking a couple of weeks ago is now very heavy and claggy , more like heavy soil than compost. Consequently i have lost a few worms in the sump who seem to almost rot. I am not sure whether they have drowned and are breaking down or whether they are being attacked by little white mites. I have introduced some cardboard into the sump and put a bit in each tray but not having much effect yet. Obviously that bottom tray is the most broken down layer so introducing “food” into it is not what i really want to do. Is there anything else i can add to dry up the tray a bit? Last time it was like this was last autumn and i used dry leaves to do it, but don’t have them available now. Other wormery is fine and both are now covered when rain expected. Any thoughts?

WillyWorm
Senior Member
Posts: 509
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:10 am

Re: Wet and claggy

Post by WillyWorm » Thu Apr 30, 2020 7:32 am

Hi it all sounds a bit messy. I would remove the cardboard from the sump. Open the sump tap and place a container under it, leave it like that until you get on top of this problem.
Now find some matt corrugated cardboard, cut a square to fit neatly to the top of the trays. Place a piece on the top of each tray, this will quickly “wick” the excess moisture from the tray. Change the card as soon as it becomes wet, remove it and leave it out of all but the top tray after a few days. At this point “fluff up” the bedding in all your trays. When the trays are about the correct level of moisture, you may, remove the last of cardboard and close the sump tap if you wish or leave it in place to be on the safe side.

Now you need to spend a little time looking at why your bin is getting too wet and try to rectify it. Is rain getting in to the bin? Are you feeding a very wet food in excess? Do you add extra water with new bedding? Have you been failing to drain the sump regularly? There are many reasons this could be happening but all can be overcome with a little thought.

Hope that helps please keep us updated
Stay safe
Willy

Lilwriggler
Member
Posts: 104
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:08 pm

Re: Wet and claggy

Post by Lilwriggler » Thu Apr 30, 2020 11:01 am

The amount of liquid in the sump is literally a tea spoon full so not much and i empty that each day if there is any in there. The cardboard i had put in the claggy bottom tray was now wet so that has been removed ( thanks for that idea i hadn’t thought of removing it). I have put some new one in, so will continue to do that. I don’t think i have ever achieved a proper crumbly texture in the last couple of years though, my casts are always on the wetter side and look more like soil than castings by the time i harvest them. I moved away from the hamster bedding a few months ago as it simply wasn’t breaking down, probably due to a cotton content and now just use cardboard.

The heavy wetness was due to rain getting in this time and i am now far more prepared for that with both wormeries are now covered when i expect rain. I am keeping a close eye on both wormeries as i split the population when the new one came down, so both populations are rebuilding, i didn’t need other issues at this time, but hey all a learning experience.

WillyWorm
Senior Member
Posts: 509
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:10 am

Re: Wet and claggy

Post by WillyWorm » Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:57 pm

I find castings when newly harvested are rarely dry and crumbly. My answer is to harvest when the is little or no sign of bedding in the bottom tray. Place the castings in a black bucket in the greenhouse and allow it to mature/cure for two or three weeks, mixing it up about once per week. This maturing make a big difference to the casting, and you will find lots more worms, just be careful they don’t dry out because they can be difficult to moisten again and I have read that much of the goodness is lost when dried to much.
You could try feeding dry food for a while, it don’t need to be anything special, some breakfast cereal will be fine. This will help reduce the moisture level in your bin.

Willy supporting the NHS

Lilwriggler
Member
Posts: 104
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:08 pm

Re: Wet and claggy

Post by Lilwriggler » Thu Apr 30, 2020 6:26 pm

Ah, interesting i had never thought about maturing the castings, i have just used them straight off. I have also got some cereal to use up so will use a bit of that next too.

WillyWorm
Senior Member
Posts: 509
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:10 am

Re: Wet and claggy

Post by WillyWorm » Thu Apr 30, 2020 7:16 pm

Sounds like a plan. Good luck 😉 please let me know how it goes
Willy

Lilwriggler
Member
Posts: 104
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:08 pm

Re: Wet and claggy

Post by Lilwriggler » Thu Apr 30, 2020 8:11 pm

Will do, my new wormery 95% of my worms are in one corner eating an old bit of banana, they love it!

WillyWorm
Senior Member
Posts: 509
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:10 am

Re: Wet and claggy

Post by WillyWorm » Fri May 01, 2020 3:34 pm

Mine love banana, by far their favourite food.

Willy

Lilwriggler
Member
Posts: 104
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:08 pm

Re: Wet and claggy

Post by Lilwriggler » Thu May 07, 2020 9:10 pm

I’m still having issues with that bottom tray, it is still very wet despite card board wicking and some dried leaves i added, just not making a big difference. There was a little liquid, less than a tea spoon full, in the sump but i squeezed the castings and got plenty of water. I am thinking there is some cotton hamster bedding in there and it may be retaining the water somewhat. There are big live worms trundling through it and the two trays above (which don’t contain this bedding) seem absolutely fine. In the sump there were 4 decomposing worms, with quite a few crowds of small brown mites on some of the carcasses. I am wondering whether to remove that bottom tray, move any worms to the trays above and add the castings too my tumbler composter as long as i don’t get that too wet too! In wormer two it is drier, but that bottom tray also had cotton bedding in it which may be retaining moisture, i need to check that again tomorrow.
Any thoughts welcome.

WillyWorm
Senior Member
Posts: 509
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:10 am

Re: Wet and claggy

Post by WillyWorm » Thu May 07, 2020 10:00 pm

Hi, it’s all very strange. There is little or no liquid in the sump yet the bedding/castings in the first tray are very wet.
Are the perforations of the bottom tray clear? When setting up a new bin the bottom tray is blocked to reduce the worms moving into the sump. If you did this check that the perforations are now clear.
If the route from first to to sump is clear then harvesting the bottom tray the best you can maybe the best way. If there is some drainage problem in the first tray then this will resolve it.

Willy

Post Reply

Return to “Worms & Wormeries”