What to do with a tray which isn’t breaking down

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Lilwriggler
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What to do with a tray which isn’t breaking down

Post by Lilwriggler » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:09 pm

My most advanced tray (probably a good 5 months old) is in a state which isn’t breaking down. The hamster bedding is very slow to break up and in some instances balls up a bit. My worms appear to have mostly moved on from this tray into all the others. It is a little bit on the drier side, but I was imagining that various moulds would start breaking that down a little quicker. I’m wondering what to do with it.

Options include mixing some food in there to get some of the worms back in. Or add it to my tumbling composter and start a new tray. I could cease with the hamster bedding and add a bit more cardboard instead. There can be the odd bit of plastic in the bedding which i can spot and pick out in the wormery but not in the composter.

I will try and post a couple of tray photos so you can get an idea. Any advice most welcome!

WillyWorm
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Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:10 am

Re: What to do with a tray which isn’t breaking down

Post by WillyWorm » Sat Nov 09, 2019 9:11 am

Hi can you start by telling me what “hamster bedding is” is it the cotton woolly looking stuff, a mix of hay or the sawdust/wood chip used on the cage floor or something completely different. I think your problems are something to do with this “bedding”
When a tray nears completion the worms do move out and into other trays so this is not a problem in itself.

Willy

Lilwriggler
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Posts: 61
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:08 pm

Re: What to do with a tray which isn’t breaking down

Post by Lilwriggler » Sat Nov 09, 2019 12:09 pm

It looks like tissue paper too me, but it may have a bit of cotton mix in it? I don’t put the sawdust/woodchip in that goes in the compost heap! I will try and take some photos!

WillyWorm
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Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:10 am

Re: What to do with a tray which isn’t breaking down

Post by WillyWorm » Sat Nov 09, 2019 12:25 pm

Tissue paper should not be a problem but from your previous posts the bedding seems to be the common factor. Some of these products are treated with deodorisers and products to make them more absorbent (this is often the case with cat litter) which may be a problem to the worms.
I would try removing any bedding I could and putting it and any addition bedding in your compost bin for a while. See how that goes for a week or two.
With the cold weather things will be slowing down so don’t expect a big change it may take a while to settle down.
Five months from starting your bin to have close to finished castings is good progress keep up the good work.
Please let us know how it goes.
Willy

Lilwriggler
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Posts: 61
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:08 pm

Re: What to do with a tray which isn’t breaking down

Post by Lilwriggler » Sat Nov 09, 2019 12:28 pm

Thanks, i have managed to upload photos of my trays on the vid/photo gallery discussion thread so you can have a look. Pictures are a bit grainy but you will get the idea!

WillyWorm
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Posts: 414
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:10 am

Re: What to do with a tray which isn’t breaking down

Post by WillyWorm » Sat Nov 09, 2019 12:46 pm

Hi, so which of the trays is the top tray in your system? What order are your trays stacked?

Lilwriggler
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Re: What to do with a tray which isn’t breaking down

Post by Lilwriggler » Sat Nov 09, 2019 12:53 pm

Bottom photo is my top feeding tray, so first photo is my bottom tray before the sump

WillyWorm
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Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:10 am

Re: What to do with a tray which isn’t breaking down

Post by WillyWorm » Sat Nov 09, 2019 1:02 pm

Ok that’s the right order to have them. Trying to judge from the photos, the contents of the trays looks a little compacted. I would try “fluffing it up” a bit. I use a plastic hand fork for this job but loosening the bedding with your fingers will work just as well. If you can “fluff” all the trays and stop using the bedding for a while and see what happens.
Keep us informed
Willy

Lilwriggler
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Posts: 61
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:08 pm

Re: What to do with a tray which isn’t breaking down

Post by Lilwriggler » Sat Nov 09, 2019 1:08 pm

It is quite airy with that bedding, but what i think i will do is harvest the bottom tray(2nd picture), i will put it round the apple trees in the garden. The winter weather should help break that down. Then move the bottom leaf tray (1st picture) up to the top as my new feeding tray and as you say hold back on the bedding on this tray.

WillyWorm
Senior Member
Posts: 414
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:10 am

Re: What to do with a tray which isn’t breaking down

Post by WillyWorm » Sat Nov 09, 2019 1:12 pm

Sounds like you have a plan which seems good to me. You could put the tray contents into the compost bin to finish off. Please let us know how you get on.
Willy

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