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Christopher Greaves

Vermicomposting – Experimental Methods

Catalogue: Bacterial Attacks

Catalogue: Experimental Bins

There is a great need for experimentation in the field of vermicomposting. Too many myths abound, and yet it is so easy for each one of us to make and document a small experiment that helps to prove, or disprove myths.

Shared knowledge, backed up with documented steps, helps us all.

Christopher Greaves Experiments_HPIM4203.JPG

There are pitfalls.

Above is a photo of a hamster-tray containing two 2-gallon tubs. One tub has Red Wrigglers ( Eisenia fetida ) while the other tub has European Crawlers ( Eisenia hortensis ).

Now the very NAMES should give you a clue! These creatures wriggle and crawl.

You’ve seen worms crawling up the inside of an over-heated compost bin. They migrate to better food sources, better environments, and so on.

Placing the two tubs within crawling distance is a mistake.

How will you know that some ECs haven’t crawled into the RW pail, or vice versa?

Christopher Greaves Experiments_HPIM4204.JPG

In this photo: it’s been the work of one minute to shunt the pails to opposite ends of the hamster-tray.

The distance between the pails will inhibit migration; The barriers of dry paper scraps will further inhibit migration.

Here’s the Point

Your experiment should be documented as completely as possible. It will never be 100% completely specified, but it is our responsibility to let readers see and know as much as we can about the experiment.

In my case I might say that “The European Crawlers hardly survived whereas the Red Wrigglers grew numerous and fat” as the conclusion of an experiment.

Without the photos, the reader has to assume that the experiment proved fatal to ECs and life-promoting to RWs.

But with the first image the reader can think “Ah Hah!! Perhaps those EC crawled into the RW bin and decimated the original population”, whereas with the second image the reader can think “There is only a low chance that ECs crawled into the RW bin and decimated the original population.”.

Quantifiers are, of course, essential.

P.S. Likely local sources for me might be found be searching on terms “guelph agricultural outreach”, “applied biology” (vs. “pure”), “invertebrate biology” and Annelida=phylum.


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Toronto, Saturday, January 09, 2016 10:28 AM

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