The Garden Forums

Dig In!
It is currently Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:02 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 9 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: De-bugging castings
PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:25 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 7:11 am
Posts: 9
What is the best way to eliminate critters from the castings prior to bagging them for sale? Mostly, it's white mites. I've been told if you stock pile them for awhile, the insects will leave looking for food. Any suggestions on a commercial scale? I've got 8 3x8' beds to harvest the castings from.

Use to frequent this forum quite a bit, until the past year. Hopefully I'm back to stay :)

Larry C


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: De-bugging castings
PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:06 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2006 1:22 pm
Posts: 458
Are they mites or springtails? I suppose either way the thing I would do is let the surface of the castings dry out. I'm not saying dry like sand, but drier than they usually are in the bin. I think most of the things in the bin look for wetter pastures when it dries out. I'd say you could try freezing the castings, but that isn't going to be practical for you on a large scale.

Have you looked into any beneficial organisms? I wonder if there is a nematode, for example, that might help with control. I doubt the mite would be listed as a specific food, but it could be worth trying nonetheless, just in case you discover one that does work.

I hope you get some other responses!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: De-bugging castings
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:23 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:48 am
Posts: 24
I agree with RoseGrower on letting the castings dry some. You might also want to stir or fluff the castings to allow for a more even drying. I wouldn't freeze it though because the vast majority of microbes will be killed off and will make the castings alot less effective. If there isn't too many mites I really wouldn't be overly concerned since the white mites and springtails are decomposers.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: De-bugging castings
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:04 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 7:11 am
Posts: 9
I've heard contradicting things about freezing castings. Some say (including a vermicomposting article from a university...can't remember which one) says it doesn't hurt the microbes at all. Other people say you can't freeze them.

Although I know I have mites periodically, it seems the most recent insects I saw seem to be longer like a very tiny piece of white rice. They crawl, but I haven't noticed them jumping. Don't think I have ever seen springtails, unless these are them.

Larry C


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: De-bugging castings
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:36 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2006 1:22 pm
Posts: 458
I personally wouldn't freeze the castings because I wouldn't want to lose any of the microbial goodness in them, but I know that some people do freeze them. I figured that the main reason you might want to is to offer your customers VC that didn't have the tiny creepy-crawlies that VC usually has. Some people freak out about that stuff.

I think you'd know if they were springtails. They'll "spring." Try touching some with the tip of a pencil and see if they spring away. I wonder what they are?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: De-bugging castings
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:25 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:48 am
Posts: 24
Yeah the springtails are about the size of a grain of rice and the ones I have are solid white. I believe most of them spring but not all. The ones that do spring do so really fast. They seem to love corrugated cardboard. I took a small bin that had mainly cardboard and newspaper, they were everywhere. I changed the bedding to newspaper and peat then let the bedding dry out some. I don't see any now but before the new bedding started drying they were huddled up in a few spots on the edge of the bin(clear) probably wondering where the cardboard is at.lol
RoseGrower does make a good point on the creepy crawlies.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: De-bugging castings
PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 1:19 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 7:11 am
Posts: 9
Wow, where does the time go? I can't believe it was back in June when I posted this.

These critters are not spring tails. They behave more like a maggot. They are like a tiny piece of white rice. When you look at them closely, you can see them lift their front end and try to turn or squirm. Very slow moving. My beds have not had much ventilation and I am taking off the solid lids for better airflow. I'm not sure, but these may have shown up when I started feeding cow manure. Hopefully better airflow and a drier surface will eliminate them.

Larry c


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: De-bugging castings
PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 9:30 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:08 pm
Posts: 221
Location: Zone 5
I think drying out the bins some will help, too, but I have a question re all the comments about the microbes freezing. I'm wondering if that really could be an issue since 50 or more percent of North America have their garden soil and compost heaps freeze solid every winter. And yet we grow amazing gardens. I recall reading that even though the worms would freeze in an outdoor bin for example, that you didn't have to worry about either the cocoons or the microbes. What do y'all think?

_________________
Pain free gardening.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: De-bugging castings
PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:41 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:07 pm
Posts: 7
RoseGrower wrote:
I personally wouldn't freeze the castings because I wouldn't want to lose any of the microbial goodness in them, but I know that some people do freeze them. I figured that the main reason you might want to is to offer your customers VC that didn't have the tiny creepy-crawlies that VC usually has. Some people freak out about that stuff.

I think you'd know if they were springtails. They'll "spring." Try touching some with the tip of a pencil and see if they spring away. I wonder what they are?

Hello, A few years back I had a little bit of Castings left over and I asked the same question.. I was told Castings even though they were loaded with Microbial Life you could Freeze them.. I had 300 pounds left over.. when Spring came the castings were good as new.. & used them in my Brewers to make Tea..Geoffrey


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 9 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot] and 8 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group