“Hi Duncan, Regarding grinding kitchen scraps, I would think a common sausage grinder would be adequate for small time use. They can be found at garage sales, antique stores or just Google them. They also have grinders on eBay now and then.
For larger use one may visit a restaurant supply company where they may have a used grinder. Also, Duncan, I file my newsletter in a notebook but sometimes the pages get mixed up when I read them. Would it be possible for to number the pages? Thanks Duncan. Lloyd”
“Hi Duncan – I’m a fairly new “wormer” and have two small containers for about a year now. Read your most recent email re the grinder problem. I’m wondering if it would be possible to set something up in a garage sink or something like that and use a regular garbage disposal feeding thru some sort of screen to pass the water thru and save the good stuff for the worms? Tom”
“Regarding a cheap idea for grinding excess vegetable matter – anyone consider using an old fashioned or even perhaps an electric meat grinder? Just a thought – Cindy”
“In regard to your problem of how to grind the large amounts of produce, I have seen a very successful operation using a manure spreader. The man just had it stationary, and had the grinding part going. It worked great. I have not started anything yet, I am just learning, with the help of your newsletter, but I think this is the route I would probably go, as we are lucky enough to have a friend with one. Jan”
“Hi Duncan, On the subject of chopping up excess fruit and veg, I was thinking of making an attachment, similar to a paint stirrer, and a stick blender, that fits onto an electric house hold drill. I use the paint stirrer to mix tile cement and cant see why an similar attachment, with blades cant chop up soft skins and fruit from the grocery store. The drill could even be mounted to a drum to avoid incidents. I sell catering equipment that could do this job very effectively, but like the wood chipper, cost is way too high.
At the moment I also have excess food supply from my own veggie patch. Insect eaten , fallen tomatoes and leaves from Spinach. I just store these in a bucket next to the worm farm and dish out helping along with waste from the kitchen. That way there is always food available to the ” little people” (as some one said) even if the kitchen has not sent anything. I even did this with fallen peaches, apricots and mulberries.
Love your work! I have even converted my neighbors and friends into ” little people” keepers and they also love it.
I am on a smallholding in South Africa and wish my worms would multiply faster. I grow trees as a hobby and the worms are my helpers. I buy hardly any additives for the trees and have great success. Regards – Brian Knell”
“In response to this week’s email, someone asked about chopping up food waste. I’m in South Africa, so our resources will no doubt be different, but I use a Ryobi garden shredder to chop everything up. It did cost a bit, but I use it every week and the speed at which my worms go through the stuff that comes out of it totally makes up for every cent. It handles a certain amount of wet material pretty well, but I’ve found that alternating wet stuff with sticks or dry soil stops too much ‘mush’ being made, which tends to stick to the sides of the chute rather than empty out into the box at the bottom.
One thing I can’t answer, though, is how much of what is produced by my worm bin is castings, and how much is just normal compost, because I have a compost bin as well which now composts very quickly, so maybe I’m losing out on some benefit. Still, my veggies and flowers seem happy. Thanks! – Phillipa Penfold”
“I use a 19″ Hobart Buffalo Chopper. I can chop a bushel of anything in about five minutes. The Chopper is the one used by restaurants and other places that have to produce large quantities of shredded cabbage quickly. I purchased the one I use for $200.00 (used).
New they cost several thousand dollars. I just saw some used ones on eBay starting at $100 for a 14″ Buffalo Chopper. I went through several hundred dollars buying and burning out blenders before buying the Buffalo Chopper. I have used it for a little over a year – leave it outside in the weather and it still runs very well. One caution – the blade is exposed when the lid is lifted. Never lift the lid while the machine is running. You may lose a finger. Bob Rietzke”
“I would like to respond to the question in your 1-28-2009 news letter about processing large amounts of spoiled produce. I own a vermicomposting farm that is rapidly growing (http://www.vermidirtfarms.net/). My worm food source is from the Shaw AFB Commissary in Sumter SC. Three times a week I collect their spoiled produce for processing.
The amount of each pickup averages 65 gallons of material. I have constructed a precomposting bin in my field to allow the material to undergo the thermophilic stage of composting prior to feeding the worms directly.
I use a 5.5HP chipper/shredder purchase from Harbor Freight for $400.00. The machine does a great job mincing the fruits and vegetables. It takes about 1 hour to mince 65 galls of produce. My mincing location is on a slope so water runoff is no problem. The minced produce is shoveled directly from the output of the machine onto me pile. The produce is mixed with compost to inoculate the pile and start the heating process. I have picture of my operation posted on my web site, http://www.vermidirtfarms.net/. – Paul M. Duchock”
Thanks for the feedback everyone ;-0