What is vermi-composting?
Where can I get a worm bin?
How do I prepare the bin for the worms?
Worms thrive in a damp environment but do not like conditions where it is extremely moist or wet and puddling. This will result in odors and worms exiting the box.
Worms need bedding to keep them happy. There are many types of high carbon bedding that can work, but the most often used type is shredded newspaper, napkins, paper bags, fall leaves, or peat moss. Peat moss alone is too acidic and should be mixed with other materials listed above. The bedding should be as damp as a wrung out sponge.
Next, mix in several handfuls of soil with the bedding. The bin should be about three quarters full of bedding and soil.
Finally, add the worms to the bin and start composting.
Where can I get worms?
What do I feed the worms?
Red worms can eat over half their weight in food each day so it is important to feed them the correct items. Worms like most organic waste, but will not eat anything inorganic such as plastics. Since redworm do not have teeth and their mouths are small, cut up the food waste so it will be easier to take in. Add soil to the compost bin so the worms can use the grit in the soil to help grind the food in their gizzard.
Bury the food items completely under the bedding so they are not visible from the surface. This prevents odors and fruit flies. Do not add more food than the worms can eat in several days. It is very important to understand that worms cannot eat food unless it has already started to decompose. Fresh food waste placed in the bin cannot be readily eaten until several days have gone by. Start slow so the worms are not overwhelmed with food.
Can the worm bin be put outside?
What are the common problems and pest issues?
The more common problems associated with a worm bin are unpleasant odors, and fruit flies. The odors can generally be avoided by not overloading the bin with too much food. Start slow and slowly increase the quantities of food that is added to the bin. Lack of oxygen can also lead to odor problems. Simply make sure there are plenty of holes drilled into the bin and from time to time check to make sure they are not blocked. Fruit flies can be kept to a minimum by not overfeeding the worms and keeping the bin covered tightly. In addition, place a solid sheet of newspaper over the bedding and food waste to prevent the fruit flies from getting to the buried food waste. This folded sheet of newspaper can be several layers thick and can be removed each time you bury fresh food waste and then placed back over the material. Worms will also provide warnings that problems exist in the bin. If they begin climbing onto the sides of the bin it is an indicator that the soil conditions are too wet, or the bedding is too acidic. Simply stop placing wet food in the bin for a short time until conditions improve, add more dry bedding or temporarily stop placing acidic citrus fruits in the bin.
How and when do I harvest the finished compost?
Where can I get more information?
A Worm Christmas Story