are not difficult to take care of at all!
You can keep your bin of Composting Worms inside or outside. During the spring, summer and fall keep your bin outside and indoors during the winter. The optimum temperature range is 16-28 degrees Celsius or 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
To feed your Composting Worms, simply add chopped compostable material in a rotating pattern and you will see the benefits before long. And make sure they can get fresh air through the holes in their worm bin.
Chlorine is a not for worms. Never use chlorinated water when dampening the bedding material. Use rain water, old bottled water or well water. The bedding material can be comprised of strips of newspaper, leaves and/or peat moss.
Composting Worms will eat all kinds of organic materials. Egg shells, coffee grounds, veggie peelings and so on. There are a few things that you should not feed worms including meat, oils, dairy products or any synthetic products. Pet waste is a no no.
Your worms will need bedding.
The bedding should be any light organic material that is high in carbon.
You will also need moisture in the bedding to keep the worms from drying out.
Shredded office paper
Shredded paper towels
Step 1: Preparing the Bedding
Shred the newspaper by ripping in strips no more than 1" in width or simply running the paper through a paper shredder.
Step 2: Dampening the Bedding
The paper bedding should have about 75% moisture content. To begin a measurement of two pounds of paper to 6 pounds of water can be used. Once you get the feel for it simply add enough water to the shredded paper to feel like a wrung out sponge. Do not use chlorinated water . (Most urban areas will have chlorinated water. To de-chlorinate let the water sit out overnight). Well water and rain water may also be used.
Step 3: Layering the Bedding
Line the bottom of the bin with the dampened shredded paper (about 2" in depth). Add the composting material that comes with the kit. Finish with a layer of dampened shredded paper (about 3" in depth).
Step 4: Adding the Worms
Remove the worms from their container and place them on top of the bedding. They will slowly make their way down below the surface of the bedding in about 10 minutes.
Step 5: Getting the Worms Used to Their New Home
Keep a small light on for seven to ten days until the worms get used to this new environment. This will keep them below the surface. After this adjustment period you should be able to put the vented lid on.
Every home is different in layout and your composting bin can be placed in any number of locations in your home. Some people may place them in a garage, basement or other exterior heated building. Others may want to place them closer to the kitchen in a closet or under the sink.
Things to Consider Before Deciding on Bin Location:
Worms are so lucky!
They can eat just about anything, and the equivalent of half their own weight each day. That means if you have 1lb of worms you can feed them about 1/2lb of waste per day.
Be mindful of portions, and what your worms eat or don't eat. If you have a food processor use it. Your worms will consume food waste faster if it is ground or shredded.
You might want to weigh your food for the first while to make sure you do not overfeed because you want the worms to keep up with the waste food in their bin.
Before starting a daily feeding process give them about a week to settle into their new home. (They will feed off their bedding). Food waste can be stored in your freezer until feeding time. When thawed the added moisture will have helped further break down the food waste.
Peels and Other Fruit & Vegetable Waste: Worms love it! Rinse them off to prevent fruit flies from visiting.
Coffee Grounds & Tea Leaves: You can even toss in the filters, just remove the tag and metal clip from the tea bag.
Pasta: Yes Please!
Egg Shells: Crush them up and hold the bacon.
Spoiled Food: Forgot about the leftovers? Stay away from dairy products, but bury leftovers in small portions deep in the bedding and cover well to keep fruit flies away.
Meat and Bones: Forget about it! They are too difficult to decompose and will smell rotten.
Pet Waste: Worms are not into poop' and scoop. Do not feed them animal feces, or kitty litter.
Non-Biodegradable Waste: Do not feed the worms items such as aluminum foil, plastic, glass, metal or rubber.
For the next three to four months you will feed and become familiar with your worms. You should notice a decrease in the household trash going to the curb by now and feel good that you are playing a more active role in a greener environment. For that you get a reward. It is time to begin harvesting your worm bin for that rich composting material that you can feed to your plants and vegetable gardens, or simply add to those sickly patches in your lawn.
Harvesting can be done a couple of different ways and you can decide which one works best for your family.
Get Down and Dirty Harvesting: Kids love this one! Spread a large plastic sheet on the floor and carefully dump the contents of your worm bin on the plastic sheet. Dig in for the worms and place them in a temporary home (small pail or bowl). A fun thing do at this time is search for worm cocoons (there will be lots to find). A new worm bed will have to be established in your bin (see bin set up). Keep some of the compost to use in the new bedding. Return the worms to their bin and use the composted material on your plant and vegetable gardens. It is a good idea to wear gloves in this technique.
No Fuss No Muss Harvesting: Put the food waste on one side only of the bin. The worms will move to the side that the food is on. In a couple of weeks all the worms should have moved to the side with the waste food. You can now remove the compost material from the other side of the bin. New bedding material should be added and the waste food can then be disbursed throughout the bin once again. Wearing gloves is recommended in this technique also.
Harvested Compost: The worm castings combined with the decomposed bedding become vermicompost. To a gardener it is "black gold". Vermicompost is one of the richest soils to use and you just produced it. It can be mixed among your indoor or outdoor plants and gardens. It gives a great start to seedlings and will do wonders for an ailing plant or tree. If you don't want to use your compost material right away you can store it in an airtight container until you are ready to do so.
Odour: Will usually occur from rotting food. This may be caused from over feeding. Do not add more waste food until the existing food contents in the bin has been composted. Remove foods that you see the worms may be ignoring. Too much moisture may also cause odour. You can turn the bedding to dry the material.
Crawling: Worms may crawl out of the bedding and onto the sides of the bin if there is not enough moisture in their bedding or if their bedding is too acidic. Try adding a bit more dampened shredded paper for more moisture or cut back on acidic waste food (orange peels).
Fruit Flies: This can be avoided from the beginning if the food waste is buried about half way down and by not over feeding the worms. If fruit flies are persistent try putting a small container (size of a pill container) of vinegar in a corner of the bin.
Worried About Too Many Worms: Your worms will reproduce and if you feel they have outgrown their bin there are options. You can thin your worms out by releasing some outdoors to your gardens and lawns. You can start a second composting bin. Give some to a neighbour or friend. Whatever way you choose congratulations because what you are doing is working towards a greener environment.
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