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What You Can and Can't Feed Your Composting Worms

You can feed all kinds of organic material to your composting worm, but most have had success with vegetables, fruit waste, tea leaves and coffee ground. Egg shells add grit and calcium which regulates pH and adds grit in the worms diet. The egg shells should be grind up in blender or pulverized with a rolling pin. Bread should be moistened first. Whatever food you add to your worm composting bin, should be finely chopped or blended up in as small of particles as possible so they break down faster.

What should I not use in my worm composting bin?

- Meat                                             - Dairy

-Bones                                            - Citrus Fruit

-Grease                                          - Human Feces

- Pet Feces

How to Start a Worm Composting Bin

A worm composting bin is a easy process to start. You can start worm composting bin in a matter of 30 minutes and start composting your kitchen waste.

You can start with a basic rubber bin or buy a commercial product such as the Worm Inn or Worm Factory

Begin with 6 inches of bedding a combination of shredded paper, cardboard, leaves, and or  coco coir.

Add about 1 lb  of worms per square feet.  There are 3 main commercially available compost worms are red wigglers, european night crawlers and african night crawlers.. The easiest to start with is the red wiggler and most beginners should start here.

Apply 1 inch layer of feedstock either loose food scraps or a small amount of ground up food scraps  on top of bedding. Freeze food scraps to cut on down on pest eggs. Get a blender and blend food scraps helps in getting the worms to be able to process food faster and to reduce fruit flys. Check food stock after a couple days to make sure food has been eaten before adding more. Do Not Over Feed. Its better to under feed then over

Cover food scraps with more bedding such as shredded paper, cardboard, leaves andor coco coir which also helps reduce fruit flys and other annoying critters

Proper Way to Feed Food Waste to Your Worm Bin

You should prepare your food scrapes by freezing food scraps  for 24 hours- 48 hours and then blend them up in a blender. This helps with the worms feeding and cut down on odors. It is best to rotate your food waste deposit (Pocket Feeding) in different locations in your worm bin to minimize souring your bedding.

To feed your worms,pour the food mixture over the worm bedding. Add more bedding after feeding to cut done on fruit fly infestation. Worms will eat  roughly 25-33% of body weight a day.  You should feed your worms once or twice a week and make sure not overfeed them. You should check previous location and make sure 80% of food is gone before placing more food in a different location.

Adding food waste can affect the moisture level of the bedding. If bedding appears to dry, spritz the bedding with water. If too much moisture add some dry newspaper or cardboard and leave top off worm bin.

To prevent odors from your worm bin, limit movement of bedding during feeding. Bury your food waste in different locations each time and monitoring moisture will ensure an odorless worm bin.

 

 

 

What a Worm Bin Should Smell Like- Worm Bin Tip #4

What a Worm Bin Should Smell Like- Worm Bin Tip #4

What a Worm Bin Should Smell Like- Worm Bin Tip #4

What a Worm Bin Should Smell Like- Worm Bin Tip #4

Worm Bin Tip #3

Worm Bin Tip #3

How to Maintain Moisture Levels in Worm Bin

It is best to water your composting worm bins in frequent light applications using a misting or spraying system instead of heavy infrequent or pouring water in your worm bin. The first 5 inches where most earthworm activity will be greatest should have the highest concentration of moisture. Under the main moisture area will be your worm castings. You don't want soggy anaerobic worm casting which smell foal but worm casting that smell earthy.

 

How Many Composting Worms Needed to Start a Worm Bin!

How Many Composting Worms Needed to Start a Worm Bin!

So you are interested in worm composting and you already decided between red wiggler worms , European Nightcrawlers and African Nightcrawlers. Your next major question is "How many worms needed to start a worm bin?" and the answer is not a simple answer. The answer can be answered with three questions "How much worm food do  you have access too?," "What size is your worm bin?,'" and "What is the intended use of composting worms?"

How Much Worm Food Do I Need

Compost worms eat roughly 25-35 percent of their weight per day. This is the consensus among academia research available however some places on the internet state much higher up to 100% of their body weight. Using the information above, one pound of composting worms will roughly eat 1.75 to 2.45  pounds of food per week and two pounds will eat 3.5  to 4.9 pounds of food per week.

What  Size is My Bin?

The ideal number of composting worms are 1-2 pounds per square feet of bin surface area and not volume. Okay, by now you are thinking about your days in high school math class, so area is simply width x length. Example: bin is 1.5ft (18 inches) by 2 feet (24 inches) your surface area is 1.5 x 2 = 3 sq ft. I would recommend starting with 3 lbs of worms.

What's My Intended use for worms? 

If your ideal use of composting worms is worm casting production, I would recommend two pounds per square foot. On the other hand if you want to save money and  grow out your population of worms, I would recommend one pound per square foot. Once the worms reach optimal population, the worms will self regulate their population.

If you have any questions, feel free to email us. We would love to talk about getting your bin populated with the right amount of worms.

If you have not decided on your worm bin yet, we carry a large selection of  worm composting bins.  We have the Worm Inn, Worm Inn Mega, Worm Factory, Worm Factory 360

 

 

Looking for an Economical Worm Shifter

Are you looking for an economical worm shifter? This may be the answer for you

http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/how-to-make-a-soil-sifter-ze0z1503zcwil.aspx

I would make two shifters with two different screen sizes. I would recommend 1/8 and 1/4 hardware cloth. 

Are All Earthworms the Same?

  A common question I receive is " How many worms should I get for my raised beds" The problem with this question is that there are 3 different types of earthworms: Anecic, Endogeic, and Epigeic.

Anecic are your nightcrawlers you find in the ground. They live in the soil and have vertical burrows. They also eat soil and litter ie compost. Alabama  Jumpers are a common commercial raised anecic worm. Disclaimer: Alabama Jumpers might destroy forest due to their rapid eating.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/invasive-earthworms-denude-forests/

  Endogeic live in the soil in horizontal burrows and just eat soil and you never see them on top of the ground and only see them when you dig in the soil.

  Epigeic live in litter ie compost with no borrows and eat compost. Most commercial raised compost worms are this type: Red Wigglers, European Night Crawlers and African Night Crawlers.

Get Your Red Wigglers

Get European Night Crawlers

  People want to put earthworms in their raised beds for aeration but the same thing can be done with the use of worm castings. Instead of putting worms into raise beds it might be best to have an indoor worm compost bin and use the castings in the beds in the spring and fall. The other benefit is that you don't have to buy worms every spring due to a lose in the winter and outside creatures eating them.

Wanting to buy Earthworms