What Is Worm Composting How Does A Worm Farm Work What Can A Worm Farm Do For You Is A Worm Bin Easy To Maintain

Worms are nature's first rate recyclers. They have the unique ability to eat garbage and make nutrient rich compost. You musn't use just any old worms in a worm bin. You need worms that are real voracious eaters. Red wigglers, which are also just called red worms, are the most prolific eaters in the earthworm group. They can eat half their own weight in organic material daily, and leave behind rich compost. Light red and tiny, the threadlike baby worms grow from 1/8 inch to around 4 inches long when fully grown.

Red wigglers are available to buy from garden-supply catalogs, websites such as this one Worm Bins and through advertisemants in gardening magazines. They're usually sold either by the amount of worms or by weight. Costs normally vary from around $20 to $40 per pound, which is normally about 1,000 worms. We advise beginning with two pounds of worms for a 2 or 3 person household. Worms will multiply quickly once comfortable in a worm farm.

These red wigglers are in worm heaven so long as they have a dark snug living space with plenty of food, moisture, oxygen and a comfortable temperature. You don't have to worry about them escaping from their worm bin as long as you provide the right conditions for them to live happily.

Worm bins are commercially available, but can be relatively expensive - from $50 to $100+, compared to DIY worm farms. I started out with a 30 gallon plastic box with a tight lid. However, I found the box was too high, with much wasted space. The top 10 inches were used by the worms only to deposit their eggs. I have since tried several smaller bins and home made wooden bins, but now use a Worm Factory® as it has so many advantages over home made worm bins

Worms are photophobic - they shun both sun and artificial light. Use a dark-colored bin, or drape it with a dark covering. If you have your worm bin outside in warmer weather make sure it stays sheltered from direct sunlight. The worms will be happy when the temperature is between 50°F an 70°F.

A little moisture helps worms to wriggle. Add just enough water to a bedding mixture (such as {shredded newspaper|peat moss) to make it as wet enough to stay together when squeezed, but not to drip. A worm bin needs to have drainage holes near the bottom and air holes above the level of the bedding . To make the right environment for your worms line your wormbin with biodegradable bedding. You can use peat moss, sawdust, dried grass clippings, aged manure, shredded cardboard, newspaper, paper grocery bags and most types of shredded leaves. It's not a good idea to use heavily colored or glossy paper for bedding, since it may have inks or other substances that are toxic to worms.

Food scraps should be buried in the bedding to prevent any smells. When using paper products for bedding soak them in water overnight and then pull them apart into small pieces. Also, paper products in the bedding may soak up moisture, so monitor the bin carefully. If the bedding becomes too dry spray or sprinkle water to spread the moisture evenly.

Feed your worms a well-balanced diet. While I tried to maintain a regular feeding schedule, when I started worm composting, I have since learned that red wiggler worms are very adaptable, and will eat whatever is available. Try starting out with about a cup of food scraps every other day. Notice how quickly they eat it, and adjust their feeding routine accordingly.

Good food for red wigglers: fruits, vegetables, bread, grains, cereal, pasta, eggshells, coffee grounds, tea bags, shredded leaves, peat moss, shredded newspaper, shredded cardboard, human & animal hair, dry grass clippings, wood shavings, sawdust.

Bad food for red wigglers: meat, animal bones, eggs, dairy products, peanut butter, oak leaves, glossy paper, pine needles, tree bark, fresh grass clippings.