|# Posted: 10 Jul 2011 17:45
It is a good idea to layer your bedding materials, as the worm-bin needs to have some air-circulation in it.
Bedding should be kept damp, like a wrung out sponge
Acceptable Bedding Materials:
Coco Fiber (Coir) and Mulch
Shredded paper (no glossy magazines or x-mas wrap)
Cardboard egg carton
When feeding it is a good idea to bury the food under the top layer of your worm bin. This will help keep out some unwanted pest insects, like fruit flies
All food items should be blended in a food processor before you feed your worms. They will have an easier time eating it, as they do not have any teeth.
1 pound of worms can eat 1/2 a pound of food waste a day.
Fruit Peelings & Cores, (apples, bananas, kiwis, melons)
Cereal (no milk in it though, just dry stuff, like cheerios, cornflakes, Special K)
Vegetable Peelings (potato, sweet potato, cucumbers)
Grains (Rice, Quinoa)
Tea Bags (rip the bags open first, but put the whole bag in)
Coffee grounds (filters too)
Eggshells, dried & crushed
Pulp from Juicers
Corn bread & meal
Tomatoes* (use limited amounts, worms do not enjoy eating these foods)
Orange Peels* (use limited amounts, worms do not enjoy eating these foods)
Onion Peels* (use limited amounts, worms do not enjoy eating these foods)
Peppers* (use limited amounts, worms do not enjoy eating these foods)
Paper products, such as napkins and paper wrappers
Meat, Poultry, and Fish meats
Dairy Products like milk and cheese
Oil and grease
Non-foods like plastics, glass, aluminum foil, rubber bands, sponges
Dog and cat feces, litter box materials
Salt or Salty foods, foods that are really spicy or acidic
Unusual Acceptable food items:
Hair (uncolored, no harsh chemicals/styling products in it)
Vacuum cleaner bag contents
Pet Rabbit Poop
Keep your bin at 12-28C. Worms will produce best between 15-26 degrees Celsius (60-80F)
The worms will live for about 1-4 years
There is about 500-1000 worms in a pound
Different Breeds of Vermicomposting worms:
Red-wrigglers (Eisenia fetida) *Most common
Red Tigers (Eisenia andrei)
Red Marsh Worm (Lumbricus rubellus)
African Night Crawlers (Eudrilus eugeniae) *needs warm temperatures
Indian Blue Worm (Perionyx excavatus) *needs warm temperatures
Supplies you will need:
Dechlorinator (Prime is a really good brand) The worms are sensitive to the chlorine in the tap water
A food processor, the worms like when their food is blended up
A paper shredder, if you want to put shredded paper as bedding
Two Rubbermaid bins of the same size. One bin fits inside the other bin
A Drill for drilling air holes on the inside bin
|# Posted: 10 Jul 2011 17:46
Assembling your Worm Bin:
Take the first inside bucket and drill a bunch of holes in the bottom and the lower half of the sides of the tub.
Drill holes in one of the lids
The tub with the holes will fit inside the second tub. There should be an inch or so of space between the bottom of the drilled tub and the un-drilled tub. If the tubs fit too snuggly, put something in between them to raise up the drilled tub, (ex, small mason jars, small clay flower pots, bricks, etc)
Put a “drainage layer” in the bottom of the drilled tub. (this can be anything like, aquarium pebbles, bark chips, gravel, sand, etc). Mine is about 1-2” thick
Make sure that any cardboard or paper products have been soaked in dechlorinated water prior to adding to the bin. Also, soak your coco-fibre brick, about 1 hour before you want to use it, so it has time to absorb the water.
Start layering your worm bin bedding materials. The bedding should be a total of 8-12 inches deep, it doesn't need to be any deeper then that, because that is how deep the red wrigglers like to burrow in.
Layer of coco-fibre
Layer of egg cartons
layer of coco-fibre
Layer of Burlap
Layer of shredded paper
Layer of coco-fibre
layer of egg cartons
Add your red-wrigglers
Put the lid on and ta-da! You are finished.
|# Posted: 10 Jul 2011 17:50
Two Bins. One Drilled, One is not drilled. The lid is also Drilled
Bins are stacked. The drilled bin is inside the bin that is not drilled.
A drainage layer is added first. I used Exoterra Forest Bark for mine.
A layer of soaked cardboard egg carton is added.
A layer of coco-fiber is added. Bedding materials should not exceed 8-12" in depth total.
A layer of egg carton, food scraps and red wrigglers is added
A close up of the worms.
|# Posted: 10 Jul 2011 17:55
Trouble Shooting Your Worm Colony
Bad Smells and Odours
This is caused by a few reasons.
You are putting too much food in the colony. Remember, 1 pound of worms can eat 1/2 a pound of food a day, if properly prepared.
Their is not enough air-circulation in the bin. Layering you bin with multiple types of substrates helps keep oxygen levels up.
There is not enough holes drilled in the bin, and the worms have become too wet
You are putting the wrong types of foods in your bin. Adding things to your bin that your worms won't eat will cause odours. Meats, poultry, and fish are foods that they will not eat and will become sour quickly, giving unpleasant odours. It will also attract mice and rats!
Putting the food on the top layer of substrate will also cause the bin to smell. Foods should be buried
Creepy Crawlies in my worm bin!
Fruit Flies/Gnats. If you add your peelings to the top layer of substrate, you could be attracting fruit flies. They are a nuisance, and will breed and eat the food source for your worms. To correct this problem, you must bury the food under a couple of layers of substrate. Also, set up fruit fly traps in the inside and out side of the bin. You could also find a small spider and add him to your worm colony. He will do his part to help catch and eat all the fruit flies up.
Springtails. These are little tiny hoppy bugs. They are usually white in colour, but they can be other colours. These are beneficial to your worm bin, and will help break down the food waste. They will not harm you or your worms, they are only interested in eating decaying matter.
Ants. If you are getting ants in your colony, set up some sticky at traps around the base of your bin. If you worm bin has legs, stick each of the legs in a bucket of water. Ants can't swim
White Worms (aka Pot worms). These are not harmful to your colony. They will probably be eating whatever the worms won't eat.
Bedding is always drying out. You may want to change some/all of the bedding materials in your bin. Some bedding’s do not hold moisture well, and will dry out rather quickly (Straw for example). If you cannot change out the bedding, you could also try adding another layer of bedding material to your bin after you water it down. Such as a layer of plastic sheeting, burlap, old 100% cotton T-shirts, card board, wet newspapers, etc...
Lots of dead worms all at once:
Bedding is too dry, and the worms have suffocated
Bedding is too wet, and the worms have drowned
All the food has been turned into castings, and the worms have starved
Someone has added salt or salty foods to the bin
Worms escaping, climbing out of the bin. The bin may be too acidic, and they do not want to be in there. Try adding some wet cardboard, newspaper, or shredded paper to help reduce the amount of acidity in the bin. Also, if it is a new bin that has been set up, leave the lid open for a couple of day, with a light shining over it. This will help keep the worms in the bin.
Extra worms can be released into the garden
Given to a friend to start a vermicomposting bin
Start a second vermicomposting bin
Fed to herps
There should be no worries of worms over crowding your bin. They should self regulate