Oh no, my worms got here before my bin is ready, now what?
Do not worry! We pack the worms to survive up to 10 days in the bag they arrive in. Simply open the bag upon delivery and inspect to ensure you see nice active, live worms. Now add a half cup of water and a tablespoon of cornmeal or oatmeal directly to the bag. Tie the bag back up and keep in a room temperature environment. Repeat these steps every 2 or 3 days until your worms are ready for their new home!
Do they have teeth?
Red Worms have no teeth for chewing food. They grind food in their gizzard by muscle action.
How do they grind food?
Red Worms can only take small particles in their small mouths. Microorganisms soften the food before worms will eat it. Compost Worms have a muscular gizzard. Small parts of food mixed with some grinding material such as sand, topsoil or limestone is ingested. The contractions from the muscles in the gizzard compress those particles against each other, mix it with fluid, and grind it to smaller pieces.
If a worm is cut in two, will it grow back?
It depends on where the cut took place. If a worm is cut at the posterior end, sometimes a new tail will grow back on. Sometimes a second tail will appear next to a damaged tail. However, the posterior half of the worm can not grow a new anterior (head.)
What Are The Other Critters In My Composting Worm Bin?
What Are The Other Critters In My Worm Bin?
Once your composting worm bin has been going for a while, you may notice other creatures like white worms, springtails, and millipedes living in your bin. This is normal, these creatures will not hurt your worms. In fact, they help the composting process. The only bugs that may be present that pose a threat to worms are centipedes. You can tell centipedes and millipedes apart by looking at how their legs are attached to their bodies. Centipedes have only one pair of legs per segment, millipedes have two pairs.
What do I do if my Compost or worm bin smells?
Unpleasant odors in a worm bin may result from too much food waste, too much moisture, or composting cheese or animal products. Control odors by removing excess waste. You can also make sure that drainage holes are not blocked and adding more drain holes or fresh bedding if needed. Always cover fresh food waste with at least one inch of bedding.
What Is Growing In My Worm Bin?
You may occasionally notice patches of mold or sprouts in your worm bin.
Molds and fungi are a natural part of the composting process, helping to break down the food waste. Vegetables may sprout in your bin because of all the nutrients present.
These things will eventually be consumed by the worms and other organisms, but you can keep the mold or sprouts out of sight by covering them with be dding
What Happens To My Worms In The Winter?
When it gets colder, your worms will slow down, and will not be able to digest as much food waste. You will most likely need to cut back on the amount of food waste you feed your worms between November and February. Red worms can survive cold winters outside if protected by bedding in a worm bin.
Do worms die in the box?
Its hard to find dead worms in a worm box, but they do die in the box. Dead worm bodies decompose very quickly, because their bodies are between 75%-90% water.
If you find many dead worms you should find out the cause. High heat (above 84 degrees) is fatal to them. Too much salt or acidic food waste can kill them.
Its best to change the bedding with fresh materials to solve the problem. Sometimes, partially replacing bedding may solve the problem.
How long do worms live?
Often, worms live and die in the same year. They are exposed to hazards, dryness, too hot or too cold weather. Eisenia foetida can live for as long as four years.
Do worms need air?
Worms need oxygen to live. The oxygen diffuses across the moist tissue of their skin, from the region of greater concentration of oxygen (air) to that of lower concentration (inside the worm.)
Carbon dioxide produced by the bodily processes of the worm also diffuses through skin. Moving from higher concentration to lesser concentration, carbon dioxide moves from the inside of the worms body out into the surrounding bedding.
A constant supply of fresh air throughout the bedding helps this desirable exchange take place.
What kind of tub?
A medium sized tub should do. Make sure the plastic tub is dark. Worms don’t like the light. Don’t torture your new “pets”! A tub is better than a bucket. The worms like more horizontal surface area.
Do I modify the tub?
Yes, you must! Drill many air holes in the tub on the sides and the bottom so that the worms have oxygen to breathe. Cover the holes with circles of screening (optional), so that the worms won’t leave the bin if they don’t like their accommodations. A wood burning tool will burn clean holes in plastic if you prefer. Use another tub cover under your new bin to catch any liquid that drips out.
Personally, we do not have a problem with extra moisture dripping from the bin. We keep the contents damp like a wrung out spong, not wet. If liquid drips, contrary to popular belief, it is NOT compost tea. Experts will tell you that this is called leachate and is not good for your plants. Compost tea doesn’t contain liquid from stuff in the process of rotting! Many folks may disagree, but technically it is not compost tea.
What do I put on the bottom of the tub?
Lay down 3 inches of shredded cardboard, newspaper or scrap paper on the floor of the bin. This bedding allows for great air circulation. You should dampen the bedding so it is as wet as a wrung out sponge – not dripping.
What goes on top of the bedding?
Spread out a cup or small handful of garden soil over the shredded paper. This help the worms digest the food. They need the grit, but not too much. It also helps get the microbes working.
When do I add the worms?
Add the worms on top of the damp shredded paper and soil.
Do I cover the worms?
Yes, add at least another 3″ of damp shredded paper over the worms to keep them cozy and cool. Your bin should be 3/4 full of bedding when you start.
How much do I feed them?
Start with a small handful of food and see if the worms consume it in a few days. If they do, gradually increase the amount of food. We’ve been told you can feed 1 pound of worms a half a pound of food a day. They can eat 50% of their body weight every 24 hours. BUT BE CAREFUL. You’re small worms won’t eat as much as you think. Don’t overfeed or you risk having bad odors and flies.
Where do I put the food?
Scatter the food under the first layer of shredded paper. The worms will eventually get to it and start eating.
What do I feed my worms?
They love all kinds of food scraps including vegetable peels, tea bags, egg shells and coffee grounds. Fruit is good but limit citrus fruits because the material will become too acidic and this could kill your worms.
Also limit starchy foods like rice, pasta and bread. You have carbon for your compost already in the form of the bedding. They call this the “browns”. Now most of what you should be adding are “greens”. When you get a chance, check out the “Crazy Things You Can Compost” on this site as well as a witty cartoon about composting.
What do I keep out of the bin?
Heat, extreme cold, light, meat, dairy products, oily foods, plastic, metal or glass.
Where do I keep the bin?
Indoors is fine. Outside works too in a shady place. Do not place the tub in the sun. If they live outside, bring them in during the colder months. If the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, relocate the worms inside.
Will the tub smell?
It shouldn’t stink if you cover the food scraps and keep the contents moist like a wrung out sponge.
How long does it take to make compost?
They will make compost everyday but to harvest the compost it might take a approximately 2.5 months. If you chop or grind the food the process will go quicker.
How do I know a batch of compost is done?
All of your original bedding will be almost gone. The contents will be dark and earthy. You’ll have rich, beautiful, earthy-smelling worm castings!
How do I separate the worms from the compost?
There are several methods that work. Some take longer than others.
Cone Method: Once all the bedding is dark and most of the food and bedding have been eaten, remove everything and form the castings and worms into a cone shaped pile. Expose the cone to sunlight and wait 10-20 minutes when the worms will burrow deeper into the pile. Then you skim off the top layer of castings and use them to feed your plants. When you start seeing worms, wait another 10-15 minutes and come back to skim off the top again. Repeat until you just have a nice pile of worms to start up again. Keep just a bit of existing castings to mix in with your new bin to make the worms feel at home.
Migration Method: You can keep everything in the bin. Move everything to one side of the bin. Prepare the empty side like you were starting a new bin. Add new bedding, a bit of soil and food with more bedding on top. The worms will gradually move over to the new side. Skim off the finished compost as needed.
The “I don’t have anything better to do!” OR “I just like playing with worms!” method: A more time consuming option is to pick through the castings and gently remove each worm. A lot of work but if you love hanging out with the wigglers and have the time, go for it. Add a handful of your fresh castings to a new bin if you are starting from scratch after you’ve picked through your worms.
Where do I put the compost and how much do I add?
Mix it with potting soil or put it directly in the garden. Generally speaking, 3 oz of the good stuff will fertilize a medium-sized potted plant.
What if my bin starts to smell or I get fruit flies?
If your bin smells imagine what kind of odor guests are experiencing! You need more air circulation, or you’re putting too much food in the bin, or it’s too wet. Prevent fruit flies by making sure the food is buried and don’t overload.
How long do worms live and how do they reproduce?
Worms can live up to 10 years. Worms have both the female and male sex organs (hermaphroditic). They group together and make babies. The cocoons look like little lemon-shaped balls and hold up to 20 babies. If you see those, you are doing well.