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You always want to mix scraps into the bedding of your worm bin. That gives your worms better access to the scraps. Plus, it avoids attracting fruit flies. If you add too many scraps at once, the leftovers will make your compost bin stink. But adding small amounts doesn't make the process go faster. To make your own worm compost system, build or purchase a worm bin and fill it with organic, semi-composted material and bedding for the worms.

Place the worm bin in a cool, shady spot and add the composting worms, then add in fruit and vegetable peels, bread crusts, coffee grounds, and other food scraps at least once a week. Sprinkle the surface of the compost bin with water every other day.

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This article was co-authored by Maggie Moran. Maggie Moran is a Professional Gardener in Pennsylvania. Andre Bergsig Labuscagne. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. Obtain a worm bin. The worm bin is basically the home for the worms, and the place where they digest the organic material you will give them.


Worm bins can be purchased from many online vendors, or from your local gardening or farm supply store. If you don't want to buy a worm bin, you can also build one on your own. Use rubber storage totes, galvanized tubs, wood, or plastic. Galvanized tubs are somewhat costly but will last forever. Wood will eventually be eaten, and plastic cracks easily, but either will do in a pinch.

Some people prefer wooden compost worm bins because they may breathe better and absorb excess moisture, which can be hazardous to the worms. Just don't use chemically-treated wood, which may be dangerous to worms or leach harmful chemicals into your compost. Clean the 5 gallon For example, you can build a worm bin out of a large plastic tub with several dozen small holes drilled out on the bottom and sides. Untreated wooden bins are naturally ventilated because of structure of wood. Size : The larger you make the container, the more worms it can sustain. Estimate 1 pound 0.

The maximum productive depth for your bin is 24 inches 61cm deep because composting worms will not go further down than that. Cover : The bin should have a cover to prevent light from getting in and to prevent the compost from drying out. Choose or make a lid that can be removed if your compost is too wet. Use a canvas tarp, doubled over and bungee-corded on, or kept in place with wood. Burlap sacks also work well, and can be watered directly.

Use four old car tires for a makeshift home. To make a four-tire wormery , create a base from old bricks or flagstones must be flat and with as few cracks as possible. Place a layer of heavy newspaper on top of the bricks. Stuff four old tires with newspapers. Pile the tires on top of each other, with the first tire on the Sunday newspaper.

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting Worm Composting

Put some scrunched up paper or cardboard in the bottom to soak up any excess liquid. Fill the entire wormery with organic material semi-composted is best. Add the composting worms tiger or brandling species are best. Use a piece of board weighed down with bricks as a lid. The lid must be big enough to stop rain getting in. Harvest a tire's worth of fertilizer roughly every 8 weeks during warm months. Place the worm bin in a cool area to protect it from excessive heat. If you're keeping your worm bin outside, consider placing it in the shade, under a tree, in the garage or shed, or along the side of the house.

Try keeping the outdoor temperature in the bin between 30 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, along with at least 4 inches of moist bedding in the bin.

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This should be an ideal home for your compost-zapping worms. Part 1 Quiz You don't need to ventilate a homemade worm bin if the bin is made out of Rubber Not exactly!

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Plastic Try again! Galvanized steel Nope! Chemically treated wood Not quite! Untreated wood Absolutely! Prepare the bedding for your worms. The bedding is the natural habitat of the worm that you're trying to replicate in your compost bin. Fill your bin with thin strips of unbleached corrugated cardboard or shredded newspaper, straw, dry grass, or some similar material.

This provides a source of fiber to the worms and keeps the bin well-ventilated. Sprinkle a handful of dirt on top, and thoroughly moisten. Allow the water to soak in for at least a day before adding worms. When you harvest the composted soil, you'll have to introduce new bedding into the worm bin again. Canadian peat moss, sawdust, rinsed horse manure, and coconut pith fiber are also great for composting. Avoid putting pine, redwood, bay or eucalyptus leaves into your bedding.

Most brown leaves are acceptable in vermicompost, but eucalyptus leaves in particular act as an insecticide and will kill off your worms. Choose which worms you want. There are several varieties of worms that that are bred and sold commercially for vermicomposting; just digging up earthworms from your backyard is not recommended. A pound of worms is all that is recommended. The worms most often used, Eisenia fetida Red Wigglers , are about 4 inches long, mainly red along the body with a yellow tail.

These worms have a healthy appetite and reproduce quickly. They are capable of eating more than half their own weight in food every day. Another variety to consider are Eisenia hortensis , known as "European night crawlers.

Worm Composting Basics

They are also better fishing worms when they do reach full size. However, as with any non-native species, it is important not to allow European night crawlers to reach the wild. Their voracious appetites and reproductive rates especially among the red wigglers have been known to upset the delicate balance of the hardwood forests by consuming the leaf litter too quickly.

This event leaves too little leaf litter to slowly incubate the hard shelled nuts and leads to excessive erosion as well as negatively affecting the pH of the soil. So, do your best to keep them confined! Part 2 Quiz What should you avoid using in your worms' bedding? Shredded newspaper Try again! Straw Not quite!