Sunday, November 15, 2009

Composting Red Worms

My Worms Are Here. Now What?
The worms will be travel-weary when they arrive and should be put into their bedding right away. Gently pull them apart and put them them into your bin(s) or compost pile. They can't go into a hot compost pile, of course, but will be happy in cooler piles.

I have an inside worm bin. What can I use for bedding?Shredded newspapers, compost, or a synthetic peat moss. Magic Earth is a synthetic peat moss that the worms love. Fill the bin with bedding and water it before adding the worms.

Punch drainage holes in the bottom and water the worms occasionally to make sure the bedding stays moist-about like a wrung-out washcloth. Worms like a dark environment, too, so keep the bin loosely covered or in a dark room.

What do I feed the worms?

Worms will eat almost everything that has lived and died. If the worms are inside, feed them food scraps. They especially love orange vegetables
 (squash, pumpkins), cantaloupe, apples, flour, coffee grounds, and cornmeal. Everything gets eaten.

You can finely chop everything and they'll eat faster and multiply more quickly. However, we at Rising Mist have never bothered with the chopping. We just put the food scraps in the way they are.

If the worms are outside, you can also include straw, grass, leaves, weeds, and animal manure. If the manure includes a lot of urine, however, it may be toxic.

Is there anything I should NOT feed the worms?

These foods can be toxic in large amounts, so avoid them for small inside bins:
  • onions and garlic
  • aromatic herbs
  • citrus fruits
  • tomatoes
  • anything very salty
  • anything very vinegary
Meat and heavy fats must break down a bit first with putrefaction, which causes odors in a house bin and can become an unhealthy environment for a small space. In a compost pile or an outdoor bin that is large, however, you can toss meat and fat scraps in, sparingly. Be aware that animal scraps will attract mice.

Worms can't tolerate food substances that have been treated with chemical pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers, including grass and weeds.

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