I don’t think I’ve ever written about our worms. Last August, I brought home a quarter pound of red wiggler worms in a home-made worm condo (2 small plastic storage bins, stacked). They were doing well for a while, and even produced about half a container of black gold, but a month ago, they died. After speaking to some experienced vermicomposters and doing more reading, I think I know what I did wrong.
- I let it get too dry. As per the original directions I had been given, I only used a water bottle and spritzed when it looked dry. Although moisture does seep down, it still wasn’t enough.
- Not enough bedding and food. I should be filling the bin 3/4 full of bedding and the food should be lightly buried because the worms like to burrow 6-12″ to eat. I should also wait for the food to decompose before adding it to the bin. We were just throwing in food scraps, letting it sit on the surface.
We are starting fresh. Hubby has picked up a new bin from Solutions. The first one he brought home was 30 gallons and when I laid my eyes on it, I told him it had to go back. It was way too big for the 1/2lb of worms I am going to pick up, and I’m not ready to commit to 3lbs+ to fill the bin. Today, he returned the 30 gallon bin and exchanged it for a 10 gallon.
We are going to pick up our new tenants this weekend. Half pound equals anywhere between 200 to 500 worms. Red wigglers are an excellent choice for composting because they live well in highly populated conditions and they don’t tend to burrow deeply. We opted for the half pound to see if we can be successful, and if so, we should be able to double the population in about 90 days.
Hubby and I are going to sift through the finished compost from our original batch of worms to see if we can find any cocoons. I read that if conditions are not good, the cocoons will lie dormant until the conditions are more favourable. Cocoons have been known to survive for up to 3 years in dry conditions without being adversely affected. If we find any cocoons, we will add them to our new bin. The reason we decided on a new bin is because I think the worms need more surface area. The condo was just too small, especially if there are up to 500 worms! The other possible issue is that the worm condo I was give is made of clear plastic. Even though the worms are in our basement, which is pretty dark, they’ll like the new place better – it’s opaque. This way, if we have to be in the basement with the lights on, it won’t stress out the worms. Worms don’t like light.
I’m so excited to try this again!