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More specifics on your worm bin
A plastic tote is a good beginning bin and the way most first time wormers start. It's inexpensive and easy to set up and handle, and the size is adequate to handle one to two people's waste if the bin is managed properly. The food should be processed down to fairly small size. For the amount of food that the bin can handle a food processor is a good way to minimize the size of the food waste. The more surfaces the bacteria have to work on the faster the waste will compost. Little know fact: The bacteria in the bin material do more to compost the waste than the worms. The worms actually eat more of the bacteria. The worms, because they don't really have a mouth (with teeth) can't do anything with the waste until the bacteria have started breaking it down.
A plastic tote will hold moisture in better than wood. This is not a bad thing as the worms like the moisture. But you don't want too much moisture, the bin needs air as well. Ventilation holes are very important. Holes in the bottom of the bin will allow excess moisture to drain out of the bin. There should be at least 4 - 6 holes in the bottom of the bin. The holes should be covered with a screen of some sort to help hold the material in but let the moisture out. You also want to have holes near the bottom of the bin on all sides of the bin. In addition you should have some holes about 2/3rd's way up the side that will coincide with the surface of the bedding material and some holes in the lid of your bin.
A twelve gallon tote will require about 1/2 pound of worms to 1 lb of worms. If you have a friend who might be interested in worming with you a good idea would be for you each to set up a bin and split a pound of worms. That way you could each do your own thing and compare notes. No two worms bins are worked exactly alike and you can get a better idea of what works and what doesn't. (Just an idea.)
One of the prep things you want to do before you start your worm bin is to have a plan for your bedding material. You also want to have a plan for what you will add as carbon material. Every compost system needs to have the basic components of a compost system which is carbon, nitrogen, water and air. Your worm bin is no different. It's just that with the addition of all those worms, the composting action can take place at a much cooler temperature.
Therefore, when you initially set up your bin you will fill the container up about 2/3rds full with your bedding material, making sure it is thoroughly moistened. I use a well composted horse manure that has been allowed to sit for about 6 months. Some other bedding materials I have heard of being used are unfinished compost, leaf compost, shredded newspaper, coir, or peat moss. The least desirable in this list is the peat moss. It is not a renewable resource and has little or no nutritive value to the worms as much of it is sterile.
Once you have your initial bedding in place and watered down, you will want to let it sit for 24 hours before you add your worms to make sure it is not going to heat up. Once you add your worm you will wait a few days to see how they like their new home before you start adding waste. If your worms like their new home, they will start eating the bacteria breaking down the food waste and producing their castings (poop) which will be loaded with even more bacteria and your system will be off and running.
Another fact: Worm castings have more beneficial bacteria than either the food they are eating or what's even in the worms gut. The worm composting system is truly a miracle of mother nature and her way of replenishing the earth for more to grow.
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Once again WW lots of useful information there. Thanks for finding the time to post these entries for us.
It sounds like I am doing things right with my outside compost heap where the worms arrive all by themselves. But, trust me, there will be no worms in this house!
Worms are fascinating creations. They should be every gardener's best friend. Great blog entry Christy, very informative!
I saw on Homesteadearth.com They had a Hybrid Green house thing, That not only had a chicken brooder in it, but a Worm bin in the floor?? I Might try something like that! Good Info! Love the site!
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