Another Crack at the Worm Bin
January 18, 2008
The first time I tried to compost with worms, I had disastrous results. After a few months my parents, who had a really healthy bin, gave me a batch of their worms complete with castings and newspaper. It’s been going on for about four months now and has been quite successful though I still keep my fingers crossed in case things go south. This winter I’ve kept them in the basement on a scrap piece of carpet on the concrete floor and they don’t seem to mind. I feed them once a week with leftover scraps of vegetables and fruit that I collect in a stainless steel compost pail (with a lid!) on my kitchen counter.
To feed them, I put on rubber gloves, open up the worm bin, take out the top layer of newspaper and the second layer of shredded newspaper, exposing the layer of foodstuffs. Then I dig in to the compost pail and pull out all the rotted foodstuffs that I collected the previous week. This can be a little gross at times depending on what you’ve put in there: bread gets mouldy, tomatoes have dripped their juices over everything and there can be a slurry of stinky liquid at the bottom. I gently squeeze out the liquid and layer the foodstuffs thinly over the entire surface of the bin. Then I put the first and second layers of newspaper back on top. The first layer of non-shredded newspaper (usually a whole section from the local paper) helps keep the moisture in the bin. I usually try to keep the second layer of shredded newspaper around 2″ thick. I put the top of the worm bin back on and that’s it.
Last weekend the snow melted and the temperature was really mild so I decided to trot my worms outside for a little trip. Here’s what I saw when I pulled back the top newspaper layer:
So fat and happy hanging out on top of the second layer of shredded newspaper! You can tell I need to add more shredded newspaper to their bin as there are a couple of carrots poking out on the bottom right. Here’s a close-up of my worms:
Lots of bigs ones, a few small ones and a bunch of eggs. I found a little baby:
And he was all, “Put me back, it’s too cold out here!”. Here’s a shot of the eggs:
Here I am pulling away the second layer of shredded newspaper, digging down to the layer of foodstuffs:
A few weeks ago I threw in some old cloves of garlic which decided to sprout. I pulled them out, found some of my worms entangled in the roots and shook them off:
I put the the foodstuff on, put the newspaper back and put the lid back on. Then I lifted the whole top bin to check and see if there was any liquid on the bottom that had leached through. I drained it into a bowl and dumped it on one of my flower beds.
I’m pretty happy about my worms and I hope they continue to enjoy their little house in the basement.