Friday, February 6, 2009

Worms, worms, oh glorous worms!!

I happened to order my worms on a day that was nice but then the temperatures took a nose dive and we were below freezing for the next couple of days. I was lucky the worm farm waited until the temperatures returned to above freezing to shop the worms. This was good since I hadn’t gotten the bed ready for them. The worms came on a Thursday and I happened to have that Friday off so I could make their home.

My mother had bought me the book Worms Eat my Garbage by Mary Appelhof and Mary F. Fenton several years ago. I have read it a couple of times, each time before I thought I would start the worm farm. Surprising enough the book didn’t contain much about using rubber totes. I ended up look online at different websites and reading how to make the bin from them. The consistent thing I read was that they need ventilation and drainage. Worms will drown if the material is too wet or suffocate if they don’t get enough air.

Construction of the bin began by drilling holes in the bottom of the bin. I used a quarter inch drill bit and drilled about 20 holes (estimate). One site recommended drilling holes in the side of the bin. I was concerned that since I would have the bin in the storage room of my basement that the worms could crawl out and die on the concert floor. Next I tore up newspapers, well the ones I hadn’t sent to recycling the Tuesday before. I tore them in about 1 inch strips. Then I took some of the paper from the paper shredder along with the newspaper and wet them down. You want the paper to be the wetness of a wrung out sponge. To me it didn’t look like a very comfortable place but I guess if you eat garbage it could be a sweet deal. I also added some vegetable scraps and put the worms in their new abode.

I looked in to see what was going on the next day and I found worms had crawled up to the top and had settled where the lid snaps on. Then I remembered that I needed to put a piece of cardboard or news paper on top of the compost to make sure the worms were in the dark all the time. I also took the lid off so they could have air movement from above. This has helped keep the worms in the shredded newspaper and doing their work of composting.
Some of the things not to give your worms are meat scraps, onion, garlic, dairy products and any citrus fruit. You can give them coffee grounds but too many will make the compost to acidic. I have so far given them I batch of coffee grounds a week. I have read somewhere that if you blend the food up in a blender or cut it up small the worms will eat it faster and multiply faster.

Will try and do a post from time to time to let you all know how things are going.


Phillip said...

My co-worker's wife was doing this. This reminds me that I need to ask her how it turned out.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Very interesting Cliff, I like how clearly you describe what you have to do to make the worms happy. I'm thinking of buying a worm farm too if I can find one here.

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Good luck with those worms, keep us posted on this project, looks interesting.

Jan Goldfield said...

What a great idea. So far, I have just let the worms live in the compost heap.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi there, got here from Iowa Gardening Woman's blog...

Aren't worms the greatest? We have quite the farm going in our compost pile in the back garden and feel blessed that we have lots of them around. We also have a few big plants that summer outdoors and when they come in for fall, we can hear the worms moving around the leaf mulch we keep on them.

You're doing a great thing there, and happy worm farming!

Thomas said...

Do you have a preference on what kind of shredder you use to shred the paper for your compost? I always use a crosscut paper shredder and afraid that it might shred it too much for aeration and space. Is that a concern?

Thanks, great blog site, going to look through your other entries.