Getting Started Worm Farm Composting

Getting started worm farm composting doesn’t have to be complicated. All you really need are the basics of worm composting trivia, and a little interest in gardening or recycling. Some of the most common questions and answers about worm composting follow.

Mature worms can consume as much as their own body weight every day. But what do they eat and how do they prefer to eat it? Worms can consume many of the same foods we eat, and lots of other biodegradable items as well. They will feed faster if you shred, mash or blend food scraps since these will make a more digestible mix that is easily consumed by the worms. Yard clippings, non-acidic leaves, organic garden waste, are fair game as well. Also, maintain worm bed temperature at around 23-25 degrees Celsius, since this temperature best matches their metabolism and the worms feed better. Also, avoid acidic foods, since it upsets the worms’ digestive system. Things you may also want to avoid feeding your worms include manure, onions, citrus fruits or peelings, garlic, garden waste sprayed with insecticides, dairy products like milk and cheese or meat. Salts are another taboo as this can wipe out an entire bed.

Worms tend to thrive in cool, damp or moist environments. So, should one water the worm bed regularly? Watering the beds will enhance the production of liquid fertilizer, but make sure not to pour too much water into it or it could drown the worms. The food wastes are about 80% water, which is released as the worms break them down. If you spray or add water to the worm bed every couple of weeks, be sure to just add water only to the point of getting the worm bed damp and cool. By doing it this way, you will have a constant supply of liquid fertilizer. If your beds are over-watered or it’s raining, your worms will tend to gather on the top or lid of the bed to avoid drowning. Simply relocate or shelter the worm beds, and mix in some dry material and return or mix the worms back into the bedding.

On the other hand, if the worms never seem to work or rise to the tops of the trays, the reason may be because you may have added new food before the worms have consumed the previous feeding batch. Worms have the instinct to stay with leftover food and will not search for a new food source until they consume what food is presently available. In this light also, before you add new trays, stop feeding the worms for at least five days to ensure all existing food has been consumed. Another consideration is that the level of castings in the working tray needs to be high enough for the worms to pass easily up to the next tray. You’ll get a feel for this as you go.

Worms can tolerate a temperature range between 10-30 degrees Celsius. If temperatures of your worm beds get hotter than these levels, move the beds into a shady, cool area, and regulate the moisture and humidity of the worm boxes to further control the bed temperature. A simple cooking thermometer stuck into the soil of the bed should help keep you safe.

In cold temperatures, you should cover the worm beds with old garments or carpets, blankets and wool shavings to help keep the bed temperatures in range. In the colder climates, you mat consider bringing your beds indoors to a porch or outbuilding. In Nature, worms go deep to avoid winter temperatures and freezing. Since your beds do not allow them to go down say seven or ten feet or more, you must compensate. Another trick is to feed the worms at least a quarter more than normal, since more food digested by the worms allow for more heat being generated in their bodies.

Worms tend to self-regulate their population with any given or available space and the amount of food administered to them. So, if you plan on growing your operation or harvesting the worms themselves, you’ll want to do so by regulating the size of your worm beds and their number.

Keeping these tips and hints in mind will help get you started successfully in worm farm composting.

Organic gardening, going green, recycling, and being self-sufficient are just a few of the reasons our society is seeking and rediscovering forgotten skills and knowledge. Find out more about worm farm compost and worm farms at Worm Farm Compost or at A Worm Farm.

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