Advice for a Newcomer

thwebbJanuary 26, 2013

I've had a worm-bin (Worm-Factory 360) for about 4 and half months. I think a lot worms have died and I need to buy new ones.

The bin was fine at first. Only issue was a bunch of pepper plants that grew in there--they were taking over before I pulled them up.

Then the room I put them in got pretty cold. I don't think below 40, but cold. Activity slowed down. So I moved them to the basement near a heater. It's warm down there but not hot--probably around 70 degrees. Things have never really picked up again.

I've got about an inch of compost in the collection tray, and probably another inch or two in the bin itself. Food does eventually get eaten but it takes a couple weeks for two handfulls to disappear. I add more food about once a week and add water every few days because it's relatively near the heater and would dry out otherwise. I use newspaper as bedding but haven't added much recently as it has not gone down.

There are still worms in there but not many. Even if I root around I won't see more than two or three. It definitely doesn't seem like there's the original thousand in there. Should I be seeing more? Or are they just better at hiding than I'm giving them credit for?

If you do think it's time to get new worms, is there anything from what I've described that suggests why so many died? I feed them kitchen scraps--egg shells, chopped greens, some coffee.

Thanks for the help!!!

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I can offer a couple comments.

It is good you moved them to a warmer spot.

Try feeding them just coffee grounds until you see their numbers increase. Put a wedge of watermelon or rind for them. They love that.

Don't overload the amount of food for them. Give them some food and wait until they have significantly eaten it before giving them more food.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 4:05PM
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It sounds like overfeeding. Do not feed until the previous feed disappeared especially with a new bin. The worms have to overcome the "shock" of being uprooted from their usual environment. Change of food, bedding and the like. A new bin needs time to build up MO (micro-organism) until worms feel at home. Lees feeding is better than too much. Just make sure the bedding doesn't dry out but NOT sopping wet. Too wet bedding means less air/air circulation. Worms need O2 too.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 6:26PM
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I would want to see what was going on in the bin. I would scoop up material onto a piece of cardboard set on a 5 gallon bucket. Then I would slid tablespoons of material off the edge of the cardboard into the bucket looking over each bit. Then I would put it all back into the bin.

If you have eggshells then perhaps you have those cardboard egg cartons or coffee trays? This material torn up might hold water better than torn up newspaper.

If it was not for the drying out I would say try to ignore the bin for a while and then peek in it again.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 7:34AM
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