Best way to check worms

wigglemeMarch 18, 2009

I received my worms 5 days ago. I tried to separate 2,000 into 2 bins. There were only a few dead on the surface after 24 hours, so guess that is good. I put some food in 2 spots in both bins (bins contain shredded newspaper and cardboard) and left them alone. I lift the lid once a day to see if the moisture is good and have seen a couple scurry from the surface. My question is...

What is the best way to really see if the worms are doing well? I don't want to just dig in, or should I? I know there is enough food and want to just leave them alone, but I also want to see if they are really alive.


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Congratulations on your new worms! You can easily pull back the top bedding and see that your worms are okay. They don't like us rooting around, uprooting them, but having a quick check on them is always a good idea, especially in the beginning to see that they're okay.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 6:03PM
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Resist the urge. But if you must (and all new worm farmers must on occasion have a peak) just be gentle and don't do it too often. Ours usually get checked on when we go to add more food/bedding, take a look around and adjust moisture as needed. We see a few worms and figure there are plenty more we don't see.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 10:01PM
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Golly gee, tclynx.... I sure admire your will power and self restraint!! ;>)


    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 11:39PM
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I gently removed bedding where I had put their food and low and behold there were many, many worms slurping away. AND they were big and fat! Now I will just leave them alone.
I want to say thanks to the members of this forum. I have learned a bunch reading past posts along with a few visits to the library.
Happy wiggles!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 7:36AM
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I've heard that its important to mix the bedding once a week or so to get fresh air back in the system. Is this really necissary?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 4:17AM
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It is better not to mix the bedding once a week. Worms will process food faster if they are not disturbed. Fresh air in the system is important, but if the bin is managed correctly, it should be able to breathe without being mixed.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 12:13PM
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I check often enough, just to see how much food is left and where it is so I can put the next batch elsewhere. I also like to see how fast certain things decompose. I take a regular hand trowel, run it down the side edge and lift up. Sure, I've killed a few, but there are plenty there. I know this is not recommended, but it's my way !

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 7:34PM
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What's the actual consequence of rooting around in the bin every so often? My 4-yr old daughter loves the worms (they are all girls :) ) and every time we check on them she wants to to dig around to find more to look at. This is about twice a week when we feed and I check to see how much of the last feeding pile is left.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 8:21PM
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It's common concensus that by mixing the bin up you're creating "hot" composting. Food and bedding will react and start to cook.

The best thing to do is dig a hole, or trench, dump your food in and re-cover. Don't mix everything together.

If you do want to root around to see how everyone is doing, do it BEFORE you add your food.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 9:20AM
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folly_grows(10 SF by the Bay)

After burying food in a trench and covering it up, I routinely fluff the other areas of my WF. So far no problems. While most of the worms scatter, some just lie there waiting for me to finish my fussing. I use a pair of disposable wooden chopsticks so as not to harm any worms. Also good for picking out cocoons when harvesting.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 11:41AM
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folly grows:

I guess we think alike. I also use the disposable chop sticks and I prefer the fat ones. If they are skinny, I don't separate into individual sticks. Works really great.

I'm not that good with them so I haven't tried picking up cocoons. I'm afraid I might just crush them and miss out on the babies.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 11:49PM
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folly_grows(10 SF by the Bay)

Otis 11 -- I'm not good eating with chopsticks, but they really are handy for lifting and fluffing my worm world. As to picking up cocoons, I usually pick them up with a little clump of surrounding material. Or some times they are sticky enough that they'll stick when I just touch a chopstick to one.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 10:35AM
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