I hope I don't kill my worms!

natureregenerator(7)April 10, 2014

I just started my first worm bin. I didn't wet the newspaper first when making the bed. I didn't even put in enough newspaper. I used peat moss, newspaper, some mushroom compost and some composted cow manure that had a little bone meal in it. I added food too soon as well! I had some cilantro and some dill and broccoli that was going bad so I blended a 1.5 cups of that and smeared it onto one corner of the ben. This morning I got up and decided to have a look. I noticed, the bed was not moist enough, so I finally cut up a lot of news paper and wet them down and added, mixing the whole lot together. I checked them a moment ago, and there is a smell from the herbs breaking down. Please let me know how I am doing so far or if I need to start over... Thanks. Also, one last question - How cold can the temps get for them to survive outside? Thanks again!!!

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I have found worms alive in peat that had fallen thru my bin and the peat was pretty dry . They need to be moist but they most likely wont die if it is on the dry side.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 7:08PM
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Survive?....or thrive.

Freezing to survive. 70ish to do well.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 7:09PM
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Should the bin stink at all? I read that if i had the proper mix of carbon and nitrogen there would be no smell. My bin stinks already. Oh i think i forgot to mention i probably have 500 worms in there which is about 1/2 lb. And thanks so much for your comments. Its good to talk to people who are interested in the same ideas and topics.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 10:46PM
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I think you may be confusing hot composting with vermicomposting. There is no prescribed "N x C balance" in a worm bin. The ingredients in a hot composting bin and a worm bin can be exactly the same but in different preportions and not mixed in the worm bin. It just so happens that most if not all worm food is an exelent source of N for hot composting. It sounds like you have too much food in the bin. The worms don't mind the odor but they need an area where they can rest in bedding where no food is present. The possible problem when an over abundance of food is present is that hot composting and over heating takes place. Truth be told, exacting sience is not nessary for either. If you have room,dedicate a portion of the bin to nothing but moist newspaper and feed only as food is consumed until you get better aquqinted with the hobby. Where there is too much food now,after a short period of hot composting the temature drops and worms will move in and devoure it. Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 12:07AM
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From your description, I am going to guess that your bin is still too dry. Broccoli in a worm bin will always smell badly for a few days. I don't think you have overfed. 1 1/2 cups is not a lot of food in a worm bin. You also didn't feed too soon. It is actually best to feed a week or so before your worms arrive. Worms eat decomposing organic matter. If nothing is decomposing, there is nothing for them to eat. Check the moisture. If it looks good, leave the bin alone for a few days and feed some more. If it looks too dry, spray the bedding down.

This post was edited by sbryce on Fri, Apr 11, 14 at 10:33

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 12:20AM
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"I hope I don't kill my worms!" I still feel that way every day.

I am very pleased with the quality of the replies you have received so far. I have not even read every word of them yet but the posters here, even brand new ones who have just started or even those who have studied a bit and are considering starting a bin and gathering worms, always give really good answers and are trying their very best to answer questions. I think some of our posters are experts that if one had to pay the cost would be very dear indeed. Yet, they answer everybody's questions, no matter the experience level of the poster for free. Some replies take a considerable amount of time to gather the answer. The better the question as enhanced by the questioners own studying on the topic the better the answer. The posters here even answer the absurd, tilted and inappropriate with really good replies.

"broccoli that was going bad" is the likely culprit. People talk about what not to put in a worm bin. Out of onions, citrus, I would say OK with those but no brassicas for an indoor bin. Because... talk to me... because you now know vermicompost bin information to share with others from hands on experience. You have valuable information to share already.

Did you count the worms? That is the only way you will know how many you started with.

People. Count or weigh your worms without bedding on a postal scale (post offices have these) when you get them.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 1:38AM
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Depending on what I put it in my bin, there's a smell that lasts a day......broccoli, cabbage, onions---those kinds of things.

Once, years ago I set up a bin and put food in early so it would be palatable to the worms when I put them in. The bin stunk to high heaven.....rotten food. I've never put food in early again, to rot in the bin. I let it soften to the edible point before I feed. Chopping and freezing the food works for me.

Yesterday I put my thawed food.... pineapple and watermelon and fresh grapefruit and in my processor so it's all mixed and mushed together. My bins smell so nice and citrusy :)

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 7:56AM
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Any odor coming out of the bin other than that of the sweet aroma of fresh, loamy earth indicates potentially or actually incorrect wormin' techniques and generally unhappy times for those in your immediate family who aren't all that into your enthusiasm for the worming thing you've become attached to.

Neither worms, nor worm poop have odor. If you smell a terrible stench....as I once did after leaving a small, healthy bin in a previously owned, closed up car.... once belonging to my wife..... for 2 days in the sun in August in Texas.......and immediately know that the indescribably terrible and putrid odor is dead worms, you'll both know what a massive amount of dead worms smell like forever, and ... you'll never again forget that you left a bin of worms in a closed up car in August in Texas.

Such an experience will tend to improve both your vermicomposting knowledge and success and at the same time provide you with assurance as to just how secure you are....or or not....in the stability of your marriage.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 9:16AM
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Chuckie reminded me of when I got 5 lb of worms thru the mail one time.

They were shipped in a breathable container, but for some unknown reason the post office wrapped it tightly in plastic.

It took several days to reach me, and the delivery guy couldn't hand the package off to me any quicker. He turned tail and practically ran. The stench when I opened the plastic was indescribable, and unforgettable!

I contacted the seller and she filed out a form and got reimbursed by the post office. I took pictures of the plastic, label, dead worms etc.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 12:51PM
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Rocks may crack if left in a car exposed to Texas summer sun for 2 days.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 1:52AM
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Or you could leave a half dozen conchs in the trunk of your girlfriend's car in the Florida sun for several days.

What is it about guys leaving 'stuff' in girl's cars? I did marry her though...


    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 12:51PM
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Same thing here-- on a two pound order. I took several days bad weather issue and when I received it the post had it wrapped in plastic, stinky stinky!! The order was replaced by the company.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 8:51PM
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