Just starting my worm bin

Joyousfree(6a)May 11, 2014

Hi all! I'm brand new here. I built a worm bin for my apartment a week ago, and just put the worms in yesterday. They disappeared under the surface in under an hour, and are now only visible if I disturb the top layer to look for them. So far, so good! The bin is open to the air right now under a bright light. No escape attempts.

Bin setup: Three nested plastic storage bins, holes drilled in the bottoms of the top two. The bottom bin is supposed to catch leachate, and has 3 inverted 2-lb yogurt tubs in it to raise the second bin off of it. The second bin is currently empty. The lid has a couple dozen 1/8" holes, and raising the bottom bin created about a 1" gap all the way around. I filled the top bin with about 2" - 3" total of shredded paper, coffee grounds with some finely diced kitchen veggie scraps (mostly carrot tops), and some potting soil - about a week ago.

Yesterday I got 500 red wigglers packed in dry peat moss, and added them to the bin like the enclosed instructions said. I spritzed the surface with more water several times yesterday, and once again this morning - that peat moss sucked up a lot of moisture. And the lid is off, so it's evaporating quite a bit.

I'm just introducing myself, but always interested to hear any wisdom from those of you with more experience. I'll be nervous about the first night I put the lid on, in case they attempt escape!

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Welcome to the forum and the world of wormin'.

It sounds like you did your homework and prepared a good bin. Have fun and good luck!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 1:56PM
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Welcome to the forum!
I'd feel comfortable in putting the lid on now. Make sure the bedding is damp; especially since they arrived in peat moss.

You can learn lots and lots by reading the previous pages at the bottom. When I started with my guys, I read from the last number forward.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 2:27PM
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Thanks for the welcome and the tips! I have read dozens of posts on here, and they are very helpful. I am about to put the lid on my worms for the first time. Here's to hoping they are all still happily squirming in the bedding when I get up in the morning. Failing that, I just really hope the cats don't find them snack-worthy.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 10:27PM
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I Google'ed YouTubes showing cats eating worms and could not find any. Apparently worms eating cats happens and is filmed frequently. Hide the cat.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 11:20PM
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Cats eating worms? You're the first person I've heard of with that worry Joyousfree! LOL

One of my cats is as curious as anything when I'm harvesting. She's right there with her nose and sometimes paw, in the bin.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 12:24PM
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You might want to go a little deeper on the bedding. Maybe just add more over time until it is about 6 inches deep. No more potting soil, but something else to help keep the newspaper from clumping up. Shredded cardboard is great. Otherwise, you are off to a great start.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 2:01PM
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Since I also do plastic I might add my two cents. Once you get to the point your worms are comfortable in the bin and not finding some on the floor the next morning but just a bunch up on the lid, you might want to not lock the lid on . I never lock the lid anymore as plastic sweats and makes it too wet for the worms comfort. Since I leave the lid cracked or pulled back leaving 1" or less cracked I hardly ever see a bunch of worms on lid like they want to escape. Certainly nothing like when I locked the lid on. I also have a good bit of shredded paper to cover any soil or added food. I prefer that to cardboard , thats just me. Leaving the lid cracked dries out the paper so doesnt hurt to re mist the paper or leave it dry either way seems to work. The added bedding helps to deter gnats, flies, etc.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 3:10PM
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Great ideas, thanks! No escapees so far. There were a dozen or more scattered on the bin walls just now, and they retreated quickly when I shined a light on them. None on the lid. I was relieved - it was 88 here today, and it's 80 inside my apartment right now. Is it normal for them to congregate on the bin walls? Or does that mean they were beginning to get restless?

I'm relieved they're not known to be cat snacks! My cats munch on bugs (except stinkbugs), but so far are not even that interested in the bin when the lid is off.

Thanks again, everybody. I'm amused and enlightened by your posts!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 6:44PM
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Add me to Hummersteve's post! My bin is mostly shredded paper, with some cardboard if I can find some to shred. My lids are ajar, and food is covered.
No fruit flies or mites (thankfully, I hate those things)

I would definitely have the lid ajar at your temperature.
That would release some excess heat if it became too warm for them. They're probably climbing the walls for moisture, or just because. They are curious beings.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 9:13PM
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I have tons of shredded paper, so I'm using it but will add cardboard as I go along. Got home tonight and only 2 worms on the walls - the others are excited about the corner I added food to last night. (Thanks to those of you who suggested covering fresh food with bedding - no flies so far!) The bin seemed warmer than my 80 degree apartment (again) so I've got the lid off again for a while. I was so relieved they weren't making a mass exodus! We have storms coming and much cooler temperatures after tonight, so they have survived their first heat test admirably!

This is way more fun than I thought it would be. As if I needed more evidence of what a nerd I am...

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 8:54PM
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Storms are coming? They like to crawl when thunderstorms pass :)

If you think the bin is too hot, add a plastic bottle of frozen water for a quick cool down. If they like it, repeat until all is cooler.

Happy wormin'

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 9:07PM
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