Just got my bin...how much scrap to 'seed' it with?

jamie_mt(z4/5 MT)May 13, 2008

My new worm bin was delivered today when I was home for lunch (a "worm factory"), and I have the coir fiber soaking while I'm at work this afternoon so I can get everything set up tonight after work. The worms will be here either later this week, or next week (not sure if they're shipping out this Mon/Tues or next Mon/Tues). I'm excited for them to finally get here!

I've been saving kitchen scraps (in the freezer) to put in the bin so there would be food "ready" for them right away. I'm getting 1 pound of worms to start with. I have tons of shredded newspaper and some old leaves for bedding in addition to the coir.

What I'm wondering is how much of the scraps should I bury just to start with before they get here? A small handful? A certain weight (1/4 - 1/2 lb)? Obviously I don't want to overfeed it right from the start, but I do want to bury some food in there so it starts rotting to be ready when the worms arrive (I've read that's a good way to get them settled in quickly). I'm planning to "pocket feed" for now...

Thanks in advance! :-)

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Just my opinion--I'd put in at least a cup or two. Sounds like you are off to a great start.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 7:28PM
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jamie_mt(z4/5 MT)

Thanks, Socks. I'll put some in there at lunch today (wanted to be sure I had an estimated amount, if possible).

Here it is, the first tray all ready for some scraps and worms. I put newspaper on the bottom, coir fiber, and then old leaves - I'll add more newspaper/leaves when I put the food in today. Can't wait until my worms get here!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 1:24PM
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denno(z7 NC)

I pretty much do the same, putting my scraps in a sandwich bag, and then into the freezer. Usually the bag is about 1/2 full or less. As you said, allow a couple days before bacteria starts consuming scraps, then the worms get attracted. And then give a couple more days to check and see if it has been consumed. Don't add more until the scraps have been consumed. Otherwise you will start to have problems with excessive heating and maybe too much moisture. Less is better!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2008 at 5:38AM
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jamie_mt(z4/5 MT)

Thanks denno. I have a compost crock now, so food can start rotting before I put it out. I seeded the bin with about 1 1/2 cups of scraps, but my worms aren't here yet anyways. It should be well on it's way to good "worm food" by the time they arrive, I guess! :-)

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 12:16PM
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Jamie, I have the same worm bin you have and I love it. I had been using a big plastic storage container, but was having ahard time keeping the worms happy in it, as it dried out so fast on top and stayed too wet on the bottom. I lost most of my worms last winter. So I started again with this nifty little setup and the worms seem much happier now. The bedding stays more uniformly moist and the worms are starting to really move around a lot.

I also have a compost bucket on the kitchen counter and I use the food scraps from it after they've been in it at lease a couple days. Tomatoes, apple peelings, and sweet potato skins seem to be very popular items in the worm community. That worm setup was kind of expensive, I think, for what I got, but I have to say it works a lot better than anything else I've ever tried. Cheryl

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 4:04PM
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jamie_mt(z4/5 MT)

Good to know it's working well for you, Cheryl!! I'd hoped to be able to have an opinion by now, but my worms still haven't shown up. :-( Probably because our weather has been bad, but I'm still anxious for them to get here and start working! Meanwhile, I started a regular compost bin to take care of my scraps until then (I figured I'd need it anyways, to take any "extra").

I thought about doing the rubbermaid thing, but it would have cost just as much to buy all the separate containers as it did to buy this 4-tray system, plus my time to drill holes and set it all up. So I'm happy with my purchase so far. I may have hubby build a wooden box to put it in for winter, insulated with foam board and heat tape, so I can keep it right by the back door, since I really think it will be handy to have it right there year round (but the plastic is thinner than I was expecting - good for summer, bad for winter).

With any luck, they'll be here soon, and I can get my little "factory" working...

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 11:28AM
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Hi Jamie!

I too started with something that looks similar to yours, and love the concept.

The only issue I have is the amount of moisture I tend to end up with in the system. I mostly add kitchen scraps, greens etc. Very high moisture content stuff. I have to be really careful to add plenty of DRY shreader newspaper and dry leaves, just to keep the moisture down. It takes the lil' suckers time to get through all that high carbon stuff, but I dont end up with a puddle in the bottom tray. My goal is to have no excess liquid left to fall into the bottom collection area (I think Bill? made that suggestion many moons ago as a rough guide to the correct moisture level in such a system. Sorry to Bill if I'm miss quoting, my memory for names is that of a composting worm!)

The key is patience. Feed less rather than more, and expects slow going for 6 months or more as the population builds. (I'm impatient, and as such added an extra 4000+ to my kick off 1000 after 3 months. Wife unhappy, as they cost the price of a nice dinner out for us both. Now that's what I call vermi-smorgasboard!!) LOL

Good luck!


    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 2:05AM
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gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)

Fyi - I recommend giving them a combination of foods that will break down quickly (overripe fruit or veggies getting soggy for example) and foods that break down slowly (banana peels or tea bags for example). That way they have something for now and something for later.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 1:53AM
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jamie_mt(z4/5 MT)

Thanks Deanna - I'll keep that in mind.

At this point, I'm trying to get ahold of the guy...still no worms, and I'd like to at least know when they're going to ship out, if possible! *sigh*

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 12:24PM
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