brand new to this

shellva(Camden 7b/8a)November 14, 2009

Hello everyone, my bin with worms is a week old today and I have a couple of questions if you all can help?

I set the bin up about 2 almost 3 weeks before the worms arrived. Shredded newspaper, straw that has been out in the elements for months, some garden soil from my vegetable garden, and some cardboard. I purchased a two pound container of worms that the supplier said contains between 1,300-1,900 worms.

Whenever I open the bin there are up to 30 worms at the very top of the sides, not on the lid. Would this number be considered a mass escape attempt? Perhaps if there really are the number of worms in the purchase as stated then 30 wouldn't be too many but it sure does look like a lot!

Also, I don't see the worms hanging out on the food I've placed in there for them. I put a clump of coffee grounds/filters (the brown, unbleached kind), some grapes, half a pomegrante and some other stuff that I couldn't identify. I had previously frozen this clump of food. Should I be concerned they don't seem to be hanging out on it?

And my last question. I have some carved pumpkins from Halloween, they are destined for my compost pile, I was going to put some in the worm bin but noticed black fuzzy mold and wondered if this may be harmful to a bin. I'm not worried about it in the compost pile outside but wondered if perhaps a bin is too small an environment to handle something so nasty looking./;-)

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1) Your description of the bin sounds like you know what you are doing.

2) If you have 2 lbs of worms, and only 30 of then are crawling on the sides of the bin, your worms must LOVE your bedding. Really, 30 isn't very many.

3) It takes a few days for the food to attract worms, especially in a new bin. My guess is that the straw has broken down enough that it is more appealing to the worms than the food. If the soil from your garden has a lot of organic matter in it, that may be even more attractive to them.

4) The pumpkins should be fine in your bin. They are going to break down one way or another, and the black mold is one way.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2009 at 4:13PM
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shellva(Camden 7b/8a)

Thanks, sbryce, for your vote of confidence and assuring words. I'll try to relax and just let the worms be.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2009 at 6:26PM
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loftin60(DeRidder, La zn. 8)

It's hard when starting out, but my advice is try not to
over feed.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2009 at 7:13PM
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plumiebear(z9? CA)

Michelle, it sounds like you're doing fine. I fed moldy pumpkin to my worms and they're loving it. You can always try feeding a small corner of your bin to test anything you are unsure of. If the worms don't like it for any reason, they can always squirm over to another part of the bin.

If your bin is outside, it might be getting cool enough that new food takes longer to be slimy enough for the worms to enjoy - even if you have frozen it. An alternative to freezing food is to put it in a pre-composting bin/bucket. Just dump your scraps there and let it sit in the sun to rot a bit before feeding it to the worms. I squish grapes by hand to make them more appealing to the worms. Pomegranate might also take a while to rot, especially the skin and white pithy part.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 2:23AM
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shellva(Camden 7b/8a)

I'll be carefull not to overfeed. It helps that I have a huge compost pile right off the side of my deck for all the extra food waste.

For now my bin is in the laundry area of our house. I was going to keep it out in the garage but changed my mind. I like the convenience of having them inside plus I don't have to worry about extremes in temperature. I will need to move things to the garage if I am sucessful at vermicomposting and increase the number of bins though. Time will tell.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 11:19AM
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If you have are actively composting, some of that compost can be used as great bedding/food for the worm bin. It's great material to use for starting a new bin.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 11:40AM
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My experience with pumpkins, they tend to make the bin too wet, depending how much pumpkin you put in there of course.
What I have done, I cut up the pumpkins (in big pieces) and put the pieces in a plastic bag to freeze them for 2 days. Longer if you are concerned about the fruitfly eggs. Then thaw them and squeeze the moisture out of the pieces before putting them in the worm bin. You'll be surprised at how much liquid you're getting

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 6:45PM
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shellva(Camden 7b/8a)

I almost put some compost in the bin but opted for the vegetable garden soil instead. I'm not exactly sure of my logic but good to know compost would be good bedding material for future bins.

I was only going to put a small piece of pumpkin in the bin. I am concerned about putting too much food in to start but I've heard worms absolutely love pumpkin and watermelon so I thought I'd give some to them while I have it. Thanks for all the great tips everyone, they are greatly appreciated!


    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 10:35PM
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Actually, soil is not good bedding for composting worms. A small amount is fine, and might be helpful, but a lot is not good. These are worms that are used to crawling through the layer of organic matter that sits above the soil.

A small amount will have microbes in it and provide grit for the worm's gizzards. Compost is an even better way to introduce microbes into the bin. Since your bin is fairly new, a handful of compost would be great to add to the bin.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2009 at 12:30AM
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plumiebear(z9? CA)

Years ago I probably threw in unfinished vermicompost (along with baby worms & cocoons) into a regular compost bin. I recently discovered that bin had lots of red wigglers in it. I've harvested enough worms to start a few DIY worm bins - maybe 3-4 lbs total? Never weighed them, but enough worms to "eat" ~5 lbs. of food waste each week. Long way of agreeing that compost is good worm bedding. :-)

    Bookmark   November 17, 2009 at 3:36PM
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shellva(Camden 7b/8a)

I only put about a shovel full of garden soil in the bin when creating. I did, however, forget to mention that I also used leaves that I collected from last fall.

Tonight I saw ONE centipede and I'm trying not to be too concerned. I also saw a baby cricket. I guess there were "things" in the straw, leaves, and garden soil.

Words of wisdom, reassurance.....right about now would be so greatly appreciated!


    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 5:50PM
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If you mean a garden spade full, that is a lot! But you may be OK. Trying to remember... Millipedes...Centipedes....Which one is helpful, and which one is harmful?

It is centipedes you don't want. They eat worms.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 6:14PM
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shellva(Camden 7b/8a)

Well I have at least one centipede, haven't seen any millipedes. Any ideas how to catch???

spade full? I used the flat shovel so maybe a total of a few cups of soil in 18 gallon bin.


    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 9:36PM
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plumiebear(z9? CA)

I've always had some centipedes in the worm bin. They do prey on smaller worms, but they also eat other critters. Unless you get lots of them, I doubt they pose any danger to your 2 lbs. of worms. Something from my notes:

"The centipede is generally more reddish than the millipede, is very fast moving and is generally found only on the surface of the worm bin. It's unusual to have many centipedes in a worm bin and one or two are no problem. However, because these arthropods will eat worms as well as other organisms it's a good idea to keep their numbers low. The only way to control centipedes is to remove them by hand which should be done carefully. While not poisonous to humans, they can give a nasty bite with their impressive pincers!"

Here is a link that might be useful: Other Organisms in Worm Bins

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 11:27PM
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shellva(Camden 7b/8a)

Thanks plumiebear. I was hoping one or two would be acceptable. I will carefully try to remove should I see it crawling around again. Oh, add one baby cock roach found in bin as well. I soooo can't let hubby know I am seeing these different bugs in the bin or I will be lucky if he lets me keep it in the garage let alone inside the house! lol


    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 2:48PM
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