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Ooooooh! I've messed it up!! Help?

Posted by morgalor Hampshire UK (My Page) on
Fri, Feb 27, 09 at 13:52

I think I have completely messed up my wormery and having read lots of your posts I'm a bit confused so can I just please check that I have understood correcetly? I set it up about september time. I can't remember how many worms I ordered but 200 rings a bell. I put the worms in with about 6 inches of compost and then have been steadily adding my kitchen waste. I haven't put much in over the last month as I guessed they might not be doing much as it has been so cold. I went out to look today and rummaged around a bit and I don't know how it is supposed to look but it's not very pleasant! The bin is just over half full (small dust bin size) and I haven't got any compost just loads of rotting vegitation which doesn't smell very nice and lots of small flies. The worms are still in there and are alive but I'm guessing I must have over done it? Am I right in understanding that I need to pick the worms out, take about half out and put a load of shredded news paper in? Do you think I should buy more worms too? The bin has been filled with mainly veg pealings cooked veg scraps, egg shells and tea bags. I have just left the tap open to drip over the winter as I knew I would forget to empt it in the cold weather and didn't want them to drown. Any suggestions appreciated. Lorraine X

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Ooooooh! I've messed it up!! Help?

No it's fine by the sounds of it, although you must have added too much food and the worms can't digest it quick enough. Unless the compost is wet and not damp you don't need to add Newspaper shreddings unless you have little bedding left.

The flies are fruit flies and are harmless if not annoying, just take out the rotten vegetable and add very little, but give it a couple of weeks to sort itself out and the smell subsides.

200 Worms will take a while to eat food so go very easy and make it fine if you can, chop or put it in a food processor to mash it all up.

Someone else might give you better advice, but my guess is it's fine and you don't need to start over. I have had this in my wormery a few timess and just done the above and it was fine.

Don't use cooked veg, use them raw by the way much easier for worms to process.

Good luck


RE: Ooooooh! I've messed it up!! Help?

Morgalor, I don't think you need to take out the worms or any of the food. You say you started with maybe 200 worms. That is about 1/4 lb. And, you say you started in Sept. The following applies to bins AFTER THE BIN IS WELL ESTABLISHED: They will double in number about every 90 days, and they will consume about 1/2 their weight in food a day. But THE COLD WILL AFFECT BOTH THESE ITEMS AND SLOW BOTH OF THEM DOWN. So lets say that you have 200 worms in Sept. That's about 6 months. So you should (hypothetically) have about 800 now. That's still a little less than a pound. So they would only be eating about 1/2 lb. per day. That's well established and without the cold. Sounds like you may have overfeed them a bit! :) Remember - the cold will slow down the processing of the worms drastically! The small flies are probably fruit flies/fungus gnats. Where I live they are just now beginning to come out. They aren't harmful to the bin but can be a nuisance if you should bring it indoors. They will help to process the remaining food scraps. You may want to buy more worms, or you may be patient and wait for yours to copulate, or you could start a regular composting bin to handle the food scraps till the worms can keep up. Cooked veggies are ok. Good luck and don't be discouraged. Keep reading here and before you know it you will be an old pro.

RE: Ooooooh! I've messed it up!! Help?

I like to keep a layer of bedding over top of all food scraps added to the bin, seems to help keep flies away.

If it stinks, I would mix in more bedding, I like ripped up cardboard as bedding as it helps keep the bin aerated.

Then don't feed any more for a while till the stuff that is in there stars to turn into nice brown worm castings.

They are right, 200 worms is not many to start with so you have been overfeeding them quite a lot.

Only take the worms out if the current bin is so nasty and smelly that you can't stand it. Otherwise fluffing up what's in there with some bedding should help and then apply patients.

RE: Ooooooh! I've messed it up!! Help?

Many thanks everyone - just need to be a bit patient by the sounds of it.

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