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How much air do worms need?

Posted by kivasgrandma CA Cntrl Coast (My Page) on
Mon, Nov 26, 12 at 14:28

Hello all,
I'm new to worm farming and this forum. I hope to get some helpful advice from you all.

Over the weekend I put together a homemade worm bin. I have a lot of mesh bottomed nursery trays -- the kind that flats of six-pack plants come in. The trays are rectangular about 11"x22" and maybe 2" tall. They are molded plastic with an open mesh bottom. My idea was that I would use these for the worm trays and make a stacking bin sort of like the Can-O-Worms system.

I found an ice chest at the local Goodwill -- the kind you would take camping -- that is exactly the right size to fit the nursery trays into. (I have to say that I was Very Excited to see how well they fit!). I drilled about 30 holes 1/8" diameter in the sides of the cooler. Now I have a nice insulated box to keep my worms in. The worm juice will be caught in the bottom of the cooler where I can use the handy drain to pour it out. The lid will keep the rain off and the critters out. I have it parked in the shade, since the sun can be quite hot here in California, even in winter.

I have filled up my first tray with partly finished compost, kitchen scraps and willow leaves. I loaded in some worms from a friend's bin.

But now I am having doubts that the worms will get enough air through just 30 little holes. Can you tell me how much air the little guys need?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: How much air do worms need?

I don't think we know the exact answer to your question. I flip my plastic bin to get oxygen under the bedding, like once per a month or two. I also have four holes at bottom. I suggest opening that drain all time for extra air if you won't drill bottom, if possible.

Best thing you can do at this point is just observe and see how the worms like your prepared bin, then add holes here and there if they don't.

I worry about insulation though, especially in summer. I hope you'll know what to do when the bin is too hot for worms.

RE: How much air do worms need?

Welcome to vermicomposting! You have a great "re-use" attitude I love.
More air is much better. Worms are tough and can survive a variety of conditions, but need more air than you are providing to thrive. At a minimum youshould replace the lid with something that breathes. Maybe an old window screen with a piece of scrap plywood on top. More holes will also help.
I am on the northern Ca. coast and all my worms are outside on the ground with lots of air movement. If you have an outdoor area you could vermicompost there with ease in your climate.
Good luck! Pete

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