Articles, How-To's, And Support
Caring For Your Worms
Create an environment that will make your worms thrive! Worms need bedding, an area that they can go away from food and hang out. Put this on the bottom of your bin. It can be damp peat moss, shredded newspaper, shredded cardboard, or coir (coconut husk).
Feedstock can be anything that is or ever was food. For home composting it can be plate scrapings, leftovers, fruits and vegetables (rotten or not) coffee ground with the filter, tea bags, etc. For large scale operations composted horse and cow manure are your cheapest and best sources. At most stables they will gladly fill your pickup with their equipment. Some worm farmers make extra income by charging a tipping fee for letting the stable owners the privilege to dump the manure on your property.
Be sure to turn the compost over every three days and keep moist, but not so wet that it becomes anaerobic. You want your manure pile to be aerobic which means that it is composting with oxygen breathing bacteria. if you get your pile too wet it will become anaerobic, meaning that non oxygen breathing bacteria will flourish. If you get a sour or sewer smell, you are anaerobic and need to let it dry.
You will want to keep your bin 75% moist. If you are like most people that means that you have no idea what that means, and will go to Wal-Mart and get a soil moisture meter. Save your money and time. I bought a moisture meter, and when it read 120% moisture, I knew it wasn't accurate, so I bought another brand. It was no better. I had a friend bring his over, another brand, another reading.
The most accurate way to check the moisture is to pick up a handful off the top of your bin and squeeze hard. If you get one or two drops you are at about 80% moisture. This is where most worm growers say is the ideal moisture content. While it is okay, I keep mine slightly less moist, as I seem to get better worm growth.
Another trick I use which is not in any of the worm books is to cover 75% of the top of the surface with black plastic film. This can be a trash bag, but I prefer thicker plastic, 6 or 8 mil, as it is a little stiffer and makes taking it off and putting it on easier.
Wiggley Field Worm Fattener
The first question you have to ask is "Why do I want fatter worms?" If you are using worms for fishing bait it makes sense to have larger worms. If you are using worms only for composting, it is to no advantage to have larger worms. Worms will multiply to a given weight per square foot of worm bed space based on the conditions of their environment. If you are able to grow worms at 2 lbs per square foot of bed space and you feed your worms fattener, you will have fewer, larger worms.
That being said, if you want a good worm fattener, here is a recipe that works:
5 containers chicken layer pellets (ground)
4 containers rabbit pellets (ground)
3 containers corn or corn screenings (ground)
2 containers bran (wheat or rice)
1 container powdered milk
1 container agricultural lime
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