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How to Use Composting Worms

By: Sarah O'Hara BA (hons) - Updated: 6 Apr 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Compost Worms Worm Composting Composting

Did you know that the majority of organic waste can be recycled by worms?You can create your own worm composting system which will be able to change up to 70% of your household waste into compost which will benefit your garden and lawn.

How to make a worm composting bin
To make a worm composter, you’ll need:

  • A short, wide plastic bin
  • A drill
  • Sand/gravel
  • Damp, shredded newspaper or straw (for bedding material)
  • Compost worms. You need 1,000 to 2,000

Step one: First you need to drill a holes in the bottom and top of the bin.

Step two: Put up to 10cm of gravel (or sand) in the base of the bin..

Step three: Next, add some of the bedding material (Newspaper or straw).

Step four: Put the worms in a space in the bedding material and add some more bedding on top.

What next?

You can keep the worm composting bin outside but if the temperature drops below 40ºFahrenheit, you’ll need to bring the bin inside. You can keep it in a shed or garage, for example.

Worms can eat foods such as:

  • Used coffee grounds and tea bags
  • Fruit and veg, and their peelings (Not cooked potatoes)
  • Cereal
  • Bread
  • Leaves
  • Horse/cow manure
  • Egg shells

They can’t eat foods such as:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Oily foods
  • Dairy
  • Rice/pasta
  • Grass
  • Potatoes
  • Cat/dog faeces

You need to distribute the food within the worm bedding. Feed the worms gradually at first. Don’t add more food waste until the previous food has almost all gone. You may need to experiment with the number of worms if you are generating a lot of food waste.

As the bin generates new worms, you’ll be able to add more food.

After around 10 weeks, you’ll be able to remove the finished compost and add it to your garden. Firstly, shift the finished compost to one side of the bin and on the other side where the new space is, add fresh bedding and food waste. Once the worms move over to the clean bedding, you’ll be able to harvest the finished compost.

Worm composting problems

Here are some common problems experienced by worm composters and how to avoid or rectify them.

Bin smells
If the bin smells, it may be that there is not enough air, so try adding more air holes. It may also be that there is too much food so ensure that the food is being eaten before you add more. This problem can also be caused by the mixture being too wet so try adding more bedding that is damp (not wet).

Fruit flies
Fruit flies aren’t dangerous but they are a nuisance. This problem is mainly caused by the food being exposed. Make sure that when you add food, you bury it well in the bedding.

Dying worms
If the worms are dying, check that the bedding is not too wet or dry. Also, make sure that there is enough bedding. If there is no bedding, you need to harvest the compost and add fresh bedding.

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its very useful information for me on green waste
sham - 6-Apr-13 @ 7:56 AM
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