So you’ve decided you want to start your worm farm. You’ve purchased (or made) a new home for your worms, and everything is set up and ready to go. The good thing is, worms are pretty low maintenance creatures. They do pretty well if they are nearly neglected. As long as the conditions are just right your worms will thrive. The bigger the bin the easier it will be to maintain. Here 1are 10 quick tips to keep in mind, when learning how to maintain a worm farm.
Table of Contents
1. Ensure your worm bin has good drainage
the holes at the bottom of your worm bin can clog very easily. If your worm bin is outside in the rain keeping the drainage holes at the bottom of the bin clear to avoid the bin flooding is also important. If you are in doubt, add more drain holes. If you’ve made the bin yourself out of a storage container you should add more holes to the middle of the bin as the middle tends to sag with prolonged use.
If you aren’t seeing any liquid draining out of the bottom of the container you should definitely check to make sure the water isn’t staying in the bin.
2. Keep your worm bin moist, but not wet
The moisture in your worm bin needs to be just right. Worms breathe through their skin. If it’s too dry the worms will become dehydrated and die. If it’s too wet they won’t get enough air to breathe and could drown. when the worm bin is too wet, it can also become anaerobic which is also bad for the worms.
3. Don’t overfeed your worms
This is the number one mistake most people make with their first bin. Yes, worms eat their weight in a day but a large portion of that is going to be bedding. If you add too much food, especially in a small bin you can kill your worms. The food can heat up, raising the temperature of the bin and making it uncomfortable for your worms. Or, the bin can become acidic again, making it uncomfortable for your worms. a good rule of thumb is not to add more food than your worms can consume in a month.
4. Every time you feed your worms, add bedding
You can never have too much bedding. Adding some bedding, placing the food on top and then adding more bedding to cover it is a good habit to develop. The bedding at the bottom will absorb the water that comes out as the food breaks down. The bedding on the top will stop fruit flies from being attracted to the food in your bin.
5. Ensure your worm bin has good airflow
This is especially important when you are first relocating your worms. When moving your worms into a new environment they may take a little while to get acclimatised. For the first couple of nights, it may be worth it to keep a fan on in this case.
If you purchased a worm farm keeping a couple of empty trays on so that system has more air circulating is a good idea. If the worms seem to be crawling up into the empty trays, you can try drilling some holes on top to get the air circulating.
6. Secure the airholes of your worm bin
You want the air holes to let air in but keep bugs out. If you are using large air holes using mosquito netting on the inside of your bin is a great way to keep the air in, but the bugs out.
7. Worms love coffee grounds
Worms love coffee grounds. Maybe it’s the leftover caffeine mixes with the high levels of nitrogen? I am not sure. The worms will move into a handful of coffee grounds pretty quickly and don’t cause the overfeeding problems we get with food waste. Learning this about raising earthworms really makes me wonder if one of the men in black writers moonlit as a worm farmer.
Another benefit to adding coffee grounds is that it makes roaches very ‘uncomfortable’. Roaches don’t like the smell of coffee grounds. This one works for regular composting as well.
8. Add eggshells to your worm bin
Eggshells can act as a natural buffer to help manage pH. The worms can also consume the eggshells and use them as grit. Some worm farmers claims using eggshells make worms multiply faster but I cannot confirm if this is true or not.
When adding eggshells it should be in the form of a powder (as shown below). Simply crushing the eggshells and putting them in the bin isn’t going to make any difference to your worm farm.
9. Keep your worm bin in the dark
It should go without saying that earthworms don’t like a lot of light. This is why nobody sells clear worm bins (and if you do happen to see a clear one you shouldn’t buy it. if you can keep your worm bin out of direct sunlight, like in a garage, in a cupboard or under the sink your worms will be much happier for it.
10. Harvest the castings from your worm bin when they are ready
I am pretty sure no animal wants to crawl around in their excrement all day and worms are not different. This is why in tiered bins the worms will leave the bottom tray full of worm castings and move into a tray with primarily bleeding and food. Leaving your worms to swim around in their own faces is a bit cruel. when your castings are ready, please don’t forget to harvest them.
Managing your worm bin should be a fun activity. If you have kids, this is a great way to teach them about the environment and give them some responsibility. If you need something more in-depth. you can check out our article on worm farming for beginners. If you’re just starting be sure to keep these tips handy so you can refer back to them if you need to.
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