Worm bin set up and feed your Worms

One to two pounds of worms will be comfortable in a bin 2′ x 3′ or an 18 – 20 gallon container. One pound of worms contains anywhere from 650 to 2,500 worms. Your red wigglers may lose up to one third of their body weight during shipping but they will quickly gain it back. Under proper conditions worms can consume up to 1/2 their body weight each day, regardless of their size. The worms do all the work – you just feed them! Remember not to feed the worms any meat, citrus or dairy products as well limiting anything excessively oily. The oil will clog their skin and they will be unable to breathe.

1. CREATE YOUR BIN

Indoor bins: Punch or drill ¼” holes on all four sides of the bin. Worms need air! If you are setting up a double bin (one bin inside another), you will also need holes in the bottom of the top bin and something to separate the two bins such as flower pots or empty plastic bottles. Do not be conservative with the bottom holes – 15 – 20 holes will be adequate. These bottom holes will allow for drainage of excess moisture so the bin is less likely to become anaerobic. If you are not using the double bin setup you can pass on the bottom holes but will need to monitor your moisture content more frequently and carefully.

Outdoor bins: The worms will survive the winter if there is no bottom. The worms go deeper into the ground and then will come back up again in the spring. If you add items like the vacuum cleaner bag, dryer lint, wool or cotton items, it will keep the worms warm in the winter and insulate them from the cold temperatures.

2. MAKE A BED FOR THE WORMS

Using any combination of shredded newspaper, paper, or cardboard and coconut coir, or peat moss, make a bed in the bottom 4-6 inches of the bin. Throw in a handful or two of “dirt.” The dirt provides grit to break down the food in the worm’s gizzard. Do not put shovelfuls of dirt in as the worms will not eat it. Dampen the bedding with water until it reaches the consistency of a wet sponge.

3. PUT THE WORMS IN THE BIN AND FEED THEM

Place the worms in the bin. Make several pockets in the bedding and put in the vegetable scraps, spoiled fruits (few if any citrus-don’t want to much acid), coffee grounds, tea bags, crunched egg shells, or whatever you have. Outdoors or indoors you can use leaves . DO NOT put in meat, fat, oily foods, dairy products, tin foil, plastic, or metal — that stuff is just not appropriate for the worms. If you are using a purchased compost bin outdoors, put the worms on top of the bedding and scraps and they will find their way to a comfortable spot. For outdoor compost piles — add worms directly to the outer edge. The worms will find a comfortable place to live. Be sure to keep the pile and bins moist.

4. COVERING THE BIN

Add food whenever you have it, remembering that one pound of adult worms can eat a half-pound a day. Check the moisture from time to time to be sure they are not too wet or too dry. Cover the food in the bin with shredded newspaper moistened and then place a cover on the bin if you want — however, it is not necessary.

Making your own double bin