Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Worm Update

The worm composting had been going really well. They were eating my food scraps regularly, they didn't smell, and I was looking forward to having wonderfully rich compost for my plants in a month or two.

And then things went horribly wrong. First it was some small little white things in the bin. See them in the bottom corner there? Still not sure what they were/are.

Then the worms weren't eating quite as much as they used to.

Then it started to smell. Bad. Really bad. I babysit a lot and I've changed more than my fair share of nasty diapers. This was worse. Gagging was an involuntary response if you opened the bin even a tiny little bit.
I got on and got some advice. Apparently I was overfeeding and not putting in enough bedding for the worms to get away from the rotting food.

Someone recommended that I take out half of the rotting food and put it in my outdoor compost bin - since my landlord lets us have one. Then go out and purchase some peat moss - since I have lots of extra money. Then he said I should collect some dry, dead leaves, crumble them and layer it in - since dry leaves are so abundant in March and in my giant yard.

I shredded some more newspaper at work and overloaded the worm bin with it. The photo below is actually before I added the paper. Imagine the bin with about 150% more paper shreds in it.

A few days later they seem to be happier. The smell isn't 100% gone, but it's back in the house and doesn't smell if the lid is on. And the paper is slowly being moistened from the bottom and the worms are escaping into it.


  1. I think you're brave for even trying, kudos

  2. Yeah, sounds like it went a little anaerobic! Hope your wormies feel (and smell) better soon.

  3. I grow worms for my tropical fish. Strips of cardboard stacked side by side with the straws up works better for me than paper which packs and creates a soggy mess. The worms eat the cardboard and the glue in the cardboard. As it breaks down, add more. I put my veggie waste outside into a steel trash can with holes I drilled for drainage. The steel can prevents problems from rats, gasp! The small holes in previous plastic cans miraculously grew to just the size needed to be rat tunnels!!

  4. I purchased 2000 worms about a month ago...I hope to harvest some good stuff by June. My bin is outdoors and I had a red ant infestation (and I mean lots of them!). I read around that if I had ants in my bin, then it was too dry. So I put about a quart of water in the bin and within two days they were gone. What a relief it was!!! Good luck with your wormies!

  5. I saw a fellow at the farmer's market selling vermiculture screenings for around $2/lb! Have you thought about quitting your day job? The stuff is black gold!