Trouble Shooting - Worm Composters
Worms are an efficient way to quickly compost a variety of food and other organic scraps found around the home. In nature worms are natural composters found in fields and on forest floors.
Red wiggler worms are the preferred worm for vermicomposting. Common earthworms are not good for compost bins. They burrow with their food before they eat and prefer to live deep underground. Red wiggler worms live 6"-12" from the surface and eat on the go which makes them ideal for compost trays. Red wigglers also reproduce faster and can thrive in a larger temperature range than common earthworms.
Things To Remember
- Do not overfeed. Excess food creates excess water which will slow down the composting process and reduce the worm population.
- Always bury your food scraps. The worms will find the food faster if it is buried .
- In order for the worms to migrate upwards stop feeding in the lower tray and add food to the upper tray only. The bedding in the lower tray will need to contact the migration channels in the upper tray to allow the worms to relocate.
- Drain reservoir base as necessary.
- To speed the process you can create a slurry of food scraps in your blender mixed with equal parts fiber (newsprint, napkins, etc)
- Add a small amount of baking yeast to the surface of the tray. Yeast contains vitamins for healthy worms.
- Your composter should be placed in a covered location that is not too hot. If people are comfortable then the worms should be too. On hot days make sure the bedding stays moist.
Managing Moisture and Airflow
Keeping a balanced moisture level is critical to healthy reproductive worms.
The Squeeze Test. Take a handful of compost material and squeeze it as hard as you can with both hands. If a few drops of water escape between your fingers you have an ideal moisture level. A stream of water indicates the mix is too wet. Any less and it is too dry.
If your Living Composter is too wet. Add dry fibers such as coconut coir, peat moss, shredded paper, cardboard, etc to absorb the excess moisture.
If your Living Composter is too dry. Recycle water from the reservoir base or spray with a small amount of fresh water.