Today's video from http://www.GardeningVids.com will step you through how to construct a worm compost bin from an inexpensive bin (or tote), using a drill, some duct tape and an old wash cloth.
I also used some coconut coir, and a little bit of water. The bin turned out nice, and took me about 30 minutes (counting the video time) to build.
WARNING: Do NOT let the box of worms sit in direct sunlight. Open the bag immediately upon arrival and pour 1/2 a cup of water on your worms to begin the re-hydration process.
Adding Red Wigglers to your lawn, garden or compost bin or pile is one of the smartest and most environmentally friendly things you'll ever do. Why? Because their castings are one of the finest plant nutrients: 7 times richer in phosphates, 5 times richer in nitrogen and 11 times richer in potash than the average lawn soil. On average, each worm will produce their body weight in casting every day they are in your garden!
A worm compost bin will allow you to recycle your kitchen scraps into a nutrient dense potting soil you can use in your containers, raised bed garden or as an amendment to your regular garden.
NOTE: Worm Composting is also called Vermicomposting, and is a process that relies on earthworms and microorganisms to help stabilize active organic materials and convert them to a valuable soil amendment and source of plant nutrients.
Taken not just from the worm packaging, but gathered from across the web, these are the frequently asked questions, and their most reliable answers.
Worms should be introduced into their new environment as soon as you can. Just place them in the center of your garden, worm compost bin, or compost pile and sprinkle with water. Cover them with a moist newspaper, peat moss or top soil.
Loosen the soil of about 18 square inches in the center of the garden/lawn area you want them in. Dump the whole bag of worms within that area. DO NOT spread them out! Cover with a wet newspaper. The worms will naturally disperse themselves throughout the area, within 24 to 48 hours.
Red wigglers (the type that Uncle Jim sells from his worm farm), thrive best in colonies.
Worms are shipped in bone dry peat moss to absorb all moisture during shipment. This helps keep the worms from freezing in the winter and, interestingly enough, keeps them from over-heating in the summer. The worms can lose up to 70% of their body mass and weight during a 3 - 5 day trip through the mail.
Don't be alarmed, this is normal and the worms bounce back within a couple of days once settled into their new home.
You probably did nothing wrong. For the first few days after shipment, your worms will be restless and busy. We recommend placing a light directly over the open bin for the first 24 hours.
Worms don't like light and will be forced to burrow deeper into the bedding to escape, resulting in an accelerated adapting period.
Temperature is also important. In the wild, worms can move through the soil to find a temperature that suits them. Remember, worms in a bin can't seek out their comfort, they rely on you to ensure their environment is healthy.
Quick answer, worms can double their population every 90 days.
Longer answer, worms are hermaphroditic -- each one has both male and female parts. Generally speaking however, it still takes two to make babies. Sparse populations of worms may be slow to reproduce, but as a general rule, a worm at least 60 days old can find a mate and produce a cocoon that contains an average of four babies.
Typically, a population of composting worms doubles every three to six months. Under ideal conditions as few as eight worms can become 1,500 worms in only six months, according to the Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension.
Red wrigglers can eat anywhere from 50 to 100 percent of their body weight in food, every single day.
They will eat their way through most kinds of kitchen scraps, including greens, coffee grounds, grains and fruit. Worms will also consume newspaper, but most colored inks aren’t good for them, so remove those before giving them any paper. Feed them about 1 pound of food for every 1/2 pound of adult worms.
If they eat it all in less than a day, give them more; if the food starts to go bad before it’s completely gone, give them less.
Probably not much if you are using a bin. The moisture from the food compost you add will probably keep it moist. Perhaps too moist.
The contents in your worm farm should feel like a damp sponge. If it is too dry, a spray of water should provide the moisture needed to keep worms in a stable environment. If your worm bin collects rain, your worms could drown. Move it into a more sheltered position and add shredded newspaper to absorb excess water.
No, you can't. Worms (like most things in the wild) will naturally lay less eggs as their population becomes too dense within a specific area.
You can ramp up production again, by splitting the colony in half (separate bins) and ramping up their feeding schedule again.