Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Worms Crawl In the Worms Crawl Out

Its a rainy NY day. The kids have left for school, Jim's still sleeping (he's working nights this week) and I'm typing by the light of the monitor while I sip my coffee. Even the dogs are still sleeping! If I didn't have to teach a class at 10:00, I swear I might go back to bed as well!

There are projects that I get so involved in that need to be set aside for one reason or another. Time passes and you begin to wonder, what ever happened with the...indoor worm bin?

We ran into some major compost problems this past summer. The main problem revolved around a humungous beehive that got built inside my outdoor compost heap. Since we were away for the summer and Jim was living off of food I prepared and froze, no one was going near the bin for all of June and July. By the time Jim noticed the swarming bees we were in big trouble. Although I despise pesticides, we had to use a combination of them and boiling water to finally end the problem.

You may be thinking why not just wait it out and deal with it in the colder weather? Unfortunately, this compost heap was conviently located about 6 feet from my garage door and 20 feet from my back door. With my kids running in and out constantly, it wasn't worth the risk.

The worm bins, on the other hand, were less eventful. Those little buggers just plod along, working their way through whatever you give them. The trick is, you have to stop filling the bin once its full. I know that sounds idiotic but I also know I'm not the only one who's tempted to fit just a little bit more in! (I'm like that with the washing machine too. I really have to resist the urge to add just one more shirt!)

We had begun composting the guinea pig bedding in the worm bin and I was curious to see how that went. (Yes I confess, I had definitely overfilled it. I had packed in guinea pig turd encrusted newspapers all the way up to the lid. I'm a bad worm mommy. I need a support group where I can go in and say, "Hi, my name is Katie and I'm an overfiller.") After two months of no peeking, the results were amazing. The bedding is gone, just a few canteloupe rind remnants remain. I'll be putting some of this compost on my rather anemic looking houseplants later today.

BTW, the reason over filling the bin is a bad idea is because when the organic matter gets so too abundant and the worms can't keep up, you get bugs. Bugs in the worm bin generally escape into the room, which makes everyone who comes in contact with them think worm bins are disgusting.


James said...

Way to go!

I just got my worms about 2 weeks ago for my very first worm bin. Those little guys/gals, uh, boths are something else. They are chewing through our scraps and the cardboard bedding I moistened for them really well. My only problem so far is that there seems to be some fungus growing on the top of the bedding. This really isn't bothering the worms, but it sure does bother me when I open it up to put in more scraps.

I made my worm bins for about $15. Using 3, 10 gallon containers, with holes punched in the bottom and sides for air. Only a couple of worms have tried to escape, but were caught by the bottom bin.

Check out this link:

Anyway, great luck with the next batch of bedding in the worm bin.
(You can make more worm bins!)

mollyjade said...

How often do you feed the worms? I've built myself a bin, but havent' gotten the worms yet. I frequently am out of town for more than a week at at time, and I don't want them to starve.

Katie said...

Boths, so true, yet so funny! That's a great link. My indoor bin is made of 2, 10 gallon containers but they are nested inside each other. I like your design a bit better. Fortunately, I could easily convert my style into yours.

I agree the inside of a worm bin isn't the most glamourous place to visit (I've had the fuzzy fungus stuff too) but it does seem to bother us much more than it bothers them.

Good luck with your worm bins as well!


I generally put scraps in the bin every day for a couple of days and then have to take a break because as a vegetarian family of 6, we generate a huge amount of vegetable trimmings/scraps.

I don't think they would starve by not being fed for a week. Check out the link James left for more info. Another great resource is Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelhof.