Yep you read it right…I’ve got worms! Not the kind you are thinking of, but these guys:
Those folks are Red Wigglers or more affectionately called “Reds” at least by the guy at Bass Pro Shop. These guys are great for composting all of your organic trash and biodegradable things. They break it down by eating all the time. The result: Wonderful food for flowers, veggies, herbs…anything green. Yea I know that it all comes from their poop and pee and maybe that’s a little gross but…if it makes my food happy enough to feeds me later why not?
So Matt and I went to Bass Pro Shop and bought 60 fishing ‘Wigglers” for our compost pile. Here is what we used for ours:
A 25 gallon plastic tub with a top to keep all the rain and sunshine out (they are kind of like vampires…they hate the sunlight!)
Top soil (cheap cause I’m cheap)
Organic trash (banana peels, tops of carrots…you know everything you don’t actually eat but is actually eatable.)
We wanted to start small that’s why we chose only a 25 Gallon plastic tub. But you can go as big as you want! First we drilled some holes all the way around the lip of the container so that they can breathe. Then we drilled two small holes at the bottom edge. Why you ask? Well they also produce this amazing juice. Yuck right? But wait! Not so fast. This stuff is awesome to water your plants with! Seriously they love it! Matt built a cool little table for my compost bin to sit on so that I could place a 5 gallon paint bucket under the holes to catch this great stuff. Once we drilled our holes we put the top soil in. Then the worms. Then the trash. Now, I have read some articles that say you can add some meat and bones to your compost. I have no intention of doing that however. Worms totally prefer rotted veggies and fruits to rotting flesh and bone. Another thing to remember is keep the dirt moist! It keeps your worms very happy. 🙂 But don’t over water them! For instance, the dirt we bought was already wet so we didn’t add any water to it until today almost a week later. Even then we only sprayed it lightly. How much to feed them? Welllllll that depends on how many worms. I’ve read that they eat their body weight and sometimes more in food. So if you have a pound of worms then they will eat a pound of food a day. Just keep an eye on how quickly they make the food disappear. If it starts to stink stop putting food in there! Give them a chance to eat what they already have. Yea learned that already.
As far as how many worms to get goes…I have no idea! 60 seemed a good start. They reproduce…umm…a lot! So 60 will soon turn into many many more. Who wants to go fishin’ eh?
Anyway I’ve been told that once a month you need to pour all of your dirt and worms onto some sort of smooth surface like a large piece of ply wood or sheet of metal. The best time is when the sun is high because it causes your worms to go to the middle of the pile where its the darkest. The purpose of this is to harvest their poop. Ew! I lost ya didn’t I? Once again this stuff is great for your plants! Once you separate the poop from the dirt (I’ve heard that you can tell the difference once it dries a little) Then you go after your worms. Time to weigh them all to make sure that your bin isn’t getting too populated. What to do with the extra worms? Take ’em fishin’!
Also be sure to keep your compost in the shade and consider moving it into a shed or garage on the really hot days. Remember worms like it dark, cool, and plenty of food. Also don’t worry about them leaving their new home. As long as there is plenty of food, water, and dirt they will stay put!
Do you have a compost pile? How did it go? Please comment!