How To Raise Composting Worms In Basement

 How To Raise Composting Worms In Basement

This is the fifth time I've tried raising compost worms. However, this is the first successful worm farm. The past four times I tried to vermicompost my garden, either a mass exodus of worms fled the severe circumstances in the garbage bin or a mass worm death occurred because they were unable to leave the conditions in the bin.

I consider my current cake a success, even though I managed to keep it for a year. In addition, I've done three worm castings in the past year, and my worm population has increased to the point that I need to divide my box in half if I want the worms to keep multiplying.

How I made my worm bed 

Although there are many styles of ready-made bug beds and boxes for sale commercially, I chose to make my own from an 18-gallon storage bag that I no longer use.

I started my worm bed by drilling about 50 holes 5mm by 10mm in the tote cover for air circulation. Then, about 2 inches from the top of my bust, I drilled about 20 more 10mm holes all the way around the bust. After making all the air holes, I washed and scrubbed the cover with warm soapy water and left it to dry while I made the bed.

The materials I use for bedding for compost worms.

Like compost bins, bedding, bedding is available commercially, but I make my own for a fraction of the cost. The only procured material in my bedding recipe is coconut. Cardboard, newspapers, junk mail, paper towel tubes, toilet paper, and brown paper grocery bags make up the remaining elements.

How do I make my own compost worm bed?

1 - 1.2 lb brick of coconut
1 pound leaf products, grated.
1 pound of shredded carton products
2 gallons of rainwater or dechlorinated water.
Mix coconut, paper and cardboard in a large bowl.
Add water and let everything soak for at least an hour.
Take out a handful of bedding material and stack it in the worm bin until the prepared bedding is 4 to 6 inches deep. A handful of bedding should be the consistency of a squishy foam.

When I introduce bugs to a new bed.

When I make a batch of new bedding for compost worms, I always do it at least a week in advance. Allowing bedtime to settle into microbial life is a very important step because the worms need these microbes to survive.
I keep my bedding damp, but not wet unless it smells bad, or I see mold growing in the bedding. These indicate to me that the microbe colonies required to maintain my worms are mature enough.

How do I introduce insects to a new bed?

I like my insects to feel as much pressure as possible to keep the population healthy and growing. Instead of burying them in the bed, I like to scatter them on top and use an overhead light to encourage them to find a way to land in it. The box is placed under light for 12 hours or longer to prevent any insects from crawling up the sides of the box and out in search of their new home. Then put the lid back on and let them rest for 24 to 48 hours before feeding them for the first time.

How do I create a feeding schedule for my worms?

I started my crate with half a pound of European nightjars, which can eat about half their body weight in organic matter per day.

In light of this, I began giving them 3 pounds of food every 5 days.

That's about 1/2 pound more than I can eat at the moment, but it's an easy way for me to keep track of the bug population in my trash. Every 5 days when feeding time came back, I would remove what was left of the previous feed, and feed the insects the new feed in a different place in the box. As the worm population grows, the amount of old food removed each week decreases, until a point is reached where they eat everything between meals.

When the worms get to the point where they eat everything between meals, it's time to feed them up to half a pound and remove leftovers between meals.

I have cycled this schedule in my box for over a year and in about 11 months my mite count has dropped. I feed them 8 lbs every 5 days and take out about 1/2 lb each time. This means I have about 3 1/2 pounds of worms in my box, and if I want them to stick to eating more than they have now, I'll have to separate them out and make another box.

How I Harvest Worm Castings

There are many ways to separate compost worms from their castings but for a small box like mine I use a wire mesh basket with 1/4 inch holes. I shake a basket full of worm and casting-filled beds over a container to collect the castings while I sift through the grate. Some bugs will pass through the net but these can easily be removed and added to the box along with anything else that is not too small to pass through the net.

Raising compost worms is a rewarding experience.

This is by no means a complete guide to raising composting worms. These are the general guidelines I have followed over the past year that have helped me succeed in my personal growth. And by following these guidelines in the past year, I've been able to help reduce the amount of waste I pay to send to the landfill, creating 60 pounds of compost for my garden. Go sell it and make a little money. Hunters, and ordinary just enjoy watching them grow.

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