Filling the worm bin
had a stroke of genius when he thought of buying
local worms from craigslist. Not only did we get
more worms for our money (I estimate we came away with about nine
pounds of worms for $140), but they also probably got stressed very
little during their ride down the interstate. Sealed up tight in
their five gallon buckets, the worms stayed damp and dark, and I
suspect we won't see the lag time you often have to wait through before
mail order worms get to work.
I've been shredding
all of our non-glossy paper (and non-corrugated
cardboard) waste for about a month now, so the first step was to soak
the new bedding. We decided to put this worm bin out where we
park our cars so that we wouldn't have to haul the scraps half a mile
down our swampy driveway in wet weather. We'll still have to haul
out the paper and haul in the worm castings, but those bits of organic
matter are less perishable, so we can bide our time and wait on the
weather. Unfortunately, we don't have running water out at the
parking area, so I carried a bucket up from the creek, already
envisioning ways to capture rainwater out there to make this stage in
the process easier.
Since our worms came in
nearly-finished worm castings, we just dumped the mixture into one end
of the worm bin rather than mixing our livestock into fresh
bedding. The worms will have no problem migrating to the new
bedding once we add
food waste, and I suspect that leaving them in their native bedding
will speed up the acclimation process even more.
With nine pounds of
worms already prepared to work, I plan to start out by adding 30 to 60
pounds of food scraps to the bin each week, adding more food waste over
time as the populations grow. The only flaw in the plan is that
my sodden paper shrank down to a much smaller volume than I anticipated
--- I figure there's only enough there now to cover up perhaps ten
pounds of food waste. We're going to have to hurry up and find
another source of waste paper!
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