The Worms Are Coming!

EEEKKKK! 

Yes, that was a squeal of delight! A squeal of anticipation! I am picking up my red wriggler vermicomposting worms next week!

In preparation for their arrival, I have to set up the bin in which these little guys will live. It requires a bit of forethought. Allow me to explain:

Step 1: Get a bin (with a lid) that has a decent amount of surface area. A bucket with a lid will not do - it doesn't have great surface area. Ideally, this bin would be pretty shallow. Also, the bin needs to be pretty durable and not allow too much light to pass through.

I thought to myself, "Self, you need to take a trip to Dollar General and pick up a Rubbermaid tote."

But I really didn't want to spend any money on the start-up, especially since I am getting these worms for free from my local Iowa State University Extension Office. (They have a surplus of worms, and because I know a few contacts at the Office thanks to my Homegrown Lifestyle course, I was able to get the hookup.)

The same morning that I got word the worms were ready to be picked up in a few days, I noticed something in my classroom.

See it?


Yep. There are three totes on top of that cabinet. They are about half full, holding seasonal classroom decorations.


You can bet your ass that I condensed those totes so I can use the tote on the bottom-left as my vermicompost bin.



Step 2: I drilled holes in the lid of the bin and toward the top of the sides of the bin. Aeration is important. (Warning: Photos from here on out are from John...)










On that note, my mom and dad ridiculed me for even wanting a vermicompost system, claiming it would stink and attract vermin. However, after some research I found that as long as I place materials that can be consumed by the worms (more on that later) in a manageable amount, and keep the materials slightly moist, there should be no odor. The worms will take care of it all!




Step 3: Collect materials to be consumed by the worms, such as shredded newspaper (nothing glossy!), shredded cardboard, aged straw, leaves, moist food scraps (no human/animal waste, no dairy, meats, oils, grease, or non-biodegradable), even napkins and paper towels (use common sense, here). The food scraps might keep the mixture slightly moist, otherwise a few quick squirts of water will do the trick.

I spent a few minutes one evening tearing up newspaper.

I also get a little love from the pooches.



I was advised by the staffer at the ISUEO to have all of this ready to go before I get the worms. This will give the materials a chance to start decomposing on their own. I read that worms actually like the materials to be slightly "old", because the fresher the scraps, the longer it takes for the worms to break down. Makes sense, right?


There you have it.

I'm ready to welcome home red wriggler vermicomposting worms.

Over and out.


9 comments:

  1. Congrats on the wrigglers! You're going to love them, and the definitely DO NOT stink!
    Maybe you'd be interested in this post I wrote about making a bin system with totes very similar to the one you found: http://theselightfootsteps.com/2012/02/28/beginners-worm-composting/

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    1. I checked out your post - nice work! How is your multi-level system working? I've followed the same basic steps, so hopefully I will find success!

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  2. I want to make a compost bin too! It has been on my list for a few years and I still haven't done anything about it. Are you keeping it outside when you are done?? If so, how stinky could it be??

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    1. Alison - we live in Iowa, so we can't keep them outside during the winter. I plan to keep them in our basement or in the heated portion of our garage in the winter, and outside our back door in the spring/summer/fall. I did a lot of reading about the smell, and actually found out that vermicomposting does NOT smell as long as you carefully watch what you put into the bin, and make sure to keep the contents moist enough for the worms to digest the material. Try it out! You can probably start up for free if you find someone to give up a few of their worms!

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  3. Thanks for sharing this on The HomeAcre Hop!!! Can't wait to see what you share this coming Thursday :) Here's the super easy link to the next hop!
    http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/02/the-homeacre-hop-8.html

    If you haven't checked out Wildcrafing Wednesday yet, please do! :) It's a hop I co-host for herbal remedies, natural living, real food recipes, and self sufficient living. Here's the link for tomorrow's hop:
    http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/02/wildcrafting-wednesday-10.html

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    1. Thanks, Lisa Lynn! I'll check it out and won't forget to link back to the Hop this time.

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  4. I want to thank you for such great information on making my own worm bins. I would never have thought of this on my own. Now I am going to get totes and begin. I hope to order wors next week. A big thanks goes out to you.

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  5. I share your excitement! I am getting a shipment of worms sent out on Monday. I have decided I am going to go with the European Night-crawlers. They are great composters and great for fishing. My worm bin is outdoors so I will need to insulate next winter. I am a fairly new blogger at

    http://doublelsgarden.blogspot.com/

    Thanks for sharing your worm plans!

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    Replies
    1. COOL! Please, please, please share on your blog! I am a new to vermicomposting, so I'd probably benefit from hearing from another perspective.

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