Building Worm Bedding - Part 1
Video from our TikTok Live on how to build worm bedding.
Note: Bedding does not need to be this deep. Usually around 4" is suggested. We wanted to make sure that the layers thicker and visible for the video.
You Received Your Worms - Now What?
A bin is simply the "house" that will hold your worms. This can be as simple as a small plastic container, a commercial worm farm such as the "Worm Factory", a beautiful wine barrel, or even your garden bed!
Building Your Bin
Some Tips from the Pros
Things Sometimes Go Wrong - Here's Help
If you have ambitions of gardening with worms... this section is for you.
Time is of the essence! Hopefully, by the time you receive your worms (3-5 business days from time of order) you have a bin established. If not, please do this now! Please review the sections below for help with this.
Step 1 - Open your package immediately and verify that there are no smells or dead worms. *If there are dead worms, please contact us and we'll work with you to make it right.
*If Bedding is not ready: If your bin is not complete, please place your worms with lid off (temporarily) in a Cool Place. Inside (60-80 degrees) and not in direct sunlight should be fine. As long as worms and bedding inside your container is room temperature, then you can place your lid back on. Please don't leave your worms in the shipping container, these worms need more bedding, food, and moisture.
Step 2 - Release Your Worms ASAP! Your Bedding should be very moist at time of release. Worms breathe through their skin and need moisture to do this. Verify that you can squeeze about a drop out of a handful of bedding.
Step 3 - Cover Your Worms - A cover will provide temporary protection for your worms and allow them to go down into your bedding. Use cloth, paper, leaves, soil, or even the box this order came in!. Initially, cover your worms to limit the stress on your worms. Once your worms are in the soil, then you can determine if a lid or cover is required for your particular bin.
Step 4 - Put a Light on Your Bin - Keep a light on your bin for the first few days. This will help minimize the chance of worms evacuating their new environment.
CURRENTLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION
You've probably already decided on your bin and can skip to the next section, but if not - This section is for you!
* The larger the bin the less day to day maintenance
* Keep your bin in an area that can be shaded
* Don't store your worms in a high humidity area (ie - bathroom) - Worms follow moisture
Things to Consider when Deciding on a Worm Bin
Does your bin need to be portable? Worm bins become VERY heavy (imagine your bin full of water)
How much and what do you plan on feeding your worms?
How many worms do you intend on having? *
Indoors or Outdoors?
How are you going to water your bin? Do you want to reuse your water?
Are you going to have drain holes?
If for composting, how much waste will it need to process?
Worm Bedding Fundamentals: "Worm Bedding" is simply the habitat where your worms live and provides a safe place for them to escape when conditions get upset within your bin. This bedding needs to be made up of mostly "brown" materials (not high in nitrogen) and needs to be able to absorb and maintain moisture levels.
Peat moss and coco coir are examples of commonly used bedding materials. Other examples include shredded papers, cardboards, aged leaves, and aged manure.
Worm "feed" are the high caloric foods that we feed worms to promote growth and reproduction. These foods will be added to the bin (either on top or mixed in the bedding) and will make your worms very happy.... when used properly.
Typical feeds are fruit and vegetables scraps, weeds, grains, coffee grounds, and manures.
Remember that your bin is essentially a mini ecosystem and must maintain a balance. Too much feed can result in smells, critters, PH issues, and potential evacuation events. Start slow and work your way up.
Try and have your bedding "built" at least a day before you receive your worms, but if you've received your worms and don't have your bedding made - now is the time to do it.
Smells almost always indicate an issue. Either there's too much feed and the calorie rich materials are "rotting" prior to getting eaten, inadequate drainage causing anaerobic conditions, and/or your worms are struggling.
Add enough feed for no more than a week at a time.
Worms will evacuate if the surrounding areas are humid. Worms chase water, it's a natural instinct and if you hold your worms in your bathroom for example (yes - we've done this), they may evacuate and end up all over your walls.
The larger your bin is, the less maintenance it will require and the less likely your worms will evacuate.
Covers are beneficial in most situations, but it is also a good idea to allow your bin to "breathe" occasionally.
We suggest to mix your feed into your bedding to allow the worms to eat all day. Beware - If too much caloric rich feed gets mixed into your bedding, you may create issues. Start slowly at first and feed only for a week or two.
If you're using your worms to compost materials and create worm castings, you may want to consider adding worms directly to your garden. In essence, your garden beds become your worm beds and the worms will actively aerate and deposit the rich castings directly into your garden.
Plants and worms have worked cohesively for millennia. The worms' castings are well known for their plant growth and health properties, but did you know that worms (and other critters in your garden) can also help minimize the opportunity for imbalances and diseases? A healthy, living garden can and should produce an amazing grow environment. Plus, the plant byproducts can also be used to feed the worms.
The same principles apply to your garden as to your bins. You must have enough bedding materials within your garden and you'll need to "feed" the life within your garden as well. Depending on your circumstances, it may or may not be appropriate to simply add your compost materials directly to your garden (buried at least a bit). But beware, you may attract other unwanted critters into your garden.