Three years ago I went to a wormshop to learn how to compost with worms. The introductory email warned that we would be “handling worms and powertools”, 2 things that sounded like lots of fun to me:)
What you need to start your worm bin:
-2 stackable plastic boxes about 60x30cm
-cardboard and egg-cartons
-cocopeat (not mandatory)
-a handful of Red Wriggler worms
-a banana or a few veggie scraps
First we drilled 12 holes in one plastic box that will serve as the cover (approx. 7mm diameter). Then we filled the other box which will serve as their home with soaked egg cartons to make the initial bottom bedding.
The next step was to put a layer of coco peat, and wet that too. Then we crushed some egg shells finely in order to make some grit, necessary for the worms to eat. These broken shells were sprinkled onto the coco peat. (I let my egg shells dry, then put them in a paper bag and crush them through the bag by hand or with a rolling pin).
The next step was to put in the worms. We each got a handful of thin red compost worms, otherwise known as Red Wrigglers. They don’t like light so we quickly covered them with another layer of bedding (wet cardboard) after having put in a piece of banana peel for them to start snacking on. Then we put the other bin (the one with the holes) on top.
It’s important not to put too much food for them in the beginning as it takes a little while for them to acclimatize to their new setting. Also, the food bits should be relatively small (peels are great, if you have big parts I recommend to chop them into smaller pieces).
The key for a healthy worm bin is balance, it needs to be moist, but not too wet. If it does get too wet add cardboard. If it is too dry you can sprinkle a bit of water in it. It shouldn’t smell, but if it does stir the contents to add air and put more cardboard.
After the workshop, I rode through the city with the worm bin on the back of my bike and since then they’ve been in a cupboard on my balcony. I keep them there nearly all year round, except on some extremely cold winter days when I brought them in the flat to make sure they didn’t freeze.
The worms have been doing a wonderful job for the last 3 years processing my vegetable craps and cardboard. I love the thought of how much less I throw out with my rubbish, and I have the added bonus of being able to use the resulting compost for my plants.