-2°C / 28°F
So this morning, as I was putting stuff in my worm bin — I sang to my worms. I couldn’t help myself. See, today is their birthday. I got the bin and the worms exactly 1 year ago (thanks Folia for tracking that for me!). After serenading them with the “Happy Birthday” song, I added a few scraps and topped off their bedding.
Here’s what I’ve learned about the bin in the past year. Remember that these are just my experiences. Every worm bin is different.
- Young bins require more care than old bins. When I first started my system, it would get wonky if I added a lot of a new food, like cooked rice. But these days, I can add most things with little care or thought as long as I maintain the right moisture level.
- There are many feeding methods, and everyone thinks their method is right — but the only right method is the one that works for you. Freeze, pocket feed, surface feed, blend, don’t blend, pre-compost, whatever. It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as it works for you.
- My bin has an odor, but it’s not a bad odor. It smells like dirt. Sometimes (once every 6-8 weeks) it smells like garbage, but I can easily fix that by adding more coir and/or paper. The smell goes away within a day. With experience, I’m getting better at planning ahead — when I add something i know will get stinky, I go ahead and add more coir and paper right away. If I were more careful about feeding too many brassicas, even that occasional smell would not be a problem.
- Even if you try hard to avoid them, you might still get a fruit fly infestation. Smothering the surface of your bin (with bedding or cotton fabric or something) works to control them. So do vinegar traps.
- Other creatures will live in your bin with the worms. These are mostly harmless.
- The bin is fascinating, but low maintenance. I like seeing how stuff decomposes, but there’s little actual work involved. Sometimes this disappoints me — I’d like to be able to do more with my bin.
- If you press your ear up to the side of the bin, you can listen to the worms smooshing around in it.
- My personal mantra (borrowed from a message board) is “Make worm heaven, not worm prison.” If you create good conditions in your bin, the worms will stay in it. There’s no need to fence them in.
- In the past year, I have not had one serious problem with the bin. None of the horror stories that you read about (or imagine) have happened to mine. I think this is due to a couple of factors: I read about vermicomposting widely before starting this bin, I took an extremely conservative approach to feeding the bin initially, I had a few good mentors (including Cmagnus here on folia), and I observed the bin carefully. Also, I used coir. I think coir is like magic fairy pixie dust for the worm bin — it fixes anything that’s wrong.