Red Wigglers Composting
Red Wiggler Worms (Eisenia foetida) are the most common type of composting worm! As they feed, red wigglers swallow great quantities of organic material, digest it, extract its food value and expel the residue as worm castings, which are very rich in nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Red wiggler worms can process large amounts of organic matter and, under ideal conditions, can eat their body weight each day. They also reproduce rapidly, and are very tolerant of variations in growing conditions. Item quantities are a close approximate and will arrive in various stages of growth. Release 5-10 worms per sq. ft.
Care of red wigglers. . . Red wiggler worms are easy to care for. Kept slightly damp, fed regularly, and with adequate bedding, they can be ignored most of the time. You may go on vacation for two weeks and not worry about having someone to care for them. There are two points to remember: 1. Living conditions need to be moist - not soggy, not dry. Usually the food provides sufficient moisture. 2. Ideal temperature range is 55 to 77 degrees F - do not allow to freeze or allow prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. What about the worms’ home? The worm “box” does not have to be a wooden box. The most important factors are that the container be opaque to block light, and that it be at least 12 to 18 inches deep. An opaque plastic storage box with lid, a Styrofoam cooler, or a wooden box made from plywood all work well. The WSU Extension office has plans for a variety of worm boxes. The length and width of the box is determined by available space, convenience, and the amount of waste to dispose of each week. Setting up the box. . . Drill several small holes in the bottom of the box for drainage and several more just under the lid to provide air circulation. Fill up the box to the top with bedding material: strips of newspaper, shredded computer paper, torn up corrugated cardboard, or dry leaves. These materials need to be dampened (not soggy) with water from a spray bottle. Do not pack the bedding tight, but “fluff” the material. You will need one or two handsful of soil to provide grit for the worms’ gizzard used to process their food. Cover the top of the box with a lid or some other opaque cover. What’s on the menu? Red wigglers are vegetarians. They also have favorite foods; for example, they will eat citrus fruits but much prefer melons. Non-meat, non-dairy and non-fat refrigerated leftovers, even if moldy, are okay to add. The food should be buried about 2/3 the depth into the bedding on an alternating pattern. This encourages the worms to travel through the bedding and consume it also. be fed to NOT Some food products should the worms. They include meat, bones, fat, NO eggs, or dairy products. This menu means pizza - except crust, fish, peanut butter, sour cream, potato chips, cheese, salad dressings, pet manures. NO butter, gravy and Wiggler Menu Unbuttered toast, pan- Breakfast - cakes, oatmeal, muffins, cereal, fruit scraps, crushed egg shells. - All vegetable Lunch & Dinner and fruit scraps, corn, broccoli, cabbage, onion, beans, leftover potatoes, green salad, tomatoes, squash, carrots, peas, pasta, bread, rice. - Melons, bananas, pine- Dessert apples, apples, grapes, peaches, plums, berries, baked good without frosting. - Coffee grounds with Beverages filters, tea bags without plastic tags. - Dead flowers, leaves, Side orders dead plants (non-diseased). (Avoid salty foods) Can anything go wrong? A healthy worm box has very little or no odor. If your box smells like anything else but damp earth, something may be wrong. A sick, dead smell may be dead worms. Check your moisture level. If too wet, add more dry bedding. If too dry, add moisture. If all worms are dead, empty box and start over. If the box smells like rotting food, you may be over-feeding your worms. Remove some food or wait until food in the box is nearly gone before adding more. Worms need feeding only 2 or 3 times a week. Save scraps in tightly covered container.
Build a Worm Bin
HOW TO MAKE and MAINTAIN A WORM BIN
Red worms can survive a wide range of temperatures except freezing and temps above 82 degrees. RED WORMS are at their most productive when the worm bin is at 55 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
Worms need to breathe so make sure you have plenty of air holes. Especially if you are using a rubber maid container for a bin.
Red worms need moisture but not to much. You should be able to squeeze a couple of drops from the bedding but not a stream
Here's a list of what you'll need: 2 pieces 5/8" CDX plywood (35-5/8" x 12") *CDX is a special type of wood, ask your parents 2 pieces 5/8" CDX plywood (23-3/8" x 12") 1 piece 5/8" CDX plywood (24" x 36") 38 2" ardox nails, hammer, drill with 1/2" bit
. Nail the sides together with four to six nails per side, and then nail the bottom panel on using five to seven nails per side. Then get out the drill and make 12 half-inch holes in the bottom. That's so that air can get in and water can get out. You'll also have to raise the bin off the floor so that air can circulate up through them.
bedding can be shredded cardboard or newspapers and old leaves. We use peat moss or leaves. Fill your bin to the top with the bedding. Add some dirt. Like chickens, worms have gizzards that help them grind up all that organic matter you are feeding them. Only use a couple of hands full of dirt.