Feeding and Care of Your Worms
Not all worms are created equal in their needs to thrive. However, our composting worms were created very similar to each other in food and bedding needs. We chose to work with Eisenia Fetida, and Eisenia Hortensis because of their similar needs. Both species are under the umbrella of "Red Wigglers" and "Composting Worms". Please remember to order and/or prepare your worm bin 2 weeks prior to your worm shipment. If you are ordering your worms and your farm from us at the same time, prepare by filling a bucket or a plastic tote with your organic waste and bedding in preparation of your worms' arrival. (I bet you are really excited!)
Please don't be intimidated by this list. Once you get the swing of it, you will end up doing it so automatically that you eventually won't think about it. We will be creating some form of list to keep in your kitchen in the near future. Check your emails for news about that.
WHAT TO FEED WORMS AND ADD TO BIN:
DO Feed Them:
RAW Vegetable and fruit peelings and scraps. Examples- potato, apple, bananas, lettuce, squash, etc. They are particularly fond of avocados, melons, and corn on the cob.
Eggshells - cooked and/or uncooked. Make sure to wash them thoroughly (some people bake them as well), to prevent Salmonella being transferred. Crush up the eggshells or leave them uncrushed so they can curl up inside and encourage reproduction. We call them "worm bedrooms" here because they will curl up inside in large numbers.
Paper - toilet paper and paper towel rolls, shredded newspaper and cardboard. Paper egg cartons, paper towels, paper napkins, kleenex are good. Tim Hortons drink trays too! Make sure they are damp, not wet, before adding to your bin. Unless you are adding to absorb extra moisture in your bin.
Coffee grounds and paper filters, tea bags, and tea leaves. Coffee grounds help with their digestion.
Small quantities of sand or dirt from your garden. This also helps with their digestion
Dead/dried flowers or plants and leaves
Coconut coir - We recommend the finely shredded type, not the long stringy type. Unless you like spending hours picking it apart to unravel the worms from it. Yes, we have made this mistake.
Grass clippings - should be composted before adding. Fresh clippings can heat up and overheat your bin. The worms will not do well at all with this unless the clippings have composted down and passed the heat stage.
Composted materials - Anything from the bottom of your composter that has been well decomposed should be fine.
Worm booster - it's organic laying mash for chickens. But worms love it too. It fattens them right up while adding the grit they need in their gullets to digest their food (add about 1/2 - 1cup per pound of worms. Do not add more until you see the previous feeding is gone. Use sparingly as it has the potential to heat up your worm compost.
NO COOKED fruits, vegetables, or other cooked foods.
NO Citrus fruits - tomatoes, oranges, pineapple, etc.
NO Onions or garlic
NO Dairy products
NO Meats, bones, fats or oils - NONE
NO human or animal waste products. Well aged manure compost is fine. But we aren't fans.
NO Glossy or coated papers or cardboards. Virgin cardboard without adhesives is fine. It's the glossy part we are mostly concerned about.
NO Plastics or Metals of any type
NO Breads or grains (including rice) except for Organic Laying Mash - will encourage maggots
You will want to keep your worms happy and healthy and reproducing. The ideal temperature is between 20-25C for reproduction. They will stop reproducing below 20C and will die off at temperatures below 15C. They prefer an alkaline environment. Do not put your bin in direct sunlight or near a strong heat source.
Please don't overfeed your bin, and always be careful to make sure your bin does not go anaerobic or acidic. You will know when it goes anaerobic just by the smell. A healthy worm farm smells earthy like a forest. The moment you have a smell occurring is the moment you either: add and mix in lots of dry newspaper, garden Lyme, or crushed AND/OR lots of powdered eggshells. Or you can call Cheri and she can help you out. When you order worms, you get personal attention from Cheri herself. You can always be confident that you will have a personal guide to help you through your first worm farm and is always ready for questions.
Please remember, we are working with Mother Nature and the composting process here. Things are naturally kind of gross to look at but this is how nature's magic works. Tiny insects and bugs in your worm bins are normal. Brown/red mites, springtails, and the occasional potato bug among others can be present. If you keep your worm bin outside, these are more likely to move in. This can also happen with indoor bins. If you are squeamish about these things, please learn to live with them by learning more about worms or buy our castings instead.
If you share living spaces with other people, please check with them if they are comfortable with the idea of living with worms in the household. Education about Vermiculture and Vermicompost often removes any negative reaction and takes people from "EW!" to "Ahhhhh!" with their attitudes.
You are an advanced thinker just by being here right now reading about worms. You are already doing great things and making greener choices no matter which you choose.
Please NOTE - We offer a buyback program to all our customers. If at any time you feel you have too many worms for your needs or have decided composting worms just weren't your thing, we are happy to buy them back from you. Please call for more details.