Comments On - Do’s and Don’ts of Composting Worms

I've had such a skunk problem here. Sometimes possums too. They dig down around the compost bin base until they can reach under and pull out my composting bugs from the bottom. I've put heavy rocks around the base, and that seems to deter them most of the time.

We use our compost for our vegetable garden, but sometimes I have so much compost that it also goes into the landscape too. The landscape soil here is really sandy, so this has made a huge difference int he quality of the soil.
Sarah, Santa Monica, CA
Posted: 2/24/2015 8:22:34 AM
Use Bokashi composting for meats, oils, bones, etc. Then you can put it in your worm bins in a few weeks.
deborah, montgomery, AL
Posted: 2/20/2015 11:30:38 AM
Another "Don't" - if you opt to stop using your bin, please do not dump them in forested areas. While the red wigglers are generally not invasive, there is another species that is often mixed in with them called Asian Jumping Worms that are highly invasive and will destroy forests. Earthworms are not native to many parts of the world (like the Midwest/Great Lakes region) so please help prevent further introductions.
Emily, Minneapolis, MN
Posted: 10/14/2014 2:57:09 PM
I've been told no meat. What about fish. I have some fish in the freezer that needs to be tossed. I thought fish was good for compost. Other then that I love the tips.
Nancy, Ozark, AL
Posted: 10/14/2014 11:35:52 AM
I there, we have a lot of 'red/brown' tiny bugs that hang around the sides (both inside and out) of the worm compost bin. They haven't proven to be detrimental to the worms, but the numbers are amazing, literally millions. I tend to hose them out of the bin whenever I'm there, do you know what they are?? PS when I check the 'international' box, it won't allow me to enter a State (being a required field) so I chose YT, but I'm in Western Australia.
Wendy, Perth, YT
Posted: 10/12/2014 9:18:41 PM
Oh, forgot to add that I freeze & thaw any super hard food items before grinding so I don't overtax the blender. Thick broccoli stalks, thick rinds get chopped into pieces and frozen. The plant cell walls burst during freezing and easy to blend for the Vitamix. Yes, it's a bit of a hassle, but as a year-round gardener it's worth it to me to get quick castings.
Jane, Orange County, CA
Posted: 10/12/2014 10:19:07 AM
I Vitamix all my kitchen scraps into a food smoothie for my worms, including coffee filters, peels, rinds and egg shells. Benefits: worms compost it quick, egg shells provide needed grit, and the seeds never sprout. Be mindful of bin getting too moist with this method and add shredded newspaper as needed. Don't use smoothie to moisten new paper. Did this once and it turned into a hot compost. I think egg cartons and cardboard take too long. Thin paper and smoothie equals complete trays of castings in about 2-3 months. I save shredded cardboard and remaining kitchen scraps for hot compost bin. This two system works great for me!

To answer another question, bait worms/night crawlers/earthworms are a different type of worm and won't work for vermicomposting.
Jane, Orange County, CA
Posted: 10/12/2014 10:06:23 AM
These are great Do's and Don'ts...we are an eco-friendly startup that's converting food scrap waste into organic worm castings and also creating BloomPucks. If anyone has any questions on vermicomposting or composting, feel free to reach out to us http://www.earthwormtechnologies.com or http://www.facebook.com/earthwormtec.

Here are a couple more pointers:
1) If you compost first and then feed that compost to your worms then you could include things like garlic, onions and citrus foods and your food recycling.

2) If you see other insect populations going out of control especially springtails or mites, then typically your bin is too wet (too much food probably or you're adding to much moisture), dry it out by adding some carbon (newspaper, cardboard etc.)

3) create a top layer of shredded newspaper that you can pull back and add food under, this will help with yuck factor and smell containment

4) Keep a look out for red mites - those are bad news...they are carniverous and will go after your worms

5) A big problem with the bin system is lack of oxygen so shaking the bin a bit side to side to aerate the bin will help decompose the food faster and keep an oxygenated environment so things don't go anaerobic and smell.
Earthwormtec, Stamford, CT
Posted: 7/18/2014 9:20:55 AM
Happy to be back on-line!!
Miss not being able to log-on the last couple of weeks.
Dante, Hyde Park, MA
Posted: 5/10/2014 2:57:41 PM
I'm brand new to composting, and it still feels a little overwhelming learning browns vs. greens, etc. Is there a Composting for dummies article anyone can point me to?
Garet, Nashville, TN
Posted: 3/25/2014 5:08:06 AM
It's getting warm enough here in Ohio I may start experimenting with worm bins. I have a great source for fresh fruit, vegetable and leafy green mash every day.
Andrew, Columbus, OH
Posted: 3/23/2014 6:41:44 AM
Good info.
Sarah, Marathon, ON
Posted: 3/20/2014 6:00:08 AM
How do I go about posting a comment with "Todays Farmer in the City"?
Thank you.
Dante, Hyde Park, MA
Posted: 3/2/2014 10:40:38 AM
I do get a lot of fruit seed sprout. But, I just turn them over before it gets too big.
Dante, Hyde Park, MA
Posted: 2/23/2014 10:05:49 AM
Can I just buy 2 or 3 dozen worms from a fishing supply store to start a worm bin?
Andrew, Columbus, OH
Posted: 2/20/2014 5:01:29 AM
Wormiest compost is best.
g, g, GA
Posted: 2/10/2014 11:37:13 PM
Very informative
Dennis, Pueblo, CO
Posted: 11/5/2013 6:54:43 AM
Great dos & don'ts to know!
Dante, Hyde Park, MA
Posted: 7/17/2013 1:01:32 AM
I appreciate this article because it tells me what to look for to support my indoor pile. I needed to know about moisture as well as greens and browns. This gives details about foods I can add to the pile and when as well as the fact that the worms feed off the bacteria. I didn't know that. Very helpful article. Thank you.
Faith of Sundrip Journals, Indianapolis, IN
Posted: 7/5/2013 12:01:54 PM
I have a worm composter 360. I have it in my basement and never put it out in the spring. Im kinda glad I didn't since I have just found 2 pincher bugs in my worm com poster and they created a nest with larve of more pincher bugs. HOW can I get rid of the pincher bugs without killing my worms? I heard 2 opposite opinions that I could use diatomaceous earth? One said yes the other said no that this would kill the worms as well? I don't want my worms to die.? If I would have put the bin outside in the spring, The whole thing would have been taken over by the pincher bugs that are really bad this year in SE Pennsylvania. Any suggestions?
judith, Bernville, PA
Posted: 7/5/2013 10:53:23 AM
Good to know
Annie, Houston, TX
Posted: 5/21/2013 6:49:19 AM
judy! the worms love fresh rabbit droppings! i support my garden with the results produced by the worms working on my rabbit droppings.... never need to buy fertilizer, compost or planting soil again!
alfred, oxnard, CA
Posted: 2/27/2013 2:56:16 PM
Well done article. We have two vermicompost bins going in thirty-gallon plastic storage bins, and the resulting vermicompost is fantastic for newly planted pots and containers. The author is spot-on about needing to liberally stock with brown. We use one-inch strips of brown paper grocery bag, moistened and laid on the top.
OC Metro Farm, Orange County, CA
Posted: 1/30/2013 4:37:34 PM
That title sure threw me. I've been composting garden waste and kitchen scraps, but I've never tried composting worms ;) !!
Krista, Merchantville, NJ
Posted: 1/18/2013 4:33:20 PM
@Bruce in LV: Try burying the bins in the shade, just so the sides are covered with soil as the shaded earth will act as insulation. I'd wet it down around the outside of the container once in awhile too to help the thermal mass stay cool. I know that any container will get hot just from the warm air swirling around, even when it's 100 degress in the shade, and cook the worms. Partially burying your containers is the best advice I can give. Good luck.
Chuck, Reno, NV
Posted: 12/29/2012 6:02:18 AM
Annie, Houston, TX
Posted: 11/23/2012 7:04:54 AM
lowly worm
i, i, ID
Posted: 9/22/2012 11:40:16 PM
Having problems not cooking my worms here in the desert. Every container I've used outside kills them off in July/August as the temps soar above 115-degrees. I keep them moist, in the shade and as close to in the ground as possible. If my wife could tolerate them in the house I think is wouldn't be a problem.

I can keep the vermicomposting going from October through the first of June, but after that, it's just regular compost.
Bruce, Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 9/6/2012 1:33:29 PM
Love my worms
Galadriel, Lothlorien, ME
Posted: 9/3/2012 11:55:53 PM
Tell me what you think I need to know about running a business. Of all thing like there's h
T William Moore, Bowling Green, KY
Posted: 8/21/2012 6:02:41 PM
Good to know
Annie, Houston, TX
Posted: 8/16/2012 8:07:27 AM
". . . seeds take a very long time for the worms to break down and they often sprout in the meantime!"
To this admonition I would add potato peelings, which produced myriad sprouts extending up six or more inches through the narrow gap between lid and walls. Far, far more than could have sprung from the few "eyes" in the peelings.They had to be folded back down onto the surface every few days. Persistent little buggers.
Nate, Brattleboro, VT
Posted: 8/10/2012 11:38:43 AM
i, i, ID
Posted: 7/11/2012 11:56:34 PM
In case this is unappealing to anyone, remember that regular composting works just as well. There are also issues with worms 'escaping' and changing the landscape.
Julia, Chicago, IL
Posted: 6/6/2012 12:24:05 PM
Vermicomposting for me has been faster, cleaner and easier than traditional pile composting and even my rotating bins. My garden loves a mid-summer top-dressing of compost. Plus, they're just fun to watch.
Bruce, Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 5/29/2012 8:03:07 AM
Working in the garden here and enjoying all the healthy worms!
Galadriel, Lothlorien, ME
Posted: 5/22/2012 11:41:16 PM
Can I put fresh rabbit manure in the compost bin or do I need to do something to it first?
judy distefano, St.Petersburg, FL
Posted: 5/14/2012 5:55:24 AM
Love my worms!
Galadriel, Lothlorien, ME
Posted: 5/9/2012 11:55:54 PM
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