We’re probably at the halfway mark in the first compost worm series. If you’re new to this site, you can catch up on the series with the below links.
To keep red wigglers and other compost worms alive and healthy, there are only a few things that must be done:
- Feed them properly;
- Keep their bedding moist;
- Ensure good air flow within the bin and bedding;
- Keep the bin stored in the right temperature range; and
- Keep the inside of the bin dark (i.e., little to no light).
Proper feeding was explained in this post.
Having a slightly damp, but not too wet, environment is critical to worms’ survival, as critical as us having oxygen.
Worms breathe through their skin. They have a mucus substance on their skin that allows oxygen to pass through their skin and into their circulatory system. Without enough moisture worms will suffocate.
I keep a large spray bottle of water next to my worm bins. When I feed them, I spray down their bedding.
HOWEVER, while worms require water to breathe, they CAN NOT survive if submersed in water. They’ll drown. That’s probably why worms can be seen all over sidewalks after a heavy rain. They’re trying to escape the rain-saturated ground and standing water.
Two things are needed to keep food scraps from getting smelly while they break down, in addition to having the food covered: low moisture level (some use the analogy of a wet wrung out sponge) and good air flow. Aerobic bacteria (NOT smelly) help break down the food for worms. If the bin does not have proper air flow and/or is too wet, anaerobic bacteria (SMELLY) take over.
Good Air Flow
There are two areas of concern for good air flow: the bin and the bedding.
To aid the flow of air in the worm bin, holes can be drilled in the sides and top of the bin; or a cloth (e.g., a towel) can be used as a lid.
It also doesn’t take long for the bedding to get compacted, which will prevent good air flow inside the bedding. To remedy this compaction tendency, the bedding should be turned or “fluffed” often. Once or twice a week should suffice, which is about the frequency of their feeding. So, it’s a good time to turn/fluff and moisten the bedding at each feeding. Refer to this post where I mention gloves I use.
Right Temperature Range
Red wigglers and other compost worms need an all-year temperature of 40-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Ideally, the temperature should be closer to 55-77 degrees Fahrenheit.
Little to No Light
Worms don’t have eyes, but they’re still sensitive to light. It’s very important to keep their bin dark. Refer to this post.
I’d love to hear from you.
Have you been thinking about getting compost worms?
If you have some already, what have you found to be important in taking care of your compost worms?
This was shared on the following blog hops or link-ups:
Homestead Barn Hop
Simple Lives Thursday
Simple Living Wednesdays Link-Up
The Morristribe’s Homesteader Blog Carnival
Your Green Resource