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When to add worms?

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When to add worms?

Post  km87508 on 4/19/2014, 8:18 pm

I just received my new compost bin, and don't know when to add the worms. I only have a couple pounds of compost in my bin so far. I'm eager, so how much volume do I need in my bin before I add them? I'll be buying a quart, though I don't know how many worms come in that size container... 

Thanks so much for your advice!
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Re: When to add worms?

Post  Marc Iverson on 4/20/2014, 2:09 am

Do you have a tumbler or similar device, or is your bin one that uses the earth as a bottom?
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Re: When to add worms?

Post  sanderson on 4/20/2014, 2:18 am

Is this a worm bin or a compost-making bin? A rolling drum bin?
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Re: When to add worms?

Post  llama momma on 4/20/2014, 9:33 am

Worms don't want to be bounced around.
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Re: When to add worms?

Post  km87508 on 4/20/2014, 10:00 am

It's a rolling drum bin with a 55 gal. capacity. 

I think I came up with a new plan, too. There's an old non-rotted "compost" heap in my backyard, left by prior tenants who didn't know what they were doing. It'll be a big effort, but I think I'm going to shovel the top layer into my bin, and mix what's underneath, if it's good, into my garden. I was a little suspicious because I don't know what they put in it, but otherwise it goes to the dump, and that seems like a waste of good waste.
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Re: When to add worms?

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/20/2014, 10:08 am

@llama momma wrote:Worms don't want to be bounced around.
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+1
and how hot does it get in those enclosed bins?. I'd be afraid they'd get cooked with no place to escape... Sad 
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Re: When to add worms?

Post  mollyhespra on 4/20/2014, 10:21 am

Yea, if it's one of those "make-compost-quick" type bins that tumble the compost around, you really shouldn't add worms to it at all. 

The principle behind those quickie compost bins is that they speed up the digestion process, but in doing so they heat up, which will likely kill the worms...and you have to tumble the contents, which will likely kill the worms...

Do ya get my drift?   Wink 

If you want to add worms to your old non-rotted heap and mix it up to aerate, etc. then the worms can find their own comfort zone heat-and-moisture-wise and still help with digesting the pile.  Worms are also great at processing toxins in the soil, so that may help alleviate some of your concerns.

Why not just leave the old pile be, or add it to non-veggie beds, and use your tumbler for kitchen scraps & yard cuttings, etc?  That way, you'll *know* what's in your compost and you don't have to worry about killing off any worms.
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Re: When to add worms?

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/20/2014, 10:29 am

@km87508 wrote:

I think I came up with a new plan, too. There's an old non-rotted "compost" heap in my backyard, left by prior tenants who didn't know what they were doing. It'll be a big effort, but I think I'm going to shovel the top layer into my bin, and mix what's underneath, if it's good, into my garden. I was a little suspicious because I don't know what they put in it, but otherwise it goes to the dump, and that seems like a waste of good waste.

There may already be worms in that pile. Dig in and take a look. Let us know!
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Re: When to add worms?

Post  km87508 on 4/20/2014, 10:39 am

Hmm, great things to think about. Where my bin sits, it only gets about 6 hours of sun, though I'm at 6,800 ft., so they say a half day of sun here is like a full day in Seattle. I'll stick a meat thermometer in it in a week and see how hot it's getting. But probably no worms. Great advice!

I'd rather not leave the old pile be, because it's a huge eyesore and my not only do dogs eat it, but they trapse scraps throughout the yard. There are egg shells, corn husks, and tea bags everywhere! Actually, I only grow vegetables, since we have limited water here in the desert too, and only want to invest resources in crops that give me produce back! So I have to do something with it... but I will check for worms and let you know.

Thank you so much for your responses! -Kate
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Re: When to add worms?

Post  camprn on 4/20/2014, 10:44 am

I add the worms to my beds to finish off the compost in situ.

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