How to prepare worm compost bins before your vacation
If you are thinking about composting worms and going on vacation, you might wonder if you will need someone to take care of your worms when you leave. I would like to share a recent experience with you. In January I went away for 3 weeks. The only thing that the worms needed was to be spritzed with water on top of the newspaper every few days. If the bins had been more established (like for a month), they would not have needed to be spritzed.
In order to prepare for this trip I made 3 new worm bins, the week before I left, with these ideas in mind:
- I divided up the worms so they wouldn’t be overcrowded in the bins.
- Fewer worms mean that they process the food and newspaper more slowly so the bin stays aerobic longer.
- I put folded newspaper in the bottom of the bins to absorb moisture if too much moisture was produced.
- The folded newspaper also created pockets of air keeping the bin aerobic.
- I tore up lots of newspaper for bedding and moistened it.
- I left slices of uncooked butternut squash for food.
- The squash would take a while to deteriorate providing food for a while.
- Squash doesn’t produce as much moisture as melon rinds.
I didn’t expect too much moisture because they were newly established bins and not overcrowded with worms. The problem of too much moisture comes later in the life of the worm bin.
If they ate all the squash they would still be OK because they also eat the newspaper. When I start a new worm bin, sometimes there is not enough moisture at first so the bin needs to be moistened with a spritzer bottle once in a while. This is what happened with mine because they were so newly established. If I would have set them up about a month before I left the moisture would have been fine.
3 important considerations if you are leaving your composting worms and going on vacation:
- Divide up the worm bins into more bins than usual which means less worms per bin. For example, if you have 2 bins divide the worms into 3 bins.
- About a month before you go make the new bins, so that they are at the beginning of the composting cycle instead of towards the end when there are more worms in the bin creating more moisture.
- Leave food like pumpkin or butternut squash as opposed to melon rinds which have more moisture in them.
Good luck with your composting worms and going on vacation. They are so easy to leave–they practically take care of themselves!