Tag Archives: air circulation

Moist Bedding and Air Circulation for Red Wigglers

In my last post we discussed inexpensive or free worm bins.  Moist bedding and air circulation for red wigglers are two very important requirements for your worm bin. Now that you have a few ideas on what to use you need to know how to set it up.

More about: Moist Bedding and Air Circulation for Red Wigglers

Moist Bedding and Air Circulation for Red WigglersMany people drill holes for ventilation.  I have drilled holes around the top of the bin using a 1/8 inch drill bit.  Instead of drilling holes, I have successfully had worm bins by leaving air space at the top by not putting the lid on all the way.  See in the  pictures how the lids are not fully on.  I would always leave the top on loosely or off to one side a little to allow air to circulate. Worm Bin With Opening for Ventilation Don’t worry about not locking on the lid.  You don’t have to “lock” the red wigglers in.  If they have a good environment they happily stay put.  If they are trying to crawl out of the worm bin it means something is wrong.  You need to check the worm bin and correct the situation.  It is easier if you drill holes around the top edge because the bins dry out a little with the lid partially off.

Worm bins use an aerobic composting process

Aerobic means with oxygen.  It is important for air to circulate so the bin remains aerobic.  If your worm bin ever smells bad, it means there is not enough oxygen and it is becoming anaerobic.  You can remedy this situation by adding shredded newspaper and mixing it in, thus introducing more oxygen into the bedding.  It can also become anaerobic by feeding too many food scraps.  Always start feeding a little food at a time and give more later if needed.  That way you won’t end up with feeding them too much at first.  I have put upside down, cardboard egg cartons in the bottom of a worm bin to allow air to be in the bedding.

How wet should my worm bin be?

The worm bin should never be so wet that liquid could drain out the bottom.  A good rule of thumb for moistness is that if you squeeze the bedding no water should drip out.  If water drips out:

  1. Add dry shredded newspaper to the bottom of the bin
  2. Limit really wet food scraps like watermelon and cantaloupe rinds
  3. Check to see if you have too many worms.  If there are a lot of worms, start another bin with some of them and that should correct the situation.

The worms need to live in a moist bedding.  Shredded newspaper works fine, though not the glossy pages.  It can be moistened or used as dry bedding in the beginning.  If you start with dry bedding your worm bin will need more time and attention because you don’t want it to dry out while the newspaper is in the process of being moistened by the food scraps and worm castings.  It is fine to start with moist bedding.

Fill your worm bin with bedding

Fill your container 3/4 full of newspaper and add worms.  You’ll need to add more bedding every week or so, as it starts to be processed by the worms. They actually eat the newspaper also.

So now you have a worm bin and worms for less than $25.  Congratulations!  Remember worms are easy to take care of.  They are very forgiving and can live in a wide range of conditions.  In my next post I will cover what worms eat.

Composting Bins-YouTube Video Review

Composting bins can be made in all different shapes and sizes. This video does a review of 10 different composting bins and tumblers. They find that the bins reach the highest temperatures–about 140 to 160 degrees. The compost tumblers reach about 130 to 140 degrees. The hotter the better for making compost.

There are some drawbacks to the composting bins:

  • It is much easier for animal visitors to get into the compost if you are using food scraps.
  • In order for the composting to be quick you need to turn the pile.
  • It is hard, physical labor to turn the pile.
  • It is time-consuming to turn the pile.

They talk about air circulation which is a real plus for composting and some of the bins have a lot of holes for great air circulation.  (Though these holes can be a problem if you have animal visitors because it is easy to get into the pile.) There was a complaint that the compost tumblers didn’t have so much air circulation because of a lack of air holes.  I disagree because a lot of air circulation happens in the tumbling which is one thing that helps tumblers create compost faster.

Lastly they show a compost tumbler which didn’t have a proper mix of greens and browns.  I was very interested in this because I did the same thing with my compost tumbler.  See this post Greens and Browns in Composting.  I quickly corrected the problem with the addition of browns or carbon to my compost.  In my case I used peat moss.  It was in the middle of the summer and I didn’t have shredded leaves around.  This is indicative that composting with tumblers is not perfect and you can mis-manage them just like you can mis-manage any compost pile.

Here is the video of the review of compost bins ( http://youtu.be/-lCVcv04K5Y):