Oct 032014

Your worms are packed in a breathable bag, inside a box. Remove the bag from its box and open the breathable bag.

Prepare the bedding for the bin. To create bedding, soak a large quantity of shredded newspapers or cardboard. Worms like an environment that is 75% water. Newspaper is thoroughly soaked in only a few minutes. If you are soaking cardboard (such as paper towel or toilet paper cores), you may have to soak it overnight. All papers can be eaten, but the coarser the texture the more the worms will like it. Don’t use paper or cardboard that has colored ink on it. Colored inks sometimes have metals in them that are toxic to worms. If you have access to shredded paper from work, that is perfect for bedding. Leaves can also be used.

After the bedding is soaked thoroughly, wring it out until it is no longer dripping. Fluff it up by separating the strips. Place it into the bin. The bin will need to be about 1/3 to 1/2 full of bedding.

Worms don’t have teeth, so they need something gritty to use for grinding up paper and food. Put a little bit of soil, fine sand, leaves, sawdust, or ground eggshells to provide grit. Once your operation is underway, the castings will provide grit, so you won’t need to add more grit unless you clean out your bin and start over.

Gently dump the bag of worms into the middle of the bedding. Do NOT stir the worms up. Cover them with the top layer of bedding and place the lid on the bin. The worms will slowly start to migrate down in your bin.

Worms will die if they are not kept at moderate temperatures. Keep the container indoors or in a place where temperatures do not get too hot (90 degrees F or more) or too cold (40 degrees F or lower). Some people keep them under the kitchen sink for convenience. I keep mine in the garage. Worms which are in outside bins will dig down into the ground when temperatures become extreme.

Make sure worms are away from high traffic areas. They don’t like to be disturbed by loud noise or abrupt movements or vibrations.

Leave the worms for a week or so and let them start eating on the paper bedding before you add food.

NOTE ABOUT THE FIRST DAYS: Worms do not like light. So, for the first few days while they are getting used to their new home, put a night light near their bin, and they will be discouraged from trying to travel off. Some people say that rubbing dish washing soap around the top 2″ of your bin keeps them from crawling out.