We live and learn part two

Written by Matthew on December 1st, 2009


So now I have this worm bed with hundreds of dollars worth of worms and countless poor souls on the line, what to do? Well, following the advise of others I added lots of peat moss and mixed it in with the bedding in order to dilute the food waste. This was a lot of work and I am not sure how much it helped.

Red Wiggler Worms and Apple Food Scraps

Food Scraps and Red Worms

The worms that were still alive are now definitely more dispersed and harder to find. This may be due to them dying because as soon as they die they decompose thus also becoming part of the problem by adding more protein to the system. Seeing that this did not solve the problem I spread lots of lime to the top of the bedding and then liberally watered the bed to wash the lime in. This did really seem to help. The worms left were definitely more lively the day after adding lime. The thing is that it seems to have a temporary affect, so now I add lime often, as the worms seem to act favorably towards it. This also increases the agricultural value of the casting by making it a better buffer. Despite my efforts it still seems as I am loosing more worms every day in this bed. I think I am going to add lots of pulverized paper fiber tomorrow and see what effect this has. On the bright side my experimental heating and insulation scheme seems to be working nicely. I will blog on that soon.

Thanks for reading,

Matthew Wilson
Worms Etc


8 Comments so far ↓

  1. Ed says:

    I just got my worm bed and it had millions of red mites in it so I took about two inches of dirt out of the bin it seemed to work for a week but then they came back im new to worm farming what do I do to clear them out.

  2. Matthew says:

    Hello Ed,

    Provably cut back on sweet fruits. It seems that mites grow really well on them. Try and bury them a little deeper as well. Adding a little ground limestone “rock dust” would provably keep them under control as well.
    Some people will add a melon rind on top of the bin and all the mites will eat on it. Then you simply remove it and the mites are removed with it as well. This can be repeated as needed.

  3. Denise says:

    Hi Mat
    I’m a begginer. Only purchased 2000 worms and your right it is NOT that easy. A few questions, you mention certain critters as also being ‘composters’ that they do not disturb the composting process but Do interfere with worm production?? Sorry I’m Polish, does production mean breeding? I think it was the small white worm and the roly poly bug. Also thank you for posting your info. How are your worms doing??

  4. Matthew says:

    Hello Denise,
    Most of the worm bin critters will not bother worm production at all. Most will help it. An experience worm farmer once told me that the worm bedding should be alive and have lots of life in it.
    My worms are doing great! Thanks for asking.

  5. gayle says:

    I checked my bin last Thursday and all seemed well. kinda wet and fruit flys but im new and didn’t think about it. on tues everyone was dead. I found abut 8 worms. help

  6. gayle says:

    I would like to buy more worms but how should I fix the problem. what is the problem?

  7. Matthew says:

    Gayle, I am fairly sure that your worms were overfed and suffered from what is known as worm bin protein poisoning. If your worms looked stringy and white or pale this is what happened. Did you happen to see any worms that looked like this? Worms seem to often die on the top of the worm bedding. Try and look and see if they are any there dying. Let me know so I can help further.

  8. gayle says:

    yes sorry…so late in checking on this post. they seemed pale and thin. I cleaned the bin, added more dry ingredients and stopped feeding just after this post. I carefully shifted the composting material and put all the live worms together in a new clean bin that I place below the old one. then left them alone. well its been a month or so. ive only added small amts of coffee grounds and some clean egg shells that have been crushed. the few worms I can find when I poke around are long, a healthy pink color and really active. but no babies that I can find and no egg cases forming on the adults. I would like to buy more worms but I don’t want to kill them! my plants have loved the worm tea and compost they gave me earlier this summer. what a bummer!

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