The holes were made on the lid and around the sides, about the top 1/3 filled with holes. My holes were not exactly lined up or counted. I may been more precise on the first bin.
Bin placement should be in a location where the temps are between 55- 75 degrees. Mine is in the storage area of the basement now, was in the laundry room in Virginia.
Worms need a place to live in their bins. Bedding can be various things- shredded cardboard, shredded newspaper to name a few. I use shredded newspaper. It needs to be damp, like a wrung out sponge. Worms like it moist not wet.
On top of the bedding place a cover --also moist. It keeps the worms a bit more protected.
As the worms age, they become of age to reproduce. See the little band around this worm? This is an indicator of sexual maturity.
Sexually mature worms produce egg sacks. Inside these sacks are somewhere between 2- 6 baby worms. These little sacks are shaped like a lemon, small and kind of beige/yellow in color.
Knowing that the worms are increasing in number means the bin is a good environment for them and there are more to consume more food!
Harvesting the Castings
After your worms have been in their new home for about 3- 6 months you should be able to start harvesting some of the castings to use around your plants. There are a couple different ways to gather this black gold. One way is to dump all the contents on a plastic sheet and mound it in the center. Pull some of the castings to the edges and allow the worms to migrate back to the center where it is dark and 'safe', harvest the edges. After a bit of time, pull more to the edges and wait, and then harvest. Repeat until you have a small pile in the center and return this, with the worms who are hiding in there, to the bin.
Another way is to place the food in one end of the bin and harvest the other end. You may have to remove some of the worms by hand with this method.
A third method is to have a second bin. The second bin has holes in the bottom as well as the sides. Remove the lid from the first bin and stack the second one on top covering with lid. In the second bin provide new bedding and food. The worms should migrate to the top bin for food. I have not tried this method but think it may be the one I use when the bin becomes so full I have to do something.
The last method, the one I use, is to grab a handful of castings from the bin and hand pick the worms out. This is the small scale method.
There are a few problems that could occur. One I have especially when I feed the worms the melon rinds-- the bin becomes too wet. To correct this you can add bedding that is dry, mixing it into the lower region of the bin where the water is collecting. You can also ladle the liquid out, mix it with water (one site I read to add a couple Tablespoons liquid with a quart of water) and use this to water your plants.
Another issue some have is fruit flies. In the process of decomposition fruit flies are attracted to the food. Two things you can do-- one, bury the food deeper in the bin, covering it with the bedding. The other is to use some sort of fruit fly trap. One website reccommended yellow sticky tape for them to get stuck to. My method is a little Cider vinegar with a drop or two of dishsoap in a small dish on the lid of the bin.
The first problem I encountered was the worms escaping. Yes, I found many dead little worms on the floor in the morning. After being joustled around and in new digs they tend to roam. An easy solution to this is to have a small lamp or nightlight on by the bin.
More troubleshooting can be found on the links provided as well as most any extension website.
Extension sites have a publications on vermicomposting-- Clemson's, University of Maryland, to name a few and various blogging sites have great info as well -- one I like is Red Worm Composting.
©Copyright 2011 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.