Starting a Small Home Compost:
Preparing for Redworms:
I. Determine how many pounds of red worms you need to start with. Your worm weight is most important, not the number of worms. Worms eat half their weight in recycled organic waste daily. One pound of worms will eat half a pound of food a day, whether that one pound is made up of 500 adults for 10,000 babies.
Monitor how much food waste you throw out weekly. Divide it's total weight by
Weekly weight of waste
- Monitor how much food or other organic waste you normally throw away. Divide the weight, in pounds, of a weeks worth of waste by 3.5, the total is the number of redworms you should start with
***LINK TO MORE INFO ON DETERMINING FACTORS***
II. Decide on a Compost Bin
- I recommend wood, plastic or any combination of the two. There are advantages to both:
- WOOD ADVANTAGES HERE
- PLASTIC ADVANTAGES HERE
- The main purpose of a compost bin is to protect your Redworms from predators (such as moles)
III. Start Saving Waste
- Allow your compost a few days to a week to begin breaking down, before purchasing your worms. This will ensure the microbial life is present for the worms to feast on.
Bringing them home
I. Order Your Redworms
- Beware of inexpensive redworms labeled as soil with redworms. These vendors often advertise 1,000 redworms and eggs in 1 lb of soil. This does not always mean you are getting "1 lb of redworms". A pound of pure redworms is equivalent to 2 cups in volume.
- Be aware of weather conditions as well. If it's too hot, too cold, etc. **Link to Blog Post about climate.**
II. Set up Your Bin
- Put one sheet of paper on the bottom of the bin to keep your redworms from wandering
- Add compost starter, if you have it. If not, add in a 2" layer of bedding.
- Add in the food and another layer of bedding
III. You're ready! Add in your redworms:
You may need to house break them by keeping a light shining over your bin. It is likely that your waste (worm food) may not taste the same as what they were eating before, which can cause them to wander. Most beginners think right away there is something wrong with the bin, food, or moisture. Redworms do not like the light so they are more likely to stay in the bin with one shining. It may take them a few days to adjust.
IV. Feedings & Patience
Now it's time to be patient, let your redworms eat, lay egg cocoons and eat some more. Begin thinking about what you are going to do with your redworm castings (this is the black gold fertilizer that your redworms will reward you with for feeding them well).