This is a question from Melinda. She’s wondering how to best set up her new system.
I got my wooden worm bin today and soaked the coir and mixed
it with a bit of garden soil like the instructions said. But it goes
past the top of the tray. it said to then put an inch of shedded
paper on top and some food but I can’t even get the cover on let alone
anothe inch of anything so what do I do.
Do I take out some of the bedding or smush it down more.
I am not going to be getting the worms til next week. but I wanted
to be ready thanks melinda
My recommendation for newcomers is always to focus more on the important principles than on exact instructions. Your new worms will have a number of requirements when they arrive – 1) Moisture, 2) A safe habitat, 3) Some food and 4) Decent air flow (for oxygen). If you always keep these in the back of your mind you should start to find that you develop a certain level of ‘intuition’ re: what will and won’t work well.
Given the situation you described you are definitely right to question the value of the intructions. I would definitely suggest removing all the coir/soil and putting it in a separate container. I would next shred up some cardboard (you can use newspaper strips if you want) and add it into the mix as well. Coir is a great bedding material but I would never use it on its own since there is too much potential for it getting compacted and going anaerobic – if you use it as a secondary bedding material (with shredded cardboard as the primary bedding) it can be an excellent way to increase the water-retention of your system.
Once you mix the coir with the other (bulky) bedding materials and everything is nicely moistened you can start adding it to your first tray (assuming you have a stacking system). I would lay a couple layers of newpaper along the bottom first if it is some sort of screen. This will help retain moisture and discourage worms from venturing downwards.
You definitely don’t need to fill the tray to the top. I would add a layer on top of the newspaper, then add some food scraps, and then add another decent layer over top, making sure there is an air space between the top of the material and the lid.
All the leftover bedding can then be mixed with more food scraps and left to sit (works best if in some sort of container with lid so moisture is retained). This material will make for great food later on or even for setting up a second system – assuming you have some sort of tub to make into a worm bin. Not sure how many worms you ordered, but it is 1 lb or more you may want to split it between two systems anyway, since a single tray of most stacking systems doesn’t really provide much habitat for a pound of worms.
That’s pretty much it! By the time your worms arrive your first tray should be in pretty good shape to receive them. Just make sure to keep an eye on moisture levels, spraying down fairly often to prevent it from drying out.
Hope this helps!
[tags]worm bin, worm composter, worm composting, vermicomposting, compost bin, red worms, red wigglers[/tags]