When I first started worm composting I had a tendency to be obsessive about creating the “perfect” conditions for my little worm friends. Like an over-protective mother I wanted to absolutely make sure my little guys were healthy and happy 100% of the time. Because of this mindset, I would constantly be opening up my bins, digging around making sure everything was ok.
Like many newcomers to worm composting, I would get very worried any time something changed in the bin and feel like I needed to act quickly to counteract the changes I was observing, or risk having all my worms die a horrible death.
The hilarious irony of this type of approach is that more often than not this actually does more harm than good!
Don’t get me wrong – it can be important to keep tabs on the health of your bin, especially when just starting out, but like most things in life, moderation is the key!
Composting worms don’t like to be disturbed, handled or exposed to light – thus even if you have the best intentions, your constant doting and fussing will very likely contribute to any stressful conditions that may already exist in the bin. Making drastic changes in an effort to counter-balance poor bin conditions can also have similar results. Unwittingly, many worm composting newbies can become the main cause of their worm bins demise!
One thing I highly recommend (especially for newcomers) is the start-up a few small systems at the same time – ie. don’t have ‘all your eggs in one basket’, so to speak. This way should something go wrong with one of your bins, you’ll likely still have some back-up systems in case of total meltdown. With less riding on the success of a particular bin, you should be able to mellow out and just ‘go with the flow’ a little more.
Natural ecosystems have an amazing ability to balance themselves out. Of course we can still play an important role in helping to keep conditions favorable for our worm herd, but there is definitely no need to obsess over every little hiccup that we encounter.