Friday, March 7, 2008

Worms and You! Water

Worms require a lot of moisture in their little bin-world. Some folks recommend that worm bedding, when picked up by the handful and squeezed out, should emit 2 drops of water. It's a good goal to aim for, if somewhat unrealistic for the ordinary household bin.

An ordinary household indoor bin, when ensconced in a stable ambient temperature, can get by with slightly less moisture. Say, one drop will do ya'.

Which is not to say that worms will tolerate dried-out conditions. Not at ALL. Worms breathe through their skin, and they need moisture to resperate. A dry bin is certain death for the little pinkkids.

The best option for a small household bin: keep lots of damp (but fulffy!) top-bedding on the top. Worms gravitate to moisture, and wet bedding will keep them moving steadily upwards. Top bedding must be fluffed up and well separated. If wet bedding compacts too much, it can inhibit airflow.

Standing water is definately not a good thing. You know when you see lots and lots of worms on sidewalks after a particularly heavy rain? They are trying to escape their waterlogged environment because they don't have gills. If the area is too wet, they will do their best to flee it. Worms will drown in standing water.

Food should be placed under damp top-bedding. This keeps down odors, discourages flies, and makes food readily available to the worms. But food's another post...

7 comments:

Rabbits' Guy said...

So ... why do worms crawl straight up three feet of hot-tub siding, under the lid, and into 102 degree water to sink to the bottom, freaking all the tubbers out???

ilex said...

Hahahaha! Gosh, I don't know. I suspect they are seeking moisture. That, or they wanna party.

Yellow said...

I've really got get out more, and stop reading your blog. I find it fascinating, but don't you dare tell anyone.

L.Bo Marie said...

hey!!!! I think I'm getting worms this month!!! (ok, every person I've said that to has told me there's medication for that sort of thing....) lol
but.. I keep flip floping between a build it myself type dealio... and a kit... the kits just look like such a simple construction... I do keep getting excited too soon!

ilex said...

Bwahahahahahah! Soon, Divine Miss L.Bo, you will be one of us... soon, you will be... a WORM FARMER!

(And hey, if you need any advice, I'm here to help!)

I really like the multi-tier commercial bins- they are pretty foolproof, though they can be sort of expensive. But plenty of folks use a regular old box without any issues. There is a great book called "Worms Eat My Garbage" by Mary Appelhof- she only ever used a single-layer box. Mary Appelhof's company is now being run by two women (Mary died in 2005) and they sell a single-layer box kit. I was there a couple of months ago; they had dozens of boxes set up for shipment. They are located in Kalamazoo, MI.

You might have to buy Canuck worms, though- I think most worms can't cross the border...

ilex said...

Yellow, ain't nothin' wrong with lovin' worms. Let your worm flag fly!

lamarguerite said...

Ilex, thanks for visiting my blog! When it comes to healing our planet every angle counts, doesn't it?

I must admit I am a bit intimidated by worms. We bought a composter a few months ago, and it is sitting out in its box. :)

http://lamarguerite.wordpress.com