Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wormy Wednesday - The Habitat

For this Wormy Wednesday I want to talk about the worm habitat - because that seems like a good place to start! The first time I started a worm farm, my husband help me set up a really cool plastic tote with wheels and air and drainage holes. Some day I hope to get that tote back out, but for now I'm staying small.

I use the worm bedding made by Frabil because it's easy and because it's perfect. If you don't want to pay for bedding you can use newspaper (black & white only, no colored ink) that is shredded and moistened (not wet). You can also add some garden soil or top soil. The grit in the soil is good for the worms' diegestion. DO NOT use potting soil. Potting soil has chemicals that are good for plants but really bad for worms. Shredded computer paper also works, but no color ink on the paper and no colored paper. The bedding only needs changed about every 6 to 9 months depending on how many castings (aka: worm poop - that's a later post) you have so my 2 pound bag of Frabil worm bedding will last me at least a year.

A Happy Worm Enjoying The Bedding I Set Up For It
You need to keep an eye on the temperature not only of the area the worm farm is set up in, but also in the middle of the bedding. Currently my worm farm is in my kitchen, but eventually it will be back out in my insulated garage. Some people like to keep their worm farms in their basements or laundry rooms. Where ever you keep your worm farm, you need to keep an eye on the temperature of the room your farm is in. Checking the temperature of the middle of the bedding is also a good way to make sure your bedding stays loose. The worm farm should be between 45 and 85 degrees farenheit, 60 to 80 degrees is ideal. The worm farm should never be in the sunlight because heat can build up very fast and coud kill your worms, cause odors and help other weird stuff to grow in your bedding. A laser thermometer is a great way to take the temperature of your worm bedding.

A Perfect Temp For My Worms' Bedding
Worms need a moist bedding to help them breath, but too much water could drown your worms (still not ready to discuss my experience with that). It's a good idea to spray the top of the bedding once in awhile to help keep the bedding moist. NEVER pour water in, always use a spray bottle! Worms may live down deep in the bedding, but they still require oxygen so if your tote or Frabil Habitat has a lid (which is a good idea for nighcrawlers and any other earthworms), make sure there are small holes so the oxygen can get it but the worms can't get out. Turning the bedding once in awhile helps keep the bedding looseso the air can circulate easier.
Oxygen Holes
Nightcrawlers don't like light, so if you need to leave the top of your worm farm open, a street light outside a window or a nightlight will help keep your worms inside their habitat.
Unhappy worms will try to get out of their habitat, happy worms will want to hang out. Happy worms will also start laying eggs in a couple months! (Hope to have that post some time this fall!)

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