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Caring for Composting Worms

Worm Factory
The Worm Factory is a good habitat for indoor composting, capitalizing on the worms' natural behaviors.

Worm-keeping is simple. They do well with very little maintenance. Here are a few key considerations:

Temperature
To be healthy, active eaters, redworms need to live where it’s warm, dark and damp. They adapt readily to temperatures between 50-85° Farenheit, but work best at temperatures between 60-75°F. Temperatures above 90 degrees or below freezing may kill them.

Moisture
Worm bedding must be kept moist. Experts recommend 60%-75% moisture content by weight. Practically speaking, bedding should feel about as damp as a wrung-out sponge. If it’s too wet and compacted, worms will drown. If it’s too dry, they will become dehydrated and have a hard time breathing.

Bedding
Because redworms breathe through their skin, the bin and bedding must allow airflow. You can use shredded office paper, newspaper, chopped cardboard, leaves, coir (coconut fiber), wood chips, garden litter and even dryer lint (if it's from natural fibers like cotton, not synthetics)and livestock manure. Dried grass clippings are OK, but do not use fresh clippings, as they can quickly heat up and kill your worms. Bedding should be soft and permeable so worms can move and work through it easily. Remember, redworms consume their bedding along with other foodstuffs.

Food
Redworms willl eat almost anything: overripe fruits, vegetables, garden waste, moldy bread, refrigerator leftovers, coffee grounds, tea bags, livestock manure, shredded newspaper, napkins, leaves… The key when feeding is to observe how quickly the food disappears and try to maintain a balance. If you overload the worm bin, you could run into odor and pest problems and upset the pH of the bin.

Things to avoid include meat scraps, bones, and dairy products. They’re likely to attract rodents and other pests, and could cause the bin to become rotten and stinky. It's also important to keep pet feces out of the bin or windrow to prevent disease-causing pathogens from entering the food chain. Limit the amount of citrus you include at any one time, and keep salty or pickled foods out of the bin.

Grit
Worms don’t have teeth. They have gizzards, which require grit to grind food. Add a handful or two of soil to the bin. Ground egg shells are also a good addition to the worm bed.

Do Not Disturb
Place your bin in a convenient spot out of the elements where conditions remain relatively constant. Let your worms go to work! We also recommend "Worms Eat My Garbage" by Mary Appelhof, available on our Products page.