Worm Bin Basics for the Greenhouse Gardener
Worm bins are a great source of everlasting, rich fertilizer for your greenhouse or outdoor garden. They are an excellent source of liquid fertilizer (in the form of worm tea, or the moisture that drains from the worm bins) and castings, which are the nutrient-rich waste droppings of red worms. This worm fertilizer is equal to liquid gold in the greenhouse.
Worm bins are also an easy way to help recycle food waste and some common household and yard scraps. Dried leaves, dead flowers, grass clippings, shredded newspaper, cardboard, and food waste are all excellent food sources and bedding materials for red worms.
How Many Worm Bins Do I Need?
Most greenhouse gardeners agree, the more worm bins, the better! Since most red worms can consume half their weight in food each day, you will need to figure out how many worm bins you can support. Estimate how much food waste you create each day in pounds, multiply by two, and that will determine how many pounds of red worms you can support. You should place about one half pound of red worms in each worm bin. Just keep in mind that your worm will multiply as time goes on so once your worm population gets established in one bin, you can take worms from that bin to start another.
What to Feed Your Worm Bins
While worms are not particularly picky eaters, there are some food items that they abhor. Do not place milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, meat drippings, trimmed fat, grease, or meat into your worm bins.
Worms are mostly vegetarians, and love all breads, grains, cereals (minus the milk), banana peels, eggshells, vegetables, fruits, and even teabags, and coffee grounds (including the paper filter). They love to feast on moist cardboard, paper, and newspaper, but avoid anything with plastic coatings or chemical treatments.
Tips for Keeping Your Worm Bins Healthy
Maintaining your worm bins is not likely to rival the upkeep on a four-star hotel, but there are some basic worm bin tips that will help keep your worms happy and healthy.
• Keep plenty of fresh, moist bedding in the worm bins (like moistened, shredded newspaper)
• Make sure your ventilation holes are free from obstruction and adequate to keep your bin smelling fresh
• Harvest your worm castings regularly
• Bury your worm’s food in the bedding to avoid attracting insects
Worm bins make a natural and easy to care for gardening companion. They don’t require extensive care, attention, or nurturing like farm animals, and still produce plentiful fertilizers that will make your crops thrive.
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