Worm Composting Question of the Week

This week's question is sent in by Marinda and answered by Jo at Wiggly Wigglers.

Hello Wigglys
I have had one of your Can-o-Worms for about a year,
and it/they are doing fantastically well - eating most
of the kitchen waste from a family of 5. It is sited
outside my back door in a corner of two walls (south
and west facing). I have kept the unit which has a
Rain Cap, wrapped in two layers of thick bubble wrap
all winter - unwrapping about every three weeks to put
in a supply of kitchen compost from the caddy and an
old nappy bucket outside, plus some worm treats. After
all this intense cold I was amazed to find that they
were working really hard and composting everything.
They have eaten two hessian mats too, even though I
keep giving them vegetable waste regularly, is this
normal? I have plenty of mats but was concerned that
they were apparently so hungry. I give them egg boxes,
vacuum cleaner contents and shredded cardboard and
newspaper too. I am onto the top (3rd)tray now and
have discovered a couple of small but significant
problems. The main one being that as I cannot lift
heavy objects I have to wait for a willing assistant
to lift the layers off, but also I am unsure about how
to decant the bottom tray as there are always some
worms in there. The information sheets seem to
indicate that the compost is ready when the worms have
moved out of the particular layer and I don't know if
they should get into the garden and I don't want to
dig it out in case I chop them up. Quite a few seem to
drift down into the sump as well and some of these die
- they don't drown as I leave the tap open dripping
into a watering can - v good liquid fertiliser.
Any advice please?
Many thanks Marinda

Jo replies


The worms will eventually eat any matting that you put on top. If they eat it quickly, then you need to be adding even more dry fibre with the waste.
I would try to add the waste at more frequent intervals, maybe once a week instead.

The easiest way to remove the worms from the tray you'd like to harvest is to move it to the top,
take the lid off and leave them for about 1 hour in daylight. This should force them to move down away from the light - although if it is quite dense, you may need to take a bit off at a time.

It is normal to get a few worms head down into the sump tray, but if there are lots going down there over a short period of time there may be problems above (usually it's if it is too wet).

Kind Regards


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