Frequently asked questions about Wormeries, Worm Composters and Composting Worms.
How do the worms breed?
Red worms are hermaphrodites which means they are both male and female (although it does take two to tango). They produce eggs or capsules from the saddleback which you will see on the 13th segment on their bodies. The egg looks like a tomato pip and starts off a yellowy-green colour and as they age they go a brownish-red. Each one will have between 5 and 15 tiny worms inside, and these take about 10 days or so to hatch out.
Will I end up with too many worms in my worm composter?
The worms will breed to match your food supply. They regulate their numbers and size to match the conditions. As the adults eat the waste and move upwards the eggs hatch out so to make best use of your wormery you need to add waste really regularly.
What is the average life expectancy of the worms?
Without predators to chomp them in the wormery worms will live for upwards of three years! Compare that to most creatures of their size and you can start to understand why Mr Charles Darwin found them so fascinating! PS Worms show no visible signs of aging either, I understand they have done trials in face creams!
Does the Urbalive Worm Compost smell?
The worms like to eat the food when it has gone soft, but before it rots. This is why it doesn't smell. Usually, if it's starting to smell, it means it's either getting overfed, or it needs a little more fibrous material added. (Worm treat, leaves, shredded paper, cardboard etc)
Which worms are used for composting?
Our composting worms are a mixture of species (mainly reds and dendras) selected for their composting ability. Available with or without bedding. These types of worms are productive at consuming organic leftovers. Common garden earthworms don't perform as well in the same conditions.
How long does it take to compost one full container?
Creating quality composts takes approximately 2-3 months. It mainly depends on the number of earthworms and the quality of 'food'.
Is the composting method different at the beginning from later on?
Yes, and it's very important to remember this. Give your worms enough time to settle and reproduce, don't swamp them with food from the get-go. You will know that the earthworms are well adjusted when they begin to process the food you give them more quickly and you will also be able to feed them more often.
Should I rake through the compost regularly?
Not at all. The nosy among you beware and also make your children understand this - it's not useful to disturb the compost, particularly during the initial breeding. Add the food to the top. This prevents you from disturbing the worms and disrupting their homes ‚Äì they only lay eggs in specific places. You can carefully rake the compost if it appears too wet or lacking air.
Can I leave for a longer holiday?
A holiday is no problem. The worms easily manage even two-week fasting. However, they can survive without food up to four weeks.
What should I do if I have a TRAY full?
Once you fill one tray and it looks like worms soon will not have anything to eat, load the next tray as well as at the start composting. Compost from the bottom of the tray can then be used as fertilizer or dry it for later.
How can I dilute and use worm tea?
Worm tea is an excellent liquid fertilizer for herbs and indoor plants as well as the garden. It contains high amounts of nutrients and enzymes that promote growth and help build plant resistance against pests. You can collect worm tea in a plastic or glass bottle. It's ideal to dilute it with 10 parts water. Use the diluted worm tea for watering plants or spray it on their foliage.
What should I do with excess compost or worm tea?
Anyone who grows plants will appreciate compost and worm tea. If you can‚Äôt find anyone who could use it for gardening, use the compost to fertilize trees, bushes or even planters in public spaces. Likewise with the worm tea.
Where do I put my wormery? Indoors or outdoors? Which temperatures are optimum for my worms?
Composting with worms operates year-around. You can place your wormery either indoors or outdoors. It is important to always ensure that the earthworms have an optimal temperature of approximately 20 C/ 68 F as well as a correct level of moisture in the substrate. During winter you shouldn‚Äôt leave your wormery without insulation, so it doesn‚Äôt freeze through. In the summer it shouldn't be exposed to direct sunlight, to prevent water evaporation and overheating. The temperature in your wormery should not drop below 5 C or exceed 25 C.
What should and shouldn't I put into my wormery?
Your wormery composter is particularly suitable for peelings and leftovers of fruit and vegetables, such as potato peels, apple cores, green tops of vegetables, etc. Don't forget tea-bags, as worms often reproduce in them. Just be careful not to put in the plastic types (usually in pyramid shape sold with more expensive teas). Coffee grounds and paper coffee filters are also suitable. So are left overs of cooked vegetables, crushed egg shells, paper napkins, dampened cardboard, dry baked goods and remainders of indoor and outdoor plants. Do not put intensely spicy foods into your wormery, such as ginger or an excessive amount of citruses, as well as milk products, meat products, bones, oils, lard and other fats.
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