Thursday, September 29, 2011

Worms, My step by step

My Blogging Friends, Carolyn over at "Karazo Farms" and, Leigh at "5 acres and a Dream" have asked for a Worms how to. So for them and any other of you who might be interested, This is what I did to get started!

First let me say that I'm no expert. And I have a "Go to Guy" that I have used from the beginning. He is Bentley Christie at "Red Worm Composting" (htt:// He has had a blog up for the past 5 years and he is the expert! Its a great site and he has all the information for anybody wanting to get started raising worms! Check it out and I think you will be very impressed!

But here is what I did (all of it gotten from Bentley!). I started my first "Worm Bed" in a 20 gallon tote and set it up in my utility room, right off my kitchen. This made it easy to keep an eye on the worms and to add food material/bedding and water. And then I ordered my first 1,000 worms.

The tote should be of a dark color, as the worms like it dark! I drilled a few vent holes in the top and sides of the tote (glued window screening over the holes from the inside, so the worms stay put!). I placed a layer of bedding (3 - 4 inches deep) that had been soaked in water and allowed to drain off the excess. You want the bedding to be like a rung-out sponge.
Primary Bedding:
 - Shredded cardboard (non-glossy, waxed). Corrugated boxes (remove tape and staples!), Drink trays, egg    cartons and toilet paper rolls (My personal favorite!)
 - Shredded newsprint, No color inks!
 - Aged manures, coarse compost.
 - Rotten straw/hay

Secondary bedding:
 - Fall leaves... When I first set up my outside bed, I saw the biggest change in this material. They went through this as fast as they any of the food I put in!
 - Wood chips/sawdust (no treated wood/chemicals)

Remember ...Bedding is your friend!! You can not add to much bedding!!!!

Now let's talk about Food.
The three thinks you should not use as food!
1. Meat/oils... Not of any kind! This will smell up the bed and might be a calling card for animals you do not want in your bed.

2. Dairy... This can cause it to smell and the worms might try to find greener pastures!

3. Anything from the Onion family/Hot Peppers... contain potent volatile oils that cause issues for worms!

So, anything that was alive at some point can be used as food!
 - Kitchen scraps...Coffee grounds (with filters), Tea bags, Egg shells (also adds calcium and can normalize PH), Bread/pasta (in small amounts).
 - Human/pet hair.
 - Over ripe fruits/produce from the garden.

 - Any of the bedding I listed before! As a matter of fact, I run kitchen scraps through the food processor to chop it up fine and then mix it with Egg cartons and toilet paper rolls to make what Bentley calls "Home made Manure". This works great!
 Two months after I got my worms, I though they might be getting a little crowded, So I built my first outside bed.

And this is it, made from recycled wood and is opened bottom. This provides a lot more room for the worms  to do their thing. The only thing that is a pain, is the harvesting of the worm casts! Labor intensive!

So there you have it Lady's. That's how I got my worms started! If you want to start this way, I would suggest that you purchase your worms from Bentley! I did not do this and I did not get the right worms for the job! The worms you want are "Eisenia fetida/andrel" (Red wigglers, Manure worms!). And Bentley has them!

Also he has the plains to build a "Single-Compartment Flow-Through bed", that will make harvesting worm casts a lot easier! I have my copy and will be doing up a post on that as I work on it.

So go to his site, because he has a lot more info on how to get started.

I hope this helps and let me know how it goes!


  1. Thanks! I'm just running out the door now, but can't wait to read the entire post (and look at the website). Thanks for thinking of us! :)

  2. When you say "Primary" and "Secondary" bedding, do you mean first choice of materials and second choice of materials, or first put in Primary and the put in Secondary material on top?

    Also, how do you keep your worms from "escaping" your outdoor worm bed? Or do they just stay around because the eat'n is so good in the box?

  3. Hurray! Thank you Tom! I've been terrible at keeping up with my blog visits, but I haven't forgotten about this post. I never realized there were different kinds of worms, so I'm really glad you mention that.

    I'm going to put a link to this post on my blog. Not sure which link list it should go in. Homesteading or animals! LOL or maybe on my gardening journal.