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draft: notes on vermincomposting

Tips and tricks for vc

stay away from acidic items, oily items, meats/cheese (longer to compost)


orange rinds, citrus fruits (attracts fruit flys)

onions, broccoli (strong odors)

salty or acidic foods

avoid grease, fat, bones, fish, and meat scraps. Fats are slow to break down and greatly increase

the length of time required before compost can be used.

Avoid diseased veggies, diseased anything.. compost will heat up, but microbes will still be there after years.

Weed is a problem. If it hasn’t developed seeds, it can be thrown into the bin, but weed seeds can live through the compost cycle and show up in the garden months later.

Tightly closed bins are bad because air won’t go through.

vegetable seedlings are susceptible to microbes in worm compost, and it’s difficult to sterile it. Worm compost is not recommended for seedlings? (verify this)

does one need compost starter? How do you do quality control? What metrics am I looking for? Microbes in air could be enough to begin with assuming air circulation exists in a bin.

Eggshell exception. Wash and dry them out. Do not feed the worms eggs, but they do need calcium. So dry out the egg shells and crush them. Caveat.. save your egg shells.

don’t drawn your worms. Include holes in bin, but can’t leave them outside since las vegas heat is about 115F in the summer time, which is about 35 degrees too hot. Around February the ground surface will get about 45F in the morning.


raw veggies

newspaper strips

to increase population: sweet fruit scraps like banana peels, cantaloupe rinds and apple cores, and pumpkins! (jack o lantern)
old vegetable material, coffee grounds, tea bags, old newspaper, shredded documents, and fall leaves


bin will need: moisture, air, food, darkness, warm (not hot) temps.

Bedding from newspaper strips/leaves retain moisture + contains air space (does ink harm the soil?)

they also eat bread and wheats

mix scraps with the veggies

sprinkle bedding with water until damp

Composting occurs best at a moisture

content of 50-60% (by weight) there is a ‘squeeze’ test

grass clippings (who has grass anymore?) have nitrogen.. do not throw it away they will decompose fast. But don’t allow them to clump. If they’re big, grind them down. they’re very moist though, and should be mixed with a dry substance to avoid become anaerobic


red worms or red wigglers

Eisenia foetida

Lumbricus rubellus

Nightcrawlers are large, and need room. They won’t like bins. Some are naturally deep dwellers. Deep as in 6 feet. Red wigglers are okay with 6 inches.

they’re surface-dwellers. Prefer to live in the top 6 inches of soil

thus shallow bins rather than deep is preferred

for wood bin, line button with plastic? Cover with loose fitting lid. To allow air into bin

after several months worms need to be separated form their castings which at high [concentrations] create an unhealthy environment for them

to prep for harvest. Do not add new food to the bin for 2 weeks.

Make compost tea: just add water, let it step/stew w/e for a day. Then add “tea” to your plants

Name Common Common name Lb/day Temp low Size Life span
Lumbricus rubellus Angle/leave/garden/drift/red march worm 38-40F 4in Cold weather..
Eisenia fetida Red wigglers 2lb eats 1lb/day 1.5-2.5in, 1lb to 2ft-sq 2-5 cocoons/wk 1, hatch in 1.5mo, lives 2-5yrs
Eisenia hortensis European night crawler, belgain night crawler Larger than ^ Cooler temps, moist environments. 1.5yr to settle into composting
Esenia andrei Tiger worm Unpleasant order?

Temps above 85F are harmful to worms. They will try to leave areas that hit 95F. If they can’t escape, they will die. Proteins will denature, etc. (can worms get heat strokes?) Above 80F will slow down the decomposing activities. Worm cocoons can survive freezing temperatures for a couple of months even if their parents die (how sad.. :’(