Another newbie here in wormcity

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inchworm
Junior Member
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2021 6:34 pm

Another newbie here in wormcity

Post by inchworm » Wed Oct 06, 2021 6:50 pm

Hi everyone,

My new wormery and worms arrived yesterday. I think/hope I followed the instructions correctly. Following advice (thanks everyone!) I put a big wheelie bin bag around my worms to stop their attempts to escape from Wormpenitentiary last night. So glad I did as this morning I started carefully looking for stragglers. I was even counting them so I could tell you all the numbers. Then I saw the biggest ball of escaped worms all together - probably about 1/3 of them as well as the stragglers everywhere. I replaced them all back in the tray with the cardboard and everything (part number 4) this morning.

I was amazed at how many worms there were in the v shaped inverted base tray (part number 3) so I moved all the worms in that plastic v shaped section that doesn't have bedding or food in back up to the tray (part number 4) with cardboard and food and everything. I have cardboaard cut to size lining the compost tray. I just wanted to check if that is a good thing to keep doing as I don't want to disturb them needlessly with light etc if they are ok down there?

I wonder on their survival chances if they actually make it out will they be able to live happy new lives in the garden? I'm feeling like a mean prison guard. I think I read the escape phase lasts a couple of weeks - is that right? Can I expect the same huge escape numbers to put back every morning? Hope I'm on the right track here!!

WillyWorm
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Posts: 618
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:10 am

Re: Another newbie here in wormcity

Post by WillyWorm » Wed Oct 06, 2021 11:09 pm

Hi inchworm, welcome to the world of worms. Worms are not there to compost your kitchen waste they are there to test your sanity.
If you have read the forum you will know that what you are going through is normal for most new worm keepers.
Yes it can take a week or two for the worms to settle down some say they don’t settle until the second generation of worms are born in the bin, something to do with a homing instinct and returning to their place of birth.
The black bag thing works well but most people soon get fed up with retrieving worms from the bag. Either in the bag or freestanding you could put a couple of sheets of wet corrugated cardboard, the escapees will always head for a cool, damp, dark place so this tactic makes it easy to round up your herd from under the cardboard and return them to your new home. Talking about “new” try to dirty up the bin a bit worms don’t do new and your shiny bin will not smell right to them.
Lots of worms go down into the sump (the V bit) to avoid this you were advised to line the first tray with a sheet of paper or something. The other thing you can do is to place some strips of cardboard in the sump it’s self, put enough in so that it touches the underside of the first feeding tray. This will enable your worms to climb up and return to the feeding tray (worms can’t jump). If they want to stay there then they can use the card for food.
Compost worms will not last long in the garden unless you have a very rich high in organic matter soil. Our compost worms do not borrow very deep in to the ground this is what makes them good in our worm bins. Messing about on the surface they would soon become a birds lunch and if they avoid the bird then the cold or hot weather will get them.
The easiest and most effective way to keep worms at home is to have a bright light on over the bin. Worms hate the light. It will do your worms no harm and will save you a lot of work.

You are doing great keep up the good work the main danger at the start is to ensure you don’t over feed them.

Have fun and please keep us updated
WillyWorm

Lilwriggler
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Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:08 pm

Re: Another newbie here in wormcity

Post by Lilwriggler » Thu Oct 07, 2021 5:57 pm

In my sumps i use an old bathroom sponge to act as a means of getting back up into the layer above. It’s a muddy mess now, and i don’t know if they use it, but it is a helpful tool to mop up any mess in the sump and deal with excess leachate

WillyWorm
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Posts: 618
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:10 am

Re: Another newbie here in wormcity

Post by WillyWorm » Thu Oct 07, 2021 7:05 pm

Yea I always used a washing-up sponge but now find the cardboard much better and it produces some great castings. I’m so impressed I’ve now started a bin which will only be fed in corrugated card and there bedding will be corrugated card. I expect individual worm size to reduce but casting production to speed up.

Willy

Lilwriggler
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Re: Another newbie here in wormcity

Post by Lilwriggler » Fri Oct 08, 2021 7:56 am

Yes, the castings that cardboard produces looks really good and doesn’t hang around as long as the shredded paper. Egg boxes are good also

inchworm
Junior Member
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2021 6:34 pm

Re: Another newbie here in wormcity

Post by inchworm » Fri Oct 08, 2021 9:05 am

Thanks Willyworm & Lilwriggler, this is a whole load more real/complex than I expected but I'm trying to do the right things by the worms. I dirtied up the side walls of the compost tray before they went in by rubbing them in soil/water mix(Willyworm this was your suggestion to someone else on here so thank you!) but not the base as I'd put the cardboard in by then. so I think I've done the first part to line the first tray with a sheet of paper.

There were fewer but still quite a couple of big handfuls of worms out in the bag yesterday morning. I haven't been on prison guard duty this morning yet but I'm hoping it will be fewer again. My worms live outside so I haven't been able to rig an overnight light. I got home just after dark and the first two worms were starting their escape as I put the bag out so I can see the daylight is keeping them in.

I'll try cardboard in the sump V section - when you talk about shredded card do you put it through a shredder or just rip it into strips a couple of cm wide? Do some of the worms continue to want to escape after the first fortnight or is this a temporary phase? Well, this world of worms is certainly different!

WillyWorm
Senior Member
Posts: 618
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:10 am

Re: Another newbie here in wormcity

Post by WillyWorm » Fri Oct 08, 2021 10:35 am

Good morning, “shredded cardboard” cardboard torn into small pieces, yea a couple of cc in each direction or cardboard which has been put through a paper shredder if you have one powerful enough, mine is a ten sheet shredder and manages fine with normal cardboard but not the extra thick packing stuff.

In the sump area I use strips of cardboard about 4in/10cc wide about 17in/40cc long, I place 5 or 6 strips to cover most of the bottom of the sump and reach the bottom of the first tray. I do not recommend shredded card or paper in the sump, just the cardboard strips.

There will always be a few worms escaping, but it ceases to be a problem after a while. What your worms have gone through over the past week would put us humans into therapy, think about it: ripped away from their friends and family without a chance to say goodbye, put in the back of Postman Pats van. Bounced around half of the UK worried about whether or not Pat's got enough petrol to get them to the destination. Then having a complete stranger put them in a strange prison and giving them strange food. And at night they are put in a large black bag with no light. Just imaging going through that. :):)

You are doing well and your worms will settle and you will then start to enjoy them. After two weeks or so worms become very undemanding.

Just one point if your worms are to remain outside you will need something over the bin to keep the rain out. The stacking bins can not be water tight.

Hope to hear things are continuing to settle next time.

inchworm
Junior Member
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2021 6:34 pm

Re: Another newbie here in wormcity

Post by inchworm » Sat Oct 09, 2021 9:02 am

Good morning Willyworm and everyone else,

On the third morning yesterday my prison guard duties were much better after they were installed on Tuesday 5/10. Still escaping worms but now a couple of handfuls in total and no huge balls of stressed worms like the first two nights. I have left my worms in the tender care of my other half this morning who surprised me by agreeing to be worm prison guard while I'm away overnight. He watched me yesterday so knows what he is getting into. I am honestly a bit surprised not to be a lone worm parent. Maybe they are wriggling their way into his life too!

Thank you for taking so much time to post yesterday about the delights of cardboard and the sump; I decided to check the sump again yesterday and was delighted to see only a handful of worms had found their own way back down into the empty sump which was empty of cardboard or anything else at that point. I took all the huge numbers of worms out of the sump morning one but morning two left them as I wasn't sure whether disturbing them with light and dragging them around again was a good idea. I can tell they don't like the light!

I feel like my wormery is changing how I'm looking at all sorts of things; those sheets of cardboard left from my worm delivery are now safely stored for the worms instead of gone with yesterday's recycling. It was really helpful to get your info re cardboard, I have a 10 sheet shredder which can probably take the thinner stuff and will then hand-rip some of the corrugated thicker stuff for the V sump.

Rain: I have put the wormery in a sheltered corner that is protected on 3 sides from rain blowing into it sideways if you see what I mean. But I expect to use my worm prison bag (a huge black rubbish bag designed to fit a wheelie bin) again if it's heavy. I don't think I am willing to stand outside with an umbrella for them so I may need to buy a barbeque cover or something.

WillyWorm
Senior Member
Posts: 618
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:10 am

Re: Another newbie here in wormcity

Post by WillyWorm » Sat Oct 09, 2021 8:43 pm

Thing sure seem to be going well there.
Rain and bins getting over wet is a big problem. If you look at the roof section when it is sitting on the top tray you will see the roof lip and the lip on the tray project out the same distance. This results in water from the roof draining into the tray via the ventilation gap which must be there. A bin bag may help for a while but may not be strong enough to last very long in winter winds. When I had outdoor bins I wrapped them
in bubble wrap in the winter this stopped the water and helped maintain the a reasonable temperature.for my herd.

Willy

inchworm
Junior Member
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2021 6:34 pm

Re: Another newbie here in wormcity

Post by inchworm » Mon Oct 11, 2021 7:37 pm

Only 16 worms escaped last night so that's good news. Tomorrow they have been settling in for a week so I plan to give them a small amount of the dried food in one corner.

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