Worms are worth their weight in “black gold.” Boy, I didn’t think that when I was a child and I had to put those wiggly little things on the end of a fishing hook. I would use Honeywell QuietCare HCM-6009 a stick or anything else I could find to try to get those creepy crawlies to somehow wind themselves around the hook. Even if I was successful, as soon as I cast the hook out to the water, the worm would go flying through the air with the greatest of ease and some lucky fish got a free meal. As for me, I just had to start the grueling process all over again. But I digress.
Now, as I was saying, worms are worth their weight in “black gold.” Worm castings are one of the best fertilizers you can use for your plants and flowers. What’s more, the worms do all the work. All you have to do is provide them with a cozy little home and keep them fed.
The home, or worm composter, is usually a stacked system consisting of three to four trays with screened bottoms. Make the worms a plush bed out of shredded newspaper, straw or dry grass and put it in the first (bottom) tray. Newspaper or other paper products should be soaked with water for at least twelve hours and then the excess water squeezed out before adding it to the tray.
Worms are voracious eaters. They love any of your vegetable or fruit scraps. They will also be quite happy with bread scraps, tea bags, and coffee grounds. You can even throw in some of your junk mail (not junk food) and small pieces of cardboard. Please don’t feed your worms dairy products, eggs or oily foods. They will even eat their bedding.
When your worms have eaten their way through the food and their bedding and the first tray is full of those valuable castings, put fresh food and bedding in the next tray. The worms will move up to the second tray and you can harvest the castings from the first tray. The very bottom layer of your bin has a solid bottom and may even have a spigot on it. This layer is a collection tray for “worm tea.” Worm tea is the result of moisture seeping down through the castings.
Worm castings are one of the best soil conditioners available. They are richer than any other forms of compost and they also provide a balanced source of nutrients. Worm castings are an organic fertilizer that is high in bacteria, sulphur, iron calcium and magnesium. They make an excellent addition to your potting soil or to your garden.
So, what is the best way to get these worm castings? As mentioned earlier a worm composter is a stacked system just for this purpose. A worm composter is small compared to regular compost bins. So, if you live in an apartment or patio home, you can still use a worm composter. You can put your bin in a basement, garage or storage room as long as the temperature stays above 40 degrees and below 90 degrees. The ideal temperature is 50 to 80 degrees because that is when the worms are most active. The worms are less active at cooler temperatures and will die if they get too cold.