Worm bin learning

So the worm bin composting has been a positive experience so far. It makes me feel good to be producing less waste, which is noticeably the case. I am enjoying having to take the trash out less often than before, which will be extra great as the weather gets cooler. Although so far so good, I would be curious to hear what the other worm bin composters are experiencing. This is my first time worm bin composting and the gratification is somewhat delayed, as compost/casting won’t be ready to “harvest” for at least four months (on average – as I have been doing lots of reading of blogs to understand how to best maintain a worm bin).

I guess my two biggest question still remain:

1. FIRST QUESTION: How much can my bin handle? Having a CSA this summer has produced a little more organic waste than normal and I have been careful to not overload the bin with an excessive amount of wet organic material. This seems to be good so far. Before starting the bin I came to terms with the fact that there WOULD be some fruit flies, particularly in the summer. When I bought my worms, the very helpful woman at Amelia’s flower shop in Minneapolis told me that a healthy worm bin is not an overly clean worm bin. So, thus far, a few fruit flies, but just a few here and there. Despite all of the blog reading I have been doing, it is hard to understand the capacity of a bin without just trying it out – the whole point of the threeACTIONS! This is great, but an insight is that having more helpful information around this would maybe inspire more timid worm bin composters to give things a try and, maybe more importantly, inform them of the size bin they need.

Since I live in an apartment, space is tight, and so a bin much bigger than the 14″ wide by 17″ deep bin would have been tough. Of course this begs the question of sharing compost with my fellow condo/apartment neighbors. Getting more developers and apartment associations in on this conversation would be an important way around this conundrum. Composting space could be shared space with dedicated maintenance persons.


2. SECOND QUESTION: How often should I be adding food? I started by adding food every 3-4 days, after collecting it in a small, closed container on the kitchen counter. In the last week I have gotten more in the habit of putting the scraps right in the bin. Although, I recently read that disturbing the bin less is better for the worms, which makes perfect sense. So, I am going to go back to my original method. If anyone else has thoughts or advice on this, I would be appreciative to hear about it.


Lastly, it has been great helping teach my roommate (currently my sister) about worm bin composting. We get twice the benefit without both of us having to dedicate to doing all of the research and leg work. I gave her a few of the best websites I found and asked her to read them and made a list of the “DO NOT PUT IN BIN” items and put it on the refrigerator. So far so good.