Holidays and Your Worm Bin Care

Close up of potatoes sprouting in the worm bin

Close up of potatoes sprouting in the worm bin

OK, you might ask just how can I leave my worm bin and expect to come back to live worms?  After all I haven’t trained my neighbors in their care– yet and I will be away for 2, 4 or 6 weeks! Will they all be dead when I get home again?

I do get this question if I am speaking at a garden club, a school or a state fair. It seems like once a person is emotionally invested in their worms they do worry about leaving them with out adequate care.  With my 90 bins here I had been concerned the first few times I left, too.  Here is how I prepared them for my departure.  I planned to give over all my time to the worms for the two weeks before I had to leave.  During that time I made sure that I systematically went through each bin, 1 through 90.  I made sure they has plenty or organic waste residuals to eat.  Then I placed at least 2 to 3 times the amount of shredded and pre-soaked paper bedding on top of their food.  Next a handful of inexpensive bird seed was scattered over the contents of the bin.  This would ensure that once the roots of the seeds had taken hold that the methane the worms can make and foul their bin with would escape during the exchange of the methane for oxygen.

I also made very sure that when I returned back home, I had blocked out as much time in the next 2 weeks, to re-check the bins in reverse order and make sure of a number of items.  Some bins had done very well.  The seeds had sprouted and the paper was just about all consumed.  Others had done exceedingly well.  In fact a population explosion had taken place and in order to keep the bin’s worms happy, I would either have to start a new bin or fill the orders for worms which had piled up while I was away.  Just a few of the bins appeared to remain stagnant, meaning that they has not consumed their food, the seeds had not sprouted and the population was about the same as when I left.  This was a poser to me.  How had the other bins done so well when a few had not?

I had the answer when I cleaned out the fridge and found small potatoes which had sprouted while I was away.  I looked at them and thought I could either plant them for a fall crop or I could experiment in the non preforming bins with them.  I did the latter.  To my relief I found the answer to my holiday woes of leaving the worms.  I simply buried half way into the top layer of the bin(s) the sprouting potatoes.  Massive, or so it appeared to me, roots ans sprouts from them were evident  in about 4 to 5 days.  This solved the problem for me, of the methane and oxygen exchange, providing that I had fed and papered the bins well before I left.

I do think this will work as well with just about anything you or I have in the fridge which has sprouted and  can’t use in cooking.  Into the worm bin it goes and stand back and watch it take off.  I have yet to even think I will eat any of the potatoes which are sprouting in the bins.  But, they do look pretty good.  I will include a photo or two here for you to see how it worked for me.

To Recap:

> Yes, you can safely  leave your worms for extended time periods

> You can also try other methods close to these listed here and see what works best for your worms

> As you know: worms are the most forgiving of all pets.  They will astonish you with their sturdiness time after time.

Until I am back again and I look forward to your questions here, as they are not only a challenge to keep up with, but keep me learning, too!

Enjoy your worms!

~Shel