Vermicomposting, worm bin, composting with worms community and forums
If it were me, I would get a 3-gallon bucket, drill a few drainage holes in the bottom and fill 2/3 full with moist coconut coir. Introduce the worms and let them burrow down. Then I would soak some bread in water, mix it with some small-size kitchen scraps and sprinkle a thin layer on top. Store in a shady place. This oughtta keep the guys going for a while.
I'd shred some paper.Ball some up.Then cook a packet of grits.Stick the grits in one corner.The tote or whatever you put them in,cut a panel of cardboard a bit smaller than the container,and sit it on top of the bedding wet.Then slide a t shirt or some other material on top as a lid.The worms sometimes won't climb on the walls above the cardboard because it is dry walls.Less likely for the worms to go wandering.If you put a lid on top,the moistured walls may have them crawling out of the bin.Please whatever you try,post the results. Good for all to learn from this.
By the way just make sure all the paper is wet.You can place dry paper on top of the wet paper.Then install the cardboard panel.May help even more?
My suggestion has to do with documenting receipt of your worm order. I don't want to sound alarmist, but most reputable worm sellers now sell by weight rather than quantity. If you have access to a video camera, record the unpacking of the worm shipment. See this discussion for examples: http://vermicomposters.ning.com/profiles/blogs/worms-purchased-from...
If you don't have a video recording device (many phones can record video), then weigh the bag of worms (including bedding) and take a photo of that. Dump the worms & bedding on to a light surface and take photos of that. Close-ups would be good.
The reason for all this is to verify that you received a single species of worm (hopefully red wigglers) and the advertised quantity. Both factors contribute to the success of your wormery. We often see newbies here become discouraged because something goes wrong and they blame themselves. Sometimes it is not something they did, rather something resulting from the worms they bought.
I like the tips about using coir & the cardboard lid. If you don't have coir, peat moss will work. If you have neither, pre-soaked cardboard chunks will work just as well. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
This is the company that I used for the worms. http://www.amazon.com/Sun-SJRW1800-Wiggler-Composting-Worms/dp/B006...
Any experience with them?
I do. The worms come from a California a company called Orcon Organic. www.organiccontrol.com/ The worms looked alright but they aren't no 1800 worms and if you look at Orcon's website they claim 1lbs of worms has between 1800 and 2000 Reds. http://organiccontrol.com/live-earthworms-1-lb-red-wrigglers/ They seem to use Snowjoe.com to push their items through Amazon.com, Home Depot, Sears, etc..
they provide the worms for Orchard Supply and Hardware OSH their worms are very small they all look about half grown can't tell what species they are, i have looked at them OSH sells them for $12 for 200.
Amazon has great customer service. I think if you document that you did not receive the advertised number of worms, they MIGHT send you a 2nd order of worms. Returns are not accepted on this particular product (for obvious reasons), but I think you could make a case for additional worms.
If you read the discussion I linked to earlier, you'll see that 1 lbs. of worms is ~2 measuring cups. From the Amazon photos it looks like they use peat moss as bedding. If they use 2 cups of peat, the total volume would be ~1 quart with the worms very obviously present instead of hidden in lots of bedding.
If they use 4 cups of peat, then the total volume would be 1.5 qts. with the worms taking up much less space relative to the entire mass of material in the bag. It's hard to tell what size the bag in the photos is. I suggest you find a quart sized container and dump the contents into that just as a frame of reference.
You might want to prepare yourself to actually count out the worms. It will be fairly easy if they are mostly mature. Make sure your hands are wet when you handle the worms. A small spoon (no sharp edges) might help. If there are lots of babies included, then you might have to make an educated guess.
Yes, thanks for the link...it was very interesting. I'll let you know how they look. I do have a food scale so I can weigh them. It looks like I might not have an issue after all. Amazon was projecting the worms to arrive tomorrow and the worm factory to arrive next week but I received info today that the worm factory will arrive tomorrow also. Good news.
Also, how about using the compost material that I have been collecting for several weeks in my kitchen pail? Any issue putting that in with the worms in the factory. It's broken down pretty well. There is quite a bit of liquid there. Is that ok? It contains apple cores, veggie clippings, egg shells, banana peels, peanut shells, coffee grinds, etc.
The pre-rotted material in your kitchen pail is perfect worm food. Add some torn chunks of egg carton & cardboard to absorb some of the liquid. The worms will also love those.
You'll want to start feeding small amounts. If you find that you have a full pound of worms, feed them 8 oz. worth of scraps spread in a thin layer over half the area of a single WF tray. Check how well the worms have processed this in 3-4 days. If it seems 50-60% processed, feed the 2nd half of the tray with another 8 oz.
As your wormery matures, you'll find that you can increase the amount of food and the frequency. But it's better to ramp things up slowly. It's nearly impossible to starve worms. It's very easy to overfeed them.
2 cups!?! Wowwww. I'm very sure the shipment I received was much less than advertised. I had always suspected, but... wow. Oh well, I have a bin full of worms now, so no lasting harm done.
AP, I suspect that you represent 90% of consumers. People simply have no idea what a pound of worms looks like. We know that you can successfully start a worm composting system with 10-20 worms. You don't need many worms, just patience.
BTW, we're talking about 2 measuring cups (the kind you use for measuring flour, sugar, etc.)...not 2 coffee cups. It's actually a small volume, but it looks impressive when you see that much living worm meat in a single mass.
Here's my own harvest of 1 (one) cup of worms. I would estimate this is ~1/2 lbs. of worms, maybe an ounce or two more.
Yeah, I understand. I think my shipment a couple years ago was supposed to have been 1/4 pound. When I separated the worms from the coir, it reminded me of a dark red golf ball. It was way more than 10 or 20 worms, maybe it was 100 or more, but I don't think it was anywhere near a half cup.