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Hello,  I started saving food scraps in a bucket about 3 weeks - 1 month ago as I begun the process of building my worm bin.  I should have my worms in a few weeks, but I'm wondering if I can give them all the food scraps that have been sitting in the bucket, decomposing and molding, or if I need to start over with fresh food scraps?  It seems like... they're going to decompose and mold anyway, so it should be fine?  New to this... 

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Hi Lindsay,

What type of bin do you have, how large is it and how many worms are you expecting?  I'm not sure of how much food or the type of food is in your bucket, but if it all turns to liquid, you may want to throw in something else that will soak up some of the liquid like grains.  But, if you do this, be careful in the amount that you add because it can cause your bin to heat up once you put it in.  

I usually only compost my food scraps in a kitchen countertop composter for about 3-4 days before adding to my stackable system straining out any excess liquid before I put it in the bin.  I have a Worm Factory 360 which works for me as I am in a condo and don't have a lot of room.  

Anyway, I hope this helps! 

My bin is a homemade wood bin about 5 feet by 2 feet, and 1 1/2 feet deep with drainage holes on the bottom.  It's in the far corner of my backyard (So I'm not too worried about smells or anything) and I'm getting ready to make the bedding with cut up cardboard, newspaper, shredded paper and egg cartons... And then I was going to add the worms and some of the moldy food scraps.  Anything else I should add in there?  There will be a bit of soil/vermicompost that the worms are already living in too, which hopefully will make the adjustment easier.  Is it a good idea to add some regular soil or compost into the bin too?  Thanks.  

It's ok.  While they tend to leave moldy things alone, it all gets eaten in the end.  Having the rotting process already started means they'll get into them that much earlier, it's actually better that way (I store mine in the freezer).

A couple of thoughts though.  If you've a lot of fruit and you smell it's gone alcoholic, careful with that.  Goes for any really foul smell for that matter.  Should smell like rotting food, any sharp smells means it's gone anerobic.  Pouring out juices that may have accumulated and adding cardboard bedding and letting it air out a day or two before helps.  My scraps are fruit heavy and tend to turn into slurry.

That's going to be quite a bit of food for a new bin.  Worms take a while to adjust (and you'll be building a population) to a new home so they'll be eating less.  Careful not to overfeed... and if you're producing more waste than you can feed at the start, those scraps are going to get pretty interesting by the time you catch up.  But some already nicely rotted food would be good for a new bin in proper quantities.  Keep some of it and dispose of the rest if it gets nastier than you want to deal with.

There's hardly any fruit... mostly veggie scraps and egg cartons & paper towels, egg shells and tea bags.  I was going to make the bedding today (cut up cardboard, shredded paper and newspaper, egg cartons) and add the worms and food scraps this week... anything else I should add to the mix?  Thanks for your suggestions!

In regard to the egg shell; I would grind them down some rather that just throw in whole egg shells for two reasns:  one it will be easier for them to eat since they do not readily break down like soft food and two it serves as a "grit" for them as well.

Also, to lower the risk of maggots in your bin, I would wash the shells first in water only, let them dry out or bake them in the oven for about 20 minutes on 200 to kill any salmonella microbes.  But that's just me. Like I said, I have an indoor bin and can do without the odors, bugs, etc crawling around in my home. ha It seems that when folks do not have indoor bins don't really pay much attention to what they put in their bins because they are outdoors and won't cause the same issues for them. 

Hah, I hadn't seen the other posts while I was making mine (got called away half way through).  Ok that's some bin, I think usually posters call things that size 'systems', 'bins' are the little guys you put under a table :).  Interesting size, quite the shallow system.

So something that size makes things easier, bigger is more forgiving.  Your bedding mix sounds fine.  I like egg carton/cardboard more than paper as it doesnt' clump as much but I use both.  For soil and such, can toss some in at the start, good way of introducing more composting critters and bacteria.  But once it's going it can easily run on your scraps and garden waste.  BTW, if you're getting your worms via mail, there's a good chance it won't actually come with compost, but with peatmoss.  Not a problem though, the bit of soil will start things off fine.

It is quite a shallow bin for the length of it.  Even mine is deeper than that! ha.  Interesting....

Ya.. I don't know the website I used to build the box and come up with the design said they don't like deep bins.. It's actually only 1 foot deep-I double checked..

Neat.  It's a gov site so I think their idea is to keep costs down to a min to attract people into doing it, not a bad idea at all.   So instead of going for the flowthrough, it's on the ground and harvested by feeding one side then the other.  Makes it more simple as you don't need a stand, grill on the bottom etc.  Hope it catches on, have fun with it :)

My personal feeling is 1,5 ft height is great, more than that compromises air flow. With a bin of your size it's far easier to control. Water your your mouldy food & pour the liquid over the whole bin surface, place the remaining solid mass under the surface of one half of the bin, ten days after introducing your worms check where most of them have migrated to. Ideally it's best to initially introduce less worms leave the lid off (in warmer climates) for two days so the light forces them down. If they settle well say a week later introduce more worms.............IC

Hi, Lindsay.

It's important to put a couple of small handfuls of dirt in the bin when preparing the bedding. It inoculates the bin with various bacteria, molds, etc that help create a healthy worm environment. It also adds the crucial grit that the worms need for their gizzards so they can digest the food. If you don't add a little soil, at least add a very small amount of sand or finely crushed eggshells so they receive the needed grit. Lastly, I read somewhere that it's ideal to prepare the bedding, moisten it, and let it sit for a couple of days to permit the bacteria, etc. to multiply before adding the worms. I tried all of these things, but I didn't have a "control" box where I didn't do all of these things to see if there was a difference in how the worms managed. Sounds like you've already got your bin going, so these suggestions are not entirely appropriate, but some of these things can be done now, if you think these suggestions sound good to you. And when you harvest your castings in the future and establish new bedding, then you can give some of these suggestions a trial. Hopefully, some other folks will read my reply and add to it.

Yikes.....well, unless you are going to build a different one, this will have to do. The bin shouldn't be so deep that you cannot manually manage it if it is not commercial. Those folks usually have machines for stuff very large. Each situation is different and you have to do what works for you and the worms you are raising.




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