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OK, we are operating on a shoestring budget. Cancel that... we can't afford shoestrings. We live in a small apartment.
Our current plan is to use brown paper bags and used coffee grounds for our starting mix. To keep it from molding before use, the coffee grounds were baked back to more or less dry. We have the square plastic coffee cans, and we plan to use them.
The current questions are:
How moist should we rehydrate to?
Whats the best way to go from more or less sterile to "able to feed worms"? At this point, I am thinking on rehydrating using water from the guppy tank....
Anything wrong with getting our starter worms from the bait shop? I know... little red wrigglers, not the refridgerated monsters.... Is there a cheaper way (we live in an apartment... they would get mad if I dug up the grounds looking for worms....) and my grandfathers compost heap is 2700 miles away... a bit too far to walk...
We are open to suggestions and ideas...
Tony i have had mini bins for a couple years. I use old red-vine licorice containers. a photo of my mini bin
I believe the container holds about a gallon and a half of bedding. Half again as much as a coffee can. I had several blog posts but i see that all but the last couple are gone. So i will try to cover the results i got. I re-started my mini bins ever 3 to 4 month or so. I had one mini bin for a year then two for the next year. So i ended up restarting the mini bins about 9 times total. I found the worm volume results stayed fairly consistent. I was never able to get more than a quarter cup of worms in a container. That is the volume of worms would stay the same. If the number of worms went up the size of worms would go down, i mean they would get tiny inch long and mature. I would split the herd, dividing one container into two. The tiny worms would just get bigger until i had a 1/4 cup of worms in each container. I think that is about the total volume of worms in one of those bate shop worm containers. So it should be enough to start a gallon or two.
You can never go wrong by having too much bedding in a worm bin, not true with having too much food. So fill the thing nearly to the top with damp bedding when the bedding shrinks add more. Just keep them damp, ventilated and don't overfeed and the bin should do fine. Notice the vent holes in my mini bin by the bottom and in the top of the lid under the yellow cloth ( it's bit of sham wow ). The thick cloth allows air movement and keeps fruit flies out. Never once found a fruit fly in those mini bins.
On a real good day worms will eat half their weight in food a day. Trouble is real good days don't happen too often in such a small container. So give them half their weight in food and don't feed them again until is gone. In such a small container a apple core can take as long as two weeks or more before its is gone. So i would check once a week until the it was gone before feeding something else.
An exception to the rule is used coffee grounds (URG) they take a long time to break down enough for the worms to like them. Spread the coffee grounds out or mix them up into the top of the bedding with a bit of other food ( tablespoon full of other food ) and they will get eaten quicker. URG are fairly sterile so have to soak up microbes from something else before they start getting "worm ready". URG's don't smell bad while breaking down. So they make a good "hold over" food slowly releasing nutrients to the worms ( URG are eaten slower ). By the time the other food was eaten the coffee grounds would have started breaking down enough for the worms to start processing them.
Hope this helps
Tony, what part of the country are you located in?
I;ve seen many worms dead on the sidewalk after a rain... I always thought they left the ground to avoid drowning... That was my big worry... I put a few rocks in the lower bucket so they have a place out of the water to hang out till I get them if they make their way through.