It's been about five weeks since we started farmin' worms. I remember reading that the soil can become acidic in closed environments, and that can be toxic for the worms. So, today we refreshed the worm bed.
Last time we used some soil and some shredded (no color ink) newspaper. I have to say, there was absolutely no evidence of any newspaper whatsoever...so either they ate it, or it disintegrated. At any rate, this time we just went out and got some fresh dirt. We removed all the soil and worms and everything, and replaced the sticks in the bottom of the container. They help make an air pocket and allow for a bit of drainage if I accidentally add too much water.
Next, two sheets of blank newsprint (also known as Little Bit's easel paper) to act as a sort of barrier (and make the air pocket/drainage 'better').
Then, dirt! Last time I was really careful to make sure there weren't any roots or leaves or anything. Why? A normal worm, in a normal patch of soil, would come across all that stuff. So this time, there are some roots, a bit of grass, etc. We'll see how it goes. Also, I sprinkled on a bit of the current soil/worm castings. Apparently, I subscribe to the 'sourdough starter' philosophy of worm farming. I just thought maybe there should be something there that they recognize. Also, even though I don't see any eggs in the 'old' soil, I kept a little of it in here just in case. I'd love to get some baby wormlets!
Finally, the worms, along with the 3 grubs we found in the mix. I am not sure what those grubs turn into...so that should be an adventure as well. Don't the worms look healthy? They do seem like they've grown since we got them in a bait box. They're really active and 'robust'!
I gave them a sprinkle of chicken feed. It's one of the recommended things to give them. I would love to say that it was our daughter's idea to shape the feed like that, but truth, I did that on my own. Um....yeah. So I'm a bit of a geek.
Finally, this is the soil/worm castings we removed from the bucket. Look how dark and rich and gorgeous! We took it out to the garden, and treated it like fertilizer. We put a mittful by each tomato plant, and used the rest to feed the squashes, pumpkins and potatoes. I don't know how strong or rich it really is, but I'll be interested to see if we notice a major growth spurt from those plants! Even if we don't, the worm castings got spread around the garden...maybe some eggs too! That doesn't seem like a bad thing.