When to give ?
At 20°C, the condition are ideal for the worm reproduction: at this temperature, a donation of worms every 2 months will not affect your composter.
Less often when the temperature is colder.
Simply check if you have enough worms inside your composter before making a donation.
How much should be given :
One handful of worms should be enough to start a vermicomposter (see the picture).
The quantity of worms provided is often less than 500 grams (usual recommendation to start a worm composter).
Worms and compost should be taken from the different levels of the worm composter.
By doing that, you will also give microorganisms that are usefull for the decomposition: mushrooms, bacterias, insects,… this will launch the new composter faster.
How to give :
For the transportation, you can put the worms and the compost in one or two pages of newspaper.
The user will then put the content in the new litter.
To collect the worms, process by hand, using a small tool if necessary. Do not forget to collect both worms and compost!
That way, the processing of your fresh wastes should not be affected.
Advices to give when making a worm donation
Installation of the worms
The worm composter should be installed in a place where the temperature stays between 15 and 25°C.
Below 15°C, the worm activity is slowed. The freeze kills the worms. → If necessary, the worm composter shall be protected from the cold during winter.
Above 25°C, the worms will be seeking for fresh air. Above 30°C: the worms can die. → Always in the shade during summer
Do not install the worm composter close to a washing machine. The worms don’t like vibrations.
The worms (and the compost) should be installed in a humidified litter (teared cardboard, coffee grounds, compost, coconut fiber,…).
A small amount of fresh wastes can be added to the litter (salad, small vegetable peeling) but not a lot !
Cover the litter with a moisture mat and wait for 7 days before adding new wastes.
Storage of the wastes
Fresh wastes shall not be stored in an opened box, as it might attract midges.
Store your fresh wastes in a closed box until you put it in your worm composter.
In your composter, try to cover your fresh wastes under the litter (specially if it is a fruit waste that might attract midges).
Adding new wastes should be gradual.
Increase slowly the quantity of wastes. Be patient at the begining (1 handful of fresh wastes, wait for a few days before adding more).
What wastes can be composted
Always cut the wastes in small pieces !
To speed up the decomposition
- small chips of cardboard (brown cardboard, corrugated cardboard, egg boxes, cardboard rolls,…) → as much as possible,
- crushed egg shells to prevent compost acidity,
- coffee grounds (to prevent humidity), coffee or tea filters,
- leaves and tea bags,
- unseasonned vegetable wastes,
- filted flower, dead leaf,
Never add :
- seasoned vegetables, greasy or with vinegar (dressed salad,…),
- meal leftovers,
- meat, fish or cheese,
- coated or glazed cardbord or paper, fully printed paper …
Some wastes (artichoke leaves, pod,…) must be added in small quantity and always cut in small pieces to prevent the litter “asphyxiation”.
Don’t add the first year :
- citrus fuits (too acid and antibacterial),
Add small chips of cardboard and crushed egg shells to keep a good litier.
Put the moisture mat over the wastes
The moisture mat (mop, cloth,…) over the fresh wastes keeps enough humidity on the top of the composter and helps its processing.
Bad smell = warning
- Check the temperature (check with your hand if the compost is hot)
- Check if the compost is too humid, as it will make the wastes more compact and will increase waste fermentation
- Check if some wastes are not mentioned in the list of the wastes to avoid: it will not be broken down and will rot
- If necessary, stir the compost to ventilate it
Where to find information
Solutions to problem (mudges, smells,…) can easily be found on internet: Plus2vers of course, but also on Facebook groups on the vermicomposting),…
You can also contact Plus2vers if you have questions, worries… or only for thanks!