Nature’s Garbage Disposal: Worm Composting

A few weeks ago we were driving home from the Riptide when Matti saw a used Wriggly Ranch sitting on the curb (if you live in Alameda Co. they’re only $34.00, my aunt Debbie hooked us up with our first ranch). Word on the street is they have the same sweet deal in San Mateo county too. I said no to the ranch at first imagining a nasty rotten mystery bin of grossness, but we went around the block, pulled over and found a perfectly clean ranch named ‘Scum’. Sweet free deal! It’s made of recycled plastic too. My other ranch has been kind of slow going. Sometimes I think I don’t feed them enough, sometimes I think they’re depressed. They keep eating stuff, so I think they’re okay. They only tried to escape when I first set up the bin. This spring I’ll experiment with the magic of compost tea.

We’ll see how the new box goes. I put a layer of Trader Joe’s bags on the bottom of the tray so stuff doesn’t fall through to the juice tray. Cardboard probably would have been better.  Then I filled it up with shredded newspaper and wetted it down with a sprayer. Worms can’t dry out or they get very sad and die. Red wigglers, unlike night crawlers, like living close to the ground surface, eat lots of organic garbage, quickly reproduce, and happiest at temperatures between 58-78F.  This makes red wigglers your ideal composting worms for this worm bin. I hid a little chunk of food in one corner, so I can keep track of their food consumption.  Red Wigglers are the best trash eaters. They’ll eat almost anything, but don’t like tons of acidic stuff like citrus. No meaty, fatty animal products. Mine love mangoes.  I bought a box of new worms at Sloat. If touching worms didn’t gross me out so much I could have harvested some from my established bin. I’ll continue to update the progress of the new ranch. is a great source for more info. You don’t need a fancy worm ranch to wrangle worms.

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