My worms arrived! At last here they are!

OK, I owe an explanation on this matter. Several months ago I read an article in Kansai Scene mentioning vermicomposting in Japan. Then I found the author’s blog. She turned out to be a recently-converted vermicomposter living in Kobe. Inspired, I decided to buy worms as soon as we move to another apartment. In the meantime I was searching the internet for additional info on worms and worm sellers in Japan.

The first thing to do was to get teared paper. Ideally I should be black’n’white sheets of newspaper, or cardboard, nothing glossy. I borrowed an office shredder and spent several hours “feeding” it. As a result I got a LOT of shredded paper for worm bedding (a medium in which worms would live). Paper is very good option because it:

  • is bulky (this is important, because worms, just like us, need atmospheric air to breathe)
  • can keep a lot of water (worms, unlike us, use their skin to breathe, and to do so their skin should be moist)
  • decomposes slowly
  • is a good source of carbon.

Next, I bought a shallow 43 liter bin made of intransparent plastic (worms are light-averse). I drilled a dozen of holes in the bottom side for ventilation purposes, mounted it on short legs and put a trey to collect the liquid that would be leaking from underneath.

A week before worms arrived (it had to be “two days before”, but due to the typhoon the delivery was postponed until today) I put a piece of wet cardboard on to bottom of my worm bin (I cut it several cm longer and wider and just bent the margins). Then I moistened shredded paper, squeezed it well and put a layer 5 cm thick on the cardboard.The paper should be very wet, on the brink of soaking. Some kitchen wastes went on top of it. To stimulate decomposition (since worms feed on microorganisms that develop on rotting garbage, rather than on the garbage itself) I tossed in a couple handfuls of soil, thus “inoculating” it with necessary micro-flora. To prevent unpleasant smell I covered it all with another layer of wet paper — it is very hygroscopic. The container is half-covered with a lid. Before worms arrived I added kitchen scraps a couple of times.

Worm bin
Worm binWorm bin
Worm binWorm bin

Worms arrived in a bag with 3 to 5 kilos of wet compost. As I don’t need that much compost in my worm bin, I decided to separate worms and cocoons manually. Worms were quite cheerful, trying to escape from the light. They are SO MANY! I placed them, together with a little compost, in different parts of the bin above the “food”. BTW, the compost they arrived in is a well structured matter with an earthly smell.

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