My son made worm compost last wednesday and bought 2 lbs of red wisconsin worms. It has been 4 days since he put them in the box. He chopped up carrots and put them in. He checked on them today and about 4 were dead and the carrots have not been eaten. The carrots are drying up. He put holes on two sides and holes in the bottom of his worm farm. Is he doing something wrong?
thank you for your message. First of all I want to encourage you and your son to continue to recycle food waste with the help of earthworms. Every bit or organic material that we recycle at home instead of sending it to a landfill site helps us and the environment.
Red wisconsin worms must be a local name for the worms you are using. The proper name for worms that are used most commonly to recycle in worm farms is "Eisenia fetida" they are dark red in color and grow on average to about 3 to for inches / 8 to 10 cm in length.
Worms can eat and recycle basically anything that has once been alive and is now dead. All food waste, kitchen scraps, dog poop, garden waste etc. is usually great as worm food as long as the materials are not to acidic. Carrots are a good worm food but you have to consider that worms don't feed on materials that are fresh so the carrots and any other organic material that you add to your worm farm has to start to decompose to enable the worms to feed on it.
The name of the game when one starts a new worm compost bin is to be patient initially. The worms have to get used to their new environment and the food that you are offering to them. But after a few weeks they will have settled in and as their numbers are growing and the worm foods are mature enough to be eaten you will see lots of waste been recycled inside the worm farm and converted into nutrient rich worm castings.
The fact that your son found 4 dead worms on the surface is not a good sign. What materials did he use as bedding for his worm farm? It could be possible that it is to acidic for the worms which will force them to leave the bedding and try to either escape out of the bin or die inside. Some composts for example that one can purchase at garden centers are to acidic for compost worms and can harm them.
Worm composting is actually quite easy and I suggest you have a look at the site map of my website where you will find lots of helpful articles about starting and maintaining a worm farm. There are as well 2 pages that focus on the subject of worm food.
Don't worry I am sure your son will get it right in no time and will recycle all your food waste you are producing in your household in his worm farm.
if you have any further questions please feel free to contact me.
Stephan Kloppert Author of "How to start a profitable worm business on a shoestring budget" Editor of www.worm-composting-help.com