How to Restart a Worm Farm - 1 Minute Guide
If the cold winter months or lack of care has your worm farm dormant, reviving the worm bin is simpler than you think.
With just a few straightforward steps, you can have your worm farm up and running, thriving, and composting again in no time!
How to Restart A Worm Farm
To restart a worm farm, first clear out and dispose of old organic material, rotting food, and any other leftover material. Then add a 3-inch layer of fresh moist bedding like peat moss, a few handfuls of shredded corrugated cardboard, and ½ to 1 lb of red wiggler worms. Next add fruit scraps, cover the worm bin, and the worms should take it from there. This quick refresh will revive your worm bin and worm composting with only a few minutes of work!
Here are the actual steps to take to revive your worm farm:
That’s it! Once you have the bedding and materials you can revive an old worm bin in just a few minutes and then let the worms work their magic!
How Many Worms Do I Need to Start a Worm Bin?
A good rule of thumb for how many worms you need to start a worm bin is ¼ to ½ lbs of worms per square foot of worm bin space. So if your worm farm is 2’ x 2’ and has 4 square feet of space, 1-2 lbs of red wiggler worms is plenty to get started. Over time the number of worms can be increased to 1 (or even 2) lbs of worms per square foot of worm farm space. This density will help you compost more organic material and create more worm castings for use in gardens or your houseplants.
How to Restart an Outdoor Worm Bed?
If your worm farm was outside in a garden or just on the surface of the ground, your job to revive it is pretty simple.
Just spread new bedding down, moisten it, and then add worms and food. There usually isn’t a need to clean or prep the area if the worm farm was outside on the ground.
And as long as the worms have a good, continual source of food with some shade when it’s hot, they generally won’t leave the immediate area!
How to Re-start a Worm Farm: Frequently Asked Questions
Can you put too many worms in a worm farm?
Yes, overcrowding can stress worms, leading to competition, inadequate food supply and poor bin conditions. When a worm population is too dense, worms will slow their reproduction and sometimes leave the bin altogether. Stick to the guideline of ¼ to ½ lb of worms per square foot of bin space to start, and then adjust based on their ability to process the available food and space. It’s not advisable to ever have more than 2 pounds of worms per square foot of bin space.
How do you introduce worms to a worm bin?
Introduce worms to a worm bin by gently dumping them on to the surface of moistened bedding material. Worms do not like light and will naturally burrow into the bedding to escape light. It's important to give the worms some food right away to keep them happy. Avoid overfeeding in the first weeks to allow them to adjust to their new environment - a good rule of thumb for feeding is ¼ their weight every 3 days (so if you have 1 lb of worms, feed them 4 ounces of food every few days).
What Do Worms Eat?
Worms eat a variety of organic materials, including fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, eggshells (crushed), homemade compost, a little rice or bread, and shredded newspaper or cardboard. Worms eat the microbes breaking down the food, so the smaller the pieces the faster the worms will process it. Avoid meats, dairy, oily foods, and citrus peels, as these can attract pests, create odors, and even harm the worms (e.g., oils or salty foods).
How Do I Start a New Worm Bin?
Starting a new worm bin can seem daunting but it is actually pretty simple. Start by preparing a container with ventilation holes, adding moist bedding material like shredded newspaper, peat moss, or coconut coir, and then introducing red wigglers. Keep the bin in a cool, shaded area and feed the worms ¼ their overall weight every 2-3 days.
We wrote a step by step guide on how to start worm composting - it includes the materials you’ll need and the exact steps to set-up your worm bin for success.
How Do I Know if My Worms are Happy?
Happy worms are active, reproduce regularly, and consume food efficiently. Signs of a healthy worm bin include a lack of foul odors, visible worm activity on the surface and around the food, and the production of dark, crumbly castings over time.
If the bin is too wet, dry, hot, or acidic, or worms may try to escape, indicating they are stressed.
How Many Red Wigglers Does it Take to Start a Worm Bin?
To start a worm bin, you'll need about ¼ to ½ lb of red wigglers for every square foot of bin surface area. For example, if your worm farm is 2 ‘ x 1.5’ and has 3 square feet of space, you will need around 1 lb of red wigglers to get started. This amount is sufficient to establish a healthy worm population capable of processing household organic waste and creating worm castings for your plants or garden.