Hi folks! So it's the 22nd July 2022 and I just set up the first layer of my new worm studio. Exciting times! I've been vermicomposting for a few years now but I've never really properly documented my journey starting a new worm farm, and I've been procrastinating writing these words for THREE YEARS! I'm calling it the pandemic haze. Btw, it was 3 years ago when I starting using the worm studio and it's still going strong in it's temporary location, our balcony, because even though this is my profession, my wife no longer allows me to have more than one worm farm in the house.
I've already assembled the Worm Studio and I'm going to be following the instructions from the Worm Parenting Guide just as you will. Ok so let's get to it.
Step 1: Find a location for your Worm Studio
The wormies need to stay between 20-25 C (room temperature on average) all year round and in a location that's convenient to feed them as well as roomy enough to move the layers around. I've decided to place the worm studio right beside my study table to make it easy to document my blog.
Step 2: Add a layer of newspaper on the bottom bin
I added four sheets of newspaper inside the bottom layer, completely covering the mesh and a little of the side walls. This is done to prevent the bottom of the layer from drying out in the first few But in the first few weeks, you're not feeding a lot of food, so the rate of evaporation will be faster than the rate you are adding moisture through the food. Hope this makes sense? I like to prevent moisture from escaping the system in the first place, instead of constantly adding it.
Step 3: Make bedding
Bedding is a carbon and moisture rich habitat for the earthworms to live in. They bedding gets eaten along with the food and it all turns into worm castings. The worm studio comes with shredded cardboard in the packaging which is meant to be used as bedding when starting out. All of the worm studio packaging is compostable as well, so go ahead and rip the cardboard box and tape into smaller pieces as bedding. I used the shredded cardboard and some egg cartons, cardboard, and newspaper as well. The bedding is soaked in water for a few minutes.
I squeeze out the extra water and then add the bedding into my worm studio. I've noticed that paper bedding tends to clump together when wet so you'll need to un clump it before adding. That's a reason I prefer to not use paper if I have cardboard and egg cartons available. I recommend filling up at least half the layer with bedding when you first start out.
Step 4: Introduce the wormies
Just add the wormies on top of the bedding and gently spread them around. There's no need to dig them in - they'll start to explore their new bedding in a few days. Now is the hard part - to leave them alone and fight the urge to sneak a few peeks! Give them a chance to settle into their new home for a couple of days and don't worry, they'll be fine!
Step 5: Cover them up with a worm blanket
A worm blanket is any material that reduces the surface evaporation and still allows airflow into the bedding. Some common materials to use are sheets of newspaper, cardboard, an old tshirt or towel, or my favourite - bubble wrap. I cut the bubble wrap to exactly fit the surface of my layer and place it bubble side down. You only need one worm blanket to be kept on the surface of the worm studio that is beneath the lid.
That's it, we've set up the Worm Studio! I'm keeping the other two layers aside for now as we won't be needing them for a few months. A customer sent me a picture of their set up and it was ingenious - she stacked her unused layers upside down and used it as a "bench" for the bottom layer.