What will the
Almost anything which is organic and can be composted by worms, best results
our obtained from soft organic waste such as left over vegetable scraps,
fruit and vegetable peelings, tea leaves/bags and coffee grounds, vacuum
dust and hair (including animal) shredded newspaper, egg box type
cardboard (pre-soaked), newspaper, crushed egg shells and stale bread. The greater
the variety of organic waste the better the resultant worm castings will
What should I
not to feed them?
Worms cannot eat material such as glass metal or plastics. You should also
avoid some organic material such as animal manure (the animal may have
been 'wormed' and the residue can kill your worms) highly acidic fruit
such as citrus fruits and onions should be avoided.
How much waste
will the system compost? Worms
can eat up to half their own body weight every day and can double their
population every 60-90 days. If you start your Can-O-Worms with a kilo
of mature worms they will consume up to 500g of food waste per day.
After a few months you should have double your population and you can
feed them more. As you become familiar with your system you will learn
their rate of food consumption.
Will the System smell? Bad
smells arise when food is allowed to rot; worms work quickly enough to
prevent this eating haft their body weight every day. Worms also eat the
micro-organisms that cause decay, anaerobic bacteria. You can help by
stirring in some lime mix as supplied, to aerate any uneaten food waste
and regulate their feeding to allowing the worms to digest food before it
rots. Your bin should have a pleasant earthy smell, like a fresh wet
garden after rain.
Can I put worms from my garden into the System? The
many species of worms can be divided into two broad categories; Composters
and Earth workers. The chances that your garden contains enough of the
right type are very slim. You really do need the specialized composting
worms supplied with the System.
Why does the
System produce liquid? Worms breathe through a layer of
moisture on their skin and therefore the contents of the bin should be
kept moist at all times. The collector tray is there to collect any excess
liquid. As it passes through the bin this liquid becomes enriched with
nutrients and therefore makes an excellent plant feed. Drain it off from
time to time and diluted, can be used to feed your houseplants.
Does it matter
where I keep my System? It can be kept almost anywhere.
Worms prefer a temperature of between 13C to 20C. They are best kept where
the temperature doesn't vary too widely; a utility room, garage are
suitable and they don't require light. They can also be kept outdoors so
long as they are kept in a sheltered position.
when I go on holiday? You have a wonderful time! Your
worms, given a good feed making sure the contents are suitably moist. Keep
the System out of direct sunlight, put a tray underneath the open
collector tray tap and enjoy your holiday.
Why is moisture necessary to
maintain a Vermicomposting bin?
Worms breath through their
skin, so they must be kept moist at all times. The moisture level should
be regularly. Food
waste is about 80% water, which is released as the worms break them down
this will tend to stay in the bedding for a long time before eventually
draining out. Any dry material such as newspaper or cardboard should be
presoaked before being added. It is important to keep moist newspaper over
the freshly added food to encourage the worms to move up to the surface to
feed. You can pour a couple of liters of water over the top covering and
scraps and then place an empty container under the open tap, this will
flush the system, dampen the waste, and give a constant supply of liquid
plant food. The sudden 'flood' will not harm the worms.
What will I need
to replace in the future? You may wish to replace the
moisture mat from time to time, effective moisture mats can be produced
from layers of damp newspaper cut to shape. A handful of the lime mix
should be used every other week and worm treat to give your worms a good
Why should you add a couple
of handfuls of sand or soil to your
Vermicomposting bin? It
helps in the worm's digestive process. When food reaches a worm's
gizzard, fine gritty soil partials help to grind the food down.
Will the worms breed?
a well maintained Systems they will happily breed. Worms can double in
population every 2-3 months and after several years the can-o-worms unit
should be home to 15,000 - 20,000 hard working worms.
can I obtain compost worms? How many will I require? There are some retailers specializing in the sale
of composting worms, links on the can-of-worms main page. We recommend
the purchase of worms as a special package with the can-of-worms system,
1800 compost worms equivalent a kilo is a good start.
How can I help my worms to
eat more? ThereWorms will feed at a
faster rate once they have adapted to any new food source. Worms will
also eat more if food waste is cut into small pieces, mashed or
processed. Controlling temperatures to around 24 degrees C should
improve the overall performance of your system.
I release composting worms back into the garden? Only
if you have a thick surface layer of mulch in your garden. Compost worms
require moist conditions all year round because they don't tunnel deep
like the common earthworms,to
find moisture. If you cannot provide this environment in your garden,
don't introduce compost worms into it.
worms are staying in the lower trays and not moving up to the new waste
I provide? You
may be adding new food too soon before the worms can eat the previous
food, this will result in a lot of uneaten wastes being distributed
throughout the system. The worms will be reluctant to move upwards while
they can still access food in lower trays. Before adding a new top tray,
stop feeding the worms for a week to ensure all the existing food in the
lower trays has been consumed. The worms will then move up to eat from
the surface as this is their natural behavior pattern.You need to allow the lower trays to fully fill with worm
castings to enable the worms to move up, if you donít the gap will
prevent the worms from reaching the top trays.
When itís raining the worms
like to gather in the lid? You are observing the
worms sensitivity to pressure changes in the weather. They will often go
up into the lid even before it rains, this would naturally take them out
of the soil and prevent drowning during flooding, not to worry they will
return to their food.
animal husbandry of cultivating worms to produce more worms.
practice of feeding raw organic waste to worms and harvesting the worm
castings as a nutrient-rich compost.
How long can worms live? They
can live for 15 years or more.
Can I feed my worms garden
usually. The Can-O-Worms is designed to break down soft organic waste.
Slower composting garden waste is best dealt with by conventional aerobic
composting systems such as our Urbanwaste and Milko Bin.
Will my worms die? Worms
are living creatures and will die if their living conditions are
unsuitable e.g. in a dry environment worms which absorb oxygen through a
layer of moisture on their skin, cannot breath. However their eggs can
survive harsh conditions for long periods of time.
How do get started ? Their are useful quick start instructions provided with all new
What can go
wrong? Follow the instructions, which
come with the System, you should not have problems. Sometime the contents
can become a little too acidic but this can be remedied with the lime mix
supplied with the System.
Does being in
the System harm the worm? The System is designed to be the
ideal environment for worms
Is the can-o-worms Safe and Hygienic? Worm composting is a natural
process and the resulting worm casts are a rich pleasant to soil
like substance. However you
should always wash your hands after working with the System.
How much compost
will I make? The multiple level trays in the
System hold 60 liters of compost, 20 liters in each of the three stages.
Under normal circumstances, your first compost will be ready in 12 to 20
Will I ever get
too many worms?
No. A colony of worms regulates its numbers to suit the available
What happens in
hot weather? Very hot conditions can dry out
the contents, which should be kept moist.
How do I use the
compost? The compost is a pure organic
fertilizer with a neutral pH level. It is a ideal mulch around the base of
trees and shrubs and can be dug in to enrich soil, particularly for
What happens if
the System freezes? Worms can freeze solid but they
should thaw out and carry on composting! They will not breed however. This
should not happen if the system is kept in a suitable location or coved
with some old thick blankets to keep the warmth in. Feed the worms a lot
more food wastes which will create some warmth as the food decomposes.
Can the system over heat? Worms
can tolerate temperature up to 30 degrees C. If it gets much hotter for
any prolonged period, make sure the Can-O-Wormssystem is
kept in the shade. If need be take the lid off and hose down the whole
unit, keeping the drainage tap open to prevent flooding.