Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Correcting wet worm bins
Every so often, someone will contact me for advice about fixing a worm bin that is too wet. This can occur in plastic worm bins with or without drainage. For the most part, my recommendations of monitoring your bin when adding food and keeping a fresh layer of dry newspaper on top will prevent this from ever happening.
These vermicomposters typically think they have to throw out the smelly, wet mass and start again. You could go that route, but as long as you have worms (assuming you haven't drowned all of them) you can fix this by drying out your bin by adding a lot of fresh newspaper and digging it all the way to the bottom of the bin. While you are in there, gently mix the contents of the bin thoroughly (this won't harm the worms). Then cover the damp mix with more freshly shredded dry newspaper. Don't feed them and watch to see if you need to add more newspaper (you want the bottom of the bin to be as wet as a wrung out sponge).
After week or so, you will notice that the smell is gone and the volume will decrease a bit. At that time, you can resume feeding as described in my blog-- http://wormmainea.blogspot.com/2009/12/starting-your-worm-bin.html.
Vermicomposting is trial and error, and I hope you will benefit from my experiences rather than repeat my errors.