7

I've tried searching and looking at videos on youtube but all I can find is people storing and preparing food scraps but none of people actually placing food in the worm farm.

I'm wondering if worms will eat the scraps quicker if I dig the scraps in a few inches, but I am also worried that I may injure a worm while I am trying to bury the food.

I am also concerned that because they prefer to be slightly below the surface they may not want to crawl up and out of the ground to get the top food.

So do people normally just put the scraps on top and let the worms make their way up and the food break down or is it good to put the food under the surface dirt?

8

Either way (dumping on top or burying) is fine, but both methods may have some influence on the processing speed of the food.

Worms don't eat fresh material. First microorganisms need to soften the food and start decomposing it, only then will the worms eat it. Most people don't care much about how fast food is processed and simply dump it on top of the bin. This will work fine, but there are two things you can do to speed up the decomposition process:

  1. Chop up the food in smaller pieces. Some people even blend the food into a puree, but personally I think that's a waste of energy.
  2. Create pockets or holes in the top layer and fill those with fresh food. The idea is that by using pockets, a larger surface of fresh food comes into contact with microbes already living in the bin and the material will decompose quicker (not sure if this have been scientifically proven).

Burying food is similar to creating pockets, but in this case more food is exposed to microbes so decomposition should be a bit faster even. However, if you bury food you may disturbe the worms and cause them stress which may slow decomposition down.

Personally I don't like to bury food. I'm not sure how much worms will suffer from stress, but for me it is mainly because I'm not convinced it will speed things up much, plus I'm just don't care much about speed. Most of the time I just dump chopped food on top, but occasionally a create a few pockets with some top material and use those into they are full. The only time I will bury food is when I have a fruit fly infestation, but then I bury wet fresh material under dry fresh material (e.g.paper towels or cardboard).

5

If your bin has a lid and the container is nice and dark the worms will come to the surface for the food. The worms have no problem coming out of the medium for a variety of reasons but they run from the light. Keep it dark and placing food on the surface shouldn't be a problem.

That being said I think it depends on how you've processed the scraps. If it's moist food that's easy for them to munch on that's not a problem but if it's a cracker or a piece of green wood (just trying to make a point) you're going to need some decomposition time for worms to be able to work with it.

5

I've always just put scraps on top. It works perfectly fine and the worms eat it without drama, but I do notice a few slaters, cockroaches and spiders gathering in the worm farm and I'm wondering whether digging the scraps in would discourage these critters from taking up residence in the worm farm.

An update on this; our worm farm had soooo many red-backs, slaters and roaches that I emptied the whole lot into the compost bin (worms and all,) cleaned out the worm farm and started again. My hope is that the worms in the compost bin will help with my constant mass of grass clippings and I'll split vegie waste between worm farm and compost bin from now on. The worms may have had too much food before, hence the pests.

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