Bedding material is needed to settle the worms into their new home. Compost, soil, potting mix, coconut fibre, dead leaves or shredded paper can all be used to bed the compost worms into the bin. Take care to ensure that the bedding material you use to start the bin is free draining. Place the bedding material directly into the bottom of the bin.
For best results place at least 80 litres of bedding (3/4 Full) into the bin. This is the equivelent of two bags of compost or potting mix.
If you have sufficient bedding material available, you can fill the bin to the top of the taper before you add the worms.
Moisten the bedding material with some water, but don’t saturate it. The bedding should be as wet as a wrung-out sponge. Add the worms to the top of the bedding material and cover with approximately 2.5cm (1in) of food scraps (preferably finely chopped). The amount of food you add each day will depend on your starting worm population.
Approximately 2000 adult worms (or 500gms) is a good number to start your bin. However, the more worms you start with the faster the bin will reach maximum capacity. A full population is approximately 16,000 worms, or 3kg (6.5lbs) of adult worms.
It takes about six to eight months to breed a full population from a small starting population. As the population grows it will regulate its numbers to match the food supply. Your bin will not become overpopulated. The number of worms in the bin will be determined by the amount and type of food you feed the bin. Similarly, there is no minimum amount of food you need to feed the bin each day. As long as the bin is fed regularly, and you follow the feeding guidelines, the bin will operate without problems.
You can cover the worms with damp newspaper, sacking or old carpet to encourage them to come to the surface. Keep the lid closed as worms don’t like direct light – the lid is also designed to prevent insects from getting into the bin.