My Worm Bin Is Too Wet
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
It is common for beginner vermicomposters to find that their worm bin is too wet. Today I’ll cover some common reasons why worm bins become oversaturated. Then I’ll cover what moisture level composting worms prefer. Finally, I’ll offer some suggestions on achieving the ideal moisture level consistently in the future.
Let’s get started!
Why Worm Bins Get Too Wet
The first thing we need to figure out is why your compost bin is too wet. Often it is because you’ve overfed your worm bin. Overfeeding becomes especially problematic if you have no way to drain leachate.
As the food scraps you place in your bin decompose, they often liquify. This liquid is beneficial and helps the bedding be livable for the worms. The rest of this liquid combines with worm bi-products and creates leachate. If left in the bin, leachate pools can attract bad bacteria harmful to your worms.
Not only will a wet bin attract harmful bacteria, but it will also cause your bin to transition from aerobic composition (with oxygen) to anaerobic decomposition (without oxygen). Since worms breathe through their skin, this is bad news and can lead to total bin die-off.
Next, let’s talk about the moisture level worms prefer.
A Worm’s Preferred Bin Moisture Level
The ideal moisture level of a worm compost bin is approximately the same as a wrung-out sponge. Another analogy is the same moisture level of a piece of clothing after it’s gone through the spin cycle.
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As discussed earlier, worms breathe through their skin and prefer an aerobic composting environment. Damp but not wet bedding allows worms to navigate through the bin efficiently. The dampness also encourages other composters and microbes to help your worms break down food scraps.
Let’s now discuss options to fix the problem.
How To Fix A Bin That Is Too Wet
First, we need to address the issue of overfeeding. Slow down the amount of food you are giving your worms. Remove any food you recently passed your worms. This will prevent the problem from getting worse.
Next, if possible, drill or create holes in the bottom of the bin. These holes allow leachate to drain out of the container. You’ll want to raise keep the worm bin over a boot tray or cookie sheet to catch the liquid. Ideally, with proper maintenance, you will not have enough excess moisture to leak out of the bin.
Then, you will want to add dry bedding to the bin. Some people have found success by simply adding dry cardboard and newspaper to the top. Others swear by mixing it into the soaked bedding to speed up the process. I think it depends on how comfortable you feel sticking your hands in your bin.
You will want to leave the lid off your worm bin if possible. This will allow more moisture to evaporate. You don’t want to do this if your home is prone to pests such as flies or other insects. They may try to lay eggs in your bin that could further complicate the problem.
Within a week, you should notice a drastic change in your worm bin.
In the future, adjust the feeding schedule and amount. Reduce the amount your feeding your worms, and be sure to add dry bedding at every feeding. The dry bedding will absorb moisture and protect the food scraps from undesirable pests and insects.
I hope today’s article has helped you correct a moisture imbalance in your worm bin. If you have tried a different method that worked for you, please leave your strategy below.
Have a great day, and happy composting!