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Green Barbarians–Ellen Sandbeck

A Buddha A Day–Ellen Sandbeck


Dear Ellen,

I purchased the worm farm at the back to basics in town. There are a few worms coming to the top of spagnum --& dying.-- Also, getting alot of fruit flies--am I keeping it too moist? I added appx 3" more dry spagnum last week.

The worms don't seem to be eating the scraps very fast---Thanks

JoAn, Pine River, MN

Dear JoAn,

Let's see if I can give you as many possibilities as I can on this go round, and then we'll keep going from there.

  1. Is your sphagnum very dry at the top? Very dry materials tend to stick to worms and dry them out.
  2. Are you keeping the black plastic sheeting right down on top of the bedding so it holds the moisture down where it should be?
  3. Fruit flies are a sign that: the bin is too wet, or the food has not been completely buried under a couple of inches of a fine-grained material such as damp peat moss, damp coffee grounds, or finished worm compost. Try burying your scraps more completely, after you feed the bin. You might need to acquire a bale of peat moss or a bucket of coffee grounds from a coffee shop.
  4. If there is any paper or newspaper in your bin, remove it. Clay in the paper will build up as the paper breaks down, and clayey compost breeds fruit flies.

Environmentally yours,



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