Knowing how many worms you have is really important for managing your vermicomposting projects, be they large or small. Commonly called the “worm count” it’s a rough measurement of worms vrs food vrs bedding. Most bins start off with a specific amount of worms by weight, 1 pound for example. What people fail to take note of is the amount of food and bedding appropriate for this amount of worms. Novice worm farmers may over feed or employ too much bedding. Creating problems down the line and stalling colony development. There is however a “rule of thumb” that you can use to help balance your operation. What you need to look at is composting surface area, remember that Red Wigglers are leaf litter worms and exist in the top layer of composting material under the bedding. If you start with one pound of worms, they require one square foot of composting surface area. In most standard bins that’s roughly half the surface area of the bin itself. The same pound of worms should be able to eat about 1 L (1 lb) of food scraps in one week. The bedding needs to be sufficient to cover this square foot area, keeping the surface moist and protected for the worms to do their job.
When you combine this formula with a steady temperature and reliable moisture content you will see steady growth in your worm count.