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I have an indoor vermicomposting bin. It has served me well for 3 years. Since the bin is indoors, and I live in a small apartment, I'm fairly cautious with feeing the worms. I don't want to overwhelm my red wigglers or cause anaerobic decay.

But this spring I'm expanding the garden out on the roof and I need more dirt. This seems like a simple thing, but in NYC there aren't many sources of dirt except for ... buying it. Which I can't stand. That's why I started with the worms in the first place.

Is there a way to ramp up the bin for higher production? Many guides online talk about making worm food out of old ground dry soy beans that have gone stale, and other pantry items. But these are geared for making fat bait worms and that isn't my goal. Also I'd never use my babies as bait!

In any case, how can I go about getting the worms to have more offspring and eat more? What scraps are fairly safe to bulk up on for indoor set ups?

Right now I put in kitchen cuttings, but if I end up with a bad head of lettuce I might skip it since it seems like too much.

I have lots of cardboard, peanut shells, wilted leafy greens etc. I just need some advice about how to go about adding more to the system without throwing it out of whack or making a big stench.

Also, how aggressively can I harvest?

I really need to get more dirt over the next two months.

  • Soil = ground rocks + organic matter and water. You need the inorganic matter, and in this case you'll need to buy it. Worms can't produce that component of soil. – Graham Chiu May 21 '16 at 20:32
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Unless I'm misinterpreting what you're saying, you want your worms to produce more compost so you can use it for plants. Without any other type of soil, is that correct? Assuming that's what you're intending, you need to know that vermicompost should be used in roughly a 1 to 3 ratio to other potting mediums or soil, or comprise 20% of a soil mix, rather than vermicompost being used on its own. In other words, vermicompost is a soil emendment rather than a potting compost. If you want to create more vermicompost, you could consider starting another wormery so you've got two on the go, and double your production that way, but since it shouldn't be used on its own anyway, that might not be necessary.

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