Getting the most out of your bin

The hungry bin is a living ecosystem. It is important that ideal conditions are maintained in the bin for it to operate most efficiently. Maintaining ideal conditions in the bin is easy – simply follow these basic rules:

1. Feed the bin a maximum layer of 2.5cm (1in) at any time

Do not overfeed your hungry bin. Spread the food evenly over the top layer of the bin. You should not feed the bin more than 2.5cm (1in) per day. 

2. Uneaten food should be no more than 5cm (2in) deep at any time

Do not allow uneaten food to build up in the bin. If uneaten food has accumulated, it will begin to rot. Rotten food is acidic and putrid, and worms will not eat it.

3. Add fibre and/or lime occasionally to help balance the acidity of the bin

Adding some fibrous material such as shredded paper or cardboard, dead leaves, sawdust, old grass clippings (brown) or a sprinkling of lime or wood ash when you feed the bin will help reduce the acidity, and keep the bin smelling sweet.

4. Avoid large quantities of processed and/or acidic food

Processed food, like bread or pasta, can quickly become acidic as it decomposes. Large amounts of acidic foods such as lemon rinds, onion and fruit skins should also be avoided.

5. Only harvest castings when the bin is full

Castings should only be removed when the hungry bin has become full to the top of the taper.

Signs of a healthy bin

When the bin is operating correctly, you should notice the following:

  • Very little smell
  • Large numbers of worms including juvenile worms in the top layer
  • Good quality worm castings and very little uneaten food approximately 30cm (12in) below the top layer
  • The liquid draining from the bin should be the colour of strong tea with little or no smell