pH Meters and Red Worm Composting Bin pH

What is pH in a worm bin?

pH is the measurement of the acidity of the bedding.  Red Worms, European Night Crawlers and African Nightcrawlers, all composting worms for that matter, need a neutral worm bedding pH in order to thrive.  Worm bins that have bedding that is too acidic or alkaline post health risks for the worms.  Before the worms die, however, they will attempt to migrate out of the worm composting bin.

Why is pH important to red worms and all composting worms? 

pH is important because the worms cannot live and breed in a bedding that is too acidic or alkaline.

How does the pH turn acidic?  

pH can be impacted by lack of air flow through the worm bin and bedding, too much moisture in the worm bedding and by the food that is fed to the worms.   Acidic food can, over time, cause worm bedding to form acid.  That doesn't mean that you can't feed your worms citrus, but it does mean that you have to monitor pH and ensure that any fluctuations in compost bedding bin pH are caught and corrected.

Please help me understand pH.  Does a high pH number mean high acid?

No.  pH is on a scale from Acid to Alkaline, so a low number means a higher acid level and a higher number means that the worm bedding is more alkaline.

What is the right pH for Red worms?

The proper pH for red worm composting is between 6 and 7.  This is not an exact science and some worms, like the African Nightcrawler, will have a higher acid level in there worm bin.  The African Night Crawlers also have a tendency to pull bits of food under the bedding as they eat it.  If you are feeding prepared grain based worm food, like chicken egg layer feed, this can cause higher acide levels if the food goes uneaten and breaks down in the bedding.  Feed grain based foods sparingly, and only feed again once you are sure that all of the food is gone.

 

How do you adjust the pH of worm bedding in a worm composting bin?
Adding eggshells to your weekly feedings of your composting bin or beds will help reduce acid.  You can also adjust the pH by properly aerating the bedding and ensuring that there are adequate air holes in the worm bin.

You also should ensure that the worm bedding isn't too wet. Moist worm bedding is great, but wet worm bedding is not.  Wet compost bin bedding will cause anerobic bacteria to take over and this will cause major issues.  Your worms will die without swift action to dry out the bedding and without treatment of the acid levels.

If the aforementioned preventative methods or cures are put into place and you still have pH issues in your worm bin, then having some powdered limestone on hand is the best way to go.

Lightly sprinkle powdered limestone on the surface of the bedding and then mix it into the worm bedding.  Test the bedding a couple of days after applying lime to ensure that the bedding pH is being corrected.

 

Where can I get powdered lime for my worm bed?

You can get powdered limestone from any farm and garden store or you can get it from us.  We have bagged limestone and we have it in a shaker top can. 

One caveat on lime is that you have to ensure that you get powdered lime and not hydrated lime.  Hydrated lime will kill your worms.  Powdered limestone is what you need.  This is what a bag of powdered limestone looks like from a farm and garden store.  

Where can I get a pH Meter?

You can get a pH meter at many farm and garden stores, from us or online.  Please check out our meters or the ones at the links below.

The meter below is a digital pH meter.

LUSTER LEAF 1845 RAPITEST DIGITAL Soil Plant Garden PH Sensor Meter Tester Test
LUSTER LEAF 1845 RAPITEST DIGITAL Soil Plant Garden PH Sensor Meter Tester Test $12.68
Time Remaining: 24d 17h 26m
Buy It Now for only: $12.68
Luster Leaf 1845 Rapitest Digital Soil Garden Plant pH Meter Sensor Test Tester
Luster Leaf 1845 Rapitest Digital Soil Garden Plant pH Meter Sensor Test Tester $12.62
Time Remaining: 10d 7h 48m
Buy It Now for only: $12.62
LUSTER LEAF 1612 RAPITEST Dirt Soil Plant Garden PH Meter Tester 10 Test Kit
LUSTER LEAF 1612 RAPITEST Dirt Soil Plant Garden PH Meter Tester 10 Test Kit $6.86
Time Remaining: 16d 10h 28m
Buy It Now for only: $6.86

Please watch our video about pH and using pH meters on your red worm composting efforts.

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