Being naturally very concerned about the welfare of the worms, I have finally got hold of a cheapo ph tester, and revealed that excess acidity, in the billiard room, with the candlestick is probably not the culprit. I suspect that the worms did indeed drown in their own worm juice. My recent draining campaign was probably too little, too late.
Now I am trying to decide whether to just get some more, and risk them suffering the same plight, or get a new wormery, and be very careful about it this time. Set up the bedding correctly, settle the little wriggly ones in and monitor whether they’re processing the food I put in for them before just chucking another load on top. I confess I have been somewhat slapdash about the whole affair in the past, but I’m also not convinced the bucket design is a good one. Karen at Wiggly Wigglers has been kind enough to suggest the Worm Factory as a cheaper version of the Can O’ Worms, so I might go for that. Or better still it must be possible to make one out of plastic boxes and a power drill?!
I just hate to throw food scraps away now, so end up putting loads into the wormery because there’s nowhere else for them to go. I don’t really have space for a compost heap in the garden unfortunately. Having said that, I think you can bury compost in special trenches, for vegetables that are particularly hungry, like beans and courgettes. Might give that a go.
I read somewhere that one wormery owner was always convinced he’d killed his worms off over the Winter, only to find them springing resiliently into life in the Spring. I’m consequently tempted to give it another month and see if they make some kind of miraculous recovery.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.