what worms like
Clothes fall apart and are no longer wearable. Cotton and wool disappear like the body of the Cheshire Cat, until all that is left is a synthetic label. Newspaper, plain cardboard and paper make beautiful compost. Boxes and cartons are fine unless they're waxed, and metal staples and sticky tape don't do well either. Shiny coloured paper probably has nasty chemicals, doesn't have a wholesome feel to it.
Plastic is definitely a no-no. It does break down, but into tinier and tinier pieces that you can't see any more. So it basically stays there and it's toxic.
|Paper's gone, biodegraded, only bits of plastic left|
Worms hate citrus peel: lemons, oranges, grapefruit, etc. Ditto onions, although the dry outer skin seems OK.
I use strongly scented leaves like wormwood or lavender or santolina, but in moderation. These leaves can be used to repel moths, so I wonder whether they stifle the worms.
I don't put in food that has been cooked in fat, or milk products, because that will attract rats.
It's not fair that worms get all the publicity, and not the other creatures, like slaters and millipedes. By feeding on decaying organic matter they also help to recycle nutrients and change solid materials into beautiful dark rich beneficial compost.
|little spider, large web in front of the compost pile|
Worms love getting something crunchy to get their little 'teeth' into, provided there's a bit (not too much) moisture. (They actually don't have teeth, they have strong jaw muscles). They used to love phone books but these are either extinct or on the way to extinction. Sticks don't seem interesting to them, until they start to rot down a bit. This can take so long that instead of putting big sticks in the compost I often just pile them up in garden corners, for critters to use as shelter or housing.
I don't have a mulcher, too noisy. I manage without one. Ditto a blower. I hate those things. I love the swish, swish of a broom. It's relaxing. I sweep up leaves and place handfuls in big bags before spreading on the garden or adding to the compost.
I have two compost piles, side by side. When one's full, I move it to the other side, moving stuff that hasn't broken down enough and removing unwanted stuff like bits of plastic that snuck in or those stupid plastic labels they put on fruit.
So that's it. Situate the bin or piles in a bit of shade so it doesn't get dried out too easily. Make friends with the worms and other critters in them. And enjoy participating in the natural recycling process that underpins the world and everything in it, including us.