Worms will not deal with grass clippings. Nope. Not a chance. They want food: yours. Kitchen scraps. Your local library should have a circulating copy of Mary Appelhof's Worms Eat My Garbage
. This is THE book on composting with worms. There may also be used copies available online or at used bookstores, if such exist in your area. (I think I may have officially lost two
copies of this book now via lending them out....)
Ms. Appelhof has very extensive lists of what worms like to eat. Grass ain't one of 'em; sorry. The bedding for worms can be shredded newspaper, if that's one of your waste products, and some people have reported the use of shredded leaves (which I don't have access to on a reliable basis). Worms also like coconut coir for bedding, but since that's a bought product, I don't recommend or use it. My personal ethos about compost is that I don't pay for stuff that goes into the compost; it's just silly to do that.
There are also lists all over the Internet of what worms will or won't supposedly eat, but since Ms. Appelhof researched and observed, and recorded her observations over two or three decades, I give her my respect by following her guidelines.
Re. living in Western Washington: do yourself a favor and become acquainted with the Sunset Western Garden Book
. The Sunset climate-zone system beats the daylights out of the USDA's "hardiness zone" system. Sunset takes into account max temps in the summer, annual precipitation, prevailing winds, altitude, and a host of other factors. There are 24 Sunset climate zones in the western states and provinces alone (vs. 11 in all of North America in the USDA system), plus 3 in Alaska and 2 more in Hawaii, for a total of 29.
Hmmm. 29 Sunset climate zones in the west vs. 11 USDA "hardiness zones" for all of North America. Which is more likely to describe the geographic regions more accurately?
Sunset provides the growing season for each climate zone and, under the list of plants one might want to grow, gives the conditions in which the plants are most likely to be successful. For example, here's some language from the Western Garden Book
(7th ed., 2001) on beets:
Raised for their edible roots and tender young leaves, beets grow best in relatively cool weather. In hot-summer climates, sow in early spring or late summer so that plants will mature before extreme heat sets in. In mild-winter areas, you can also plant in late summer for fall and winter harvest. To harvest beets over a long season, sow seed at monthly intervals.
Re. zones in Western Washington, the map on p. 36 of my edition shows WA divided along a north/south line running roughly from Maple Falls SE to Darrington, then to Skykomish, Mt. Rainier, and Packwood to the Oregon state line. West of this line, there are four Sunset climate zones: 1A, 4, 5, and 6. You'll need to look at the Sunset maps to see which one you're in. Note that the on-line maps are particularly inaccurate in the Puget Sound and S.F. Bay areas; evidently there was some idea among those who set up the on-line maps that fine detail wasn't important. Or something.
So find your "personal" climate zone in the "green bible," read its description, learn about the growing season, etc.
Sometimes copies of the Sunset book are available at the library just like the Appelhof book, but there might be very good deals on used ones right now, since the 9th edition was just recently released.
Which reminds me...it's time to get my own
new edition. I usually purchase every other update, so I skipped the 8th edition, but it's time for me to get the 9th!