Sunday, July 14, 2013

I’ve got Worms! Vermicomposting with the Worm Factory 360

Composting Worms

I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve been interested in composting worms aka vermicomposting for several years. The idea of non-smelly indoor composting sounded like a great addition to the compost pile outside. Outside works great most of the year, but is a bit of a hassle in the winter with heaps of ice and snow in the way.

After lots of searching online, I decided to buy my first bin rather than make one. I did this to raise my chances of success and to hopefully reduce mistakes while learning the ins and outs of taking care of worms and vermicomposting in general. I’ve done lots of reading, but experience is a much better teacher.

Worm Factory 360

The worm factory 360 is a worm bin where the worms continually migrate up into the top trays as the food in the lower trays is exhausted leaving behind their worm castings. The castings are an amazing soil amendment. It’s a clever system and made in the US. It came with a nice instructional book and DVD.

Worm Factory 360

This is the first bin ready for worms. I mixed some of the coconut coir and shredded paper the kit came with. I sprayed some water on everything to get it damp. In the upper left is their first meal of chard and spinach scraps mixed in with a couple dead peony flowers. I hope they like it.

Composting Worms

I ordered one pound of Red Wigglers (Eisenia fetida) which is about 1,000 worms. I tried to buy them locally, but couldn’t find anyone selling them (or giving them away).   I ordered on Sunday night from Special-Tworms, and they arrived Wednesday afternoon. They arrived well packed in shredded paper. The worms were inside a cotton bag mixed in with some compost. They were squirming around alive and well after their cross country trip in the mail.

Composting Worms

Red wigglers are hungry worms, and can eat half of their body weight in food each day. Impressive! They like the common 50/50 mix of browns and greens that would normally go into a compost heap. I’m looking forward to them eating my shredded junkmail. The population will self-regulate with how much food and space is available to them. The complete system should be able to support 5000-10000 (5-10lbs) depending on how we feed them. We eat a lot of vegetables and fruit, so I think we’ll keep them happy.

Worm Factory 360

After putting the worms in the first bin along with their bedding and first meal, I covered it with some wet newspaper as recommended in the worm book. The first problem was we haven’t had a newspaper delivered in years. What to use? I looked around the house, and found I was stashing some old motorcycle newspapers from a few years ago. No idea why I still had them, but they fit the bill wonderfully. The wet newsprint helps keep the moisture levels steady in the bin. The worms need things to be damp, so they can breath.

Worm Factory 360

I filled up another of the bins with shredded junk mail. This was a tip I found on youtube to help deter other things from moving in, specifically fruit flies.

Worm Factory 360

I placed the bin in the basement under the stairs. It is an out of the way place. The worms like a constant temperature between 40-85F with the sweet spot around 65-70F. The basement is in that range year round. It’s dark and quiet down there too, so I think they’ll be happy.

The first bin of compost should take a few months to finish. Now to think of some names for our pet worms…anyone got any good ideas?

2 comments:

  1. Vermicomposting is a profitable business for people who are interested to do it. It is gaining some popularity here in Philippines where fertilizer is becoming more and more expensive so people are looking for cheaper but effective alternative

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it is a cheaper alternative and easy to do.

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