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06.01.2015 admin
Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Do you want to do your part for the environment and reduce the amount of waste your family produces, but you don’t have the space to produce traditional compost?
Unlike other beneficial insects in the garden, red worms aren't intended to be released into the garden like ladybugs and praying mantids. My friend Katie recently built her own worm composting bin, and if you click through to her post you’ll see how easy she transformed two plastic bins into a home for her worms. After you have built your own worm bin it’s time to think about where you’re going to place it.
Building your own worm composting bin is a fantastic option if you want to compost, but don’t have a yard. If you’re not familiar with a Worm Factory 360, these are the cream of the crop of worm composting bins.
Since I began vermicomposting back in the spring, I did learn a thing or two from my online reading and experience. Unlike my super simple homemade plastic tub worm bin, the Worm Factory has a collection base on the bottom to collect liquids that drip out of the bin.
Another great feature of the Worm Factory 360 is that it has a worm ladder that fits in between the bottom moisture collection base and the first tray layer. Another great thing I noticed about the Worm Factory 360 is how easy it is to pick up and move around. When you receive a Worm Factory 360 in the mail, there is a voucher inside to use for ordering a package of one pound worms online. The first worm package we ordered was shipped out on a Monday when we were having bitterly cold temperatures.
I mixed up the bedding in the deep tray that came with the kit that is designed to be used to catch liquid that will drip from the spout on the bottom of the Worm Factory when you’re ready to open the spout. The instructions that came with the Worm Factory 360 suggest shining a light on the worm bin throughout the night for the first few days after introducing the worms. The guide that came with the Worm Factory 360 said that it  takes approximately three to four months for the worms to fill up the bottom tray with castings.
We occasionally may be given an item to review and share with our readers and host a giveaway. Although the earthworms currently living in your garden or yard will be attracted to any compost pile, why not take your relationship with worms up a notch with vermicomposting? Vermicomposting is the intentional use of confined earthworms to break down organic matter and yield fertilizer.
The only reason I drilled my own holes in the first one is because that is the first tub I found that would fit inside of my outer container.
It would be easy for you to find two of the storage containers with holes already around them so you don’t have to do so much drilling, which was the most tedious part of the entire construction process. It is important that the two containers are able to fit inside of the larger container with its lid on and you have to be able to stack one on top of the other without the top one shifting and falling into the bottom one and compressing the contents.
I use a leftover piece from a metal shelving system to support my top tub on my bottom tub. But there are a lot of ways to do it: the right size dowels laid across the top of the bottom tub would be another option, as would four cans stuck into each corner as supports. They are divided across the middle with a piece of metal mesh or screen. This is just ordinary hardware cloth that can be found in any hardware store. When I first started the worm bin, I followed the recommendation of some online who use a combination of shredded newspaper, with peat moss, a bit of dirt, and leaf litter. I have found that using the compost works better for me, plus it means I do not have to shred newspaper or purchase the peat moss. The worm bin would probably work fine with the compost alone since it is all organic matter that worms would naturally break down and also contains some dirt which they need for their digestion. I do this by taking my kitchen scraps about once a week and putting them into the blender with some rainwater.
Whenever I put new bedding in one half of the tub, I pull back part of the bedding, pour in a good bunch of this smoothie, then cover it over with the bedding again. The three pictures in this section show how the bedding looks as they gradually work through it.
It is important to aerate the bedding like that, and to have good ventilation (holes) in the system, because the worms need air and it prevents anaerobic bacteria from building up and making it stink.
When I see that the worms have just about finished with the compost on one side,  I put in new bedding and food on the other side. You will see the population of the worms on the finished side dramatically decrease as they congregate to the fresh munchies on the other side. After a few days to a week or so, all of the worms (except for a few stragglers) will have migrated away from the finished compost , which by now is nearly all worm poop, and into the new bedding, where they happily continue the process. After the initial set up, every time I put in new bedding for the worms, I am harvesting the finished product, the worm poop fertilizer. As I harvest the worm poop, I toss any remaining worm eggs and worm stragglers over into the compost side. When there is too much of a worm population explosion, I feed them by the handfuls to my chickens — I have an even softer spot for my 5 laying hens! When you first set up a worm bin like this, you would only put bedding on one side of each tub and feed the worms a kitchen compost smoothie. Every 2 or 3 days, remove the tubs from the bin and stir the bedding up in both tubs to aerate the contents — this only takes a couple of minutes.
You can see the dramatic difference between the original compost bedding and the finished product in the above picture. Worm poop is a gentle fertilizer; unlike cow and chicken manure, it can be used immediately on your plants in varous ways.

This is a great step-by-step guide to quick and effective vermiculture and top-notch garden fertilizer! The earthworms that you find in your garden do a great job of naturally composting organic matter in your soil.
You can buy red wrigglers at your local bait shop and numerous places online have popped up to meet the demand for worms as vermicomposting has become fashionable. But if you’re interested in vermicompost, chances are that you’re the kind of person that likes the DIY approach to life.
Then last month I was contacted by Eartheasy and was sent a Worm Factory 360 with worms to review and share with you all.
That way any worms that accidentally make their way down instead of up can easily crawl back up to the bin where the food is. As the worms compost the materials in the lowest tray and create castings (castings are their poo that is the compost we use) the tray will start to fill with castings. To harvest the castings from my big plastic tub, I need to get out a tarp, dump the whole thing out, wait for the worms to wiggle to the bottom of the pile and harvest the castings from the top of the pile.
The postal service was closed on Tuesday for a holiday so unfortunately our worms got stuck somewhere and we’re guessing they probably froze. I was thrilled to see them happily swarming around the food scraps working their magic to turn the scraps into compost!
After I dump in the food scraps, I add either newspaper shreds or small torn pieces of paper egg cartons. Then they will need to have another tray of food placed above them so they can start to migrate up and vacate the bottom casting filled tray. Eartheasy is a family owned and operated business based out of Canada, our neighbors to the north. My husband actually asked me the other day if we’re even using our outdoor compost tumbler bin anymore. This means that our family receives a small income when our readers make a purchase through one of the affiliate links on our website. I write about my own personal experiences and the statements I make have not been evaluated by the FDA. Worms bins are what the earthworms are kept in, where they are fed, and the things from which you collect the valuable worm castings (hereinafter: worm poop). At first I was only going to have one level, but when I saw the storage container with the predrilled holes, I realized it would be easy to have two levels within the outside container, and so that is what I did. It is simply cut to match the height and width of each tub and it is placed inside, not fixed or attached in any way — not necessary because the contents of the tub keep it in place. Instead of the wire mesh, anything that can be used to segregate the two sides of tub while allowng the worms to migrate through would work as well. But in order to make it possible for the worm bin to support  a denser population, I also feed the worms directly.
I run the blender until the kitchen scraps turn a soupy consistency — like making a smoothie for the worms.
Worm bins are not stinky, although if I have made a smoothie with bananas in it, mine will have a bit of a banana smell for a day. I pull it inside when we have freezing weather or if we have a prolonged period of temps near 100°F.
This is not necessary; I could simply shovel the worm castings out without concerning myself about the few worms or eggs on that side, but I just have a soft spot for the worms. You can get worms from a friend who already has a worm bin, buy them from a local store (I bought my initial bunch from Petsmart), or order them online.
Do not include meat, dairy products or raw egg shells — cooked shells are are okay but should be crushed. This gives you a chance to inspect the progress of the composting and be alert to any problems. Although we have a spacious backyard and could technically put a “heap” there, I just didn’t want to go through the hassle of asking my husband to build a corral for it.
For under $20, I was able to get everything I needed in one store — two plastic storage bins and two packages of live “red wriggler worm” bait from the fishing section.
With worm composting you get to turn your kitchen scraps and biodegradable trash into rich, useful compost that you can use in your container gardens and garden beds. These worms are not suited for the warm temperatures of the average home, and like to burrow deep into soil. YouTuber Jason Isbell show you how you can turn two kitty litter buckets into a worm bin in under 4 minutes.
Luckily the handy guide that came with it showed easy to follow step by step instructions on how to put the Worm Factory together. As the tray fills up, another tray of food is placed on top of the second one with the lid put on top. This is a messy, time consuming undertaking and it is common for some worms to be accidentally harvested from the bin.
I’m pretty sure I’ll have to wrangle my husband into assisting me when it comes time to dumb out our plastic tub to harvest the compost! I was intrigued by how worms would be shipped and was fascinated to see that they were placed in a breathable mesh fabric bag inside a cardboard box with some holes poked in the side. The handy book it came with explained step by step which materials and how much to include in the bedding mix. To feed the worms, I pull back the layer of damp newspaper on top of the tray, rake back the bedding and dump in a pile of previously frozen and thawed food scraps (you can read here why we do this to keep the fruit flies out of our worm bins). Because if worms are happy they will reproduce more and they won’t try to bail out of the worm bin. I’ve been vermicomposting with the Worm Factory 360 for almost a month now but our bottom tray is not even half filled with worm castings yet.

Any of the products or natural remedies that I mention are not intended to treat, cure, diagnose or prevent a disease.
If you already compost and do your best to amend your soil with organic matter, you are already going a long way toward attracting these garden helpers. But if you started trying to do the vermicomposting in a bin this size by putting compost in up to the full depth of the container, it would be very difficult to manage. My compost bins contain garden waste, raked leaves, grass clippings, and all compostable kitchen waste.
A dense population is desirable because it increases the speed at which the contents are turned over and increases the production of worm poop.
They did not seem to bother the worms and I just gradually hand-sifted the larva out and fed them to my chickens in the course of aerating the bin and harvesting the worm poop.Ants are soemtimes attracted to worm bins, but the couple of times that happened, I sprayed some Raid on the deck under the bin and kept going with no problem. If you have a long cold season where you live, this system can be set up in a garage, basement, or even a corner of a kitchen. The latter setup allows your worms to migrate to the bottom bin and you’ll need to make sure to add food to compost in there, too. But if you decide to keep the fruits of your worm’s labor, you can apply your compost to houseplants and outside in your garden. I really had no idea what I was doing and did some online research that I shared in this post.
In our mudroom we now have thousands of worms composting our kitchen scraps every second of the day to create amazing healthy compost we’ll use to start our garden seedlings in a few months. As the worms run out of food in the bottom tray, they will migrate up to the top tray where there is more food. Now you know why I think the Worm Factory 360 is so amazing compared to my simple plastic tub worm bin! The Worm Factory came with coconut coir, which isn’t something that is naturally occurring here in Montana.
Sometimes they’ll all try to escape the worm bin, hence the light shining on it all the time to prevent that.
If the newspaper feels dry, I spritz it down with water to help keep some moisture in the tray. Stay tuned in a few months for an update when we’re ready to harvest our first tray of worm castings! Some people lay cardboard on the surface of the bedding so the worms will come up to the top, but since I put on my gardening gloves and stir the bedding up a couple of times a week to aerate it, I dispensed with the cardboard. The best place for your worm bin is below your kitchen sink where you can slide your kitchen scraps into the bin as you’re preparing your family meals.
Building a worm composting bin is a great way to teach kids about composting and recycling.
When I first started out, my worms were in a pretty simple homemade worm bin: a big plastic tub. I scooped the worm up with my hand and placed it back with its worm buddies in the food tray just to save it the trip. Eventually once all the worms migrated up, you are left with the bottom tray with no worms and just the castings.
You know your worms are dead when they have a pretty funky odor too.I contacted the folks who sent the worms and they immediately got us set up for another shipment of worms at no additional cost to us. There is a note in the guide that says it is not a required material in the bin so it won’t likely be one I will continue using once our supply runs out. Everything I’ve read about vermicomposting says that the bedding in the bin should have the moisture level of a wrung out wet sponge. They would collect at the bottom of the container and it would be difficult to stir them all up frequently enough for them to work their way through all of the compost.
I can tell if the worms like the condition in the tubs; if they like the conditions they will stay in the tubs. The worms will continue working the first side for a few days, or even a week or more, but as that side becomes all poop, they will move to the other side for food.  Then it will be time to havest the worm poop fertilizer and refill the now empty side with new compost or bedding and start the process over. Red wigglers can also be a good substitute pet if you're looking to teach your child some responsibility, and how to care for living things. The more I learned about vermicomposting and the more my worms thrived in their simple worm bin, the more I pined away for a Worm Factory 360. Once the worms arrived the second time, I had the Worm Factory 360 and a bunch of slimy food scraps all ready for them. For my worm bins I prefer to use free materials that I can source from around our property and home.
At night, I sat the Worm Factory under a light we leave on all night for Little A’s night light.
I used to test the moisture with my hands but now that I’ve been vermicomposting long enough I can tell by just looking at the bin if it is damp enough or too wet.
If it gets too wet or too dry, they start trying to get out and then I find them on the inside wall, or at the bottom of the outside bin. When you are harvesting the poop, or setting up a new bed, you can just lay down some newspaper. They adjusted wonderfully and within a few hours were happily starting to compost the food scraps! With the ventilated tubs inside the larger bin, any worms that come out are found on the insides or floor of the outside container.  So even if I were creating a worm bin from a shallower storage container, I would want to have a separate inside tub. I am going to amend the article to make that clear — thank you for questions, because i want this to be very complete!

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