February 2012

Worm Factory 360 | 2-02-12

I decided to check on my WF-360 system today. It’s been a little over a week since my last feeding – which coincided with adding my second tray – and I’ve been eager to see what the worms have been up to.

I must admit to being rather taken aback by what I saw when I removed the lid and started pulling away the upper bedding cover layer. LOTS of worms have moved up into the second tray, and what’s more, the food has all but vanished – replaced by lots of fibrous castings!

When I pulled off the second tray I saw plenty more worms still down in the first level, along with quite a few “danglers” (lol). This is obviously to be expected so soon after adding the new tray. The material down below looks quite well processed, so I don’t imagine it will be too long before I can potentially do some harvesting!

Given the impressive effort my Worm Factory worms put in this past week, I decided to be a fair bit more generous with their food today. I added 1211g (~ 2.7 lb) of compostable kitchen scraps. The big difference this week is that I tossed these materials (including the stuff I’ll be adding to my Worm Inn) in my deep freezer and then let them sit and thaw out for a day and a half. I think this is going to be a pretty significant improvement!

[Aside – this actually has me feeling really inspired to set up a simple comparison experiment (somewhat similar idea to my now-defunct “particle size experiment”, but much easier to set up and monitor) with materials at various levels of “optimization”]

I chopped everything up a lot (same way as with recent feedings) – clearly, this alone is making a pretty big difference! Speaking of which – something really interesting I noticed today is the presence of some gnats in the bin – but only a very small number of them. My hunch is that when the worms are able to feed on the materials quite quickly, the gnat (and fruit fly) larvae don’t have nearly the same opportunity to establish themselves.

Once it was chopped up to my satisfaction, I simply dumped the food waste into the second tray and mixed it in with my hand fork.

I topped everything off with good layer of (new) shredded cardboard, before moistening everything (didn’t include an image of the final appearance, in case you are wondering).

Speaking of moistening, I was happy to see that the reservoir is still fairly dry and that there are currently no worms down there. I know some people tend to think they are doing something wrong when they’re not accumulating “tea” down there – but my preference is definitely to use some nice finished vermicompost for my tea making, while (hopefully) avoiding the creation of a prime worm hang-out!

That’s all for now – with the way these worms are munchin along, I’m sure I’ll have another update soon!

IMPORTANT: As mentioned in a recent newsletter, Nature’s Footprint has started up another WF 360 contest for us. All you need to do (once again) is fill out the survey on the RWC Contest Page. One new development, though, is that this is actually going to be the LAST chance (for now) to win one of these bins. Kate doesn’t want to bore everyone to death with surveys every month, and it might be fun to explore some other contest ideas here at RWC. Just so you know, I will definitely continue to post these WF-360 progress reports, so no need to worry if you’ve been enjoying them!

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