WF-360 Vermicompost

I decided to check up on the tub of vermicompost harvested from my Worm Factory 360 bin (see “Worm Factory 360 | 3-02-12“). It’s been sitting now for about two and a half weeks, so I was interested to see if any baby worms had hatched out from the cocoons, and just generally, what the material looked like.

The bin seems to work perfectly in terms of keeping the material quite moist, while still providing some air flow. The vermicompost looks and smells great, and I’ve actually decided to put some of it to good use (more on what I’m doing with the rest of it in a minute).

Some of you long-time RWC readers may recall my post about the “Valentine’s Day Philodendron” from April 2010. For those who don’t, here’s the scoop…a number of years ago, I bought a beautiful philodendron for my wife on Valentine’s Day. At the time it had red heart-shaped blooms, and – me being me – it just seemed a lot more appropriate than your run-of-the-mill cut flowers (never been a fan of these!).

Unfortunately, trying to keep plants in our home is challenging at the best of times. We don’t have a lot of good spots that receive enough outdoor light – and those spots that do are accessible to our plant-munching cat, Monty. Anyway – long-story-short, this philodendron has REALLY suffered over the years. As you can see in my video/post (linked above), I did make an effort to revive it at one point – but that experiment ended up falling off the rails (surprise, surprise! lol) before too long.

I am absolutely AMAZED that it’s managed to survive at all. It has spent the last 4 or 5 months sitting in our laundry sink in the basement where very little natural light reaches it. I’ll take it as a sign of the fact that “love conquers all”!!

Anyway, the poor plant is in really rough shape, and I want to see if I can revive it with the help of some of this WF-360 vermicompost and by putting it in a slightly better location (I noticed that my basement shelving unit actually gets a fair bit more light than the laundry sink).

My very first experience with the “magic” of vermicompost as a plant growth promoter involved adding some (from an active worm bin) to the pot of another variety of philodendron – and watching as the plant basically exploded with growth. I’m hopeful I can AT LEAST get this particular one well on its way down the road to recovery!

The level of soil in the pot had gone down considerably over time, so I figured the best approach was to simply top it up with some of the vermicompost. Any cocoons and baby worms I noticed were placed back in the storage tub.

This may end up being a case of “too little too late” unfortunately, but I figured it was at least worth a try! I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted.

As for the rest of the vermicompost – I want to remove as many baby worms from it as I can before using any more of it. Normally, I wouldn’t worry too much about this myself since I have lots of Red Worm habitat out in my yard (so any lost worms would like find a home pretty easily), but I know plenty of people are concerned about losing worms/cocoons in vermicompost. The idea here is to lure all the worms up to a zone where I’m putting a small amount of food waste (in this case some carrots strips that have been in the freezer) and then scooping them out.

All I did was dig a shallow trough, laid in the carrot strips, then covered with some vermicompost.

Hopefully the presence of the waste will also stimulate the hatching of the remaining viable cocoons in the vermicompost as well.

Should be interesting!

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    • Rebecca
    • March 20, 2012

    Kind of off topic, but there is a spray made from bitter apple (I think) that will discourage the cat.

    • pat
    • March 21, 2012

    I have been enjoying your site for years. Thank you for all the great info. I have three worm factories up and running with twelve trays. I don’t use them as suggested; the worms produce so much more at a faster rate by feeding each tray. Yes, there’s the issue of lifting multiple trays but worth it to me. In the summer I also use old coolers in the garden house since they have a drain. Hope to start a up bathtub once I get up an electric fence around my garden to keep from sharing my veggies with the moose and am concerned about the bears being drawn to the materials fed to the worms and the fence would also deter them. Guess I should add that I live in Anchorage, Alaska. I have not seen any signs so far that the wigglers make it through our harsh winters so want to save all I can before using the vermicompost in the gardens. What prompted this comment is your last post with the carrot feeding. My method is once the vermicompost has been “harvested” sorting out all worms I can see, I transfer it to my “nurseries” which are plastic tubs. I lay banana peelings flat on the top and cover with moistened sheets of newspaper which keeps all nice and moist. The peels attract any missed worms and any that hatch. Sometimes there are many tiny babies on the peels which I put in my trays and add more peels until the activity slows down.

    • thuan
    • March 21, 2012

    So I harvested for the first time from the worm inn. 4 months ago, I transferred worms and materials from two plastic bins into the worm inn and have been adding food. The worn inn was full almost to the top. The harvested casting was very wet, clumpy, and compacted but in small clumps (wet probably because I initially used peat moss ((hold more water)) and coir as bedding). I don’t add any water into the worm inn. There is still some worms in the mix with a few cocoons. I let the worms migrate down with light and remove most of them. I dind’t bother collecting the cocoons and returning them to the inn since there are tons of baby worms in the active eating zone. So overall, I think I got about half of a five gallon pail. Interesting!
    I just wonder now, how often can I harvest the worm inn again? Every two months?
    Next month I will harvest from a second worm inn that I started from scratch!

    • Peter
    • March 22, 2012

    I just harvest my Worm Inn when my feedings get to a point where it’s going to be a challenge to close the lid. Then I take a good portion out of the bottom and/or stop when I start hitting cardboard or some heavier worm concentrations. By next feeding (a week) it’s dropped down again.

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