Read more worm factory reviews. The Worm Factory advertises that: the worms will migrate upwards as food sources are exhausted. So you won’t have to separate the worms when the lowest bin is ready.
This never worked out for me. The worms were perfectly happy to stay in the lowest level. The worms were in every level but they never all migrated upwards to the food source. Or they went downwards to the bottom where the leachate collects.
So when the lowest tray of vermicompost was finished there was always a big job of separating the worms from the vermicompost.
Here is a review on Amazon where the customer had a similar experience to mine. Also other things didn’t work out so well for this reviewer:
. . . Although the worms are SUPPOSED to migrate upward, I found most of my worms in the very bottom trays where it stays very wet. The trays that were supposed to have the fewest worms always had the most. The compost created by the worms is very wet and messy and nothing like what they advertise. That’s ok, I just don’t appreciate being mislead. And, unless you have massive — and I mean massive — numbers of worms, the composting doesn’t go as fast as they claim. A 5 pound bucket of worms won’t compost even 2 or 3 stacked bins as fast as they claim.
I have since started my own very inexpensive home-made bins and I don’t bother with the half bin stuff. I use inexpensive Sterlite bins with some air holes and drain holes poked through or drilled. . .
You can continue reading this review at Amazon Review on Worm Factory
So with my experiences with the Worm Factory I wanted to go back to worm bin composting with my Worm Friendly Habitat. You could really use any plastic or wooden container. You don’t have to buy a Worm Friendly Habitat. It is just a plastic bin with ventilation. I sold my Worm Factory on Craigslist. I kept two of my Worm Factory Composter Extra Trays for worm separation (see picture to the right)because they work in an excellent way along with a bright grow light and tantalizing food choices in the new tray to get the worms out of finished worm compost. See my blog post on How to Separate the Worms from the Vermicompost.
How to separate the worms in worm composting is a big question. Vermicomposting, another name for worm composting presents its biggest challenge after the compost is finished. The red worms, also known as red wigglers have done their job and now the time had come to move them from the finished vermicompost into their next batch.
I have always struggled with this process. Some people just take the finished compost and put it into the garden worms and all. But these red wigglers will not do well in a regular garden. They are really compost worms and they like compost not just dirt. I guess these people just buy new worms to start their next batch.
I have tried several methods that have been recommended on the internet or in books without too much success. It depends on what kind of worm compost bin that you have. I will give one example of what I have tried in the past.
How to Separate the Worms
This was in a rectangular plastic bin, nothing fancy or special. One piece of advice is to move the finished compost to one side of the bin and fill the other side with fresh bedding with some food in it. The worms will just automatically move over to the fresh bedding. My worms never wanted to cooperate with this process. Some red wigglers moved over but plenty stayed in the finished compost. They have always been very happy to stay in finished compost!! I have spent a lot of time picking them out of the finished compost.
The Worm Factory Additional Composting Bin Trays which have lots of holes in the bottom are perfect for separating worms from vermicompost. I no longer use the Worm Factory but more on that in another post. I filled one with new bedding, some pulverized rabbit manure and some watermelon rinds. The other tray was on top of this with the finished compost in it. And I used a grow light shining on the compost to encourage the worms to move to the level underneath.
After 2 days, they were almost completely in the new bedding all happily clumped together under the watermelon rinds. I have never seen them move over so fast! My red worms really like rabbit manure and they also really like watermelon rinds. So maybe the new bedding was just too enticing and they migrated right away. The difference was remarkable. There were only a few worms that I had to pick out of the finished compost. I think next time I will use just watermelon rinds to see if that was it. You know just a little experiment.
In my next post I will go over the beginning steps of how to make a worm bin composter.