How to Compost With the Worm Factory

Overview

Worm castings are one of the richest sources of compost available to the home gardener. The Worm Factory is a commercially-made vermicomposting system that allows for significant amounts of compostable material to be processed with the help of worms. It is easy to set up and is faster than building a vermicomposting system from scratch.

Step 1

Remove The Worm Factory from the shipping box and set up. The base should be set on a stable flat surface either inside the house or in a sheltered location outside the house. Vermicomposting can only occur outdoors when the temperature is between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit in order to keep the worms alive.

Step 2

Set up the first worm tray on the base. Fill the bin half way full of shredded newspaper and junk mail. Sprinkle water on the shreddings until they are thoroughly damp but not dripping. Add a handful of compost worms into the center of the pile. They will burrow downwards to avoid the light. Cover the shredded paper with a wet section of newspaper to ensure that the worms stay in darkness.

Step 3

Add food scraps to the bin. Any vegetable or fruit scraps work very well. Avoid adding any animal products to the bin as they take longer to break down and are likely to smell. The scraps can be tucked into the shredded newsprint daily. Each day, put the scraps in a new location, working your way around the bin clockwise until it is full. Keep the lid on The Worm Factory when not adding new material.

Step 4

Add a new bin on top of the old one when it is full and repeat the set up process with new shreddings. When the worms have finished with the scraps in the first bin, they will migrate upwards into the new bin through the holes in the bottom. There is no need to move the worms. Make sure that the material in the bins remain moist but not soaking wet. Mist the shreddings with a water sprayer occasionally if they appear to be drying out.

Step 5

Continue to add bins as they fill. The Worm Factory comes with four bins but can be expanded to eight. The material in the bins on the bottom will begin to compress as it turns into soil and weight is added above.

Step 6

Harvest the finished worm castings one bin at a time starting with the bottom one. Depending on the temperature and other composting conditions, it may take up to two months for the first bin to complete the process. Remove the stack of upper bins to access the worm castings in the finished bin. Sift out any remaining worms and add them back to an active bin. Use the castings as a soil amendment for flower and vegetable beds or for potted plants.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not let the bins dry out or become saturated with water. Both are deadly to worms.

Things You'll Need

  • The Worm Factory
  • Shredded newsprint and junk mail
  • Newspapers
  • Compost worms such as Red Wigglers

References

  • The Worm Factory
  • Vermicomposting
  • Composting With Worms
Keywords: composting, vermicomposting, organic gardening