For those of you who have been in my loft apartment in the last year have probably noticed under the stairs a black bin, hidden amongst some boxes of storage. This is our Worm Factory. Yes, we have worms, thousands of gorgeous (and if you're my wife - cute) Red Wrigglers. We use the Worm Factory to compost our garbage. We have been composting for about 9 months already and have gotten about 10-15 lbs. of compost per every three months.
I decided on composting after wanting a garberator for my sink, to get rid of organic waste. I considered installing one, and then ran across a website about composting. So I learned there are three basic different types of composting. The method uses bacteria or bokashi to break down organic waste. The second method which requires an electric composting machine, which I understand can compost very quickly, but the idea of using a plug in machine to produce a green product seemed a bit distasteful, and I also understand that these machines are quite loud and can also be a bit stinky. The third and much more preferable method of composting is using worms. The reason I say preferable, is that using the first two methods baceria can be smelly and requires chemicals, like baking soda. What worms do is they eat almost any organic material and then the food goes through it's gullet and then when the worm poops, it does so in a really nitrogen rich soil. There are those of you that upon reading this will be, "Al that's really gross." However to those of you that upon reading this get this, read on and buy yourself a worm factory.
In the nine or ten months that we've been composting, I have never noticed a foul or a bad smell - whenever I lift the lid of my worm factory, the scent reminds me of my rugby playing days and the smell the earth would give off during a spring day. Additionally, once you have the worm bin and the worms, all you need to do is to feed them. If they are happy, they should reproduce and double in number every two or three months.
Although the worm factory will come with instructions, there are definitely some dos and don'ts as it relates to your worms. The first Don't is don't overfeed them. When you first get your worms, feed them only about once per week. You buy worms in poundage, and there are roughly 5,000 worms per pound. Healthy worms should eat about their body weight per day, but when you first get your worms, the only thing that you can do wrong is overfeed them. If you cover them with newspaper, the newspaper will act as food, and underfeeding shouldn't be a problem. One Do that I can think of is to keep the worm environment moist, but not wet. The consistency of the worm bedding should be that of a damp sponge, so if you grab the bedding material, and squeeze it and water drips out then it's too moist and you should add some shredded newspaper.. If it feels too dry, then spritz the bedding material with a bit of water. Outside of that, then you should feed your worms any green or brown food, but avoid any meat or dairy byproducts (with the exception of eggshells) as I understand that it is the meat and dairy byproducts which can smell and attract maggots.
The reason that I went with a Gusanito Worm Factory is the design is really well thought out. Traditionally, if you use a plastic bin to house your worms (which you can do), the difficulty is in separating your worms from your compost, as they will all be mixed together. I think conventional wisdom is to separate your compost from the worms you would simply place food on one end of your composting bin. The worms will migrate towards the food, and you would simply harvest the compost from the other side. The Gusanito Worm Factory uses a different methodology to separate the worms from the compost. It is a multi-tiered system, and you simply load your worms and bedding on the lower tier. Then you feed your worms on this lower tier, until you see the compost building up, at which point you add a tier to the worm factory. This upper tier becomes your working tray and that is the tray that you now put food into. The worms will know that the food is in the upper tier and will migrate through holes in the tray to go to the upper tier, at which point you can let the bottom tier dry out before harvesting. I have a three tiered system, which allows me to always be drying out one layer of compost, have a working tray, and have a tray ready for harvesting.
Now the problem is what to do with all of the compost that I have been collecting! If you have a garden, email me and you'll probably get a mason jar of worm poop.
Gusanito Worm Factory
$59.99 plus $15 shipping and handling
They also sell Red Wriggler worms for $25 bucks, which is an average price (I got my worms from a woman on Craigslist who had an overpopulation problem with her worm farm and needed to sell some)
NEW IMPROVED (Patent Pending) Version with waterproof roof.
Two versions. Black = American Made. Or Green = Made in China. Both excellent quality. SPECIFY COLOR AT CHECKOUT.
This roof design is rain proof, has ventilation holes, with a sloped shed type roof with vent holes high and low to cause the wind to naturally drawn air and moisture up and out of this worm farm bin design.
Roof can be turned in any of four directions to benefit from the wind drafts.
Easy assembly. No tools required.
Our "Gusanito® (Patent Pending) Factory of Worms�" has a large Coconut coir brick. 325 gms compared to 250 gms in old style square black worm farms. More worm bedding to start with.
Made in the USA.
Recycled plastic. Some color variations due to recycled material.
5 year limited warranty
This worm bin is an upward migration worm bin for home use. Comes with spout on bottom of the collection tray to drain and use the Compost Tea.