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anyone else have the stacking worm farm

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anyone else have the stacking worm farm

Post  GWN on Sat Jan 25, 2014 9:41 am

Hi there
I have had the worms for 2.5 years now. I started with a commercial stacking worm farm..... several layers with holes in the bottom of each tray, and something to catch the liquid at the bottom.   This actually fell apart, it was not well made, so I went to the big bins which seemed to take up more room, and I never quite got it right
So last year a company that employs the mentally handicapped was selling towers that were much stronger than my original one, so I bought one, and it seems to be great

My question is ... what everyone else experience is with the worms moving up through the layers to the top tray. I keep envisioning that I can just take the lower tray and it will be mostly castings and little worms, but it does not seem to be, they just do not seem to want to migrate up.   SO each time I go to harvest the castings I have to go through this whole separating process.
Just wondering others experience.

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Re: anyone else have the stacking worm farm

Post  llama momma on Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:19 am

Have you visited the redwormcomposting.com site?   I bet you could find an answer there.  I've had my worms for 2 years and they're spread out among 3 plastic bins.  Sorry I can't speak to your type of stacking experience.

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Re: anyone else have the stacking worm farm

Post  GWN on Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:49 am

LM that was a GREAT SITE and I found a perfect answer to my question.
The stacking worm farms will tell you to start one bin and when it is getting full, add another bin and  so on and then to harvest the lowest one when it appears ready.
WELL the site you mentioned suggested ONE MORE STEP that I found very interesting.
They suggested putting the BOTTOM bin on top with a light shining down on it and that will drive the worms back down to the TOP bin.

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Re: anyone else have the stacking worm farm

Post  llama momma on Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:58 am

Hey that's terrific! I've learned so much from that site over the past two years and continue visiting over there.

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Re: anyone else have the stacking worm farm

Post  sanderson on Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:12 am

GWN, Would you mind posting a photo? Is it wood?

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Re: anyone else have the stacking worm farm

Post  southern gardener on Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:19 am

@GWN wrote:LM that was a GREAT SITE and I found a perfect answer to my question.
The stacking worm farms will tell you to start one bin and when it is getting full, add another bin and  so on and then to harvest the lowest one when it appears ready.
WELL the site you mentioned suggested ONE MORE STEP that I found very interesting.
They suggested putting the BOTTOM bin on top with a light shining down on it and that will drive the worms back down to the TOP bin.

GWN. thanks!! and thanks to LM for the site too. I have a "Can O Worms" and have the same problem. They do seem to migrate up, but there's always still a bunch in the bottom bin. Gonna try it out!! THANKS!!

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Re: Anyone else have a stacking worm farm

Post  Boz on Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:35 pm

I did a video on harvesting a worm factory bin. In the video I use one hour wait times, this is not a magic number it just allows me to get something else done.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNfQ587k8_U 
Let me know if you still have questions

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Re: anyone else have the stacking worm farm

Post  malefacter on Sat Jan 25, 2014 7:33 pm

try not to wet the box so much you want the top bin wet but the botom should dry a bit this will give them reason to move up eventualy they will caws they run out of food I switched to the worm in megga because it is better at keeping the fruit fly's out

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Re: anyone else have the stacking worm farm

Post  GWN on Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:44 am



Here is a picture of my big GREAT VIDEO BOZ...
The stuff you  are harvesting appears light and fluffy, my bottom bin is very thick with castings  thick..??

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Re: anyone else have the stacking worm farm

Post  GWN on Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:50 am

I seem to have rid myself of fruit flies . I have started using wet down egg cartons instead/along with newspaper.   I am quite excited to try this technique, that site said to mix/stir up the worms between each time you leave them under the light to force more down... much like boz video.

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Re: Anyone else have a stacking worm farm

Post  Boz on Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:49 am

GWN
It sounds like your bottom bin is a little wetter than mine was, a very common occurrence. If you move the bottom bin to the top, remove the lid and cover it with a cloth draped over the bin. This should allow the bin to dry out. This may take several days to weeks. The cloth cover will help to keep flying insects out. Once the bin is dryer harvest per my video.
Another solution would be to harvest it like a regular Rubbermaid bin. See my video at
harvest Rubbermaid

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Re: anyone else have the stacking worm farm

Post  malefacter on Sun Jan 26, 2014 12:24 pm

i use a 11 sheet paper shredder to shred cardboard for the bin

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Re: anyone else have the stacking worm farm

Post  GWN on Sun Jan 26, 2014 1:22 pm

BOZ, mine is moist, but not too wet, because there is a lower catch basin.
HOWEVER I think I might do what you suggest, my lowest bucket is VERY THICK ... likely 5 inches deep with worms and castings, so this method is perfect.
I think that the reason mine is moist is all the squash I have fed them.  Some of the winter squash are starting to pack it in the cold room.

Thanks again

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Re: anyone else have the stacking worm farm

Post  southern gardener on Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:52 pm

@GWN wrote:LM that was a GREAT SITE and I found a perfect answer to my question.
The stacking worm farms will tell you to start one bin and when it is getting full, add another bin and  so on and then to harvest the lowest one when it appears ready.
WELL the site you mentioned suggested ONE MORE STEP that I found very interesting.
They suggested putting the BOTTOM bin on top with a light shining down on it and that will drive the worms back down to the TOP bin.

Thanks so much guys for the info! We harvested our worm bin today, doing the above "one more step", and it worked like a charm! It took a few hours of total time, but only a few minutes of actual work. My 5 year old grandson helped and understood the whole process! Thanks so much! All done, and much less stress on the worms too Smile

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Re: anyone else have the stacking worm farm

Post  GWN on Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:22 am

I harvested mine yesterday as well and it was WAYYYY  easier than how I have been doing it.  Thanks LM for that site, it really looks like the place to go with questions.
janet

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Re: anyone else have the stacking worm farm

Post  llama momma on Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:20 am

Your welcome and happy worming -
 

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how to increase your worm farm size.

Post  GWN on Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:35 am

OK to all you worm ranchers out there I have another question that I am having trouble finding answer on all of those sites. 
Since I have had the worms for 2 years now, I have quite a few.
I never find that they "eat" the amounts of food that all the information implies they will eat a week.
My new stacker is about 14 inches x14 inches.
I have read somewhere that it is actually the surface area that the worms population settles into, and if you want MORE worms, you increase the surface area.
So I have bought some rubbermaid bins like boz's and done the holes  etc.... in effect tripling my surface area.
Anyone else have experience with this, IE increasing your worm production. Will they just fill up the other bins in numbers as well?

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Re: anyone else have the stacking worm farm

Post  llama momma on Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:43 am

Sure they will fill the other bins! I started with one container with approx. a pound of worms and expanded to three 18 gal. Rubbermaid containers so yes indeed they certainly reproduce. 

I agree with you they don't really seem to consume the amounts of food that others claim.  Must admit my feeding schedule is inconsistent too, especially when they are in the basement out of sight out of mind... 

Recently brought them up from the cold basement where it was a chilly 58 degrees.  Upstairs it is 68-69 degrees.  The warmer temps I think will switch them from a sluggish survival mode to  a thriving and eating mode.  This should lead to faster vermicompost production to add to spring and summer plantings. 

If I understood correctly, the redworm site I've mentioned earlier says the colder temps encourage the worms to produce babies and the warmer temps encourage hatching and overall food consumption. 

Today the total bin weight of all three is just over 30 pounds.  If I pay attention to regular feedings I hope to get the total weight up to at least 15 pounds more by summer.  Some of course will be added right away to spring plantings.   Hope some of this helps!

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Re: anyone else have the stacking worm farm

Post  GWN on Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:50 am

lm wrote:Recently brought them up from the cold basement where it was a chilly 58 degrees.  Upstairs it is 68-69 degrees.  The warmer temps I think will switch them from a sluggish survival mode to  a thriving and eating mode.  This should lead to faster vermicompost production to add to spring and summer plantings. 

Funny... I just did exactly the same thing.  However I was thinking that they would be more "reproductive" at the warmer temps, which is contrary to what you are saying, however I would assume after being in my cooler basement, perhaps all the hatching has been done.
I have never thought about weighing my system, never really knowing what that would mean, and never knowing how to actually weigh my worms???

When you say you have 3 bins, are they separate, or are they stacked?

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Re: anyone else have the stacking worm farm

Post  llama momma on Sat Feb 08, 2014 12:28 pm

I have 3 separate Rubbermaid bins that are not stacked.  I'll recheck the redwormcomposting.com site about reproduction. If its different than what I said above I'll let you know.
And for weighing the bins I hold the bin and get on the bathroom scale.  At least I get a rough idea of vermicompost production.

As for weighing the worms, it really doesn't matter to me anymore how much they weigh since they will live and die randomly anyway.  I do like to loosely keep track of the vermicompost instead.


Last edited by llama momma on Sat Feb 08, 2014 12:31 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Add last two lines)

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Re: anyone else have the stacking worm farm

Post  llama momma on Sat Feb 08, 2014 12:47 pm

A couple of paragraphs down talks about lower temps being one of the factors that increase cocoon production.

http://www.redwormcomposting.com/worm-composting/red-worm-cocoons/

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more on reproduction-

Post  llama momma on Sat Feb 08, 2014 1:31 pm

Found more info from Ohio State by scientist Dr. Clive Edwards:
 According to “Biology and Ecology of Earthworms” (Edwards and Bohlen), the optimal temp for Red Worm reproduction is 15C (59F), while the optimal temp for growth is 25C (77F).

And Bentley Christie from the redwormcomposting site added this:
I’ve also heard of people drying out beds to stimulate reproduction (or at least cocoon laying) – also makes sense since this would help ensure success of future generations when habitat is going to dry out and kill off the worms.

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Re: anyone else have the stacking worm farm

Post  GWN on Sat Feb 08, 2014 6:34 pm

Great information LM, my basement is 49 and I keep the upstairs at around 67-70.... so somewheres in between.
I found it interesting to know how much more resilient the eggs are.  My last set of castings harvestings   I put out in the greenhouse because it seemed to be maintaining an above freezing temperature.   THEN it got very cold, and the heater went out. SO now the bins of castings are frozen solid.   So I have them sitting beside the fire thawing out, so I can find all the eggs  Smile

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Re: anyone else have the stacking worm farm

Post  Boz on Sun Feb 09, 2014 3:03 pm

GWN Ilama momma is giving you good advice.
My thoughts: if you increase the surface area of the bin the worm population will increase. 
The amount of food that a given population of worms will eat in a week is highly variable, depending on the temperature, amount of moisture in the food etc. Besides my worms can't read so they don't know how much to eat.

I tend to keep my worms around 65° because that is the average temperature of my basement and my worms do fine.


If you really want to increase the population you can lower the temperature or reduce the moisture content of the bin. Basically what you are doing is stressing the worms, they think they are going to die so they produce more cocoons. Be careful if you try this the margin between stressing the worm and killing the worms is not that great, I speak from experience.

Happy worming

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