A Venture into Vermiculture – setting up and getting started

Our Venture into Vermiculture, started out very quickly. It was literally, a flirtation with an idea and then, 3 days later our WormFactory 360 was delivered. We had already started a worm friendly compost bin and had been shredding our paper products and washing our eggshells to give our little dudes when they arrived (fun fact, worms are both male and female).

So the morning we found out our worms were on their way to being delivered, we got to work setting up their new home. This is not a simple task in itself.

Opening your kit – our worm factory 360 came complete with a base, with tea spigot, a worm ladder, 4 trays, a cover, a sprinkler tray, shredded newspaper, a moisture meter, ground pumice, coconut fiber called Coir, a Thermometer, and a bag of powdered minerals.

First, they recommend you test the base for leaks around the spigot. This is super easy, as you just put enough water in the base to cover the spigot hole. If it holds, then you’re good to start setting up. If it doesn’t, then please visit Nature’s Footpath for further troubleshooting.

Second, its time to build your worm home – for this you’re going to need some additional supplies- in particular a bunch of sheets of newspaper, a couple cups of dirt and kitchen scraps. We were able to find all of these things relatively easy, even tho we had to sacrifice an aloe plant to get the dirt (its ok, we have dozens).

For really complete instructions that come direct from the manufacturer, I urge you to please go here. This is our experience and I’m going to base this blog soley off of that.

First thing that morning, we got to work by placing the “Worm Ladder”(this is a special piece of plastic designed to help escaping worms find their way back home) in the fitted slots in the base and starting our first bin. We put the bin on the base, folded 5 peices of DRY newspaper to fit the bottom. Then Mrgillis got to preparing the base of our worm bin – the dirt from our aloe plant, the shredded newspaper, the wet coir, (this is a coconut fiber block that we partially soaked with 2 cups of water – you only use about a third of the block), half the pumice, a tablespoon of the powdered minerals, all componants of their new home, that will help keep moisture and air levels optimal for worm health. But we still had no worms…

 

So, we were working at our office, and around 10 am, we got phone call from post office that our worms were there, and ready to go home. Mrgillis went, picked them up, came home, and setup up our worm’s home with the mixture from above… he then added at least a cup of water to get right moisture level, which they give you a meter to help tell.

When at last, everything was set up according to the directions provided on natures footprint, he opened up the worms and let them explore their new home

After, he put a couple cups of compost in one corner so as to watch for them to return to their routine of eating and not being super stressed and trying to dig down. After we’ve established that they are eating again, we dont have to seperate the food like that anymore.

Finally, he sprayed the worms lightly with water, then covered them with damp, not soaked, newspaper, 5 to 7 sheets thick, and put the cover back on top of the farm.

We placed the worm factory 360 in our bathroom, for two reasons. We have to leave a light on for them for 24 hours to discourage them from escaping. Because stress, apparently. Bugs are pretty complex creatures. And space being the other one reason, as we don’t have a lot of it. Especially with a curious toddler.

img_1792On a final note, we recommend a spray bottle for keeping your newspaper damp… and it seems like everything else we needed to start our kit was included with the factory other then dirt and “food”. We were lucky to have one on hand already, as Casper, our treefrog, requires spraying daily.

Well, it appears I’ve said about all I have to say about setting up a worm farm. We’re still waiting to make sure they acclimate to their new home, and stop trying to escape. Then we can move the whole kit and caboodle out to the plant nursery.

Now it’s full steam ahead to get ready for our newest additions, CHICKS! They should be arriving sometime in the next week. I am just beside myself with excitement.

So until next time, have a wicked good day!

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