Worm castings are tricky, aren’t they? They can be soggy and have lots of unprocessed material encased in castings, used in containers to grow stuff, dry out and show what they’re really like. I’ve noticed that my worm castings that I recently removed from the Worm Inn system dried out in the sun quite fast and revealed a bunch of little purple eggs.
What are these things? After doing a little reading and talking to the dude Bentley over at redwormcomposting.com, I learned that they were worm cocoons. So is this a good thing or a bad thing? I don’t really know. Reproduction is obviously a good thing. However, I’m learning that the cocoons may be worms laying more eggs in response to a dry or unhealthy worm system. They also seem to lurk around the cardboard…but wouldn’t the best place for eggs be inside those corrugated tubes?
My castings seem to harden up in big chunks, and it has to be from the cardboard…I think I’m going to try chilling out on the cardboard for a bit to see if I can make a better end product…I think the worms must be getting bored of eating my cardboard scraps!
I’ve been getting a lot of email regarding how to empty the Worm Inn composting system: How do you get the castings out? How do you keep the worms from escaping? Do you have to screen through all the material you just put in? All questions with super simple answers.
Since worms eat the material from the bottom up, they leave behind their precious castings. As you can see in the video, you simply open the drawstrings and take them out. If you find a worm, you’ve reached the end of your castings and you simply put the worm back in the top of the Worm Inn.
There may be an odd piece of unprocessed material as you dig through the castings, but as with the worms, just put them back in the top and let the worms eat it later.
Simple! I love this thing. This really is the easiest worm system to work with out there.
Hey there crazy composters,
I wanted to share a recent experience I had with the ol’ red wigglers that seems to happen quite often…the initial freakout phase.
I’m noticing it seems rather common that the first few days of having a new worm bin results in worms trying to escape and run all over the place…why is this happening? Chances are, it’s due to the main variables: Container (and oxygen), proper food, bedding.
One thing to remember, is when you receive a shipment of worms, they just spent a few days in a tiny box…so chances are that’s why they seem a little weird at first. They either appear dead, or hyperactive. I still remember when I got my last pound of worms…I put them in their new home, which was a Worm Inn, and waited a few hours. I left the light on in the basement to help keep them away from the top of the bag…didn’t matter.
I put in more coffee grinds and more bedding. Dampened the contents. The worms still hung out at the top. I actually put a piece of duct tape where the zipper ends so that they couldn’t get out through that tiny little gap. By the next morning, everything was fine and they settled.
Similarly with the plastic worm bin, the worms instantly clung to the top. I realized quickly that no matter how much bedding or proven awesome contents I added, they were freaking out. Then I wondered if they were having problems with air flow, since plastic bins don’t get the same circulation as a Worm Inn does, obviously. Once I drilled nearly twice the amount of air holes, the worms went down in their new home. Solved!
Recently, a cool customer of mine was having the same difficulties with her new bin…my first thought is usually to advise leaving the light on and/or putting the bin directly under a light. I was curious how they were coming along, so she sent me this picture:
Pretty darn brilliant! Good way to keep the light overhead in a creative way. I almost wonder if it’s “too much” light… while it’s not direct sunlight outdoors, which would effectively harm your worms, it’s kind of intense. However, in seeing the bin illuminated the way it is, it was easy to see what would also help here: more holes.
As with my first worm bin, extra air holes can’t hurt. Since the plastic bin is not porous, improving the air circulation is critical. Now her bin looks like this:
Way to go, Karen! And now her worms are chillin’. Have any of you out there experienced similar circumstances? If you have, take a look at your air flow and contents. Overall, it seems that no matter what you do, there will be a brief period in the beginning where the worms are wondering what the heck is going on and try to escape, or just look around outside their new home…I don’t blame them.
I’m going to start a new system soon, and I’ll be reporting on if it happens yet again. Have any of you composters been able to start a worm habitat without any freakouts? I’d love to hear about it.