Help! Need to restart bin

Antalya(6a)February 28, 2014

Hi - and thank you in advance for pearls if wisdom.......
(I don't think my other post about this actually posted, so please excuse if it did. Didn't get confirmation......)
Harvested about 2 gallons of castings yesterday - from an October Worm Factory 360, starting, supposedly, with 1,000 worms from Uncle Jim's. Having now seen what 1,000 worms looks like, I don't think I got 1,000. But I digress.
The bottom line is that there were very few worms in the bin. I'd say between 50-100 healthy adults. A bunch of teeny tiny babies - and a lot of eggs that I tried to save. I have them separately in a tin w/ damp cardboard, shredded brown paper, newspaper, a couple small pieces of banana and that's it. Now what do I do?
I put the worms back in one tray of the Worm Factory 360. I couldn't get them to travel up - only a couple went up. So just did a dump and sort. NOT fun. Maybe too damp as I couldn't form piles to scrape off of as the worms went toward the center. ?? More just blobs. But with the moisture meter it read between 75-95%. So really had to work each piece. Yuk.
I will go back and check the harvested castings in a few weeks - to try to find some more babies. And advice on the cocoons please! I put the worms I COULD find in a tray that had been sitting for a few weeks "waiting" for them with shredded cardboard and pureed food. I also added about an inch of the old box/ compost/castings.
It's been exceedingly frustrating. In spite of all I have read. I have tried to do the right thing - doesn't look like I have.
But have NO idea what I am doing wrong!!! HELP!!
Thanks so much.
~ ~ ~Marcia

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equinoxequinox

Not the first time we have heard of particular sellers not providing the whole pound if it is advertised that way. A quick online search should show who is who. But mostly purchase worms from as close to you as possible. From a farmers market if they do that.

"Now what do I do?" I would put the harvest eggs, babies and adults right into the new material. The harvest material I would put into a container with access to air for a long time. As it drys on top bit by bit over time you can reharvest the fluffier material. The worms will sink to the bottom. Than when you start to get a number of worms in the few inches of material left on the bottom just dump it along with the eggs, barbies and adults on to the top of your working or new tray. Alternately the tray you feel is ready you can put on the top of the stack. The worms will sink to a lower tray and out of the top tray. I do not have a system like this so I can not be sure.

"very few worms in the bin" Worms hide really good. I think I have a mouse eating mine. Anecdotal evidence online has posts of vermicomposters reporting simultaneously discovering low worm numbers and a mouse.

From your November post http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/verm/msg1100212826821.html I see your worms are in the basement. Mine are in a cold basement. I think this slows down their numbers a lot.

As time goes on I think each vermicomposter as time goes on harvests their vermicompost dryer and dryer for the very reasons you described.

When I pile sort I put cardboard on top of a 5 gallon bucket with the edge so I can with a chop stick push the non worm castings into the bucket. The pile gets smaller and the worms condense. Eventually there is little castings and mostly worms, or sometime before then, and I dump the worms into the new bin. Dryer bedding worms better. The bedding can be put onto cardboard to dry it.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 10:39AM
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hummersteve

I thought the idea of starting the 360 was so you didnt have to separate the worms from the castings but I guess that might turn out to be a misnomer. I myself am starting one now and my thoughts are to keep a homemade stackable bin but disban a tote and split the worms in that one

In the 360 I was hoping I wouldnt have to deal with the eggs once the harvest tray is on top with a good light shing on it and being stirred up a bit they would mostly all move down away from it so all you have left is castings. At least that is what they want you to believe in selling those expensive outfits. Regardless Im betting you still have to do some separating.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 5:05PM
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11otis

Worms have a mind of their own. They stay or go where ever they want. Can't even send them to school to learn things. lol.
You have to trick them.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 8:29PM
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