Your worm bins can sometimes lose its balance, despite your best efforts. If you still have questions, please read our troubleshooting tips. We would be glad to talk to you about your bin, and maybe we can offer some great ideas to restore your worm bin to balance.
Your worm bin should smell just like fresh garden soil. In fact, it should not produce any odor. Your worm bins should not emit a foul odor. This is an indication that the system is out of balance. If you notice a stench coming from your worm bin, the first thing to do is to lift the layers of food waste and bedding. This will allow air to flow into the system. Remember, worm bins need oxygen.
You should get rid of any water that is found in the bottom of your worm-bin. Remove any waterlogged castings and then transfer the castings to a container that has holes. This will allow them to dry out and continue their aging process. Consider how the worm bin got so soaked in the first instance. Have you added a lot wet waste like watermelon rinds and rotting tomatoes to your worm bin? For the moment, you can remove the most wet waste and compost it elsewhere. How humid is your worm bin? You can add more air holes to your system. To absorb excess moisture, you can lift the tray systems and place a layer of dry, shredded newspaper between them. To allow for more oxygen to enter your system, you could leave the lid slightly open on your worm bin.
Your worms won’t want to leave the safe environment of their worm bin if it is balanced.
You may encounter worms trying escape when you first set up your worm bin. Sometimes, this happens when the worms adjust to their new environment. Keep your worms happy by placing a light in the area where you keep your bin. The instinctive behavior of worms is to avoid light sources and will not crawl when there is a light above them. Your system may be causing your worms to try to escape, even if they seem determined.
Harvesting Worms & Using Castings
It is difficult to know when your worm bin will be ready to harvest the finished castings. However, your eyes and nose can tell you when they are. Your worm bin should produce finished castings within three months depending on how many worms it has. If your worm bin is tray-style, you should wait until all the trays are full before harvesting castings. Your top tray should contain your decomonsing food waste as well as the majority of your worms.
There are many ways to separate the worms and vermicompost from your bin. The type of worm bin that you have will determine the harvesting method that you use. It’s easy to remove the bottom tray from a tray-style system like the one described above. Then, take the casts out of the tray and place them on the top.
Sort and Dump
If you have a single plastic bag, the best way to harvest castings is to empty your entire worm bin onto a table. You can place a light on the mound or harvest the bin outdoors during a warm sunny day to let nature provide the light source. The top layer of your worm bin should be removed, along with any bedding or unfinished compost. This material should be removed and placed back in the worm bin when it is empty.
This is a simple method that allows you to move the vermicompost from the bin to the side. You can then add fresh bedding to the opposite side and start feeding them. Give the worms time to digest the waste from the other side of the bin. They will eventually migrate to fresh food sources. Although this is a quick way to harvest finished castings, it can take a while, as you will only be feeding one side of the bin.
Save the Worms
It will be hard to remove baby worms or eggs if you don’t use a tray-style, worm bin. These babies can be saved by placing the finished castings into another container and adding a small amount of green waste to it.
Remember that the more worms you have the more they will produce castings.
Using Your Vermicompost
Worm castings are a great way to improve any soil environment, from green waste to the best organic fertilizer in nature. When you plant seeds or transplant plants, you can simply add a little bit of worm castings to your hole or row. Small plants will benefit from a quarter cup of worm castings. You can add worm castings to older plants. Simply break down the soil layer and add the castings.