Composting is a natural process where kitchen and yard wastes decompose into a dark, nutrient-rich, soil. Vermicomposting is the same process, except with worms. Why spend hours digging and turning a traditional compost heap by hand in your backyard? If you live in an apartment or condo where a traditional outdoor solution isn’t feasible, if you don’t want to trudge through your backyard in the middle of winter to the composter, or if you don’t want to transport compost from the garden centre to your garden, let the worms do the work for you.
Our bins and worms can be placed both indoors or outside (we recommend bringing it inside for the winter), allowing you to produce fantastic compost on a year round basis with a system that is simple to setup, use, and maintain. If properly managed, there are no odours and you don’t need to touch the worms if you don’t want to (though your kids may enjoy playing with the worms).
Why the Worm Factory 360
The Worm Factory 360 produce excellent results because of their innovative design to maximize oxygen intake for the worms to properly process their food. Most ordinary bin systems leave areas of unfinished compost at the bottom and corners of bins, whereas the Worm Factory 360 relies on the upward migration of the worms to ensure that all compost is finished before using. In addition, the Worm Factory 360 allow moisture to filter through the composter that is easily drained from the spigot, creating excellent compost tea you can use on your plants to further stimulate growth and development.
The Worm Factory 360® features a stackable design allowing you adding additional trays to meet your growing composting needs. The included 16-page instruction manual makes setup fast and easy and gives detailed tips on how to best manage your worms on an ongoing basis.
It can house four to five thousand worms that consumer 3-6lbs of food per week. This creates an easy-to-manage, ongoing cycle to continually produce excellent finished compost. Once you mix the finished compost from the lowest tray into your garden, prepare some more bedding for your worms, and return the tray to the top to repeat the composting process all over again.
Red Wriggler Worms (Eisenia fetida) are the secret to successful vermicomposting. They are the best and most commonly used variety of composting worm. They can eat and expel up to their body weight per day, reproduce readily, thrive in small scale bins, and when managed properly, produce no odours. Red wrigglers can vary considerably in appearance, but they are generally 2-4 inches in length with a reddish/purple colour. One characteristic that does seem to be fairly consistent among specimens of this species is the yellow tail tip.
Red Wrigglers are tolerant to a wide range of temperatures – from the freezing range all the way to 35 Celsius, so they can do very well both indoors and outdoors. However, the optimal breeding and feeding temperature for your worms is 15-24C and we recommend bringing the worms indoors over the winter.
For residents in Ontario and Quebec that order the Worm Factory 360® with worms, you will receive a coupon code for 1 pound of red wriggler worms. It is recommended for you to wait until your Worm Factory 360® is delivered and properly setup before ordering your worms. For worm deliveries outside Ontario and Quebec, please contact us for a shipping quote.
Even a small bin of red worms will yield pounds of rich, sweet-smelling vermicompost. Red wrigglers are also extremely prolific and can reproduce in about 3 weeks, meaning you will probably have more worms than you know what to do with after 1 or 2 years. Think of it like an investment in your garden – your worms will multiply and produce even greater amounts of compost over time, allowing you to grow excellent vegetables right from your own backyard.
Your finished compost (also known as worm castings) has a variety of beneficial uses. They are great for germinating seeds, adding into your potting mixes, fertilizing mature and developing plants, stimulating flowers to bloom and fruit, improve the flavor and nutrient content of your vegetable garden, rejuvenate tired house plants, and more.
Why we recommend the Worm Factory Composter
The Worm Factory 360® is one of the best solutions we’ve found to create rich, organic compost. Need more reasons?
- Moisture filter to collect compost tea
- Expandable and stackable to accommodate your growing family of worms
- Small footprint to fit in smaller spaces
- Can be used both indoors and outdoors
- Year-round operation
- Creates finished compost more efficiently (rather than having unfinished compost stuck at the bottom and corners of many home-made bins) in as little as two months
- No need to touch the worms once the unit is setup (other systems require regular harvesting and separating of the compost and worms)
- Odour free operation
- Easy to assemble and manage
- Reduced waste of 3-6lbs of organic garbage per week. That’s up to 1 ton of garbage you’ve saved from going to the landfill
- A ready supply of worms after a year or two to give to your friends or to “plant” in your garden once your worms have multiplied
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What should I feed my worms?
A. We recommend feeding your worms a balanced diet. Not too much of one thing. Here are some general guidelines. Fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, shredded cardboard, bread, pasta, and rice are all great for the worms. The smaller the pieces you put in, the faster the worms will eat through them. Citrus, glossy paper, leaves, grass clippings should be limited in their addition. The worms can eat through this, though do so at a slower rate. Finally, meat, bones, oil, fats, vinegar, and salt should not be fed to your worms.
Q. What best practices do you recommend when feeding my worms?
A. We would recommend the following best practices. 1) bury the green garbage under half an inch of surface material. This surface material can be soil, shredded newspaper, or other bedding material such as coconut coir. 2) Establish a regular feeding pattern for your worms. 3) Put your green garbage in a different spot in the composter each time you feed your worms. 4) Consider blending your green garbage if you want to speed up the composting process
Q. How much and how often do I feed by worms?
A. Give your worms a couple weeks to get settled in their new home and get hungry. Be patient. Don’t expect too much initially as it takes time for the worms to get established. A good working kit with one pound of worms will consume 3 to 5 pounds of worm food each week. It is not necessary to feed the worms daily; however, be certain they always have some food and are not too dry or too wet.
Q. Where can I store my Worm Factory 360?
A. We recommend you store your worm factory at room temperature (15 – 20°C) in a convenient location and an area with good air circulation. Popular places include the kitchen (easy access for additional kitchen scraps), basement, laundry room, or any room.
Q. What are the dimensions of the Worm Factory 360®?
A. The dimensions of the Worm Factory 360® are 18” x 18” x 15”
Q. My bin is too wet – what should I do?
A. If your bin is too wet (lots of excess liquid pooling in the bin), add shredded paper or other dry absorbant bedding material. Make sure your bed isn’t too dry as a wet, warm bed promotes egg capsules hatching, which means more hungry worms to create more beautiful compost.
Q. My bin is too acidic – what should I do?
A. Acidic conditions can arise from a variety of factors, including naturally decomposing green garbage, or the adding in lots of citrus products. To bring your conditions back to a more neutral state, add in crushed eggshells. You can also sprinkle in powdered limestone or calcium carbonate in every other feeding. Do not use dolomite lime (which is meant for outdoor garden use) as it contains magnesium which is harmful to your worms.
Q. How do my worms reproduce?
A. Worms are hermaphroditic, which means they are neither male or female. When they do breed, 2 worms come together to form an egg capsule. After breeding, each worm will contain a fertilized egg capsule which it will release into the soil. Each capsule usually produces several worms.
Q. Can I just dig up worms I find in my backyard and put in my composting bin?
A. No, the majority of the worms you find in your garden are nightcrawlers and are not suited to a confined composting bin. These are specialized worms that are best suited to vermicomposting
Q. Do you ship across Canada?
A. Yes. The Worm Factory and Worm Factory 360 can be shipped across Canada, though shipments of worms are limited primarily to Ontario, Quebec, though we can ship to Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and major cities in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Alberta. If you live outside our prime areas of Ontario and Quebec, please contact us for a detailed estimate on shipping times and availabilities as our worms are fragile and can’t always handle the multi-day journey across the country.
Using the Worm Castings
Vermicompost or castings is a living organic, nutrient-rich, fertilizer that no plant should be without. When harvesting, utilize the castings as soon as possible.
Common Problems and How to Deal With Them
PROBLEM: My worms are crawling up the sides and top of the bin
EXPLANATION: The environment is unfavourable – too wet, acidic, toxic or anaerobic (smelly due to lack of oxygen)
SOLUTION: Add dry shredded paper, increase regular use of eggshells, avoid overfeeding, break up large pieces of green garbage
PROBLEM: Large populations of unwanted critters have arrived
EXPLANATION: The environment has become unbalanced due to poor maintenance
SOLUTION: Properly cover the green garbage, increase the use of eggshells, and avoid overfeeding
PROBLEM: My worms are small, lethargic and scattered
EXPLANATION: Your worms have been left too long in their own casting without food
SOLUTION: This is the time to harvest and encourage them to move up to the next tray level
PROBLEM: My bin is smelly and the worms are not eating the green garbage
EXPLANATION: There is not enough oxygen due to excess amounts of heavy, wet green garbage and/or excess moisture
SOLUTION: Break up the green garbage, stop feeding until the worms catch up to the food, or add dry bedding to cover green garbage
PROBLEM: Fruit flies or moulds are present
EXPLANATION: Larvae are hatching from peels and bacteria growing in your bin
SOLUTION: Ensure green garbage is covered or blend garbage before adding to your bin
PROBLEM: My bin is too full of worms
EXPLANATION: The population of your worms has increased
SOLUTION: Get more trays, give your worms to a friend, start a new tray, or move some worms to your garden