Catherine

by Catherine
(Perth, Western Australia)

Hi Pauly,


I bought a second-hand worm farm a few months ago complete with worms etc. The worms have multiplied rapidly and I began to think there were too many in the two trays.

So I added a third tray to the top along with coir matting, sand, damp shredded paper, watermelon and other veg. And I stopped adding food to the other trays.

I was hoping that the worms would make their way to the top tray and I would be able to remove the castings in the bottom tray. The top tray is now teeming with worms but the other two trays also seem to be teeming with worms - too many to remove, I think.

Should I attempt it and risk losing some worms or wait a bit longer in the hope that more of them will travel to top tray? Can you have too many worms in a tray? Also, I found a number of the worms in the collection tray which hasn't happened before but we've just gone through a heatwave in Perth, Australia so perhaps this is why.

I check them every two days to make sure everything is kept cool. I've never had a worm farm before but am rapt at the amount of worm tea the busy workers supply so I want to make sure I keep them happy!

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Feb 18, 2015
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Too Many Worm In the Worm Farm?
by: Paul

Hi Catherine,

I guess in this scenario too much a good thing is...well Good! Ha! :)

It's very common to have worms all throughout the flow-through worm system. Eventually they will make their way up to the food source.

But I bet that the reason many of them are still below the "food" trays is the watery fruits like melons and others you are using.

The sugary juice is leaching down into the lower trays which microbes feast on causing them to multiply. This is also food for worms.

I know many people like to collect the leachate for use on their plants but cutting back on these watery foods will allow the system to dry out but still remain moist.

The worms will make their way up eventually. This will then allow you to harvest the castings in the lower trays. You can still harvest them if you're willing to sort through the worms and put them back into the food trays.

Now for the really good news. It sounds like you are ready to split your squirm. You can build an additional static bin or get another flow-through tray system. However you choose. I don't know your situation.

If you're not ready then just leave the system as is, cut back on the foods and just add moist carbon bedding and you will see the worm population decrease or remain steady. They will continue to eat the bedding. After all the bedding is still food to them.

You can also encourage others to worm farm by donating some of your herd.

Sounds like all of your problems are wonderful ones to have. Congratulations!

Keep it up,
~Pauly

Feb 19, 2015
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To many worms !
by: Deborah from Copperopolis

Wow,We all wish we had that problem. Well Done. As for harvesting castings from a 360 factory I just put the bottom tray I want to harvest on top and put a light on it.

The worms will go down to the tray below while I scoop off the top layer come back 30 minutes later,take off another layer and so forth. Works great for me and castings are ready.

I also run 5 trays at a time.Yes my worms also like the catch tray so I keep bedding in it.

Good luck,keep up the good work.

Aug 18, 2015
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no worms in bedding
by: densmath

I "inherited" my sons worm farm and am learning. Getting plenty of tea and worms are on the bottom (Tray 1) The next tray is teaming with worms. The next tray (3, second from the top) is where I am placing food. Variety, egg shells, coffee & tea grounds, vege clippings, no citrus. The top tray I am keeping shredded paper which I read can be used for bedding. However, no worms are in the top tray. Am I doing this incorrectly? It seems right from my reading. Also, how do I know when I need to add another tray. I can tell the population has increased. Thank you so much.

Aug 19, 2015
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How Do You Know When Castings Are Ready To Harvest?
by: Pauly

Hello Densmath,

The worms will usually work their way up to the desired food trays when there is no longer food in the lower trays.

It sounds like you may be feeding them a little too much nitrogen (kitchen scraps). If this is the case then the worms may not like the conditions as too much nitrogen can cause the system to become anaerobic, too warm, or too wet.

I don't know if this is the case but you also mentioned that you were placing shredded paper in the top. I would advise that you mix the shredded carbon material into the nitrogen foods really well.

This will allow the system to balance out getting the proper air circulation and keep the kitchen scraps from compacting and getting warm.

In the future make sure to add lots of bedding (carbon) about 20:1 Carb:Nitro ratio. It doesn't need to be exact but you should always have much more carbon than nitrogen just like in nature.

Also it is good to bury the scraps in a small part or corner of the tray. The worms will find it.

You'll be able to see how the worms eat and them increase their food/bedding as they begin to multiply.

You'll know that the castings are ready to harvest when you no longer see any bedding or kitchen scraps (both carbon and nitrogen is really just food in general to the worms) in the bottom tray.

Castings will look like coffee grounds but very silky smooth as it's just living microbes. Make sure there are no unhatched cocoons in it. If there is then decide if you want to harvest the castings. If not then place it back so the babies can hatch and make there way up to the food source.

You can also store the castings in a separate dark container. But make sure your castings don't dry out. They will keep for over a year or more until you're ready to use them.

Hope this is enough info for you Densmath,
~Pauly

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