Moving worms to a new tray

by Yvonne
(South Africa)

I bought a bin with three trays. After more than a year, I have finally managed to fill the first container. I have made a bed of cardboard etc in the second container and placed that on top of the first. A lot of worms have migrated up to the second bin and now:?

1) How long do I wait before harvesting my compost from the first bin?

2) Why do I need a third bin? I would have thought that I would take out the bottom bin when all the worms have moved up and then, just carry on as before. Why the third container?

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Feb 21, 2012
Moving worms to a new tray
by: Pauly

Hello Yvonne,

I have a 6 tray system and I use all 6 trays plus more withing 1 year.

Generally, if one does not have very many worms then they will not fill the first tray very fast. I have somewhere around 8,000 plus worms in my system. So I go through the food quickly.

It also depends on what you are feeding the worms. softer material will break down quicker, i.e. Shredded newspaper vs Cardboard OR bananas vs Avacado peals.

There can be a lot of variables as to how fast one can generate the supply of castings.

Also, having more than 3 trays creates a great buffer so you don't have to store the worm castings offsite in a seperate container. Three trays a necessary if you want to have a hassle free harvest experience.

Go to
Flow-Through Systems
to get a little idea of why you need at least 3 trays.

Knowing when to harvest castings depends on visual and touch. Typically your castings should look like fine moist coffee grounds with no compost left anywhere. You may see some worms in the first tray but that is typical. That's just what they do.

Let me know if you need more help,

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