Tuesday, 16 July 2013

- Worm Factory 360 WF360B Worm Composter, Black



Product Details

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #2626 in Lawn & Patio
  • Size: 18L x 18W x 28H inches
  • Color: Black
  • Brand: Worm Factory
  • Model: WF360B
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 14.95" h x17.95" w x17.95" l,11.00 pounds

Features

  • The Worm Factory 360 has a standard 4-Tray size which is expandable up to 8 trays, giving it the largest volume of any home composter.
  • The redesigned lid converts to a handy stand for trays while harvesting the compost.
  • Included instructional DVD with step-by-step guide for managing your Worm Factory 360.
  • The accessory kit provides basic tools to make managing the Worm Factory 360 easier.
  • Built in "worm tea" collector tray and spigot for easy draining.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

380 of 387 people found the following review helpful.
5I have worms, but my husband loves me anyhow.
By Michelle R
(As the process continues, the review will update.)

Hi, I'm Michelle, and I have worms.

A few weeks ago I made the decision to give vermicomposting a try. I live in an area that supports recycling, but we still have to take the items there. The rest of the trash costs us per weight, and ends up decomposing in a way that is not healthy. Why not reduce the trips to recycling, the money spent having someone else take away the rest of it, and end up with healthy compost for our plants? Hey, when it's January and you live in one of the coldest states, you start thinking about gardening so that you don't go all Jack Torrance.

I read a lot on the topic, including a lot of advice on making my own bin. However, DIY bins almost always involved work in getting your slimy friends to go to The Other Side of The Bin. I decided to make the investment and buy a stackable unit, because they're made and used in a way that the worms migrate up and leave the finished compost behind. I thought it was well-worth the money now for the convenience and the anticipated money saved.

Set up of this unit was very easy, and I choose to follow the advice of many to set it up a week or two before the worms arrived in order to introduce them in when the environment was ideal for them. Worms, come to find out, don't care about your rotting food and yesterday's paper so much as they care about the microbes that care about these things, and so setting it up allows those microbes to show-up and chow down. The kit gave everything I needed, including shredded paper, with the exception of table scraps and the recommended dirt to introduce grit and microorganisms. Dirt is not readily accessible in Minnesota in January, but I managed a couple tablespoons of mud. (Besides, when the worms showed up, they brought some dirt with them and I had some, er, well-aged scraps.)

Yesterday -1/27/10- the worms arrived and I introduced them to the bin. While they were well-packaged, shipped next day air, and held at the post office, they'd still been through a lot, and were initially sluggish (is calling a worm sluggish a mixed metaphor or just possibly defamatory?) but after a couple hours much more active. They're mostly the surface and do seem to be attracted to the areas with the scraps.

While it's early, and I intend to update this as the process continues, I'm quite happy with the bin and the very detailed instructions or setting up the bedding, etc. It's also very simple looking and attractive enough that, had I not a basement, it would be acceptable upstairs. A nice feature, and you can see it in the picture, is that the lid has quick guide to what scraps are best and offers some great tips.

I'm new at this, but I'll happily answer any questions I can in the comments about my personal experience or understanding of things. If you email me, I also might post that to comments -- referring to you as Ann on a Mouse, if you're shy. YouTube has lots of videos, but you will feel weird confessing to people that you've spent hours watching people fiddling with worms. (Trust me, I've been there.)
***
2/3/10
Going well. Learning to not over -- overfeed, overworry, over-nose-around. The worms are still adjusting, but the environment seems to be working, and they're going at the scraps. Because I cook most nights, and make lots of veggies, I think it'll be a while before they'll be able to handle what I could give them, so I'm holding back.! There has been a day or two where I've not added to it, and let them catch up. Been grinding the scraps up in a chopper -- anything to start them out right. Also, upping the amount of fiber -- newspaper, mostly. Only 1 has tried to go "over the wall."

I continue to read up on the topic and my friends are either genuinely interested or humoring me until someone can show up with my injection.
***
2/07/10
Hubert Hawkins: The pellet with the poison's in the flagon with the dragon; the vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true.
Griselda: Just remember that.
The Court Jester

A mortar and pestle is a great way to ground up dried egg shells. The worms use them for grit, which aids in digestion, it's a source of calcium which could help with reproduction -- or not -- and it prevents the soil from being too acidic. This is the one I have: Harold's Kitchen 3-1/2 Inch Round Mortar and Pestle, but I picked it more for looks than practicality. If you've saved up a number of shells, I've read you can use something like a plastic bucket, or dishpan, and a mason jar. A lot of folks just crumble by hand or toss the shells in whole.
***
2/14/10
Happy Valentine's Day, and what's more romantic than a bin of worms?

Things are going fine. I've found a warmer spot in my basement, and now the bin is at about 65F, which is the best I can hope for this time of year unless I want to move the gang to the guest room. I've also ordered more worms. We're just creating too much waste right now and could use the help ... and I'm impatient. We have a freezer in the basement and I have a good size Tupperware container to freeze excess, but there's only so much room.

As kitchen scraps accumulate I use Norpro Ceramic Compost Keeper (in red.) It works well, and has a filter to stop your kitchen from smelling. The handle is shoddy though, and it arrived chipped -- I'll be honest and say I should have gotten a metal one. Whether you chose ceramic or metal, there are attractive designs out there though, that'll look okay on your counter. Compost keepers also allow scraps to age for a few days, which means they attract attention faster in the bin. Freezing scraps, or microwaving them, also breaks them down and has a similar effect, with the added consideration of killing off fruit fly eggs or mites that might have hitchhiked from the grocery store. Most mites are actually beneficial, but I think most folks are more comfortable not having stow-aways. One last note on the counter compost keeper: mix it up a little and be aware of how old the oldest scraps are so that you don't end up with a stinky mess at the bottom. After a week or so, maybe less, it's time to freeze or make sure the oldest stuff is what's for dinner in the bin!
***
2/15/10
I should mention that the Worm Factory comes with a lot of stuff. There's coconut coir for the base bedding, and a lot of people swear by it and continue to use it. It's sent as a brick and you soak it in water until it's hydrated and smells like earth and clean soil. There's shredded newspaper, also for bedding, and other related materials. (Paper and cardboard serve as food & bedding, and the addition of them throughout the process keeps smells down, helps if you end up with extra moisture, and it vital to the process.)There's also a hand rake and a scraper. I've never used the scraper. There's also a thermometer which my husband wrote WORMS across so that there are no mix-up with the one in the kitchen -- I supported him in this. There's also a detailed instruction manual, which helped put me at ease. (This is what I received and what they offer currently -- I'd look at the product description to verify this is still accurate when you order.)

The WF (Worm Factory) is designed with a spigot to drain out extra liquids that might fall into the collection tray -- which is different from your working tray with the bedding, worms, and scraps. How moist a bin should be is the matter of some debate and nothing I feel experienced enough to speak to. There are also many discussions on what to do with this liquid -- which is called leachate, but some people call it worm tea. Most experts call worm tea something else -- a deliberate effort to create a mixture to pour on plants which I'm too early in the process to have done. I will say that my bin is moist, but not so moist that there has been drainage. I've rescued the odd worm from the collection bin, but not more than a drop or two of liquid. Since bins evolve, this might change. The design is also made for worms who fall down there to be able to crawl back up.

I'm adding updates enough to see this will get unwieldy before too long, so I'll announce them here, but place them in comments. :)
***
Latest update, 10/26/10, see first page of comments.

123 of 127 people found the following review helpful.
5Great success, would recommend for organic farming
By KU Grad 02
I did a lot of research and I've been very pleased with my decision to buy the Worm Factory 360. I started with 2 lbs of worms (versus one) because I knew that we would have enough kitchen scraps for the additional worms. The only surprise that I've had was when I put in a bunch of cantaloupe scraps (seed pulp and chopped up rinds) and opened the bin a week later to find tons of sprouts growing in the worm castings! I guess it goes to show how great a fertilizer the castings are...too bad it isn't time to plant cantaloupes!

I go ahead and chop up the worm food scraps while I'm preparing our food and put it in a plastic container inside the fridge. For example, it doesn't take much extra time to cut up the cucumber and avocado peels (I prefer to use kitchen shears) while making a salad. I also feel better recycling vegetables and fruit that I let spoil instead of just throwing them out (makes me feel less guilty about wasting food and money). I was able to finish my first full bin in a little over a month. I've avoided any bad smells by putting down a layer of wet shredded newspaper, a thick layer of food scraps, and then covering all of the food thoroughly with more wet shredded newspaper (use your document shredder, it's very fast that way!). I now cover 1/4 of the bin at each feeding, about once a week.

As to the construction, the Worm Factory is well made and seems to be made of durable plastic. The design is easy to use and I like how you can rest a bin on the inverted lid so that you don't squish any of the worms hanging from the bottom.

Update 6 months later: All four trays are full and I may consider purchasing more trays (I think you can stack up to 8) because the trays on the bottom are about 95% composted but there are still worms remaining that you have to sort through in order to harvest the castings. The 5% is made up of avocado peels and thicker pieces of grass (the kind that looks more like hay than soft blades) so I won't be adding those to future trays. I don't know if the worms would migrate upward once all of the food is eaten. I now cover 1/2 of the bin at each feeding because I found it tedious to continually go back and feed. I have not had any problems with odor or fruit flies with the addition of this extra food. I have had a problem with excessive moisture in the bottom bins. I think that once you have all four bins full, the moisture that comes out of a lot of the fruits and vegetables (watermelon, cucumbers, lettuce, etc.) drips down with gravity and makes the castings very wet. Not a huge problem, but it makes the castings messier to harvest. The first batch was pretty easy because it was like very fine loose soil but this last batch was more wet clumps of soil. The houseplants are all doing well, but I'm waiting for spring to see if the worm castings will make a difference in the tomato plants. I plan to mix some compost into one pot and feed it with worm tea, and use regular soil and Miracle Grow with the other.

109 of 112 people found the following review helpful.
5Great! The worms are eating my kitchen scraps.
By OMB
It's been about a month and my worms seem happy and contented in their bedding. I started with one tray, then gradually added 2 more. They are moving up and down the trays, getting into the food scraps at each level. I shred old newspapers, dip them in rainwater, squeeze out to "damp-sponge wetness", then spread it around the tray. A good percentage of the worms like to hang out in the newsprint and eat that.

The kit comes with everything you need except the worms. It's very easy to set up with the included instruction manual. The included hand rake is handy to mix vegetable and fruit scraps in with the moist paper. Kit also includes a coir brick (which you moisten and spread for their initial bedding), scraper, and thermometer. It's been unseasonably cold in Louisiana, so, like a new parent, I covered the kit with a blanket to insulate the worms. The box has since been moved from porch to patio where it catches the morning sun. The worms seem to be fine with the temp. extremes, as long as they don't get too extreme either way.

I ordered 2 lbs. of worms from Uncle Jim's Worm Farm and there seemed to be more than enough for the Worm Factory, so after a couple of weeks I transferred a handful of worms to my original compost bin,a converted plastic garbage can with holes drilled in the sides. Since we create a good qty. of daily kitchen waste, I put the excess into my original compost bin. The worms are doing their job there, too.

As recommended, don't feed them meat scraps, or dairy...spoils and sours the pile. Citrus peel is also a no no, too acid and too slow to break down. I also crush washed egg shells in with the food, which gives their gizzards the grit they need to digest food. The egg shells also add alkaline calcium which helps to balance the ph level.

Unit also generates compost tea, which is the result of moisture leaching through the worm bedding and castings. It is loaded with plant nutrients and beneficial bacteria for your growing plants! Mix it in your watering can and the life cycle continues!

This is a good product! It will provide you an easy way to go green (even if you live in an apartment), reduce your waste going to landfills, and provide nutrients for your garden. To boot, when you decide to go fishing, you're all set.


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