I have compared the different small-scale worm containers or wormeries around the world when I worked at the Soil Ecology Laboratory at the Ohio State University (OSU), Columbus in this early millennium (1998 – 2002). Most of them have rather different aesthetic models and performances, but basically their systems are the same with some holes for aeration and leachate water collection, without agitation and aeration to collect the finished worm castings at the bottom of the container regularly.
After some time, the condition of the unfinished organic waste and worm castings are getting too wet, anaerobic, smelly, and will invite flies. The compost worms are not happy, and they will not multiply, but they will try to escape by climbing the sides of the container. In this wet and anaerobic (less oxygen) conditions it will be difficult to harvest the excess of worms and worm castings separately. Most of the squeamish people will give up at this point with their vermiculture-vermicomposting activities.
The healthy worms will move up to the new feedstock and will be easy to collect on the surface. The finished worm castings or vermicompost will move down and be easy to collect from the bottom of the container. Some wormeries are designed in stalks expecting that the compost worms will move from the first container to the second container. This idea can happen if there is no problem as mentioned above and the bedding inside the container is in optimum conditions.
Any container can be used for culturing worms (vermiculture) and worm composting (vermicomposting) such as unused bathtub, broken refrigerator, and directly using compost pile outdoors. Handy people can make themselves even better and cool with wooden containers. It is like a master chef, the wok is not the utmost important, but the feeling of doing with your heart, the content of the mixture of the ingredients, recipes, and the optimum conditions for cooking are more important than the wok itself. In vermiculture-vermicomposting, the right species and density of the compost worms or red wigglers are the utmost important together with the mixture of the feedstock and optimum conditions.
After becoming familiar with the biology and life cycle of the red wigglers, the development of the wormery is getting urgent to save the time, labor, and cost using the right designed wormery. One of the wormeries in the market with innovation is called Worm Wigwam with the input of organic waste 10 – 15 pounds per day. This wormery or worm container is equipped with a crank to operate a continuous-flow system for harvesting the worm castings, enough ventilation in a spacious space at the bottom of the container for summer, and heater for winter operations.
It was a great pleasure to visit Bruce Elliot of Sustainable Agricultural Technologies, Cottage Grove, Oregon a few years ago. He makes the Worm Wigwam based on the continuous-flow system found at the Rothamsted Experimental Station (RES), United Kingdom. My former supervisor, prof. Clive Edwards was the director of the RES before he moved to the OSU, Columbus to develop the Soil Ecology Laboratory and implement the large-scale automated continuous-flow worm composter together with our team and Dan Holcombe of Oregon Soil Corporation at Philomath, Oregon that I also visited several times before the pandemic.
Any progress and problem with the continuous-flow worm composters around the globe to be shared is appreciated. Thank you.
We provide the red wigglers or compost worms inoculum as a starter package (2 X 1 X 1 feet) to start the medium- and large-scale vermiculture vermicomposting. Compost worms inoculum is the whole system of beneficial soil microbes, worm castings, and adults, juveniles, baby worms also worm cocoons (compound eggs) in one package. We used to provide the worm composting workshop for creating a living soil before the pandemic. In the new normal, we still provide consultations and offer green business opportunities. Please visit our website http://www.burnabyredwigglers.com to see our products and services.