If I could have a dollar for every time I hear this complaint, I would retire tomorrow…
I am writing to seek your assistance with Wriggly Wranch. We purchased it last year (May) so it has been operating for almost a year. In that year, we have been very careful what to feed the worms (no citrus, no hard foods, etc.), kept it moist, and started carefully so as not to overfeed initially. The worms eat the food well but one problem: the very bottom (collector) tray keeps growing higher with a wet mud like consistency while the top working tray (the only tray we’ve ever used) continues to dwindle as the food is eaten. They successfully ate the bedding, they consistently eat the food they are given, and they eat the paper products we use to cover the food yet we never see the area grow. Can you make some recommendations? What are we doing wrong?
Oh and I should mention that we’ve kept it inside because we felt the temperatures outside were too inconsistent and we had too few places that don’t get some hours of sunshine throughout the day. So they’re kept at normal inside home temperatures, about 68 to 75 degrees.
Pamela & Cesar
Hi Pamela and Cesar,
Good News, Bad News. The good news is that you’ve done nothing wrong. The bad news is that plastic bins suck.
A plastic bin is essentially a bucket. If you’ve ever maintained a bucket for your food scraps under your sink, you’re familiar with the smell that I call, the “OH GROSS” smell. Plastic is non porous material. Regardless of how many holes you poke in the bin, it does not breathe well. Your bin will always be too wet, too muddy, too stinky, and produce castings that are never fluffy as you would like them to be. Plastic is very inexpensive to manufacture though, so plastic bins will never completely go away.
Now that you know what you are up against, there are some work arounds.
1. Never put more food than you have worm mass in a plastic bin. One pound of worms…can be safely fed one pound of food.
2. Put a piece of “Weed Stop”(Google it) to line the bottom tray that makes contact with the base (Cut it a little bigger so the weed stop goes up the sides a bit). This is a permanent strainer, and will reduce the worms and mud that end up accumulating in the base.
3. You’ll rarely (Maybe never) need to water a plastic bin. Food scraps are constantly releasing water, and that condensation bounces off the walls and the roof, keeping your bin very wet.
When you get tired of dealing with these work arounds, go to www.TheWormInn.com for a MUCH better worm composting solution.