Nature's Footprint Worm Factory DS3GT 3-Tray Worm Composter, Green
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- Made with post-consumer recycled plastic, Dimensions 16-inch x 16-inch x 13-inch.
- Built in "worm tea" collector tray and spigot for easy draining.
- Odor Free Operation, Year Round Production.
- Digital DVD, Manual, and Warranty included after product registration.
- Expandable up to 7 trays.
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Worm composting is an incredibly efficient way to convert kitchen scraps, junk mail and cardboard into nutrient-rich compost for your garden. Master gardeners agree that compost produced by worms will produce the best results and help your plants thrive. The Worm Factory's unique stackable, multi-tray design makes it the most efficient worm bin composter around. Worms begin eating waste in the lowest tray, and then migrate upward as food sources in that tray are exhausted. By allowing worms to migrate upward, the worms separate themselves from the finished compost that is ready for the garden. Besides the worm castings that are produced through this process, the Worm Factory also produces a second type of compost. As waste is broken down, moisture filters through your Worm Factory, taking nutrient-rich particles with it. This liquid fertilizer, know as leachate is gathered in the special collection tray of the Worm Factory and can easily be drained from the spigot. Simply add a handful of worms and your organic waste to the bottom tray. The worms will start processing the food. Once the bottom tray is filled add another tray. The worms migrate upward to the newest food source leaving the bottom tray full of nutrient rich compost. As waste is broken down, moisture filters through the system taking nutrient-rich particles with it. You can drain organic liquid fertilizer right from the spigot. It's compact square design gives the Worm Factory the smallest footprint of all worm composters. The Worm Factory's tray stacking system allows it to hold the largest capacity of compost in the smallest amount of space, making it the perfect composter for anyone with space limitations. The Worm Factory is simple to operate. When full, each tray weighs only 12.5 pounds making lifting and arranging trays effortless. Includes a digital 38-page instruction manual and instructional DVD makes setup fast and easy and gives tips on how to best manage your Worm Factory composter year-round.
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The Worm Factory is very simple to assemble. The booklet is very clear. I bought the worms from a man who is doing organic farming nearby and uses a huge wooden box he built himself, which is about 15 feet long, 6 feet wide and 1.5 feet tall. He is using the manure of his cows to feed the worms and he has hundreds of thousands of worms. Anyway, my worms came with a lot of cow dung but they immediately loved the box, and worked perfectly for the first month with my kitchen leftovers. I was concerned because I had not told my landlady that I would be introducing worms into my place. I did put a little sign on the worm factory that said: "Science experiment, do not touch". I did not have to worry: They are not noisy, they do not escape, and best of all, they are not smelly. I found out the worms love the vegetable leftovers from my juicer machine because those are really finely chopped. They take a lot longer to work through a banana peel. If I let the leftovers "age" about a week, they work a lot better. I was happy to see a lot of dark earth produced in a short time.
I did have big trouble a few weeks later and almost gave up on the worm factory. I was going to have to make a two week trip to Houston, so on the week before leaving I tried giving them a lot of food at once, hoping they would last OK for 2 weeks without more food. The result was a total disaster! My leftovers are very wet and by over filling the tray, I created excesive humidity, which made the worms want to escape all together. The morning before leaving the country I found most of them half drowning in the lowest box, the one with the little faucet. I quickly drained the liquid and tried to restore the worms "upstairs" and balance in the tray by adding a lot of dry scraps of paper. Finally I had to give up because by then it did smell and I was thinking about liberating them in a field and beginning all over again when I came back. Thank God a co worker who had been enchanted by the worm factory told me he would take care of it. His solution was to initiate the second tray because he felt the worms were already overcrowded and all balance returned to the place. So my lesson is to look for help when I am going to be away, not to overfeed them. As I returned from Houston to Guatemala I brought with me a second worm factory because another friend wants to start his own experience at home. I find this is an excellent answer to recycling in urban areas, although women who do have green areas around their houses (we work with organic farming with families in over 30 villages) have expressed they would love to have a worm factory inside their kitchen, because it saves them the walk to the worm box they have on the field near their cows. The price is of course impossible for these families who are in most cases living with less than $2 a day per person. So, the challenge would be to find a way to make this technology accesible to these people, indoors.
Meantime, the liquid from my worm factory I have donated to a papaya tree and I have seen the papayas on it grow fatter from it. The compost I will use to grow organic vegetables.
Teresa Samayoa, El Quiche, Guatemala
1. I like the ease of set up and maintenance. It is also very easy to harvest compost compared to the old "bin" method. The worms seem happy. The instructions were clear on how to put it together properly. I didn't have any trouble.
2. The booklet that comes with it is very comprehensive and helpful even for those who have been using vermicompositing for a while.
3. The included scraper is very helpful for getting the small bits of compost and worms that escape into the bottom of the unit (see "bad" below)
4. It's probably your best option for pre-fab on the market and I do like it. I don't know that I would buy it again for the price though.
1. The lid is terrible. I keep my composter in my kitchen and my battle with fruit flies is now unending. The directions do say not to place it uncovered outside...definitely follow that advice because the rain would completely flood this thing. The lid does not fit snugly on the top tray, it doesn't even overlap the opening. It sits on top of the items inside the top bin -- which is incidentally where you put the new items. So there is about a centimeter around the edge that is open. It doesn't really cause odor issues (provided you have a healthy worm bin) but the fruit flies can easily get in there. Even using the paper cover method it's a problem. I'm not sure why this lid couldn't at least overhang the top to prevent these issues.
2. This is made of plastic and not necessarily heavy duty plastic at that. If you had more than the included 3 trays, and the trays completely loaded down I would think the legs would eventually buckle. Again, for the price I expected a bit more.
3. The spigot is worthless. If you have enough lechate for even a few drops to come out you have a serious moisture problem and your worms are probably dead and your bin probably smells terrible. The only think this bottom tray and spigot appears to be good for is catching worms that fall through and making me clean the bottom tray more regularly than I would like.
Make sure you have a source of paper to adding with your food, about the same quantity. It helps to have a paper shredder so you can just shred the newspaper, voting pamphlet, computer paper, non-glossy junk mail, etc. and add it in to the worm bin with the food you add each day. We added 1,000 worms. I also sewed a cloth cover (as it was recommended to lay a piece of fabric on top to avoid getting fruit flies). We have had our bin for about 1.5 months and haven't seen fruit flies yet (even when we have had them in our kitchen otherwise!). See photo. Note that the nozzle to release the extra liquid, in my photo, is in the OPEN position (FYI) and should be in the closed position normally.