Adding New Trays to the Worm Factory®


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*Make sure to fill your first tray to the top before adding your second tray.

After you begin composting with your Worm Factory®, the first tray of compost will take 2-4 months to finish. It could be faster or slower depending on how many worms you start with, how often you feed them, and how quickly the other beneficial microbes in the worm bin become established and multiply. As you add trays, they will all be at different stages of composting, and you will be able to harvest about a tray per month. Learn about harvesting compost from your Worm Factory.

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*Adding a new Worm Factory® tray is simple.

When your first tray is filled to the top, it is time to add a second tray. The material in the first tray does not need to be fully composted before adding a new tray, but the first tray should be full of partially composted material, bedding, and food. This ensures that when you add the next tray, the worms can climb from the first tray into the second through the grid on the bottom of the second tray. Since newspaper is food for worms, your worms will have begun to break down the newspaper layer on top of the first tray. When you are ready to add a new tray, just move the newspaper up to the new tray on top of the new bedding and food.
All you have to do to set up the second tray is add shredded paper and/or leaves to use as bedding for the worms. Then, add a handful of food to a corner of the tray to entice the worms to migrate up to the next level. It may take a full week for most of the population to make it up to the next level. The worms will move in between both trays to finish working on the food scraps in the first level.

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*Worms migrate from your bottom tray into your new tray through the grid at the bottom of each tray.

Sometimes the worms are not too excited about leaving their home tray and traveling upwards. If you don’t see them in the new tray within a week or two eating the food there, take a look at the second tray. There could be a food that you added that they don’t like. Dairy products, meats, citrus, salty, or spicy foods should be avoided. The bedding could also be too wet or too dry. If the bedding feels too dry, add moist food scraps such as fruits, tomatoes or moist paper scraps. If the bedding is too wet, add some shredded dry paper to soak up excess moisture. A careful balance of food, moisture, and temperature is important to keep your worms happy and healthy. To learn more about moisture in your worm bin, click here. To learn more about what to feed your worms, read What To Feed Worms. Find out more about temperature with our article Worm Bin Temperature.
Some people worry about worms in lower trays being squished by the weight of the upper trays. However, worms live underground in nature and often burrow under heavy objects such as cars, wood, people, etc… They are trod upon all the time without being harmed. They can do this because the soil is porous enough to let them burrow and provides them with oxygen. It is important to mimic this porosity and aeration in the Worm Factory®, and the worms facilitate aeration of the bin as they burrow through and form little tunnels.

The Worm Factory® Standard and 360 can both support up to 6 trays for increased capacity. Trays for both models are the same; you can order extra trays here.

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