November 29th, 2008 at 10:40 pm
Posted By: gardenguru
Posted in: Fruits,Growing Flowers,Growing Vegetables

Mary Alice introduced me to The Worm Factory.  Through the kitchen, (usually filled with tempting aromas) around the corner and into an alcove is the Worm Factory.  The thriving colony of red worms is busy year-round producing enrichment for the garden’s soil.   They must stay indoors in winter, as red wigglers cannot tolerate temperatures below 40 degrees.

Mary Alice provided a clear photo of the directions on the top of the factory.  This is a better solution than composting certain scraps outside that would attract unwanted animals to her backyard.  She really did have an all out battle with a nest of rats under her deck steps. She does compost leaves and other yard and garden wastes in the backyard.

Take the lid off, and this is what you see if she is using dampened newspaper as the top layer.

Another day paper towels covered the top bin.  Pulled back you can see the place where the worms take their food and begin the process of turning it into their castings.  The litter consists of crushed old leaves, a bit of sand, and newspaper strips.  Worms are great pets.  You can abandon them for a few weeks at a time and start back feeding them from day to day.

The next two bins show how the screens filter the castings, attempting to separate the worms from their rich fertilizer. But a few wriggling worms manage to reach the lower levels.  The rest have the good sense to climb up to their food.

In the bin on the left the castings are held until it is full and ready for use.  Each month the bottom bin can be used and moved to the top for fresh bedding.  The lowest bin drains the liquid. 

Mary Alice lifts the spout to pour gardener’s liquid gold, the tea.  Once diluted, it adds valuable nutrients to the soil.  Houseplants just spring to life with this tea.

In the basement she had two bins, one made by a friend and the other by her daughter.  They serve the same purpose, but are not as streamlined as the Worm Factory. They work, but it is difficult to separate the worms from the castings, and to drain out the tea.

This site had comprehensive information about the redworms:

Mary Alice’s nephew also has red wigglers, worm farms and other organic gardening supplies at Progressive Gardens, his store in Wilmington, NC. Call 910.395.1156 to order and visit for information on organic gardening.


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