THE CAN-O-WORMS EASY START UP GUIDELINES
Read all instructions. Assemble bin immediately so that when the worms
arrive there will be food available to them. Remove the binding straps and
open up the plastic bags inside.
2. Place the coconut fiber “Bedding Block” in a bucket with about 5 Litres of water. Lukewarm water will work faster and feel better when you are ready to handle the fiber.
3. Put the 5 legs into the holes in the collector tray. Gently tap to lock the legs in place. Next, hold the nut in place on the inside of the hole and screw the tap from the outside in, until it is snug and pointing down.
4. Place one of the three feeding trays on the collector/base tray. Lay the shaped garden grade permeable membrane sheet in the tray to cover the holes. (The instruction book suggests using the cardboard lid for this purpose, but we find that it traps too much moisture.) Now scoop the coconut fiber out of the bucket in handfuls, squeezing out excess moisture, so that the fiber is about AS MOIST AS A WRUNG-OUT SPONGE. YOU WANT THE BEDDING TO BE DAMP, NOT DRIPPING WET. Mix several handfuls of rich, dark soil and / or compost with the coir to seed the bedding with the microorganisms that break down the organic material, making it available to the worms. Place 2 handfuls of food waste on top of the coir NOW, so that when the worms arrive there will be food ready for them. Cover with dampened moisture mats as supplied or 4 inches of shredded and dampened, not dripping newspaper.
5. When your worms arrive, place them onto the surface of the coir fiber, under the layer of shredded moist newspaper. They will quickly disappear under the surface of the bedding.
6. The bedding may reach the top of the inner ribs of the tray. Don’t be tempted to put on the next tray for a couple of months. The bedding in the 1st tray will settle and become more compacted over time. If you put the next tray on now the bedding in the 1st tray will settle to create a gap between the top of the bedding in the 1st tray and the bottom of the 2nd tray. (Worms are lousy jumpers!) The bedding in the lower tray MUST come in contact with the bottom of the next tray up to allow the worms to migrate up to the food in that tray. If a gap develops between levels, just place several inches of shredded moist newspaper on top of the bedding in the lower level to provide a path between layers.
7. WHEN YOU SEE THE WORMS ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN THE WASTE THAT YOU PREVIOUSLY FED THEM, YOU MAY THEN FEED THEM MORE. DO NOT OVER FEED!!! Be sure to cover the exposed food in the uppermost tray with 4 in. of damp shredded newspaper. This layer of newspaper is very important for breeding, pest control, C:N ratio, and castings quality. The newspaper will eventually be consumed. Simply replace the shredded paper as needed. If leaving worms unattended, put 6 in. of shredded paper in bin; this won’t heat up like food does.
8. Open the spigot in the bottom collector/base tray and keep a small bucket under it. By keeping the spigot open at all times you can collect the valuable liquid “worm tea” that will leach through the compost while promoting the oxygen flow through the system. This leachate can be used as long as you don't leave it for more than a day in the bucket. If it has an offensive odor, don't use it until you have aerated it with an aquarium air pump or poured it from one container to another several times to promote aerobic bacteria growth.
WHEN TO ADD THE NEXT TRAY:
When the upper tray is converted to a mixture of vermicompost and castings and reaches 2 inches above the inner ribs of the tray then it is time to add the next tray. Scrape an inch of compost from above the ribs and place into the next tray making sure that the top of the bedding in the lower tray comes in complete contact with the bottom of the tray you are adding. Feed and cover with 4 in. of dampened shredded newspaper.
WHEN TO HARVEST:
When the 3rd tray is full, remove and empty the bottom tray using the contents as 20% of any potting mix, soil or compost blend. The now empty tray will become the new upper tray.
Worms will migrate down if system gets too wet or hot. We suggest cleaning out the collector tray every other month or so, placing the contents (if any) back into the top level or spray with a hose over a flower bed so as not to waste any vermicompost or tea. Rinse & clean off the vents that are located at the top of the legs to prevent them from getting clogged with dried leachate thus cutting off life supporting air flow to the system.
Do not pour water over your bedding. Condensation produced from decomposition provides enough moisture for your system. If you want more “worm tea” simply take a cup of well processed castings from a lower tray and steep in a gallon of water overnight and use within 12 hrs. to water plants.