About use of second tray

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Smallthings
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Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:50 pm

About use of second tray

Post by Smallthings » Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:05 am

Hi, may be a silly question but I'm wondering what's best to do having just added a second tray, also to check if I've done it right so far. First tray (now nearly 5 months in) was quite full, plenty of castings, so I've transferred some of those and quite a lot of the newspaper bedding from it into a second tray. The worms are still feeding on some food left in first tray. I put this second tray on top, a little bit of food in the bottom of it too in one corner, and some new damp paper on top of it all Should I only add food to this one top tray from now on? Will the worms move up into it even though there's not much to 'live in' in it (only a couple of inches of newspaper bedding)? I'm wondering what I should expect to see in it over the coming weeks, and if I should keep checking the bottom tray as well. Thank you!

Lilwriggler
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Re: About use of second tray

Post by Lilwriggler » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:19 pm

I’m at a similar stage, having changed my top insulating tray into my new feeding tray. So now I’m just adding food to this tray, they’ll still be breaking down the stuff in the one below. In a month I may exchange the bottom insulating tray as i’m Not happy with the shredded office paper I started with, my hamster bedding is a lot better. But I will wait until it warms up a bit!

inpots
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Re: About use of second tray

Post by inpots » Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:04 pm

Just make sure you have enough material burying the food, or you will get infested with fruit flies. I had no trouble with fruit flies until I added my second tray and then I got completely overrun. If you need to add soil from outside to make sure the food you add is well covered, do that. Do it before you get infested!

WillyWorm
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Re: About use of second tray

Post by WillyWorm » Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:52 pm

Please take care if adding soil to a worm bin. Our compost worms are not happy living in soil. They require a high level of humus in their environment. I would only put a small amount (about a tablespoonful) if I’m starting a new bin and have no castings of compost available to provide the micros and fungus to get it started. Covering food with shredded paper or card is very effective at controlling fruit fry’s.

Willy

Lilwriggler
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Re: About use of second tray

Post by Lilwriggler » Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:41 pm

I have one tray now which I am leaving and it is composting nicely, with the paper gradually disappearing.my feeding tray is dominated by hamster bedding and any food is processed, with the worm casts distributed elsewhere it seems and not in this tray. There are casts in the lid and lots of casts in the sump. I have a further tray between my composting nicely tray and my sump which I was hoping would accumulate some casts and ultimately move up to be my next feeding tray. However there are far more casts in the sump than this tray and it is far drier. I’m wondering at what point to start the next tray as the feeding tray is quite full from a volume perspective but does not hold that many castings, am I overthinking things as my worms seem pretty happy? Off on holiday for 2 weeks so also wondering whether to also give a bit of a sprinkle of the food which came originally to my herd as an Easter treat!

WillyWorm
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Re: About use of second tray

Post by WillyWorm » Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:57 pm

Hi, if I’ve got it right you have a mature tray of worm castings with another tray on top which is full of hamster bedding and a little hamster food etc. The worms may not be moving up into the top tray because 1) they still have food in the lower tray. Worms won’t leave a place that is safe and providing food to go to a new place.
2) There may be nothing for them to eat in the top tray. I seem to remember when we had hamsters that their diet was mainly grains and these take a long while to break down to a form the worms can eat. I would stop feeding in the lower tray and feed just a little vegetable waste in the top tray until they start to move up, this may take a week or two.

I think you also said you had a empty tray between the sump and the composting tray? If this is the case any worms that get in the sump will find it difficult to get back to the first composting tray!! “Worms can’t jump” so when the get from the sump to the empty tray they will be stuck because they can’t reach he next tray. I would remove this tray or put a sponge in it so they can climb up.
It is perfectly normal to get casting in the sump I don’t think you will ever stop it with a stacking bin.

I hope you have a nice holiday, your worms will be fine for up to six weeks or so, the worst thing you can do is to give them a lot of extra food. I give a normal feed before I go and top the bin up with shredded corrugated cardboard. The glue and the cardboard itself are used by the worms as food without the danger of the bin over heating or getting smelly.

If I have miss understood you or not answered the question please let me know and I’ll try again.

Have a good holiday
WillyWorm

Lilwriggler
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Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:08 pm

Re: About use of second tray

Post by Lilwriggler » Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:00 pm

I haven’t been feeding in that mature tray for quite a few weeks now, but they are polishing off the veggie waste in the hamster bedding tray along with any hamster droppings or excess food which is in there. There are just very few worm castings building up in that tray so it is very white! I would imagine there is still stuff being eaten in the mature tray as the hamster bedding in that level is still breaking down, but is in a far more composted state. There are certainly worms in all levels so not too worried about that, probably just need to be a bit more patient with my maturing tray. I will remove the empty tray, which only had cardboard in it and where I was trying to accumulate a few castings so as to become my new feeding tray. Any castings in there and the sump I will put in my white hamster bedding tray which may make it a little browner. Lol!

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