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Ok Im new and just getting started out of Orange,CA. I am jumping in with both feet.

My bins are home made out of 2" x 12" Douglas Fir Lumber with 3/4" plywood top and bottom. the interior & exerior is primed and painted with Latex Acrylic and all seams were caulked with siliocon. Hole have been drilled on sides and bottom for ventalation and drainage.

The Large Bin is 8' Long x 2' wide x 12" deep with a removable divider . This will house the 2000 red wigglers i have comming in next week. has 5" of bedding in it now.

The 2 smaller bins are 4' long x 2' wide x 12" deep. These two bins will house the 500 Africans I also have coming in next week.I am building a water pump heater system to keep these bins at the 78* reccomended for breading and composting. The bedding will be 7".

I was unable to find Michigan Peat Moss here in CA for my bedding. I am using a 50/50 mixture of Forest Humas and compost/steer manure. I sifted all bedding material with a 1/4" screen before adding to bins. My PH reading is 6.7 with a moisture reading of 30%. I have ordered 2 bags of Purina Earthworm Chow from a local feed store.

I ready for my real learning to start next week.

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Replies to This Discussion

Keith, your bin looks great. I commented earlier that your reds may "get lost" in the 16 ft² bin. You said you could put a divider in the bin to limit space. I suggest you do this. The ideal (theoretically) initial population density is 0.5 to 1 lb./ft².  2,000 reds weigh in at ~2 lbs., so 2-4 ft² of bin area would be good to start.

The ANCs should be ok with a lighter population density. It depends on how big your worms are, but I personally would put at least 3 lbs. in an 8 ft² bin. It sounds like you're using a 14 day vermicompost recipe. If I'm not mistaken, that typically calls for using 3 or 5 gal. buckets, which are slightly more than 1 ft² to hold over a pound of ANCs.

Your photo shows that you plan to put the bins on the ground. Many worms will be able to squeeze through the 1/8" hardware cloth. That means both species will be able to get out and any native worms you have in your yard will be able to get in. It might not happen right away, but one rainy day next winter the bins could become contaminated.

You may want to think about plugging the drain holes. With the proposed bedding and worm chow recipe, it's highly unlikely you will have excess moisture problems. Besides, excess moisture can be controlled very easily by other means. The vent holes are necessary, but you may also want to consider installing either a worm bin shock fence or smear salt jelly on the outside of the vent holes and along the top of the bin's rim. These work better than light, especially for the ANCs.

Good luck! Some of us here will be interested in seeing your results. There are a couple of members east of the Rockies who use black peat + ANCs in buckets + worm chow. I think both have had good success. A number of us use worm chow mixed in with the more normal household bedding material & food scraps.
BTW, I just noticed this discussion was started in the "Californian Vermicompsters" group. There are only 41 members here and very few of us are actually active. Unless the topic is very specific to a particular sub-group, you'll get more replies if you start a discussion or blog from the "Main" (see tab on top left) page of this website.

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