Vermicomposting, worm bin, composting with worms community and forums

Hi, I've been researching flow through bins as much as possible and was wondering if anyone had any experience with small scale continuous flow through bins.  I'm currently making plans for one that will be somewhere in the size of 2ft wide x 1ft long x 2ft high.  I'm planning on using a plastic drawer from a no longer used sterilite 3 drawer set, and the rest being made from disassembled wooden pallets (2x4's and 1x6's) and some nylon cord I found.

One of my main reasons for wanting to do this is that I currently live in a one bedroom house (used to be a garage) so I don't have a lot of room, and I'm getting a little sick of sitting hunched over a pile of compost trying to separate worms and compost.  I'm also planning on keeping this indoors as I live in New Mexico, which has pretty hot and dry summers (not that my non-airconditioned house makes much of a difference), and I don't produce a whole lot of waste as it's just me living here.

Any information or suggestions would be great, so far in my plans I have the rope spaced at 1.5 inch intervals for the grating over the drawer, which is 20 inches wide.  The top is about a 1.5 feet above the rope, which isn't set in stone, my couch arms are two feet off the ground, so I'm thinking, end table/flow through/space conserving (did I mention my house is a converted garage?).  As soon as I'm finished with the planning (I'm brushing up on my CAD skills) I can post some pictures of what it should end up looking like, and I'll post a lousy screen shot of what I have so far.

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If you are going to use rope, I would start with 1" spacing and have the rope split into 3 sections so you can remove some later and be left with eg a 3" spacing (by removing every 2nd and 3rd one) which might work better once the bin is mature.

Or go with 1.5" spacing and use 2 ropes so you can later remove one and be left with a 3" spacing.
I have a flow through roughly the size you are considering. steamyb's comments on patience and bin critters are right on. I've been feeding significant amounts of waste to my bin for over 5 months and the level of material is only at the 12-14" level. My bin is outdoors and I'm not sure if any of the multitude of inhabitants ever escape - after all it is a very nice home for them. I am sure I would not want critters like centipedes and fruit flies wandering around in my living space.

The 2.5" gaps in the grating of my flow through are working well. I've read many accounts of people who found 1-1.5" gaps too small. Commercial flow throughs have 3-4" grating gaps.

Good luck. Post details when you get it built and I'll add it to the DIY flow through collection
Hi Craig,
I'm very happy with this 12 gallon bin of mine. As you can see, it has a small footprint, and now that it's full of worms, it produces a bucketful of compost every week or so. With the rods 2 1/4" apart, most of the compost falls through by itself, and I would say that the bedding needs to be at least 18" deep.
The only real work involved is scrounging for food to keep the system going :)
Hope this helps.

Nice bin Peter- are there many worms or cocoons in the harvested vermicompost?
In the beginning, none at all, but by now there must be well over 1000 worms in there, and I often find 6-12 mature, adult worms living in the collection tray. Never found any cocoons though . . . .
My apologies, this is actually a 25 gallon bin (not 12 gal).

I love this. I saw a 30 gallon plastic garbage can on wheels on sale but I thought it might be too small.

Might be time to give it another look. Do you have to water it alot to keep it from drying out?
Flow Through FT bins do tend to dry out. And you do need to add water occasionally when its cooler but during hot weather a lot, depending on the weather a few times a week to every day.

Even if you soak the bin it wont be too many days of holding back on the water and the compost will dry out enough to harvest with ease.
My bins stay nice and damp, without any extra water. However, our climate is pretty hot and humid most of the year. I guess it just depends on where you live.
I'd be careful about getting the bin too wet. My VC turns into a gooey sludge which clogs up the bottom. You then have to scratch it out with your fingers - rather messy :(

Does anybody else find lots of worms living in their flow-through collection trays?
Yes when the bin has been very wet or there isn't enough depth inside the bin for the cocoons to hatch out and climb up to the top before the vermicompost falls into the bottom. Otherwise just a few. But i am finding that the trick is to keep the conditions "just right", wet on top and nearly dry on the bottom. And i don't always manage that.
Alright, I've mostly finished the flow-through. At least enough to where I can start adding compost and get it going.

I decided not to go the disassembled pallet route, turns out they are extremely difficult to take apart, and the boards aren't all that great. Instead I used 1"x6"'s and already cut balusters (1.25"x1.25"). For the grating i made interchanging sets, one of nylon cord and the other of just some thin cotton string (you can see the thickness difference in the picture) at 1.5" apart, so when I take out the cotton string it will be 3" apart. I also used some poly-stain, just to see what it was like, it's not so great. If I make another I would just use a polyurethane seal, as after three days I can still smell the stain and I don't think it's all that well sealed.

I put several layers of newspaper like material (I get tons of ads a week) I made sure to stay away from glossy sheets. on top of that I put what I had of nearly finished compost (picture), Then added the contents of two of my bins that we're well on their way.

I'm eventually going to add some 2x4's to the top (have a few laying around) to give a few more inches and flatten out the top so I can make a cover. right now I'm just using some cardboard. I did end up cutting the drawer down so it was only about 4 inches high so I could drop the rope another 3 or so inches. If Google's conversions are correct, this bin should have around 25 gallons of composting volume. It's also being kept outside, it probably would be possible to make one that stays inside, but I'm lazy.
and finally...




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