Vermicomposting, worm bin, composting with worms community and forums
I have 3 right now (soon to be 5). All are homemade, and reside indoors...
- 35 Quart, low-profile, non-opaque Sterilite.
- 74 Quart Ultra, low-profile, non-opaque Sterilite.
- 1 gallon platic cat liter box (3 of them but only 1 in use right now for testing of biodegradable cat liters).
The reason I went with these homemade bins, as opposed to buying something off the market, was simple - I didn't know any better when I first started, and frankly - I like my designs. All of my bins (except for the cat liter pans) are dual bins. They have a top and bottom. Top has holes in the base for Leachate drainage, and the lids for the top bin have hundreds of holes drilled into them. I then used a fiberglass screen material on the inside of the lids (super glued to the inside) to keep things from getting both in and out. None of my bins have holes at the top sides of the inside bin. The bins have these protruding side flanges that allow them to seat perfectly into each other (thus no need for blocks in the bottom bin to keep it suspended). The gap between them is nearly 3" deep, which is more than enough room for Leachate. If you overflow with Leachate with that depth, you have serious problems. The liter box pans are a single pan - no drainage holes and no bottom bin. I am using these as test bins to see how the worms work with composting Wheat, Corn and Pine pellet liters. The results will in turn be the basis for a PVC pipe system I plan to use in the front yard for various ornamental plants (no vegetable or fruit/food plants - another topic for another time), which is going to house Red Wigglers and cat liter contents.
The one drawback to these types of bins is aeration to the bottom of the compost. How I plan to remedy this is the use of Louver vents in the bottom sides of the top bin, which will then be suspended above the bottom bin with wooden blocks (of some sort). I also use Gorilla tape to "black out" the sides and bottoms of these bins. I've done this to keep light out, and to obviously - make it as dark as possible for the worms. These types of bins are the best, because they provide great surface area, and not a great deal of depth (6.5 inches deep in the case of my Sterilite bins). The tape is also necessary because I keep these bins indoors in my room closet. So - to keep the fly population down (and escapees from running around like they own the place), I line the lid parameter with the tape, and fix it to the top edge of the bin. This seal keeps things in and will not allow anything in or out of the bin. I have been doing this now since earlier this year when I lived in Minneapolis, MN, and have continued this process now that I have arrived back home here to Southern CA. Works great! It's only been about a month plus a week for my smaller 35 Q, and already it has cocoons and a lot of material processed. The others were just recently started back on November 10th.
I use a mixed bag of bedding materials - literally. I use 3 different types of browns (Egg Carton cardboard, regular old corrugated box cardboard, and brown paper bags from the grocery store). These are mixed with various leaves from around our yards along with pine needles. I've even begun to include old Rose pedals that have fallen to the ground. My food scraps are frozen for at least a week, and then put into the bin(s). This followed by more shredded cardboard atop of them, and this has been a very successful method in keeping the fly population to a near zero, while providing a source for moisture (without over-wetting the bin). I never open the bins indoors. I take them out on Sunday's to let them "air out", and to give them a turn/mix in these beginning stages.
So - what bins do you have? What are your techniques for keeping your bins? Please share you stories with us all!
Hi Rich, right around the corner from you in Orange, off lincoln and Glassel.
I've been working with reds since May. Started out with 2 wooden bins one 8'x2' and the other 4' x 2'. Just now building my first flow threw. 8'L x 3W' x 28"D, with cutting bar driven with garage door opener. Yes I like checking out other peoples designs and seeing if I can improve what they have built.
feeding at this point has been veggie scraps, coffee grounds, egg shells. I have been running this mixture in wifes food processor and then adding worm chow at 10% of weight and then mixing this into a mush then adding directly to the bins. Beeding has been a mixture of humas and steer manure. Will be picking up horse manure next week for the flow threw. I will be adding cardboard that I had soaked and shred with my paint mixer and drill.
I have also built a tremmel harvester that I need to redesign, but it works pretty good at this point.
Keith! Welcome! I too use to live in Orange, many years ago off Chapman and something Canyon (there by the Orange County Mining Company restaurant). Your design sounds awesome! I too use a lot of Coffee and the brown filters we filter through. Eggshells are also included, and very little, but some onion, garlic and citrus from time to time. The homemade manure you make is a winner! I do that too when I have some small leftovers from a restaurant or something like that (did just recently after a Japanese lunch with some pea pods, ginger, rice, and orange peel). I blended this up in my blender, and then added the pulverized contents to a bowl full of Quaker Oats. Mixed it all together - tossed it all into a Ziplock bag, and then into the freezer for a week. The worms go nuts for this mixture!
Great having you here! I plan to do some pictures and video here soon. Hope to see some from you too as you get the Flow Through system going!
Welcome and thanks for sharing!
Hi there Rich and Keith. I live in West Anaheim by Katella & Brookhurst. It's good to meeting some local worm lovers. I just started my Worm Farm in an old Fiberglass Japanese Soaking Tub. I'm hoping they are still alive in there. I'm really enjoying the worm learning adventure I'm on. This is a great site.
Freida, Welcome! Glad to hear from another OC Worm Farmer! :-)
I am not familiar with the Japanese Soaking Tub you are using, so I will have to give this a look-see online some where. Sounds like a good start though. The only thing with some of the more durable tubs (like Plastics and Fiberglass) is that they do not breathe well (like wood flow-through systems and such). Thus - drainage to maintenance a proper moisture balance is important, so things don't wind up going anaerobic on you.
I am working on both pictures and video here soon. Hope to have some more to share in time. Thanks again for joining us out here, and I am going to see if I can't come up with some other goodies for us here in the area ( like local specials from suppliers for both worms and gardening goodies).