Hi Everyone - I've been lurking here for a while and finally got time to set up my own bin. After reading lots of posts over the past couple of months I decided to start with a continuous flow-through modeled after Jason's. I'll probably try a Rubbermaid as well in 6 months when I have some additional worms just for the experience of doing it, but I'm hoping the flow-through will be my main bin for getting rid of food and garden scraps once it gets going. Thanks to everyone here for all of the great info that helped me set up my first bin! Here's what I did:
I got a 45 gallon garbage can from Walmart for $14.88 and 3/4 inch OD electrical conduit in ten ft lengths from Home Depot for around $2 each. The grate ended up looking like this:
When it came time to fill the bin, I placed 8-10 sheets of newspaper on the grate (figured having Reggie Bush and the Saints at the bottom of my bin would be good luck!)
Then I added about 6 inches of dampened bedding (pieces of ripped-up cardboard and shredded leaves) and 4-6 inches of pre-rotted vegetable and fruit scraps mixed with shredded leaves that had been composting for several weeks.
My 2 lbs of red worms arrived on 1/21/10 - I ordered them from Decker Worms in Houston because I figured the transit time would be short to Baton Rouge. My worms were only in transit for 2 days and were in good shape when I got them - they were packed in what appeared to be dry peat. I dumped in the whole bag to the bin and added some water to dampen the peat they were shipped in, and was surprised by how active they were right away. I topped them off with an inch of damp bedding. Finally, I added some appropriate decor for the worms' new abode which I'm sure they appreciated :) I also added a digital thermometer made for reptile enclosures that I got at PetSmart for around 10 bucks - the temp probe goes down into the middle of the bin. The pre-rot bin sits next to the worm bin. Most of my vegetable and food scraps go into the pre-rot bin rather than directly into the worm bin - I throw in whatever I have whenever I have it, and just cover with some shredded leaves - no worries about overfeeding or overheating this way. I was freezing scraps for a while but this is much more convenient for me. Most of what goes in are vegetable and fruit scraps, and some coffee grounds from work.
The hardest part of all this by far was not messing with them too much for the first week, but yesterday I couldn't stand it any longer and decided to check on what was going on under the bedding. In addition to finding lots of happy red worms, I had an awesome surprise - there were already cocoons after only ten days - there are lots of them in the pre-rotted material that I started the bin with - yippee!