Vermicomposting, worm bin, composting with worms community and forums

I thought i would show you all how much the compost has processed 2 months into the flow through. The bin is continuing to process the compost i had thought was nearly done, settling down a lot more than i thought it ever would. I have before and after photos. The first photo was taken on the day i first put the compost from my fabric flow through into the blue barrel. The second photo was taken today. I have harvested a total of 5 gallons from the bin. And collected a pound of worms for my sister in law.

When i first put the compost in the bin there was 30 gallons of compost. I took five gallons out and today the processed compost is at the 15 gallon mark. Its amazing how much more processed the compost becomes in the flow through.

In the second photo the dark compost showing is a dark grayish fiber. It is packed down very hard i don't know how thick it is but it appears there is no worms in this fiber stuff all the worms are on top of it or trapped under it. The layer is a clear dividing line in the FT. I believe when this fibrous layer reaches the bars there will be no worms in it. But in the mean time all the compost i added to the bin needs to be removed before i stop getting worms in the harvests.

A look at the underside. The stuff that looks like paper is plastic from cardboard i shredded that had a plastic coating on it. Someday i will get all the plastic out of the bin. And i believe the string is from a teabag probably they were fake fibers.

All in all i am very pleased with the flow through. It just keeps amazing me how much different it is from a Rubbermaid tub.

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Comment by Eve on July 28, 2009 at 7:29pm
From the bars to the top of the grayish processed compost is about 8 to 9 inches. To the top of the bin where the bin was originally filled up to is 19 inches. Its 22 inches to the very top of the barrel. The blue barrel has 5 gallon marks molded into the plastic on the outside, its great having the markings to refer to. It's why is gave the figures in gallons.
Comment by Josh on August 4, 2009 at 6:21am
Eve, as it happens I have an extra 55-gal blue barrel laying around (I was given two and already made one into a compost tumbler). I would love to make one of these babies. However, from the pics it seems like it would be difficult to harvest the finished product (i.e. bottom layer) because of the bars. While they hold everything up, it seems like they would get in the way during harvest time. What has been your experience?
Comment by Eve on August 4, 2009 at 6:46pm
It is a little difficult to get the compost out but the quality of the compost is worth the little extra work involved in removing it. Also you will save all kinds of time when separating the worms from the compost. After the work of scraping out the compost its consistency is nice and crumbly ready to be used without a lot of extra work. I just screen the compost through a 1/4 inch screen to get the worms out.

When i used Rubbermaid type bins the compost i got was always a version of black mud. Loose mud, wet mud or worse mud cake. Harvesting took a lot of time and hand picking through the mud or drying the compost out over a period of time to get a better crumbly consistency of compost.

The compost from the FT is not black mud. In fact i have added back mud compost to the bin and the worms ate the mud off the paper in the bin processing it one more time and turning it into nice crumbly stuff.

When i built the FT i spaced the bars to match a three pronged garden fork i have. I take the fork and scrape the compost from underneath. I can take down a couple inches at a time. The finished compost is packed in tight. It stays up in the air above the bars for a couple days before sliding down to the bars again.

I would recommend that when you build one you space the bars at least a couple inches apart. I have seen photos of commercial ones and the bars look at least 3 inches apart. By the time the 8+ layers of paper put in the bottom of the bin is eaten the compost is supposed to hold itself up. In my FT I was worried about the compost falling through and went for a smaller spacing with the fork i had. If i was to do it over i would have gotten a fork with a wider span. With the compost so packed there isn't much danger of loosing more than a little bit of compost at a time and it keeps any worms that have fallen into the bottom alive until i need the compost.

When I built the FT I also bought a tool box cart with casters from harbor freight for 20 bucks to sit the bin on so i could move the bin anytime i want. I am thinking of making a sturdy wood shelve to sit on the cart then sit the bin on top of this shelf. For easier harvesting. I am a little old to be laying on the ground so much and figure i can keep my worm related junk stored on the shelf.
Comment by Sue on August 4, 2009 at 9:13pm
Thanks for the update and the tips Eve.


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