My biggest holdup has been the rods. I decided that since i will be moving the bin in and out of the garage i would need to bolt the rods in place. I should have gotten the pre threaded rod then used the disk sander to take off the sharp threads inside the barrel, would have been a lot faster. I have seen guys tread rod and pipe and they make it look easy. Its not. My brother came over and discovered me making a mess of it and took them home to thread for me. I have all but two rods back. Its slow going and i think he has lost interest. So i will just add the spare rods i have left and worry about replacing the rods when i harvest.
My bin will be inside my unheated, uninsulated garage during the winter so i am setting the bin up to be heated and insulated. I am using the heater idea that Mark from Kansas introduced in Red Worm Composting
. Just beefed it up for -20 F weather.
The door will be open during the warm weather. And closed in the winter with the rest of the bin heavily insulated. And only the vent holes will be exposed. After wondering how to preheat the air coming in the bottom i came up with this removable heating coil idea. If you make one start with the inside and work out.
I will be able to attach the coil top or bottom. Bottom in the winter to heat the bin and top in the summer to cool the bin with my icy well water if needed. I tested the setup and was very happy with how well it worked. However the proof will be how well it works in cold weather.
Well i have been working on this blog for a couple days. It has been going just as slow as building the flow through. But am finally finished. With everything in place for summer running i decided to move the worms into their new home.
I added the two replacement rods tonight and moved all the bin contents. I got a few surprises. The first was that the fabric bin i have been using had been stretching without me noticing. It had stretched down until i was unable to remove compost from the bottom. I must say i never noticed that the bag was getting bigger. When i went back and looked at the photos taken on the day i sewed it the bag was almost half the size it is now. The landscape fabric i used was the fiberglass type material. I am not that sure what it is made of but it stretched out so badly that the fibers were pulling away from the fabric. I found all kinds of worms that were stitching themselves into the fabric. I spent more time tickling the worms out of the fabric than i did moving the bedding. I had planned on saving the bag and using it if needed but I found that worms had been crawling through the fabric and were inside the layers. So i ended up cutting it open to get all those worms out from between the layers. There were some surprisingly large worms in there.
My next surprise was there was so much compost and it was nearly finished just packed full of worms. Every handful chock full of worms for a full foot down. There was a gradually decreasing density of worms. But it was still a healthy amount of worms a foot down. The deeper i went the less worms there were and the more packed the compose. The only exception was near the fabric sides of the bin. About two inches along the sides was still loose all the way down. That loose bedding was still full of worms. But still even nearly at the bottom I was getting a good ratio of worms. Well i should qualify that. It was a lot for being nearly 2 1/2 feet down. I had no idea i had so many worms. I'm so glad i added that bag of steer compost a couple weeks back when i ran of of food.
I should have run the bedding through the sifter so i could have some idea how many pounds of worms i have. But, it was a race between me and the mosquitoes and the mosquitoes won. I had planned to add the bin contents to the new bin in order but i just dumped as fast as i could. The deciding factor was there were a lot of huge clumps of that blanketie blank shredded plastic off the cardboard. All the clumps were just full of tiny little newly hatched worms. So i decided to let the bin work its separation magic.
The next surprise was just how much bedding i had. I ended up fluffing up the bedding to get it out of the bag and expect it will settle a lot fairly quickly. But, there was so much bedding compost mix that it nearly filled the barrel. The dark compost on top is the steer compost very nicely worked so far.
I find i will need to take one more step. Before i had the bin filled wasps were checking out the lower part of the barrel. So i will need to put in some screening. But it looks like i will be harvesting earlier than i expected and its clear sailing ahead.