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Thread: Worm Bins

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
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    37

    Default Worm Bins

    In the Oct. 9, 2007, This Old House e-mail newsletter, one of the under $500 green projects was "Build a Worm Bin". I'm interested in trying this, but want more info before starting. The paragraph in the article gave a supply list to build a plywood box with a hinged top.

    1) Is this plywood box just as good as the plastic bins I saw for sale at the link provided (yelmworms.com)?

    2) Is there a good book that explains how to setup/mantain a worm bin?

    3) Is a worm bin to be setup indoors or outdoors? (I live in SE Wisconsin, so it can get cold from October-March/April)

    4) How bad does the resulting compost smell?

    Thanks in advance for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,240

    Default Re: Worm Bins

    There are some advantages to using purpose made worm bins over plywood. First and foremost is rot, plastic won't, wood will. Second is the ability to collect the "tea", which is excess moisture that migrates out through the bottom of the bin. However, wood is more insulative than plastic, and probably cheaper. There are plans available via the internet for free to help you build your own if you are interested.

    There are some decent worming books available, though I can't quote titles. Check out the vermiculture forum here for leads.

    You may place the bin anywhere you like. There are specialty bins that can be placed on your counter top in the kitchen, under your desk at the office, and just about anyplace else where you've got some space. The size of the bin isn't the issue, but the quantity of worms you wish to maintain and the amount of space you have to dedicate to them.

    Worms and castings should have no odor. Odor indicates rot which means you're over feeding the worms, reduce the amount of food to what they can consume in a few days and the rotting issue will be solved. I don't remember the consumption rate, but it's something like 1 pound of worms will eat 1/2 a pound of food per day. There are also some things that should not be fed to worms, like citrus, onion, or garlic. Again, spend a little time on the vermiculture forums and news groups and you'll be a pro in no time.

    BTW, I've got, or rather my sister has, two bins that are 2'x3'x4' and we've had them running about a year. The black **** is amazing stuff, to say the least. We use it to fertilize our raised beds, in potting soil mix, and other things where plants need a health start or maintenance. I've just finished building a harvester as well, based on the Jet harvester, but made with readily available materials. At the moment, mine is not motorized, but that is the plan. If you have much for worms, you'll need a harvester of some sort, hand picking is very tedious and time consuming.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    666

    Default Re: Worm Bins

    We want pictures Spructer, we want pictures!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,240

    Default Re: Worm Bins

    Quote Originally Posted by kentvw View Post
    We want pictures Spructer, we want pictures!
    Of?

    The bins are nothing fancy, I used 2x12 and 3/4 plywood so they'd last (and it's what I had on hand ). The lids have asphalt shingles to shed water and protect the bin a bit. We're thinking of painting them, but have not determined whether we will or not, as they sit they kind of blend into the yard.

    The harvester is also nothing fancy, I decided to take an inexpensive "test" route in it's construction, using readily available components from Evil Orange. So far I've only got the barrel made and tested it on the compost pile Monday afternoon. It worked great and highlighted a couple of points that I had intended on addressing anyway. I need to make the support structure for it and add inlet/outlet cones. Will also be incorporating a tray to direct the input material into the hopper rather than just tossing shovel fulls at it to reduce spillage and increase input speed/quantities. The other thing will be adding deflector trays to the under side to direct the screenings into a wheelbarrow. When it's completed, I will post pics if anyone is interested.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Worm Bins

    Can the worm bins (or, more so, the actual worms) withstand below zero temps? I live in Wisconsin so I don't want to have to move the bin inside during the winter.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,240

    Default Re: Worm Bins

    I'm not the worm expert, my sister is. Worms don't like extreme temps in either direction. Too hot and they will burrow to the middle to cooler space. Too cold and they will most likely have no place insulated enough to keep warm (trapped within a bin). Have you checked out a few vermiculture sites yet for this kind of info? worm farming is done worldwide, so there's likely folks in your area with bins or windrows that are exposed to the elements. You might only need to put a drop light with a 40 to 60 watt bulb in the bin to keep it above freezing temps and the worms happy, again, check with the vermiculture forums for folks in your climate and what they do.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Posts
    37

    Thumbs up Re: Worm Bins

    Will do!

    And congrats on your 200th post!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    7,240

    Default Re: Worm Bins

    Thanks, just doing my part.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    666

    Default Re: Worm Bins

    Quote Originally Posted by A. Spruce View Post
    Thanks, just doing my part.

    ....... Just a post count rodeo..... COWBOY!

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