But maybe it would be okay to just build a 'wrapper' made of cedar around a safer material.
Because cedar is so darn good at not composting rapidly! It makes it so ideal for earthy outdoor structures. So it would be nice to figure out how to use that where needed, but avoid it when we want to avoid it.
I've also heard this same question brought up in regards to raised beds made of cedar. So rot resistant! And of course because it's an anti-fungal!
Darn it, I mean we don't want to use pressure-treated wood....
So this got me thinking of how some old coolers get cracked inside, and you wouldn't use them for food any more, but which would be just great for a worm bin. Particularly the kind with a drain spout at the bottom - that would be necessary - as well as propping open a crack or otherwise replacing or modifying the lid to keep it aerated. A cooler would have the added benefit of insulating the worms against extreme cold or extreme heat. You'd just need a hole or access from the side or bottom of the bench "wrapper" for the cooler's drainage spout and perhaps some kind of pan to collect any drainage. Depending on the size, maybe an oil drip pan made for cars would work for underneath (sans the oil, of course). Of course those household plastic bins that many folks use could be set inside a bench like this, too; but a cooler would be reusing something that normally doesn't get reused.
Gotta mention: my dream bench would have a chart. If you've ever used a worm bin, or read the Worms Eat My Garbage book, the idea of tracking where you last buried your scraps is really helpful. A plastic coated diagram and grease pencil would be so sweet attached to the underside of the bench seat!
The most recent worm bin I had was in an old, untreated wooden box I got free from a garage sale. My condo association asked me to get rid of it because it was considered unsightly! It was pretty ugly, and the lid never stayed open. I briefly considered putting up a fight and perhaps enlisting Master Recyclers/Composters from the WSU Extension or something to make an educational stance about my composting, but I didn't. Out went the box and the worms. Ever since then, I've been stewing over this worm-bin-in-a-bench idea. Something cool looking that I would enjoy, too. I'm with you on wanting to beautify, not uglify while composting, Leah!
One homeowner had a guy from the Sheriff's Dept come to a neighborhood gathering and give a talk about it. That was what he said, and he said the same thing about abandoned propane tanks.
The area has since been cleaned up.
I have a source for used pallets - I think - and just might have to see what kind of bench I can construct this summer. That would be a cool challenge! It might even get my 14-year-old son away from the computer screen with less complaining. I like stacking functions!
Susan Monroe wrote:
I'm sure you all know, but I'm saying it anyway...
Don't stop by the side of the road to collect those old coolers you see there. They have often/usually been dumped their by the makers of meth, and the containers are contaminated.
The bench idea is GREAT! Multifunctional!
Had no idea of the cooler thing, and we've had our share of education on the drug issue.
Good to know.
Now back to the thread.........
My plan is to have three plastic storage containers (#1, #2, #3) with most of their bottoms cut out (leaving a 1" bottom rim) and then pop-rivet 1/4" hardware cloth mesh to the bottom.
I will cover the entire bottom of #1 with a fine mesh fabric (synthetic) that will allow excess moisture to drain through, but contain the worms.
I think I'll set it on small blocks on top of its own upside down lid to catch any drainage. Fill with bedding and add some food as per usual for worms.
When the first container is getting full, I'll set #2 on top of the first container, directly on top of the soil/worm compost of #1 and add bedding and food. According to the worm experts, the worms will leave the old place and follow the food in the second container.
Repeat with #3. By the time this container is put in place, theoretically, Container #1 shouldn't have any worms in it, and it can be removed and the contents used. Theoretically.
When empty, the fabric mesh of #1 is removed and the box is set on top of the original #3 container.
My small experience with worm farming, and that of others seems to indicate that if placed in a new container, the worms tend to 'panic' and try to get out. Using this method, the idea is to only aggravate the worms once (originally), and after that, let them climb upwards into the next box.
Maybe in spring, I'll see if my idea works or is just a silly idea.
Yesterday, I was in a small organic nursery, and they had some stacking black plastic worm bin things. Plastic one-piece frames with integral plastic mesh bottom with about 1/4" openings.
with the new wood boiler we have an outside building that remains about 54 degrees most of the time, with a cement floor..i have been eyeing the worm composters thinking..rather than having to truck scraps out to the compost pile or sheet compost them, maybe in the winter when we are "snowbound in hidden valley" I should have myself a worm compost bin, where i can just go out and throw wood on the wood boiler and scraps into the worm bin.
sure sounds easier..anyone think this is a good idea for me? (about 10 acres in the middle of nowwhere)
Paul, I found my way here from the Homestead.org forum, one spot (of--presumably--many) where you've been raving about the rocket mass heaters (now, I'm trying to figure out how to install one in my little suburban home).
I'll probably be visiting here regularly; sounds like y'all touch on a lot of stuff I'm interested in.
Just wanted to mention here, however, that I built a stackable, cedar worm bin 3 years ago, and have had worms living happily in it ever since, so if cedar is supposed to be bad for worms, my worms apparently missed that report.
Also, the best way I've found to harvest the finished worm compost, without worms (well, mostly without), is to harvest 1/4" at a time, while outdoors in bright sunlight. The worms hide from the light, and as you keep scraping off the top 1/4", they keep moving downward. I set it up so they have another tray to move down into, and then I harvest 1/4" every 5-10 minutes while I'm working in the yard.
The only problem with this way is that you won't be able to harvest the worm tea, I don't think.
Hi, Rainbird! You've got more patience for worm compost collection than I have! I've tried doing it that way, and it took forever... especially since I kept forgetting about it (ADD is a pain).