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Medium-sized worm compostor  RSS feed

 
Alfred Decker
Posts: 4
Location: Montnegre, Catalunya, España
forest garden hugelkultur
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Greetings folks,

I'm in the process of designing a vermiculture system for two locations: one, a community garden, and the second, a cultural center. I've built two different systems for home-scale vermiculture, both worked great, but when i think of the next level up--a level of food scraps that would quickly overwhelm smaller systems--I'm not feeling very clear on the most effective and efficient system. Any suggestions?

Perma greets,
Alfred
 
Hanley Kale-Grinder
Posts: 112
Location: Mountain West of USA, Salt Lake City
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My next worm bins will most likely be "flow-through". These can be scaled to any size. The same is true with other types of bins. IE take what you are doing now and make it way bigger. Its all about finding a vessel that is large enough. Try vermicomposters.com for all things red wiggler. Good luck!
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
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what type of bins are you using now. if yours cant handle the supply at these places, simply increase the size of the bins or create more of them. the more worms there are the more they can eat in a given period of time.
 
Alfred Decker
Posts: 4
Location: Montnegre, Catalunya, España
forest garden hugelkultur
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dear hanley and hubert,

thanks for the advice, i appreciate it.

the two systems i built are: 1) a series of four vertical buckets with holes on the bottom (except for the bottom one, which collects compost tea, and then i have a spigot i can open) and on the sides for ventilation; 2) the same as the bucket system, but with plastic storage boxes. both work well, but the quantity of compost generated in the new locations would quickly overwhelm these systems, even if i kept adding buckets and boxes vertically.

i looked into the flow-through design, and it really looks like a good option. i had an idea for the design: instead of using a 55gl drum or some other large fixed structure, what about using straw bales? obviously, worms love and will eat the straw, and my idea is that over time the worms will be composting the straw as well the food scraps, which adds a lot of carbon to the mix, and it's another way to enhance the compost building process. your thoughts?

perma greets,
alfred
 
Alex Ojeda
gardener
Posts: 318
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Alfred,

That straw bale idea is great, but animals (rats, racoons, opossum, chickens, squirrels) might eat every one of your worms if they are not protected. I had two 5 gallon bucket worm towers decimated by rats. Maybe try a version of what I saw a guy do below.

I bought worms from a guy who grew them for fishing. He had them in a wooden box that looked like it was 3 foot by 6 foot by 2 foot deep. He had a tarp over them to keep the rain out. It looked as if they had been there for a while. He uncovered this box and ran his hand lightly over the surface of this soil that filled the box. It literally writhed as his hand went over the smooth, flat surface. He then took a garden claw and proceeded to claw up areas of this soil. The soil, by the way, was some of the richest stuff I had ever seen! In this garden claw, each scoop had what looked like 100 worms! He picked out 35 big ones and charged me $3.50! I didn't complain because I felt like I had just paid for the show!

OK, this is what I think his secret is. He wasn't trying to hide anything from me, but he wasn't a naturally talkative guy. I do think that the more questions I asked the more suspicious he became. I was thinking that he felt I was going to try to muscle in on his business. What I did get from him before he clammed up was that he said that that soil was entirely saw dust! I saw no evidence of kitchen scraps, nor any other material. The soil was so rich and black that I just can't help but think that maybe he mixed it with manure for the nitrogen? I have no idea. I know worms love carbon, so this all makes sense to me. I'm working on duplicating this right now with one of my bins. I've just gotten it started using horse poo and sawdust in about 50/50 mixture with some table scraps thrown in for good measure. I'm thinking that I'll only add sawdust as I move forward with this one bin.

My worm binds are blue 55 gallon barrels on their sides with a blue 55 gallon barrel cut in half for a lid. There are holes in the bottom so that the "new black gold" can drip out of the bottom. I have made simple wooden stands for them out of scrap wood found in my curbside shopping sprees.

Does anyone have any input on this amazing system that I saw? I'd love to get the inside scoop from someone who has already done it.
 
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