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Anyone have DIY instructions for a large flow-through worm compost bin?  RSS feed

 
Jayden Thompson
Posts: 119
Location: Danville, KY (Zone 6b)
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I have a setup now, but it's not flow through and scaling up is much too time consuming with my individual plastic bins, even if I stack them. Flow through seems like the answer, but I'd like to see what you guys have found is the best solution.
 
Sherri Sachs
Posts: 3
Location: Salem, Ky.
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Where can I see a picture?
 
Keith Odell
Posts: 68
Location: Indiana
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I make 11-gallon, 23-gallon and 55-gallon flow-thrus. 11-gallon and 23-gallon I use wire and washers. 55-gallon I use conduit.
23-gallon.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 23-gallon.jpeg]
23-gallon flow-thru
 
Keith Odell
Posts: 68
Location: Indiana
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Dean - Sorry, I didn't answer your question.

Cut out between a 6 to 8 inch hole about the width of your container. Measure and mark your hole locations on both sides - a little more difficult with the barrels. Drill holes for your supports. I've used conduit, all-thread, garden stakes and wire. Install your supports. I install a layer of cardboard and then multi layers of newsprint wrapped up the sides. Then I add a couple of inches of compost, worms, a handful of veggies and then top it off with shredded cardboard/paper. Hope this helps.
 
Jayden Thompson
Posts: 119
Location: Danville, KY (Zone 6b)
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Keith,
Thanks. What wire mesh do you recommend? Also, how are the washers used? Thanks!
 
Keith Odell
Posts: 68
Location: Indiana
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I don't use wire mesh. On the 55-gallon from top to bottom I have bedding, food, worms, compost, newsprint, cardboard (floor), electrical conduit (support).
On the others I have bedding, food, worms, compost, newsprint, cardboard (floor), wire that you can twist on itself - 16 gauge.
I color coordinate so it doesn't stick out. My customers seem to prefer that.
I thread the wire through all of the holes. I have two washers at each end. One on the wire and one against the bin.
I pull the wire out, through a washer and then pull it tight back through the other washer into the bin.
One washer will be perpendicular to the other. I then wind it tight around itself and then duct tape it.

Before I used wire I would use plastic coated garden stakes and just cut to size.

After the compost builds up the floor can be removed or allowed to rot away. The compost will self-harvest.
 
Jayden Thompson
Posts: 119
Location: Danville, KY (Zone 6b)
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Keith -
Thanks, that makes sense. One more question, when you say "the compost will self-harvest," do you mean that once the cardboard floor rots away, the compost just falls to the bottom?

If so, don't the worms fall also? Or do they stay up above, allowing you to just add new flooring and food to do it all over again?

Thanks!
 
Keith Odell
Posts: 68
Location: Indiana
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Yes, it will fall out gradually or if you need more you can scrape more out.

The dumb or lazy worms drop. I put them back on top and tell them to get back to work.

No need for new flooring and you should be adding food and bedding continually.

Initial harvesting may have some worms and un-composted bedding. Either use it or put it back on top as well.

These get a lot of airflow (think chimney) which helps the microbes which the worms eat.

This allows them to process more food than a similarly sized tote.

I still like totes too though because I can feed 'em, stack 'em and forget 'em.
 
Jayden Thompson
Posts: 119
Location: Danville, KY (Zone 6b)
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Thanks Keith, you were very helpful.
 
Patrick Mann
Posts: 303
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
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I built a wooden box with a lid and a flap at the bottom to access the compost.

http://thirteenvegetables.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/continuous-flow-worm-bin/



I started out with weed whacker line for the "grating". That soon snapped and I replaced it with bars of 1/4" rebar spaced about 3" apart. That works very well.
My only gripe is that the wood absorbs too much moisture, so in summer I need to keep an eye on things to make sure it doesn't get too dry. But aesthetics trumped function in this case. Some folks line the inside of wooden containers with plastic; but if you're feeding the bin regularly it's not necessary.
 
Tys Sniffen
Posts: 54
Location: Northern California
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trying to jump on the end of this thread - -

Right now, I'm succeeding with 3 rubbermaid bins (2 stacked, 1 by itself) with happy worms, breeding well. (there's enough in there that they make noise moving when I pull off the cardboard cover) but they don't seem to be moving UP like they say, and they don't seem to be processing as much, as fast, as I'd like.

I'm thinking about a really big flow through sort of system, but I'm not sure if I have enough compost to keep it going. I'm thinking of building something like:

http://www.wormfarmingrevealed.com/flowthrough-outdoor-vermicompost-system.html

two bins, with 1/4 inch screen between them. fill one up, then, as the worms work through it, fill the second one, and they migrate. Once they're in the second one, dig out the first.

concerns:
- it'd quickly become too deep, and the red wigglers wouldn't go process the stuff down low. am I right?
- they'd not move, and I'd kill bunches trying to get stuff out
- it'd take so long it's not worth all this building effort.
- my one household may not make enough interesting compost (especially as some stuff goes to the chickens already) and I don't want to go collecting, as I don't go by other places often enough.

Advice?


 
Mark Ferguson
Posts: 3
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I designed my own large flow through bin that has a heated bottom and a custom made casting chainsaw for harvesting. Check out the DIY plans for the bin and the saw at http://kferg9804.wix.com/aharabbits#!worms/igit7 (video link to the saw at bottom of page). I also made my own cardboard grinder to make food and bedding http://kferg9804.wix.com/aharabbits#!nestbox-info/c21wr .
 
Peter Kalokerinos
Posts: 85
Location: Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia
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chicken hugelkultur solar
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Anyone else built a large flow through design? we're considering it at present too. Would love to see other ideas/methods
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
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