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worm bin composting - if you build it they will come

 
Steve Taylor
Posts: 49
Location: Akron, Ohio
chicken hugelkultur woodworking
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Hey Permies,

Just wanted to share an experiment that worked out great this year. 

Years ago I purchased composting worms online. Built a worm bin by drilling lots of holes in a large Rubbermaid container and shredding newspaper.  One year we moved in winter and my worms didn't survive.

This year I started to compost in the worm bins by setting the bin behind our deck and adding kitchen scrapes, leaves, and grass trimmings.  After a month i looked through the bin and was delighted to find composting red worms

I'll never by worms again.   This is easy for most people to do so I wanted to share.  Hope it is helpful!
 
Joel Russ
Pie
Posts: 153
Location: Western Canadian mountain valley
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Yeah, the worms show up.  I've been composting using an outdoor three-bin set-up for decades now.  I've never used a specifically 'worm composting' approach.  I layer-in shredded corn stalks, pea vines, onion-family tops, kitchen peelings & general waste, cuttings from wild grasses on our place, cattle manure if I have some on hand, and such.  When a layer in the pile goes through the heat phase, the compost begins to form as the layer mellows out - and there are always a lot of red-wigglers that just appear.

My compost bins often contain about one cubic yard or so, each.  And since I'm constantly adding stuff to the top (and maintaining air channels into the developing pile), the upper layers are where the heat develops.  The grass cuttings are the biggest contributors to the pile heating up.  The worms always proliferate in the layers beneath the hot zone, because the lower layers have already gone through the bacterial process that produces heat while digesting the raw materials.

I've never bought, deliberately acquired, or added worms.  I have friends who do some worm composting.  But it's unnecessary to be deliberate about composting just to have red wigglers make an appearance - during the spring-through-fall seasons, that is.  The cold winter around here pretty well stops the bacterial-composting process.  So I could see the value of worm composting indoors during winter.  That's why I've considered experimenting with it myself - and I may do it.  For that, I could get the worms from my own outdoor compost piles.
 
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