Interested in Designs for a Worm Bin

Discussion in 'Breeding, Raising, Feeding and Caring for Animals' started by dreadlock, May 26, 2013.

  1. dreadlock

    dreadlock Junior Member

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    hey everyone,

    just touched down on PRI after coming across a thread on worm farming.. interested in making one of my own.

    Looking for some design ideas? would a 20 gallon be big enough or is it too small?

    thanks in advance

    talk soon
     
  2. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Location:
    inland Otago, NZ
    Climate:
    Inland maritime/hot/dry/frosty
    You can make a worm farm as big or as small as you like, depending on what you want to achieve. How much vege scraps are you going to have per week to put in it?
     
  3. Terra

    Terra Moderator

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    My experience is what ever you recon is big enough , double that and then multiply by ten .

    Depends on how much waste product you want to process , i put heaps through my bins i have 4 about this size ( Photo ) , Horse , Cow , Chook manure , cardboard , weeds various straw types , paper the list goes on .

    They are open bottomed so i lose the worm juice , however it suits my busy life if they get a bit dry the worms move down and they never drown or get cooked .

    Thinking about setting one up wick bed style so i can access the juice this one would be entirely for breeding worms for my Aquaponic setup as feed for fish and to put in the growbeds .
    Rob
     

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  4. briansworms

    briansworms Junior Member

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    It all comes down to what you want to do with it. Keep it simple and manageable. I have about 30 worm farms and only manage about 8. These are my working beds and the others are just like storage units for worms lol. As they are needed their management changes. I breed in tubs and trays. The trays have no taps an neither do the tubs but some were fitted with taps but now have just a hole.

    The reason for not taps is I don't want worm juice as nobody is interested in buying it so I manage the moisture that goes in. If you want worm juice don't be fooled into thinking it is "Worm Wee". No they don't piddle is is just condensation from the bedding and food that runs out. This can be toxic to your plants as it can be anerobic and full of bad bacteria. To get worm juice just water your beds on a regular basis and this in turn flushes out the nutrients which is what you want.

    To get castings, allow the worms to eat out all the bedding and food which is added on a regular basis, you then need to "Bait the Bed." This means digging out one end of the bed and piling it up the other end. Fill the area dug out with manure. I use horse. Leave it a week then remove the manure along with about 99% of your worms. Then just use the casting and start the bed off again with the manure and worms you took out.

    Main points to remember is worms need something to live in ie bedding. Horse manure is best for this or cow but it is harder to get. Buying a layered worm farm throw away the instructions. They will set you up to fail and kill your worms. Yes written ny idiots who know nothing of worms. Don't overfeed for the number of worms you have and keep it damp.
     
  5. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Brian is a guru! He grows worms for sale, so you might actually want a system that allows you to collect the liquid.
    So what do you want to do with it?
    I reckon the simple approach is best. I bought an old laundry tub on a stand at a second hand place and use that as my no frills worm farm. Cost about the same as one of the fancy plastic set ups but with better capacity and it'll last for almost forever I reckon. I have a plastic 3 tray one that I inherited as well.
     
  6. chook-in-eire

    chook-in-eire Junior Member

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    We had a neat little one 'way back when' made from a black 100 l plastic waste bin - the type with the clip-on lid. We drilled a hole on the side close to the bottom and epoxied a little tap from one of those cheap tetra-pack wine cartons onto the hole; put a few bricks into the bottom which held a round piece of ply cut to fit, with drainholes in it. On top of that we began to compost. Every once in a while we drained the worm juice out of the little tap to use in the garden - the wormbin stood on some breeze blocks so a container could sit under the tap. Worked well. Can't remember why we left it behind when we moved.

    No. 2 was an almost bathtub-sized sturdy plastic basin that came our way. It already had a couple holes at each end. Placed it on breeze blocks and put plastic containers under the holes. A "screen" woven out of willow rods divided it in the middle and a sheet of fine-meshed chicken wire set on bricks helped with drainage. One side was filled at a time, turned over to the other side when full and left to be worked further by the worms, then emptied. Meanwhile the "juice" was collected underneath.
    It sat in a shed. It worked well and provided loads of good potting compost; the only trouble was that it attracted rats so we haven't used it for a few years now since we got some closed composters.
     
  7. dreadlock

    dreadlock Junior Member

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    thanks for the quick and detailed response gents. it's cleared allot of the questions i had. brilliant! Some very interesting ideas i've made note off & straight forward to put together by the looks.

    the worm bin was an idea which hit me recently after reading on the benefits it has to soil. I purchased a bag of worm casts for my veggies as summer is upon us decided i'd get my hand dirty a little. peppers, basil, tomatoes and house plants responded well after adding a light layer to the soil, Noticed some springtails which i've read is a good sign. I'm very environment friendly guy and love nature so the idea of making my own worm cast with all the added benefits really appealed to me. Apparently using different types of materials to feed the worms gives a better the end product. already recycling all the food waste separately so just a matter of keeping the bones out.. prob around 6-7 liters of crushed fruit material, food, etc a week at the most.

    My garden isn't that big at all, so doubt i will need much. live in a terraced house with maybe 4m2 of soil space + 6 4-5 gallon pots in the garden, rest is grass. Maybe start of with 1 tub for now and take it from there. Also 1-2 cats which frequently visit my garden, hopefully keep the tubs raised high out of the way will do the trick. If i had the space i'd definitely go for the open bottom idea for ease..

    100 liters feels a bit big for now, maybe if i went for a 50 liter tote tub with few tiny holes for simplicity..if all runs smooth i'll upgrade to something bigger later :) not sure if i need to buy 1 or 2? i've come across design where they stack one on the other so the bottom was like a collection tub with shredded papers, cardboard.. read it can take a few months for worms to digest everything so trying to get it going as quickly as i can.

    all the ideas sound great, love to try them all..guess it's something to work towards, i'd hate for anything to go wrong so i'll start small :)
     
  8. dreadlock

    dreadlock Junior Member

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    i have finally come across the ideal worm bin for my situation since space is an issue. It is a 100 liter black plastic tub. dimensions 48cm(h) x 80cm(l) x 32cm(w).

    for now i'm not going to collect any worm juice.

    would i be correct to assume the first step is to create a bedding? at the bottom with holes to aid drainage? I am having a hard time sourcing horse/cow manure unfortunately, it will take me some time. Any other alternatives i could use for bedding? i understand that worms will be living in this so i'd like it to be as close to good as possible.

    could someone give me a few ideas for worm bedding? cut up card board, dry grass, coco coir, perlite or if compost(which type). apologies if some question sound silly. I'm really new to the whole gardening scene.

    Brain just had look at your site.. great info.
     
  9. dreadlock

    dreadlock Junior Member

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    just read that peat moss is great for bedding as it hold water well. would this be a good addition to the bedding..? I'm slightly confused on how to lay the bedding and how thick it should be? I have around 40 liters of coco coir + perlite to add to it..

    is it true for the first time adding worms the mix should not be deep as you continue to add more material if it is to deep the bottom might not get used up.. is this true?

    thanks for looking
     
  10. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I have used coco coir in the past. Compost works too.
     
  11. dreadlock

    dreadlock Junior Member

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    great. i have compost called miracle grow. a fertilizer from a garden centre. If i add some of this to provide some food will it be okay..?

    so far the list for beading materials.. coco, shredded brown paper , grass, compost, peat moss..

    sorry i am slightly confused.. at which point do we add all the fruit & food material?
     
  12. permasculptor

    permasculptor Junior Member

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    Crushed egg shells are good for bedding also.
    on top regularly after everything else to keep them fed.
     
  13. dreadlock

    dreadlock Junior Member

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    thanks. egg shells added to the list.

    Dimensions for the bucket are 100 liters 82cm x 32cm x 42cm(h). I keep hearing more bedding is good so for that size bucket how much bedding would be ideal?
     
  14. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I can't comment on the purchased comment - have only used home made stuff in my system. I would work with about 25 cm deep of bedding material when you first introduce your worms. Brian may want to join the conversation again at this point! I find that everything turns into worm castings in my system so I no longer think of separate layers in my system. I just remove what I want to use and replace it with whatever I have to hand and the worms keep doing their thing!
     
  15. dreadlock

    dreadlock Junior Member

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    sounds nice. Would like to get mine running in similar fashion. as for collecting worm juice, any idea how often the juice takes to pour out? i don't plan on using it just need idea's on how i can catch it or let pour on the floor washing away with water if it doesn't happen so often.

    what sort of materials do you use for your bedding eco?

    thanks
     
  16. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    The best approach to the juice is to leave the tap open (or whatever system you have) and stick a bucket underneath it. That way you don't run the risk of drowning them when it rains. I recycle the juice through the system (every time I go to the clothes line as it is next to it) to really get it full of good stuff, and to keep the worms wet, which helps stop ants getting in. I use it whenever I want and toss a bucket of rain water in to replace what I have used. The worms don't actually pee as such so there is no net out put of liquid - you are just cycling water through to keep it wet if that makes sense.

    When I first started I got a kit that had coir included so I used that. Now I use horse manure when I have been for a trip to the local stables, or compost when I haven't. My chooks get my kitchen scraps and the worms seem to do OK on just poo or compost alone. Mind you my compost is pretty rough and still has plenty in it to eat. Heat treated sterile stuff from a packet will probably not be a good idea as the only food source. Toilet rolls, junk mail catalogues and a handful of weeds make it in there sometimes. I once tossed in a big bag of bran that had gone mouldy (used to feed the chooks) and they really liked that. And rotten pumpkins that stayed undiscovered in the garden until they were too far gone to eat. They aren't all that fussy. The only bad thing I have managed to do was to put them somewhere that got too warm in summer. Now they are to the south of the house in permanent shade.
     
  17. dreadlock

    dreadlock Junior Member

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    thanks for clearing that out. makes perfect sense. so in my case since i don't intend on catching worm juice i'm going to raise the bin 1' of the floor and have holes along the bottom for drainage. that should be okay ?

    only reason i coir became an option is because i have a 30 liter bag that has been lying around for a long time and i'd like to put it too some use eventually. lets see. it's proving to be allot harder then i thought to find good manure. will have too look around through local farms etc

    i have come across a promising product.. https://www.compostdirect.com/farmyard-manure/p14.

    would the above be a good addition to the mix to get them going.. it contains horse manure.

    i have picked a nice shaded place, in the process of cleaning all that's left is ingredients.
     
  18. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    If you are growing a garden I'd rethink the option of collecting the juice. Diluted 1 in 10 with water it is magic stuff for kicking plants along.

    I take the SLA approach to gardening - Stuff Lying Around. It really isn't a great use of your time and resources to have to go to a shop to bring stuff home to feed your worms. The best bit about worm farms is suddenly stuff that looked like rubbish before is now worm food. Like your bag of coir. (But don't give them 30 L all at once!) Keep your eyes peeled and you'll see worm food potential every where you look. The nuggets from your kitty litter for example.... You can also hit up the neighbours or your family for stuff from their place. Most of my visitors know to turn up with their kitchen scraps when they come to visit and they get eggs in return!
     
  19. dreadlock

    dreadlock Junior Member

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    brilliant. impressed with how you have it running. trading with neighbours and family.

    I'll try and re think the collection part..maybe as simple as placing a tray beneath to collect it. thank you for the heads up on it, i'll read in to it further.

    i'm getting slightly confused here.. i'm not sure on how to lay out the bedding from the bottom and where to place worms?

    reason i thought the addition of the some manure would be good was to kick start the worms. I have read that with some methods you should let materials cook or lay moist for a week or 2 prior to adding worms where as adding the manure + compost including all other ingredients is enough to get them in straight away with no feed for a week or so..?
    i don't have many materials only coco, ewc and some compost.. just want to get it of to a good start
     
  20. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Cocopeat on the bottom - very wet - then worms. Feed slowly initially so that you don't end up with a smelly rotting pile of food scraps. If you are adding a lot of stuff all at once then it will start to compost and that generates significant heat. Small amounts won't be a problem - like an ice-cream containers worth daily.
     

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