Of Bins and Worms - Constructing a Flow Through Worm Bin
|Completed Flow Through Worm Bin|
Why compost? For us there are three basic reasons.
First, I'm pretty attached to the Reduce/Reuse/Recycle mentality. To me it just makes sense, that and the fact we live in rural California and here it's just what we do. Besides that, for many years we hauled our own trash/garbage to the dump, as it was called then, now it is the "transfer station". Not wanting to go there every week, we devised a system where we consciously handled our waste in a manner that limited our need to make a weekly trip. Composting our kitchen and yard waste was a big part of that.
Second, we garden, and it just seems natural to take kitchen and yard waste and turn it into compost. It seems pretty ridiculous to me to send it off the property just to turn around and buy it in nicely sanitized bags.
Third, I guess I just love doing projects! =)
The vermicomposting idea clicked with me from the first. Maybe it was my innate desire to "figure things out". Or, that I needed to add another project, whatever, I really wanted a worm bin in my kitchen. Once back home, I did internet searches on worm bins, visited many blogs and websites, and watched tons of Youtube videos, then settled on the flow through system.
I had the need, desire, and a decision on a system. I gathered up the parts, purchased the worms and the remaining supplies, and procrastinated. Finally, at the beginning of February I actually made the bin. Here's the process!
|Tools for bin construction.|
Materials and tools:
Drill with spade bit - to make holes for PVC pipes.
Saw - to cut pipes and to make bottom door.
Tape measure - to determine placement of PVC holes and door.
Pencil/pen - to draw/mark bin
Utility knife - to make starter hole for door.
Piece of 2x4 wood - to back up bin when drilling
Kitchen Waste Can with lid - 13 to 17 gallons
Coconut Coir - for worm bedding, purchased at Petco
|Measure outside of PVC to choose bit.|
Newspaper - for worm bedding
Cardboard - to place on top of PVC to hold bedding
Plain paper - to make door pattern (if necessary) and shape of cardboard for interior of bin
Spray bottle w/water - to moisten newspaper
Cornmeal - for first feeding
Worms - Red Wigglers are the best
|7/8 Spade bit to make holes.|
|Coconut Coir for bedding.|
|Rehydrate and squeeze.|
|Bottom door opening.|
|View of PVC pipes in bin.|
|Cardboard seated on PVC pipes.|
|Place cardboard cut to fit into bin.|
|Add newspaper and then moisten.|
|Add coconut coir on damp paper.|
|Bedding ready for worms!|
|Worms ready for their new home!|
|Add cornmeal and newspaper.|
The last step is to put a sign on the front to keep unsuspecting visitors from putting worm unfriendly stuff in your bin.
Congratulations, if you have followed along, you now own a flow through worm bin!
My cost breakdown:
New waste bin $12.00
Coconut coir 4.00
Worms (50/.99) 5.00
Coffee Grounds 0
Total Cost $21.00
If you buy your Red Wigglers as "composting worms" they will be quite a bit more. My local Kmart fishing department sells the same worms as I would by at the nursery. I know this because I talked to the distributor who sells to both!
I didn't drill any holes along the top of the bin or in the lid of the bin as some people do. My bin has a swinging type lid that I keep cocked open. It gets plenty of air flow. I keep the bottom door open so there is airflow coming from the bottom also. I checked the cardboard today and it is pretty damp, but still there.
I check the top layer of wet newspaper every couple of days to make sure it doesn't dry out and moisten it if needed. It has been three weeks and everything still looks good!
If you have any thoughts or questions, please feel free to leave a comment! =)