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DIY - Gardening Do It Yourself Do you know a good gardening DIY plan? Are you in need for some good DIY ideas? This is the forum to discuss all Do It Yourself plans and questions. For example, learn about: The pipe work to support banana bunches, making pots out of newspaper, using plastic cups as pots, tips for building coverings for plants during winter, etc. If you know a good DIY plan, please share it here, and if you need one, please ask away!


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Old 02-17-2011, 04:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Flow through Worm Bin

Here is my spring project! This is a Flow through type of worm bin which should make harvesting the worm castings a lot easier for me. Here are some pictures of the bin, and a few steps along the way in case you would like to type and make one like your own. You can easily modify to any size your needs might have.

1st we build 3 frames out of 2 x 4, how ever one of the frames (middle one) will have to have a 1/2 in hole drilled ever 1 3/4 in so that you can slide cut pieces of EMT pipe to make a grate to stop everything from falling out.



Now we starting putting up our wood panels, and you can now see how the frame with all the pipes in it becomes out middle piece.


Now I have put in the top most frame so that all the side panel's can be held in place and starting adding a LOT more screws to hold it together.


Keep in mind I put on the front last because the front panel will be cut to make an door the will swing open on the bottom half. This is where all the castings will fall out and ill be able to scoop them out when they are all done. Just screen them and go.


Here we are with the front panel on and door hinged. Now you can also see how the front panel is the only thing holding all the EMT pipe into place now.


Inside view now that all the extra 2 x 4 has been installed.


Now to help the wood last a little bit longer I suggest painting the entire bin inside out out. Any color will do, I just happen to have some old white paint that I found laying around the house.


Bottom view, I left this bottom chamber 10" high so that I could fit a shovel directly into it.


And Here we are trying to fill it up. I like to start all my bins with LOTS of shredded paper and cardboard for the worms to make a nice home out of.


Now from the bottom you can see I have made a flat layer with card board boxes cut and laid out flat. This will hold up the current waste, food, worms ect till its nice and black. The cardboard will eventually start to break down and tear allowing castings to start falling through.


Happy Gardening!
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Old 02-18-2011, 05:11 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Flow through Worm Bin

wow!! im impressed..i have my 4- 37gal rubbermaid tubs in basement..
i have a friend up in montana who is a serious vermiculturist.. and
a really talented guy..i will have to pass you project on to him..
way to go worm farmer!!
if i went big scale i think id glean from your project..for me..i get
around 3-5 gal buckets of castings every 2 months..which for me
works for my needs.. my nanners love castings added to growing
medium..
and i use castings in an aerated tea as well..
again.. thanks !!!!
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Old 02-26-2011, 05:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flow through Worm Bin

Worm Farmer,

After a while does the castings start falling through? What keeps the worms from falling out? Do you have to shake it? Do you just keep throwing waste on top for the worms to eat?
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Old 02-27-2011, 08:36 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Flow through Worm Bin

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Originally Posted by Darkman View Post
Worm Farmer,

After a while does the castings start falling through? What keeps the worms from falling out? Do you have to shake it? Do you just keep throwing waste on top for the worms to eat?
The type of worms I am using(red wiggler or Eisenia fetida) are know as composting worms. Because for the most part they will keep moving up chasing their food supply. They also will not really want to travel outside the the "Habitat" I have created for them. Because this is an open air design if a worm pokes his head down into the lower half he will want to move back up. As there is no food or bedding from him, the air will be dry and light also leaks in. Of coarse there will likely be some that do fall out the bottom and craw out of the bin. Once the system really gets going I should not be at risk any longer of this happening as the worms will stay toward the top half.

As the castings finish and dry they should fall out on their own, or at least is the theory. I should not have to shake it but this is my 1st time using a flow through system so we will see how it really works out. As for shaking it you have read my mind. I have been thinking when it comes time to replace this one I need to find a way to make the entire middle grate movable. I would only need 2" of movement, I'm pretty sure I will be able to figure something out. I was also thinking the next version should also be made of starboard or some type of plastic that will not break down and last much longer.

Yes, I will just keep adding waste into the top. I have been adding a lot of shredded paper and cardboard, banana stalks and leafs, kitchen waste, and Horse manure mix with hay and wood chips. Right now the worm populous seems very happy with their new home. I do not have enough worms to really fill the box and get this going faster. But by mid summer I'm expecting I will be able to start harvesting or at least I hope.

The best part about harvesting for me is that all I will have to do now is scoop out the finished product, screen it and start using it. Seems like it will take out some of the work involved with harvesting worms right now, as I have been using plastic bins. Plastic bins do work good I have been using them for a long time now but harvesting is a real pain and the bins always seem to wet, making harvesting that much more time consuming.
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Old 03-03-2011, 02:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flow through Worm Bin

If you were to place a layer of expanded metal above the EMT pipe you would have something that would hold the material up with out it falling through and the openings may be large enough for the casting to fall through. I really like your idea and I am going to put that on my to do list. A small electric motor and offset crank could vibrate the plate and possibly shake the castings through.
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Old 03-03-2011, 03:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Flow through Worm Bin

How to Build A Flow Through Worm Bin | Worm Composting

build continuous flow worm bin - Google Search
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Old 03-04-2011, 09:36 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Flow through Worm Bin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkman View Post
If you were to place a layer of expanded metal above the EMT pipe you would have something that would hold the material up with out it falling through and the openings may be large enough for the casting to fall through. I really like your idea and I am going to put that on my to do list. A small electric motor and offset crank could vibrate the plate and possibly shake the castings through.
Im not sure that the opens are too big or too small yet, Time will tell. I have seen other systems that are simaler.

I like your input about making the EMT vibrate, this is good info and will be considered in a few years when I have to make my next one bigger and better.
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Flow through Worm Bin

I really like your thoughts on this and look forward to your progress on this. My only concern is that the spacing might be too much (especially if you vibrate the mass) but I'll wait for further reports. Good project thanks for sharing.

Storm
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Old 07-23-2011, 07:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flow through Worm Bin

How are the worms doing in this extreme heat?
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Old 08-01-2011, 05:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flow through Worm Bin

Some new pics complete with worms would be great. Also pics of the finished product!
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:44 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Flow through Worm Bin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkman View Post
Some new pics complete with worms would be great. Also pics of the finished product!
The bin has just recently started to "Flow Through" I need way more worms to get a project like this going full speed. I have been able to find lots of baby worms on the bottom half but right now with the heat the worms mostly stay toward the middle of the bin. I will try to get some new pictures tomorrow.
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Old 08-01-2011, 08:01 PM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Flow through Worm Bin

worm farmer..
i bet with your heat the worms are looking for the air conditioning ..
lol
my 4 bins are down in the basement.. i have been somewhat neglectful
of them.. i should feed them more..i know they would compost the
paper faster if i did..
they seem to be very forgiving..
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Old 08-01-2011, 08:04 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flow through Worm Bin

Thanks..are you taking any measures to keep the bin cooler?
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Old 08-01-2011, 09:44 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flow through Worm Bin

When you use shredded newsprint do you only use the black and white sections? I had previously heard to avoid the color pages out of concern for chemicals used in the color inks.
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Old 08-02-2011, 07:26 AM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Flow through Worm Bin

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When you use shredded newsprint do you only use the black and white sections? I had previously heard to avoid the color pages out of concern for chemicals used in the color inks.
I only avoid high gloss stuff, or if its real thick with color. I have mostly been shredding phone books and junk mail. Never any magazines, and coupons from the new paper. As a rule of thumb ill get a page wet and if the ink comes off real easy it is OK to feed them. I also shred cardboard boxes just removed labels and packing tape.
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Old 08-02-2011, 10:59 AM   #16 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Flow through Worm Bin

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Thanks..are you taking any measures to keep the bin cooler?
I added some 3" soffit vent's along the side's. I may need to add some more vents but right now I think all is ok. It was getting steamy in there and the worms all ran to the bottom of the bin. I found as long as I keep the top just a little moist the worms stay toward the middle and come up to the top in the night hours. Other then that I have not giving them much more care besides feeding and feeding them. I keep getting the top almost full and it drops down pretty quickly but of the amount of food I have been putting in I am getting a very small amount out.

Here are some updated pictures:

This is just looking down into the bin you can see what the are currently working on. What you can notice is that one side is lower than the other side. What I have been doing is feeding is quadrant's. I am not starting over where you see the head of lettuce, I will put more kitchen scraps in the corner then cover in shredded paper and move down right below it and do the same thing.


Here is what the bottom of the lower half looks like now, Where the grid I made out of EMT pipe is. You can now see most of the cardboard barrier I started with has broken down and open up allowed castings to fall through.


Here is what my finished compost is looking like right now, A lot of wood chips are falling through now. I did add a larger bag of untreated ceder wood shavings I picked up from a job site. I will no be adding them ever again as they are turning out to be a big mess and takes WAY to long to break down. How ever the worms have made a nice nest in the wood shavings layer and seem to be producing lots of babys. Its just a pain to have to filter them all out.


Here is whats left of my finished product after the 1st sifting. I need to screen it again with a much smaller screen to get the little bit of wood shavings out. Other wise I just used a hole bunch just like it is now. I sprinkled about a shove full around each plant before adding mulch and manure. Once the bin really picks up speed I will have to make something to screen the castings faster. Keep in mind I am only using 1/4 screen right now so a lot of stuff is able to make it through.


I figured by winter the bin will be real active, for winter my plan is to wrap the bin in bubble wrap and blankets and use a 60watt shop light to keep the top warm. If you notice I have removed the bottom door, I did this because as the temp got warmer the bottom stayed steaming and moist so the worms were just falling down also. After taking the door off and waiting about a week for it to dry out some more the problem was solved and no more worms have been dropping down.
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