Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Worm Compost Bin (DIY)

I went on Pinterest and I pinned, then later read a LOT of Pins about building a worm compost bin.  They are all basically the same info, with some minor differences.  But I will say one thing that bugged me.

'DIY compost bin for only $5!'  'Build your own worm compost bin for under $15!'

There were more titles along those lines…yes, the building materials can be that low…but the worms are right around $30 (unless you know someone with a worm compost bin who will give you some of their worms).

I personally think if you are going to say how cheap something is, you should include all expenses, yes, worms included.

With that being said, my worm compost bin cost right around $45, probably closer to $47.

Let me start by saying you can do a smaller bin (like I did) or a bigger bin.  The bigger then bin, the heavier it will be, which can be a factor when you are ready to harvest your compost.  That will also effect your price.  I went with 10 gallon rubbermaid bins I bought at walmart for just under $5 each.  You can do 1, 2 or 3 bins.  I personally did 3.  Some people do 1, and put a lid under it to catch any drippings (liquid you can add to water and put right into the garden).  Others will do 2 containers…they will have 1 on the bottom to catch any liquid, and then the one on top with the worms.  Then there are those that are like me, who do 3 bins.  The 3rd bin is set up like the other one that will hold worms…when the 1st bin is done, you put the other bin on top and the worms will slowly move to that bin.  Once they've all moved over you can take the middle bin out and use all your compost without having to go through it and removing your worms.  I'm all about the easier option!

So I bought 3 10 gallon rubbermaid bins for just under $5 each al Walmart.    Then I bought 4 pieces of PVC at Lowe's for $.60 each to set in the bottom bin so I could raise up the compost bin.  Finally I ordered my worms online.  I did a google search and compared prices at a few different places.  The cheapest for me was (but it seems they are still a part of Uncle Jim's worm farm, cause that's what all my packaging said!).  I bought 1 pound of worms, and it was $30.98 (change part may be a tad bit off, but pretty sure that was it).  Oh yes…you need to uy Red Wiggler worms, not night crawlers or anything like that.  So just over $45.

I'll share some pictures, and tell you what I did :)

The first thing I did was drill 20 1/4 inch holes into the bottom of Bin 1.  You want to make sure you have holes in the lost points so any excess water will drip out.

Then I used a 1/16 inch drill bit to drill holes along the top for ventilation.  For both sets of holes I saw reports of people using different sizes, so you can choose different size holes if you'd like.  I put these holes about an inch apart all around the top.

Finally I drilled some holes in the lid too (you only need to do this with 1 of the lids, it's the only lid you will need to use)

Do the same steps to bin 2, so it'll be ready to g when you need it.

Then you stack bin 1 into the base and you are ready to go!!

I cut up a bunch of newspaper, then you want to get it wet.  Not soaking wet, you don't want it to be dripping.  I rang mine all out by hand, then I fluffed it out as I put it into the bin.  You'll want to put 3-4 inches in there.  The paper keeps th worms wet, but they'll eat it too, and it gives them some place to hide, which is why you want to fluff it out some, so they can move through it easily.  Then I threw some dirt on the top of the newspaper, they need grit to help them digest their food.

Then I added in my worms!!  I included the peat moss they had been packed in.  You want a 2 parts 'brown' (paper, leaves, grass, etc) to 1 part 'green' (table scraps)

Then I added in some of my kitchen scraps I had been saving for them.  You don't want to give them too much to start, so I only put in some, even though I  have a ton saved for them.

Then you want to put some more wet newspaper on top.  The newspaper on top protects them, and will also prevent fruit flies, because the food is covered.  I also added some grass, since Josh had mowed yesterday.  Then I took a piece of cardboard, I wet down 1 side of it and put it all on top to protect everything.  Eventually the worms will eat it too.

Then I was done!!  When ready to set up your next bin (after this one is full of the black gold) you'll add the newspaper and food etc then take the lid off the other bin, put the new bin on top, and they will go through the holes up into the new bin.

It was super quick and easy to set up.  I can't wait to see how my worms do, and to use their castings in my garden!!!

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