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#1 of 34 Old 02-20-2010, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We're considering starting a worm compost bin that we can keep inside cause we have problems with bears outside. I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for/against different bins as I see there are so many out there! Thanks!

Mama to two boys (1/07 and 3/09) and due with baby #3 in May.
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#2 of 34 Old 02-20-2010, 12:34 PM
 
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We made ours out of those big 18-gallon Rubbermaid totes. We got two of them, drilled teeny tiny holes all over the lid, bottom, and sides, and added slightly bigger holes (nail-sized) on the bottom. We set one of them up on bricks on top of an upturned lid (to elevate it for drainage) and snapped on the other lid. When the first bin is full of worm castings, we put the other bin inside the original one (on top of everything) with some more food and newspaper and stuff, and the worms will migrate up into that bin, at which point we take away the old one and harvest all the goodness.

Total cost: $8 for the totes, which were on sale.
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#3 of 34 Old 02-20-2010, 05:05 PM
 
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It depends on where you want to keep it. If you want to keep it under your sink it needs to be made from a small bin. I was able to make a bin from a larger, 22 or so gal. clear tub. It worked wonderfully. I purchased one of the layered bins last year and it works really nice. It's tall, shaped like a garbage can and would work okay inside, also. I keep it in the garage, though.

Once again, Chesapeake me!
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#4 of 34 Old 02-20-2010, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I never thought of making one! Those make a lot of sense. Of course, hubby is being a snob now that we were looking at buying them and wants to buy one. :P We're going to keep in the garage to keep it away from the kids and to be able to have it larger than under the kitchen sink. PLus I dont know why but something grosses me out about worms in the kitchen - lol.

Mama to two boys (1/07 and 3/09) and due with baby #3 in May.
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#5 of 34 Old 02-20-2010, 09:42 PM
 
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Yeah, I wouldn't want mine in the kitchen either. We keep ours on the back deck.

I highly recommend making one; after all, you don't want to turn an ecologically friendly project into another opportunity for waste and consumption. It took my husband about ten minutes to make ours. We did purchase the worms themselves, which I forgot to mention - you don't want just any worms, you want red wrigglers. We paid about $30 for a pound of small worms and we're thinking about getting another pound since our bin is so big.
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#6 of 34 Old 02-22-2010, 04:46 PM
 
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Here is a link to detailed instructions. I was just looking at this.

http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/compost/Easywormbin.htm
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#7 of 34 Old 02-22-2010, 04:53 PM
 
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Does anyone know a temp to be concerned about when it comes to the worms. Even my garage gets to be pretty hot in the summer.
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#8 of 34 Old 02-22-2010, 05:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yea, I've been looking at that link too. I'd still prefer to have one with the trays.. (and I'm not sure which is more ecologically friendly for what it's worth, as I'd be buying the bins or buying the worm bin made out of recycled materials). My plan is to keep an eye on craigslist for a used one... while waiting for bins to go on sale somewhere (or even maybe find those on craigslist!).

Now, any suggestions on where to buy the worms?

Mama to two boys (1/07 and 3/09) and due with baby #3 in May.
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#9 of 34 Old 02-23-2010, 04:27 PM
 
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#10 of 34 Old 03-11-2010, 03:41 PM
 
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There are several vidoes on YouTube that show you how to make them from rubbermaid tubs. Also we have the Can O'Worms from Planet Natural and it works well. We keep ours in our garage year round out of direct sunlight. We are zone 8. As long as you keep it damp they have no problem in the heat and it can get in the 100's here.

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traditional food eating, AP momma, homesteading, crafty, infertility survivor mom ttc #2,
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#11 of 34 Old 03-11-2010, 05:59 PM
 
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Does anyone know a temp to be concerned about when it comes to the worms. Even my garage gets to be pretty hot in the summer.
When I used a rubbermaid tub, mine was in the basement year round. Then, when I got the "condo", I kept it on my back patio in the shade. There was usually a good enough breeze to keep it cool. I moved it to the garage for the winter. I plan to do the same this year.

Once again, Chesapeake me!
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#12 of 34 Old 03-13-2010, 08:20 PM
 
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This is my bin: worm bin

I have mine in the garage, in the back near the wall to my house. Worms prefer 40-90 degrees. Right now, I have a few sheets wrapped around my bin to keep them warmer. They go dormant in the winter since my garage is around 35-40 degrees on the cold days.

I got my worms from someone on a local Mommy group, but I have posted extras on Freecycle and picked up overripe fruits and veggies for them too.

I blogged a bit about my experiences (the link should be in my "about me" and click on the garden category).
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#13 of 34 Old 03-13-2010, 09:43 PM
 
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I wanted a Gusanito 5 tray bin but that was too expensive for us. So, I'm using a rubbermaid bin. We're keeping ours in our basement for now but I might put them out in our shed once the weather warms up more. This is our first year having them so I'm still learning too.
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#14 of 34 Old 03-13-2010, 09:45 PM
 
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I wanted a Gusanito 5 tray bin but that was too expensive for us. So, I'm using a rubbermaid bin. We're keeping ours in our basement for now but I might put them out in our shed once the weather warms up more. This is our first year having them so I'm still learning too.
It was $$$ but at the time our condo was on the market, and DH would only agree to one if it looked nice on our deck
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#15 of 34 Old 03-15-2010, 11:17 PM
 
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Hmmm. I wonder if you could actually make a "tray" type unit out of nested bins.

something to consider.
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#16 of 34 Old 03-15-2010, 11:20 PM
 
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Can someone tell me how to compost for the worms? Ds is doing a worm class at our homeschool co-op. We made our worm beds last Friday. Some of the kids brought their composts and theirs were all gross, juicy, etc. Mine just looks like little pieces of dried food.

Serenity LDS mommy to 4 rambunctious kidlets
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#17 of 34 Old 03-16-2010, 11:28 PM
 
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I made our worm bin out of one of these plastic storage drawer towers: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...SIN=B000MPQ2S2

I couldn't find one that wasn't clear, so I did have to spraypaint the outside of each drawer (dark green) and drilled holes in all the drawers except for the bottom one, which is for catching any excess liquid. It looks cute and was a fun project.
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#18 of 34 Old 03-17-2010, 12:29 AM
 
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Can someone tell me how to compost for the worms? Ds is doing a worm class at our homeschool co-op. We made our worm beds last Friday. Some of the kids brought their composts and theirs were all gross, juicy, etc. Mine just looks like little pieces of dried food.
Are you talking about the food and bedding the worms live in? It should be bedding, made of shredded b/w newspaper or leaves. I fill my bin loosely with this, then add produce to it, peelings, rinds, ends, etc. Yours filled with dried food sounds a little - dry. Your bedding should be wet, but not sopping wet. Try adding some moisture by misting it with water.

Once again, Chesapeake me!
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#19 of 34 Old 03-17-2010, 12:35 AM
 
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We have the bed filled with newspaper. It is normal for it to dry out quickly? Nostly jsut the top layer. THe teacher told us to compost our leftovers and feed them abount once a week. SHe's out of town for a week, so I have no way to ask her. I put the food in a container without a lid and it just shriveled up. I put new food in a container with a lid and it's still just shriveled, with a tiny bit of moisture on the side of the container and it's been a few days.

Serenity LDS mommy to 4 rambunctious kidlets
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#20 of 34 Old 03-17-2010, 12:15 PM
 
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Since your bin is new, it will dry out quickly. Give it a spritz to moisten it up.

Food will shrivel if you're keeping it out in a bowl or something for a couple of days. Don't worry, the worms will still eat it!

I don't keep my food sitting out for a week. I usually give them whatever scraps I have soon after I make them. I figure the food composts just as well in the worm bin as it would sitting on my counter attracting gnats.

Once again, Chesapeake me!
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#21 of 34 Old 03-17-2010, 12:53 PM
 
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ex-stasis---I love that drawer idea! Any chance you have pictures of your setup? Do you have worms in all of the drawers or how does that work? Thanks!
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#22 of 34 Old 03-18-2010, 09:53 PM
 
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ex-stasis---I love that drawer idea! Any chance you have pictures of your setup? Do you have worms in all of the drawers or how does that work? Thanks!
I don't have any pictures; sorry! It really just looks like the drawers I linked to, except the clear part is dark green. I kept the opaque white parts white.

For a long time I only had worms in one drawer because I didn't have a lot of worms. But I guess they were happy enough in there to make worm babies and I just recently transferred half to the other drawer (my drawer set up is 3 drawers, so I have 2 drawers with worms and one for catching liquid). My plan from now on is just to alternate feedings between drawers so hopefully the worms can keep up with the scraps I give them. As it is, we produce way more kitchen scraps than the worms can eat, but the two drawer system is good because I can give them a little bit more this way.
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#23 of 34 Old 03-19-2010, 01:33 PM
 
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I don't have any pictures; sorry! It really just looks like the drawers I linked to, except the clear part is dark green. I kept the opaque white parts white.

For a long time I only had worms in one drawer because I didn't have a lot of worms. But I guess they were happy enough in there to make worm babies and I just recently transferred half to the other drawer (my drawer set up is 3 drawers, so I have 2 drawers with worms and one for catching liquid). My plan from now on is just to alternate feedings between drawers so hopefully the worms can keep up with the scraps I give them. As it is, we produce way more kitchen scraps than the worms can eat, but the two drawer system is good because I can give them a little bit more this way.
Sounds like you've invented a cool bin! Do you have trouble with smashing your worms when you slide out a drawer or do they not crawl through your drainage holes?

(I have thousands of worms, but still get sad if I smash one or miss it when separating them from the compost.)

Once again, Chesapeake me!
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#24 of 34 Old 03-19-2010, 10:24 PM
 
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OP--I hope you don't mind if I ask another worm question in your thread. For some reason I can't post a new message anywhere on MDC...

How normal is it for a few worms to escape a new bin? I'm not sure if there is something wrong with my bin? We've found probably 4 completely outside of the bin and every day I find a couple up right near the top in the handle grooves. (I'm using a rubbermaid tote). I'm not sure if that is normal or if there is something I need to adjust?
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#25 of 34 Old 03-19-2010, 10:45 PM
 
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OP--I hope you don't mind if I ask another worm question in your thread. For some reason I can't post a new message anywhere on MDC...

How normal is it for a few worms to escape a new bin? I'm not sure if there is something wrong with my bin? We've found probably 4 completely outside of the bin and every day I find a couple up right near the top in the handle grooves. (I'm using a rubbermaid tote). I'm not sure if that is normal or if there is something I need to adjust?
That's kind of something I was referencing in my question. My worms are everywhere. They move up in their condo, which is why you're supposed to start feeding them in the bottom tray then move to the next one up when it's full. When I first started my bin, it was a rubbermaid tote in my basement and whenever I went to check on it, there were new dried worms on the floor. And, they would also crawl onto the lid, I don't know why? Looking for greener pastures???

Once again, Chesapeake me!
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#26 of 34 Old 03-21-2010, 07:18 PM
 
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Worms tend to "move out" when something is off, often when it is too wet.

This is my favorite vermicomposting site: http://www.redwormcomposting.com/
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#27 of 34 Old 03-21-2010, 09:40 PM
 
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Sounds like you've invented a cool bin! Do you have trouble with smashing your worms when you slide out a drawer or do they not crawl through your drainage holes?
I've never had a problem with this because of the way the drawers stack. There are no holes on the sides of the drawers where they slide in and out, only an inch or so further in where nothing touches the drawer as it slides in and out. If a worm is hanging out of one of the holes, it might get knocked off into another drawer, but it won't get smushed.

Oh, and my worms were escaping out onto the floor when there were too many of them in one level. So I moved some of them to a new drawer and now they don't travel anymore. So it is likely that escaped worms are looking for better conditions and something is wrong with the bin.
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#28 of 34 Old 03-22-2010, 11:37 PM
 
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Does anyone have problems with fruit flies in their bins? I am just going crazy with the swarm in my kitchen. I've added more paper, put out fruit fly traps, sucked them up with a vacuum, but they just come back.
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#29 of 34 Old 03-24-2010, 08:37 PM
 
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I don't have many problems with my bin 'cause I only add food ~1x per week, but my on the counter compost bin attracted them, and I ended up storing the compost in the fridge for a few months until they were gone.
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#30 of 34 Old 04-03-2010, 01:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I made our worm bin out of one of these plastic storage drawer towers: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...SIN=B000MPQ2S2

I couldn't find one that wasn't clear, so I did have to spraypaint the outside of each drawer (dark green) and drilled holes in all the drawers except for the bottom one, which is for catching any excess liquid. It looks cute and was a fun project.
I love this idea! Thanks!

Mama to two boys (1/07 and 3/09) and due with baby #3 in May.
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