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Home made worm-bins vs shop brought bins

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Home made worm-bins vs shop brought bins

Post  arla on 10/14/2011, 3:16 pm

Does anyone have home made worm bins, are they any good? I've priced out and can make the homemade one for about $25, or buy a real one, the issue is so many of the pre-made ones have very good, and very bad reviews, so I'm torn.

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Re: Home made worm-bins vs shop brought bins

Post  ishootaction on 10/14/2011, 3:51 pm

If you have kids or grand kids or even neighbor kids build it. That is my not so humble opinion. I suppose I worry a little about our youth. I have had a great time with my son.

Happy Gardening I love you

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Re: Home made worm-bins vs shop brought bins

Post  Glendale-gardener on 10/14/2011, 4:03 pm

I have a premade one and I like it a lot. I'm not sure what materials you were planning on making your homemade one out of. I've seen bins made of wood, rubbermaid bins, old knapsacks, and compost tumblers. My premade one is plastic so it doesn't take up a lot of space and I keep it in a closet but it didn't too bad in my kitchen when I had it there. The homemade one tend to stand out a bit more unless you spent more $$$ to disguise it well!

I'm no expert but I have a feeling a lot of the cons might apply to any worm bin. Unless they are complaining about workmanship or quality.

Pros on mine:
-small
-not too bad looking
-has proper vent holes already in it
-doesn't smell

Cons:
-has only one "bin" so not sure what I will do when the worms have multiplied to crazy numbers, there is already tons of babies and cocoons in there
-I've done one harvest and it was messy, gross, difficult, confusing and did I mention messy?

This is probably not super helpful in the homemade vs premade debate but thought it might give you something to think about when choosing.

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Re: Home made worm-bins vs shop brought bins

Post  arla on 10/14/2011, 6:53 pm

Thanks for the input, I think with everything said I'll go for a homemade, my 3 year old always enjoys crafts projects and since I plan to keep it outside somewhere anyway, I'm not sure that looks will be a huge issue. I've found a nice plan that seems to look good for making one, just have to get the bits together and see how it goes.

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Re: Home made worm-bins vs shop brought bins

Post  camprn on 10/15/2011, 7:36 am

Arla, did you see this thread? Wiggler Hilton Very Happy

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Re: Home made worm-bins vs shop brought bins

Post  arla on 10/16/2011, 10:44 am

I hadn't seen that thread, found it after I posted this thread, reading through it and thinking still, unfortunately it sounds like it's fraught with peril and expense (at least the home-made ones) so working on a hoop house first (although that's turned out to have more issues than I expected).

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Re: Home made worm-bins vs shop brought bins

Post  Josh on 10/16/2011, 3:55 pm

Here is what I use, a $5.98 plastic tote, with some holes in the lid for air.



Here is how I made it and how to set it up for the worms.






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Re: Home made worm-bins vs shop brought bins

Post  mijejo on 10/16/2011, 4:14 pm

Well, now that seems too easy!

Thanks Josh!

Here are several questions:

Where do you keep it? What weather extremes can it endure?

How do you harvest the worm compost without disturbing the worms?

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Re: Home made worm-bins vs shop brought bins

Post  Josh on 10/17/2011, 8:46 pm

I keep it in the storage building, that is heated in the winter. They need to be kept from freezing temps. I keep them outside in warm weather, and I keep them in the shade, and out of the rain. You could keep them in a garage, basement, storage room...house if you want...if your mother's not around affraid
Although in my worm bin video #3...I look like I'm Squ"worm"ish I'm really not.

I feed them food scraps, and add damp newspaper on top of the food, I check it every couple of days and the newspaper and food will start to disappear, and I add more food & newspaper, soon there will be what looks like potting soil in the bottom, and it will have an "earth" smell, when the worm bin gets about 1/3 full of worm castings, I start putting the food in one corner of the bin, and do that for several days and most of the worms will move to the food in the corner, and I take out the worm castings all but what is the the corner where most of the worms are. Then I just add more damp newspaper and more food and start over. If I don't need the castings to use, I just let them pile up till I need them, but not letting the bin get over 2/3 full. If the worm castings that I take out has a few worms in it, it doesn't matter, those are just added to the garden and the ones left in the worm bin will multiply.

Once you get it started, you won't need to check it as often, you will soon get to know how often you need to feed them and how much. And if you want to go on vacation, just add a extra amount of damp newspaper, they will eat that if they don't have anything else.

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I did what Josh did

Post  nycquilter on 10/17/2011, 9:44 pm

I used a bin within a bin for a place for seepage, drilled holes around the top for air holes, few holes in bottom to drain into other bin, separated the two bins with upside down plastic pint size containers (recycled). It works beautifully

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Here's mine

Post  ishootaction on 10/20/2011, 1:45 pm



I used 4" PVC between bins 1 and 2. I also used aluiminum screen on the inside to cover my air holes. Just got worms yesterday and don't think I lost any last night. cheers

I will keep you posted. I noticed there were fruit flys I think already in there. Not cool. So I will be looking for a way to get rid of them.

I am also concerned about our temps 90 to 100 right now. They are in the shade but maybe I should add water. I don't want to drowned them. Maybe someone can chime in here and let me know. Thanks

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Re: Home made worm-bins vs shop brought bins

Post  Josh on 10/20/2011, 7:34 pm

It looks good ishootaction! I've never used the kind that drains off the tea. Mine doesn't have extra liquid to drain. I keep it that way, moist but not real wet. When my temps are up high, they did ok without extra water, just make sure they don't dry out. Since mine doesn't drain, I can't be sure what yours will do, but if mine gets to wet, it smells bad and it gets other things living in there that I'm not crazy about having in there.

To help get rid of those fruit flies, sit a small container of apple cider vinegar in there and the flies will go to it and die in it. Also keep the food scraps covered up good with damp newspaper, that helps keep the flies from finding the food.

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Re: Home made worm-bins vs shop brought bins

Post  ishootaction on 10/20/2011, 9:10 pm

Josh you are the MAN! Thanks I am a little freaked about it. Hey question. I put shredded cardboard about a quarter bin full damp not wet then put my scraps from the kitchen that I had been saving for about a week then about 1lb and 1/2 worms then a damp piece of paper on top. My question is. Have you ever used cardboard or known anybody who has? I didn't like the idea of the ink on the news paper. I put the cardboard in a shreder nice neat little strips.

Also I put about 8oz water on the top of the paper that is on top of the worms when I got home today. Hot about 95*. I think it just made it damp. By the way absolutely no liguid in tray 1 yet.

Thanks again I am so glad you are here to talk to.

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Re: Home made worm-bins vs shop brought bins

Post  Josh on 10/22/2011, 3:34 pm

You know what else I discovered with the worm castings....seeds sprout and grow in the bin...maybe a tomato I've put in the bin, its seeds will sprout, cucumbers, cantaloupe and others, most of the time I just take and stir things up and let the little plants die and the worms eat the dead stuff.

But I had some tomato seeds sprout and even though they didn't have any light, they were really good looking little seedlings, nice fat, short, strong stems, so I took them out and put them in pots and they grew up to be some of the best plants I've ever had started from seed inside. I now start my cucumbers, tomato, cantaloupe and other seeds in the bins. Then when the plants get their fist true leaves I take them, with a scoop of the worm castings and put them in pots where they can have light.
You would think without light the stems of the tomatoes would be long and leggy but they weren't!

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Re: Home made worm-bins vs shop brought bins

Post  RoOsTeR on 10/23/2011, 2:08 pm

@Josh wrote:You know what else I discovered with the worm castings....seeds sprout and grow in the bin...maybe a tomato I've put in the bin, its seeds will sprout, cucumbers, cantaloupe and others, most of the time I just take and stir things up and let the little plants die and the worms eat the dead stuff.

But I had some tomato seeds sprout and even though they didn't have any light, they were really good looking little seedlings, nice fat, short, strong stems, so I took them out and put them in pots and they grew up to be some of the best plants I've ever had started from seed inside. I now start my cucumbers, tomato, cantaloupe and other seeds in the bins. Then when the plants get their fist true leaves I take them, with a scoop of the worm castings and put them in pots where they can have light.
You would think without light the stems of the tomatoes would be long and leggy but they weren't!

Now that is awesome! What a Face

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Re: Home made worm-bins vs shop brought bins

Post  Lemonie on 10/23/2011, 5:51 pm

Nice tutorial! I'm trying to ease my hubs into accepting the idea of a worm bin. We are very limited on space. Plus, I need it to be someplace convenient to use....because I'm awful at emptying the small compost bucket under the sink into the large tumbler outside. SOOOOOOOO, I think I shall attempt making one that fits under the sink. And it has to be mostly out of recycled items because I promised I wouldn't spend more than $20. Now....off to find the right containers. I will post pics if I finally get it done.

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update on $5.98 homemade worm bin

Post  Josh on 11/28/2011, 5:25 pm

I thought I'd give you an update on the cheap $5.98 homemade worm bin I made back on Oct. 16th.
In the video you can see I only added newspaper...worms...and left over food scraps.

Here are some photos of what it looks like today Nov. 28th.


It has about 2inchs of damp shredded newspaper on top.
When I pull the newspaper back you can see the worm castings.

The only thing I added was food scraps and damp shredded newspapers, but it looks like soil, and it has a good earthly smell to it.

(notice all the spots of worm castings on the sides of the worm bin, the worms come out of the bedding and they move all over leaving worm castings behind)



to give you an idea of how much worm castings was in there, I removed the newspaper and put the worm castings in gallon size containers.


So less than a month 1/2 I have two gallons of worm castings. I just leave the castings in the worm bin, and let it fill up, the worms will just keep moving up to the new food scraps, and I keep everythings covered with new damp newspaper. You can use damp shredded cardboard too as long as it's not coated with anything.

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Re: Home made worm-bins vs shop brought bins

Post  RoOsTeR on 11/28/2011, 5:29 pm

Thanks for the update Josh. I still cant wait to get my worms. But I am going to...till after the holidays I think. I have bins for them, just need the worms. I am impressed by what they have done in that little time:D

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Re: Home made worm-bins vs shop brought bins

Post  Josh on 11/28/2011, 5:35 pm

Also, I only used about a cup of worms, however many is in the video, there wasn't a lot of them. I took them out of my SFG.

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Re: Home made worm-bins vs shop brought bins

Post  RoOsTeR on 11/28/2011, 8:11 pm

Truly impressive. I can't wait to get worms. No

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Re: Home made worm-bins vs shop brought bins

Post  AvaDGardner on 2/18/2012, 11:52 am

This is a really brilliant idea. Depending on your area, it may be too many holes, and create too much drying of the bedding.

What you use for a base will determine how much liquid you will have. Josh used newspapers. I use composted manure. I add garden weeds, over grown plants I've cut back, decaying leaves, etc (I don't have much from my patio garden). I also add a small amount of decaying food. When the worms are visible in the food, I add more food. The liquid comes from the decomposition.

I check my bin every few days for liquid. I drain it off and pour it on my plants. They love it! (The spigot in a collector bin that has no bedding or worms is an advantage of purchased systems. You can get them at stores that sell processed water. Another advantage are trays with holes that allow the worms to move out of the castings and up into the new food & bedding. A third is they are usually on legs, making the trays more accessible. A tray of bedding and worms be as much as 30 lbs!)

How much wetness do you need? Fill a bucket with shredded paper. Add water. Squeeze out. Voila! Add to worm bin.

Worms move to the food...and to the comfort (think red wiggly couch potatoes!). They move up and down in the mix, depending on conditions. They like it damp, not wet. Decaying matter creates plenty of moisture for them.

Keep them in the shade or inside (temps below 85 degrees F). Keep the amount of food low (decaying matter can heat the bin and kill them...less is more). If you MUST have them outside, use plenty of damp newspaper on top (like 6") to keep them cool in hot weather.

Cardboard can be used. Just shred and soak and squeeze. Remember comfort. They don't like rough textures.

Worm castings can also be made into tea for your plants (different from the decomp drainage liquid). Take one cup castings. Add to one gallon water. Let sit for an hour. Use within 12 hours.

It's an instant nutritional boost (especially Nitrogen) for your plants!



So...if you shoot action, what type of action is it? With your avatar I can't imagine that it is gunpowder related (i.e., Cowboy Action Handguns).


@ishootaction wrote:

I used 4" PVC between bins 1 and 2. I also used aluiminum screen on the inside to cover my air holes. Just got worms yesterday and don't think I lost any last night. cheers

I will keep you posted. I noticed there were fruit flys I think already in there. Not cool. So I will be looking for a way to get rid of them.

I am also concerned about our temps 90 to 100 right now. They are in the shade but maybe I should add water. I don't want to drowned them. Maybe someone can chime in here and let me know. Thanks

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Re: Home made worm-bins vs shop brought bins

Post  AvaDGardner on 2/18/2012, 4:36 pm

FWIW, my new bin is producing about 12 ounces of liquid fertilizer daily.

Spigots rule!

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Re: Home made worm-bins vs shop brought bins

Post  GWN on 2/19/2012, 10:24 am

thanks avadgardener....cool name
I am still not seeing a lot of action in mine, the worms seem to want to crawl under the paper and line themselves along the plastic on the edges. I have read how they mate, and so perhaps they are laying in wait of partners and just wish I was LEAVE them alone. Smile

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Re: Home made worm-bins vs shop brought bins

Post  AvaDGardner on 2/19/2012, 11:27 am

My first thought is they were raised in a different media than you have.

Do you know in what they were raised? What was in the package of worms you received?

Good news...they aren't trying to escape. They are indicating they aren't happy.

Are they eating the food you give them? If not, what are you feeding them?

But no...they aren't being wallflowers. They are thought to be hermaphraditic...able to reproduce by themselves or with a partner.

Which makes me want to put on some jazzy music and see if they get to it...

Today mine are more interested in the media they came in than the media in my container. I hope that changes...or I'll have to add more media like theirs.

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Re: Home made worm-bins vs shop brought bins

Post  GWN on 2/19/2012, 11:46 am

I have had them since January 31st and they were "packaged" in with compost.
I have the plastic worm tower and the bottom collection part is starting to be lined with lots of what looks like worm poop.
Is this how its supposed to happen with these multi tray units?
Food, Bits of bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, coffee grinds, egg shells, (finely ground), apple cores, pear cores. I also took some carrots that had semi rotted, and grated them up...

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Re: Home made worm-bins vs shop brought bins

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