In this instructable I will show you how to create a slick looking worm bin which will fit under your kitchen sink.
QUICK UPDATE: After over a year, the dudes are still going strong! This design totally works great.
Step 1: Stuff You'll Need!
You will need
- 2 Buckets - They should be 5 gallon, but I've used 2 x 2.5-3 gallon buckets. I don't yet know if this will work with buckets this small. Check your local bakery for free ones that they're throwing away. I tried that but ended up having to buy a couple cheap plastic garbage cans.
- 1 Shopping Tote - This needs to be polyester because if it's cotton, the worms will eat through it.
- A newspaper and/or plain cardboard - A regular newspaper will do. Don't use the glossy type. Strip anything non cardboard (like tape) off the cardboard.
- Some water
- Some method of drilling or puncturing holes in the buckets - a drill, knife, hammer, force of will, etc.
- A small amount of leaves and grass clippings
- Worms - I'd start small with a half a pound (500 or so) and if you need more, get more after
Step 2: Drill Holes in the Buckets
I put both buckets together like they are going to sit when they're finished and drilled holes through both of them so that they would line up. The fit of the buckets was so tight on mine that I ended up folding some leftover cardboard paper and using it as a spacer between the buckets so that air could get to the inside holes.
Make sure you drill a few holes in the bottom of the inside bucket. This will allow water to drain out so your worms don't drown.
This is why you have two buckets. The bottom bucket catches the "worm juice" so you can use it on your plants to encourage microbial growth (this is a great thing!). I haven't tested this, but I'm thinking you could dilute the worm juice in a 5 gallon pale with water and aerate the mixture with an aquarium pump and a tablespoon of molasses to create a type of compost tea. If you try this, please let me know how it goes. If you want to qualify your results, set one plant aside to try this on so you can see the difference in results. Remember, compost tea's results are most noticeable in unhealthy soils.
Step 3: Sacrifice One of Your Grocery Totes
The bedding and worms and "canopy" (for lack of a better word at the moment) will go inside the bag. The bag allows water to drain out freely and air to get in, while keeping all the castings and bedding and compost contained.
Make sure the bag is made out of polyester! If it's made of cotton, the worms will eat through it. This wouldn't be the disaster of a lifetime, but it would potentially make more of a mess than you want.
Step 4: Time to Tear Some Paper!
I'm sure you may be wondering about the newspaper print being bad for the worms as I did, however when I googled this, I found out that most newspapers use soy ink. This doesn't include paper with shiny surfaces. I'm talking about your typical newspaper...paper.
Feel free to read for yourself here, or google for yourself. I'm not going to claim I know everything on this topic. I'm only sharing what I'm doing and the research I did.
Step 5: Add Your Worms
The worms came in a bag with bedding and soil, so I just had to gently dump the bag into the compost bin bag.
Step 6: Cover the Top
Place the leaves on top of the worms to give them a nice homey canopy.
Step 7: You're Done!
Place your finely chopped or blended veggie scraps, coffee grounds, tea leaves etc under the leaves and watch them disappear. Well that would be boring. Just put the lid on after and trust they're disappearing.
A few notes:
What to feed your worms:
Fruit scraps and peels (mold/rot is fine)
Bread and grains
Coffee grounds (and filters)
Crushed egg shells
Napkins, paper towels
What not to feed your worms:
Don't overfeed citrus (no more than 1/5 of worm food. I don't feed my worms any citrus)
Twigs and branches
Dog/cat feces, cat litter
Keep an eye on the worms health and make sure they're doing okay. I usually judge that by how wiggly and energetic they are. Research worm farms for yourself and make changes if you need to.
Please share any ideas you have or edits you've made.
Thanks for reading!
Feel free to check out my website at http://www.starterpermaculture.com
or my twitter feed @starterpermie
Step 8: Update
My wife and I went on our honeymoon for two weeks so we fed the dudes quite a bit of scraps, and they were still striving better than ever when we got back.
Major success! Very happy with the project.