Introduction: It's a Vermiculture World

The main focus of this project is lots of...worms or "angels of the soil" as nicknamed by some ancient Chinese cultures.  Worms are a slimy but formidable force that can eat their way through organic matter and leave a trail of rich compost pellets. Vermicomposting is the practice of using worms to turn your organic waste into nutrient-rich fertilizer. These amazing little organisms can eat up to half their body weight in food every day and leave behind a byproduct that you can sell- yes, people do really buy worm poop.

Step 1: 1. Materials and First Step

You will need 3 stackable bins with a lid for the top bin and a compost tea catching tray to go on the bottom. You'll also need some sort of raised platform between the 1st bin(bottom) and 2nd bin(middle). We used concrete bricks and this allows any excess moisture to drain. You'll also need a faucet connector and fittings to drain the compost tea when there is excess moisture. The only hand tool needed is a drill, and lastly some red wiggler worms

First step: Drill in several holes into the bottom of your 3rd (top) bin. This allows for the worms to be able to migrate up from the 2nd (middle) bin, once they have digested all the food in the 2nd bin and have left castings. This takes up to several months depending on how many worms you have. We have one and half pounds and will allow for 2 months. Pay attention to see if there are any worm larvae left behind and wait for then to hatch before gathering the castings.

Step 2: 2. Drill in Drainholes

In the 2nd bin (middle) drill in 4 to 6 holes to allow for drainage of the compost tea to the 1st bin (bottom.) Don't add too many holes because you don't want any of your worm buddies going down into the 1st bin(bottom) instead of migrating up to the 3rd (top) bin.

Step 3: 3. Add the Faucet Handle

Choose some type of faucet to install on the 1st bin(bottom) so that you can drain the compost tea into a tray. It's important to drain any access compost tea as soon as possible so that the tea doesn't become anaerobic and produce bad smells. The faster you use it the more beneficial for your plants.

Drill a hole slightly smaller than the size of the faucet's back pipe into the 1st bin(bottom), and glue it securely around the connections parts.

Step 4: 4. Add a Closing Gasket to the Back End of the Faucet

Once your faucet is glued in to the bin and secure add a rubber gasket to the back end of the pipe. Make sure it's secure, adding more glue if necessary. Fill the bin with water pass the pipe and let it sit overnight. If there is no leaks then proceed to step 5.

Step 5: 5. Add Some Support

Add some kind of support to your 1st bin(bottom) to raise up the 2nd bin(middle) to allow for drainage. Once there is excess moisture drain the compost tea into the tray below.

Step 6: 6. Prepare the Bedding and Food

In the 2nd bin (middle) add some layers of bedding and food for the worms.

Tear up newspaper or any type of paper product that you would normally recycle. These paper products will make the bedding for the worms and should be around 2" deep and not compacted down. Make sure the bedding is fluffed up and has plenty of air pockets for the worms to move around.

For the second layer on top of the bedding add organic material such as grass clippings, food scraps, or leaf/yard waste.

Keep the lid on the 2nd bin and don't place the 3rd bin(top) until half of the bin is filled with compost and the worms are ready to migrate up to the top bin. Repeat bedding and food layers.

For the final touch add your wiggly friends on top of the bedding and food in the 2nd bin (middle.)


Step 7: 8. Finished Product

This is what the final project looks like once the worms have moved to the 3rd bin(top.) Stack all the bins together and make sure to monitor the worms progress every day. Make sure to keep the Vermiculture bin in a cool dry place that is shaded from direct sun. The ideal temperature for worms is between 55 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

Comments

author
cachewr83 made it! (author)2015-02-16

Hello, when I am making this, do I need to water the newspaper and stuff down before I put in the worms?

author
earthformed made it! (author)earthformed2017-03-28

Yes, the bedding material needs to be moistened - not soaked. Keep it about like a wrung out sponge. This will prevent the worms delicate skin from desiccating on contact with the paper.

author
manicmonday made it! (author)2015-05-24

As a plumber I would recommend 100% silicone caulking. Put it on both sides and let it dry thoroughly. You will need to provide support until the silicone can cure. Once it cures it's very strong and water tight.

author
DIYWEAPONS made it! (author)2014-10-20

surely you would need to have a larger gap between the 3rd and 2nd boxes otherwise the second bin would fill too fast

author
bobsfrankenbeans made it! (author)2014-02-07

Hello! Thanks for the inscrutable! Quick question, once the worms have migrated to the top bin and you've emptied/used the middle bins compost how do you get them to go back down to the middle bin after they've used up the top bin?

author
LeOSSJ2 made it! (author)2011-12-03

Hi!

I do have some little questions for you...

Is Eisenia phoetida the only species useful for the compost bin?
Could I do a pile of bins similar to yours using some empty (and clean) buckets of paint? (Around 15 or 20 litres each)

I guess that's all for now..
Thanks in advance!
Great instructable!

author
pharcydeabc made it! (author)2010-09-13

I bought my worm compost bin from www.greencompostbins.com

http://greencompostbins.com/categories/Worm-Composters/

author
Biotele made it! (author)2010-05-08

Aristotle said that they were the guts of the earth, which is an accurate description.

author
meralgia made it! (author)2010-04-25

Please be sure to freeze your castings and compost before using them.  I understand that red wigglers are not native to the United States and should not be introduced into your soil.

author
intranoggin made it! (author)2010-04-16

I've had a worm bucket for couple years.  It works great for kitchen scraps, but not so good for lawn and garden clippings.  Has anybody tried just adding worms to their standard compost bin (like one of these tumblers http://www.compostbins.com/compost-bins/compost-tumblers/envirocyclecomposter.cfm?source=Banner&kwid=Tellapart&tid=tellapart)? 

author
vermiculture made it! (author)vermiculture2010-04-16

I'm not an expert on tumblers but I don't see why not. I put worms into my hot compost bin over the ground and that worked out great- I think the tumbler is the same concept but just not attached to the soil. But you have to make sure it doesn't get too hot otherwise it kills the worms, so not sure if the beauty of tumblers is that accelerates the heating process to make the compost faster.

author
thatoneguydavid made it! (author)2010-04-14

this may be a stupidly simple question, but what is the use cycle of this system?   For example; when and where do you add new material.  When and where do you harvest compost?  And what do you do with the "tea" ?  how often do you add new material / harvest compost?

author
vermiculture made it! (author)vermiculture2010-04-15

The worms should have 3 days worth of food, but don't over feed them. If you start to see fruitflies or it smells a bit off, put more newspaper down and let the worms finish the food that they have. Depending on the amount of worms that you have- we have pound and half you let them eat for about 3 months and then migrate them toward the top bin. Look to make sure that their worm eggs have hatched so that they can migrate too. And then take the middle bin and find the worm castings, small black mounds. Use the castings to make compost tea or just your the castings to fertilize your plants- same for the tea.

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