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.