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It's a Vermiculture World

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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.
 
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Step 1: 1. Materials and First Step

Picture of 1. Materials and First Step
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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

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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.
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?
LeOSSJ22 years ago
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!
pharcydeabc3 years ago
I bought my worm compost bin from www.greencompostbins.com

http://greencompostbins.com/categories/Worm-Composters/
Biotele4 years ago
Aristotle said that they were the guts of the earth, which is an accurate description.
meralgia4 years ago

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.

intranoggin4 years ago

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)? 

vermiculture (author)  intranoggin4 years ago
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.
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?
vermiculture (author)  thatoneguydavid4 years ago
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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