"The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out...."
Here I will show you how to build your own stackable worm bin. Why would you want to raise worms? Well lets us count the ways.
1) Reduce your waste. These little work horses (as if horses work as hard as these little guys do) eat just about anything: non-glossy paper, non-meat/dairy food products, cardboard. Although they don't really like citrus food, they'll get to it eventually.
2) Their worm poop (castings) is perhaps the best organic fertilizer available.
3) They work much faster than traditional composting methods in turning material into garden-ready amendments.
4) The juice is also a good liquid fertilizer (mixed 1 part juice to 10 parts water).
5) Extras make great food for chickens and pet fish.
6) You don't need to buy bait should you decide to go fishing.
I should also note that we are talking about red wrigglers (or as those trained in the arcane language arts would say Eisenia foetida). Other worms might work, but keep the nightcrawlers in the lawn and garden where they belong - they're happier there. Night crawlers are the Wild Ones of the worm world and like to be free and need room to move.
Step 1: The Old Way
Traditionally worm bins have basically been a box with worms. Harvesting the castings usually entails dumping the bin and picking the worms out by hand. Piling the dirt up on a sunny day makes the worms retreat and you're suppose to scrape the castings off the top until you end up with a ball of worms. More than a couple of pounds of worms and this is a dirty, tedious chore and really most unnecessary.
This "box" system also makes protecting the worms from predators like my chickens and dogs pretty difficult. A fully loaded tote like my old one here, is nearly impossible to lid. The walls of the box bulge out making the lid best used as a tray to catch the juice. But then you've got about 80lbs of worms, castings, and scraps on your juice tray which makes harvesting it more difficult. And if you're not on top of it, the juice will keep the casting wet which will make it smell bad and create an unhealthy environment for your worms.
The advantages of stackable worm bins is that they eliminate all the above problems. A stack of smaller containers wont bulge so it can be lidded. It makes the collection of castings easier since once the worms have eaten everything on one level they will migrate up the system to where the food is, leaving the valuable casting behind. Likewise, it's much easier to to get to the juice when only needing to move a couple levels of the "condo" to access it all.
Currently on the market are a number of stackable worm bins all of which cost $50-$150. Now I'm not only a little lazy, but I'm also cheap. And so I was determined to find a way to build one for next to nothing. And that my dear friends is exactly what I have done.
Not only is it dirt cheap, but it can also be easily adapted for nearly any situation. You can build one just as easily for a family of 10 as you can for the individual.