Introduction: Worm Condo Composter
Since worms will naturally migrate towards food and I'm not a fan of cleaning out my worm bin, I looked at some commercially available composters and decided I could make one. As the worms eat the food in the bottom bin and move up to the next one, you're left with super compost without the tangled mass of worms.
Step 1: You Will Need...
-- At least 3 stackable totes with lids. I used shoebox sized Rubbermaid totes but Styrofoam coolers would work too. Consider the amount of scraps your family created in a week to help choose the size of bins. 2 people live in my house and we don't generate much scrap.
-- A drill
-- A large drill bit. I used a 21/64 because that's what I found in the basement.
-- 4 small plastic containers to use as risers. I used small yogurt cups (not shown)
-- Some newspaper, shredded
-- A handful of dirt. For indoor composters, bug free potting soil.
-- Red worms
Step 2: Prepare the Bins...
Leave one bin untouched! Rotting foods tend to leak and you'll need something to catch the drips. This water can be used to water plants.
For the rest of the bins: drill as many holes in the bottom of your bins without compromising structural integrity. The holes should be big enough to allow an adult worm to pass through. You may need to get more bins as time goes by. I started with 3 bins and will be upgrading to 6 soon.
Step 3: Using the Bins
Put some shredded paper in the bottom of the bin and your bin is now ready to use! I keep an empty bin (with the paper in the bottom of it) under the kitchen sink. When it's full, I add a layer of paper and a bit of dirt and move it to the basement. I also keep one of the spare lids under the bin in the kitchen to catch whatever may slip through the holes. If your bin starts to smell, add more newsprint. Newspaper is very good at absorbing odors.
Step 4: Setting Up the Condo
The untouched bin goes in the bottom. Put the small plastic containers in the corners to act as risers. Stackable containers don't allow for much room between bins when they're stacked one inside the other. Also, worm bins do generate liquids and if you give it melon rinds and ignore it, it can generate a lot of liquid!
Place your first full bin on the risers and add your worms. If you put a lid on it, your worms are less likely to escape. As you fill bins, add them to the stack. Need compost or run out of bins? Take a look in the bottom bin. It should be compost and ready to reuse. If you're just setting up and the bottom bin is still scraps, you'll need to acquire and perforate more bins. An established worm colony can eat through my garbage in under a month. I've heard it can take about 3 months to establish a colony.