Triple Bin Worm Composter - Vermicompost




Food Plot Survival (FPS)
Having the infrastructure in place to thrive in a grid down society.

Food Plot Survival is a concept of wildlife conservation and self preservation. Growing crops that will help feed the wildlife in lean winter months while at the same time can provide food and sustenance for me and mine should the need arise.

Step 1: We Will Start by Recycling Old Plastic Barrels, These Barrels Must Be Split in Half.

Step 2: Start by Finding the Center of the Barrels Perpendicular to the Bung Holes and Plastic Barrel Mold Line.

Step 3: Once the Center Is Found on Both the Top & Bottom of the Barrel Use Duct Tape for an Easy Saw Line.

Step 4: Using an Old Board & Eye Bolts, Strap the Barrel Down Securely. This Makes Cutting the Barrel Much Safer.

Step 5: Lay the Barrel on Its Side to Complete the Cuts on Both the Top and Bottom of the Barrel.

Step 6: Now Is a Good Time to Have Your Helper Take the Duct Tape Off.

Step 7: Next Step, Frame Construction.

Step 8: Before the Frame Can Be Made, the Lip on the Top of the Barrel Must Be Cut to Accept the Width of a 2x4.

Step 9: Once the Lip Is Off, Measure for the Frame and Screw Together.

Step 10: Using Wide Head Screws, Attach the Drum to the Inside of the Frame.

Step 11: Up Until This Point This Project Is Very Similiar to My Top Bar Barrel Bee Hive.

Step 12: Cut the Skids on an Angle to Make It Easier to Slide Around the Yard.

Step 13: Once the Skids Are Built, Attach Them to the Sides of the Frame. Next Comes the Support Pieces to Stiffen the Entire Frame.

Step 14: At This Point the Frame Is Finished As It Is Now Time to Start on the Inside of the Barrel.

Step 15: Divide the Interior of the Barrel Into 3 Equal Spaces.

An old wire shelf works well to keep the three compartments seperate.
The worms can easily crawl from one section to another while the compost and castings stay where they're suppose to.

Step 16: Attach a 2x4 to the Top of the Frame. This Will Be Used to Install Hinges for the Top.

Thin fence panels can be used to frame up the lid of the worm bin.
Installing hinges on the 2x4 will give the bin an opening for air circulation yet keep it dry when it rains.

Step 17: A Simple Sheet of Corrugated Plastic Serves As Roofing Material.

Step 18: The Worm Bin Is Shown Here With the Side Shelves Installed.

Step 19: Drill a Hole Into the Bottom of the Barrel for Drainage.

Step 20: Placing a Bucket Under the Barrel Will Capture Excess Nutrient Rich Water Which Can Be Poured Onto Your Plants.

Step 21: Priming the Worm Bin.

Line the bottom of the barrel with damp cardboard.
Well aged compost is applied over the cardboard.
Shredded newspaper helps to absorb moisture.
This bin is then topped with leaves from last fall.

When the worms come in the mail give them a few days to get use to the new home before starting to fill one of the side bins.

This system allows for the continuous production of worm castings. The center section is what I call the worms "home". Once the colony is established, food waste will then be put into the bin on the right. The worms will migrate over and eat, if the food gets too hot from decomposition, they can retreat to the center section.

Once the right bin has been composted and turned into castings it's time to start filling the left section. The worms will find the new food source and migrate to the new restaurant. Don't be in a hurry to harvest the right section. It may contain many worm eggs... allow them time to hatch and join the party.

Eventually the center section will become full of castings. Replace this section with well aged compost and more cardboard. A screen can be made to fit over the barrel and worms can easily be sifted from the castings. This composter is waist level and very easy on the back. Next spring it can pull double duty as a potting station for the new garden vegetables and flower seedlings.

Step 22: I Hope You Enjoyed Our Instructable... Visit Us on Facebook for More.

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    16 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I love this idea but when I bought red wigglers to stock my homemade worm farm in the basement, they all tried to escape through the top that was not fastened down. I had to get a Rubbermaid tote with a tight fitting lid to keep them corralled. I think they would all be gone with your lid propped up like that for ventilation.

    I do want to try to make a top bar hive with your Instructable and I did make a couple of horse feeders using these instruction.

    3 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    It is probably too hot inside... Water it fresh water

    Generally, if the worms are trying to get out then there is something in there they didn't like. Too much moisture, not enough moisture, too much citrus waste etc. Worms also don't like onion skins, it burns them.

    If you provide a happy home they will be content and stay there... with the lid off.

    This happened when I first stocked my bin and I know this is why I lost my first bin of worms. I only feed them fruits, no citrus, and vegetables. When ever I open the bin, there are some that have climbed to the top so I flip them back in. They have the wanderlust.


    3 years ago

    A great instructable! I collected a plastic barrel today to make myself a worm farm. I have one question though - do the worms fall through that drainage hole and drown in the bucket of worm tea?


    4 years ago

    great instructable! one question, I've had mine running for a couple months now, and bugs haven't been a problem, until today, I killed three cockroaches inside the drum. How do you recommend preventing such disgusting bugs from getting in my worm bin? Am I just feeding too much?

    Thanks for this, will print it out and give to my mother to see if she can use it. I'm sure she can, so I'll give it a shot. :)


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Any tips for what to do w/worms in the winter - it is too cold here Dec-March for them to be in the composter.
    Any ideas appreciated.

    2 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Yes. Make sure the sides are insulated with something, such as straw. You can use a light bulb to keep them warm in the winter, but also...fresh horse manure will keep them warm & it happens to be their favourite food.

    I am going to take a large 1 gallon glass container and put an electrical heat tape inside it (the kind that keeps your pipes from freezing in the winter).

    I will then bury the glass jar in the middle of my worm container. The heat tape should warm the entire surface of the glass container and allow the worms something warm to snuggle up to. In addition, I will lay a heavily quilted moving blanket over the top to keep out the wind but still allow it to breath.


    5 years ago on Step 4

    I have cut these barrels before (to make worm bin's) and found that a circular saw works much better, the barrel doesn't jump around.


    An awesome Instructable!

    Why do I need 5 extra barrel halves?

    I have the barrels and this is next on the list. What part of the country do you live in?

    Do I need to build a well insulated nest for the worm bin to set in during the winter months? Straw bales or similar?

    1 reply

    Hello, I have more instructables coming up and it was easier to cut them all at once. My home is in Ohio, I will transfer the worms to one of those cut barrels. The barrel will be half buried in the ground with straw bales and mulch covering it.


    5 years ago on Step 2

    An old carpenters trick: If you put the corner of a square on a circle, the points where the outside edges cross the circle will be the ends of a diameter. (Draw two diameters to find the center).

    This always works. From high school geometry, an inscribed angle cuts off an arc that is twice as big as the angle. Since the square is 90 degrees, the arc will be 180 degress, or half the circle.

    1 reply