Ok so this is apart of two ongoing projects
Recycling everything and building and maintaining a greenhouse.
So to recycle food wastes the best way i found was vermiculture! A fancy word for worms. And worms love to eat food wastes. And the best organic fertilizer is worm poop.
This instructable will show you how to make a vermicular composer, from two 5 gallon buckets!
But why is worm poop good plant fertilizer
Worms eat and digest their body weight every day, producing a 100% natural fertilizer know as worm castings or worm poop.
Worms castings are Rich in Nitrogen, Rich in Phosphates, Rich In Potash
And what's more? Worm castings can be brewed into a potent liquid form organic fertilizer and organic insecticide called Worm Tea! Wow!
Step 1: WHAT YOU NEED
2 five gallon buckets
a spout or faucet
some small nuts bolts, or i used a pop rivet gun
a hack saw
spray paint (optional)
Step 2: Step One: Cutting Down the First Bucket
Take one of the buckets, flip it upside down, take your drill and your smallest drill bit. And go crazy and drill a bunch of holes in the bottom. Now take off the handle.
Now your going to take your measuring tape and measure 5 inches down from the bottom of the bucket.
you are going to draw a line at 3 inches down and 5 inches down.
Do this around the whole bucket, a couple of inches apart and then connect the dots making 2 solid parallel lines around the whole bucket at 5 and 3 inches.
Now get your hack saw out, and start cutting start with the 3 inch line and then do the 5.
(tip for cutting buckets: start your saw at a angle and then cut and that angle while turning the bucket)
Step 3: Step Two: Cutting Out the "crown" or the Legs
Ok now i tried to measure this all out and make some fancy pattern but i ended up jsut free cutting some a "crown" shape out of the top of the bucket you just cut the rings out of.
These will be your legs i ended up with 5 legs about 4 - 5 inches wide this worked well, you can make this what ever you wan't or don't do it at all, This will be just the stand for the composter.
OK so you should have a 2 inch ring a bottom of a bucket with a bunch of holes and a top of a bucket that looks like a crown.
Step 4: Step Three: Assembling the Parts Into Your Composter.
First take your "crown" and set it on the floor. Then take your 2 inch ring, and force it into the top of the crown. If you measured it righ and force it in straight, It should stop right at the bottom of the crown, making the top "reenforced" with two layers of 5 gallon bucket.
Now take your crown fill it upside down, they are now the legs of the composter.
Take your second uncut bucket and the bottom should fit snug into the top of your legs. This should all stick together with out any glue at all!!
Ok now you got your legs, with a bucket on top, so take that bottom piece you cut out and drilled holes into and just drop it into the top of your other bucket, this will settle about 3-5 inches form the bottom of the composter, so that you now have a space that will act as a well making sure you have great drainage for your worms not to drown.
Step 5: Step Four: Creating the Lid
Take the handle off the second bucket (the ones i had were all plastic not the metal ones but im sure you could fashion a metal one from those also) So i took off the handle, bend the sides down, then in a L after the second bend i cut it off at about a inch or so.
There's your handle now i got out my drill and drilled a hole through the handle and bucket lid.
Attach it using some small nuts and bolts, but i had some pop rivets and a rivet gun and some small washers. This worked really well.
Now drill a series of small holes into the top of the lid this is for ventalation
Step 6: Step Five: Adding a Spout
Now its time to add a spout,
I got out my drill and my 1 inch diameter hole bit and drilled a hole for the spout to go into. Make the hole as close as you can to the bottom of the bucket, but not through the bucket, this should be drilled through the 3 layers of bucket the legs the ring and the top bucket.
(in hindsight it would have been better to drill the hole form the inside of the top bucket before you put in the bottom sieve. ) i drilled the spout too high and too much water stays in bottom, but nothing a tip of the bucket cant fix.
I took this spout off a old cooler, it perfect for this, it was the right size to just screw into the inch hole with out using any glue at all.
Now your finished with your composter, You have a bucket on a stand with spout, and drainage level that will seperate water rich with worm poop, form the compost and dirt.
Step 7: Step Six: a Paint Job
I painted this a flat black to match the rest fo my greenhouse stuff, so with one can of fleamarket paint ($1.50) i sanded off some of the saw shavings, and cot off some of the bucket trim to make it look less like a 5 gallon bucket.
i did 2 coats and let dry over night before adding the worms
Step 8: Step Seven: Filling the Buckets
Ok now your paint is dry time to fill the buckets
Get some small rocks, and fill the bottom of the bucket covering the the holes with as small of rocks as you can get.
This will help filter the water, along with keeping your worms from squirming into the bottom well, and drowning.
Now go dig up some dirt and put about 2 inches of loose dirt and pack it onto the top of the rocks.
Step 9: Step Nine: Release the Worms!
When i first was about to do this i was just going to dig up some worms, Then i said well the bait shops jsut down the street i should just buy a bunch there.
GLAD I DID THIS!
Because when i walked in and asked for a bunch of worms the bait shop guy informed me that there are many kinds of worms, and only one is good for composting, and that he did not sell the RED WIGGLER or composting worm, and night crawlers will die in a composting bin.
He told me some gardening shops sell them a few bait shops but it would be easier to buy online so i searched the internet and found
And got 500 red wigglers in a box in the mail! 2 days express, i informed the post office, that i was getting a live package and that they should leave it on the porch in the shade which they did, i was afraid they would cook inside the mail box.
uncle jim has a video on his site about starting your worms and the worms came with instructions,
Its pretty simple get a tub toss in the bags of worms and mix in a cup of water, (this was not any where near as disgusting as i thought it was going to be)
Once mixed the worms spring to life, now just pop in the dirt worm water mix into your composter.
Step 10: Step Ten: Care and Feeding of Your New Worms
I connected this into my automatic watering system i made for my plants. So when my plants get watered so does my composter.
But i would sprinkle in water at least every other day, the design allows for alot of drainage so to over water is not much a problem but it would be better to spray in or sprinkle in the water and not just pour it in.
WHAT TO COMPOST?
Almost anything organic, kitchen scrapes, left over food, clippings, pet hair, dryer lint
WHAT NOT TO COMPOST?
Citrus fruit, oil, fat, meat, unwashed eggshells
These will all effect the PH balance and may be harmful to the worms. or risk of bacteria or unwanted pests.
Now i am one steep closer check out my automated watering system instructable, and my other recycling projects.