cheap worm-bag bin

mendopeteMarch 25, 2014

About a year ago I purchased 10 "grow-bags" at the flea market.for $1 each. These 12 gallon fabric bags allow airflow to plant roots when used as a planting pot. I thought they would make nice worm bag systems to give away.

After soaking the bags in water, about a pound of squirm was added to each of 4 bags. Three were given away, and one was left outside, sitting on a concrete block in full shade.

The bin was fed weekly until July, and the worms were doing great and multiplying. After July, the bag was only given meager amounts of food and water.

Last week, the nearly full bag was split into 6 new worm-bags. The material was uniformly damp. Worms were scattered throughout, with the most activity on top. To my surprise, the bottom of the bag was sound with no rot present.

This bag is similar in principle to the "squirm-inn". It has plentiful air and drainage. I have read of problems retaining moisture with the inn. This bag held moisture very well.

I will soon try a sandbag wormery, as I have a few. I would guess that moisture retention will not be as good, requiring more attention. We will see.

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pskvorc(3)

Hmm...

I have a couple of the ones seen on TV for growing "hanging" tomatoes. Not 12 gal volume by any means maybe - four at the most - but might be an interesting experiment.

Paul

This post was edited by pskvorc on Tue, Mar 25, 14 at 13:53

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 1:52PM
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mendopete

Paul, I would think theses bags may do good on your warm shop floor. Maybe sit them on a plastic tote lid for a catch basin.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 10:18PM
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Niivek

Are you talking about those woven plastic bags that sort of replaced burlap? I got a bunch of those that 100lb of pig feed came in. If you have a farm co-op near you, you might be able to get free bags like that.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 9:50AM
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pskvorc(3)

I THINK the 'grow bags' are probably more resistant to rotting than anything non-plastic. One important advantage to the grow bag is that it has a flat bottom, so it can sit flat on a surface - ground, floor, etc. The 'thing' I referred to above needs to be hung, and "feed" bags - burlap or plastic - would need to be propped up in some fashion if sat on a flat surface.

I was thinking that one could 'unzip' the bottom of a feed-type bag, insert some circular "frame" - say a piece of hardware cloth rolled into a circle of appropriate diameter - then loosely tie the bottom of the bag closed again. This would give you the flat bottom of the grow bags and it MIGHT facilitate harvesting via the loosely bound bottom. All of this unnecessary if one could get one's hands on a grow bag for cheap. I'm not sure if grow bags have 'hit the ground' in AK yet. If so, I should be able to pick some up from some local nurseries. I think the 12-gal size would be a good size for "on the floor in the shop".

Speaking of "grow bags" - they are the 'technological advancement' to the old black plastic "tub" used by nurseries for growing larger plants like trees and shrubs. The grow bags prevent 'circling' of the roots by "air pruning". (I'm sure GardenWeb has MANY threads on the subject.) Considering that these are the new 'thing' in nursery technology, all those old black plastic tubs should be 'a dime a dozen'. They have drainage holes in the bottoms, and setting in one of the plastic 'bowls' made to go under planting pots, seems to me that they could be a 'reasonable' worm bin. - indoor or out.

What do 'y'all' think about those things as potential worm bins? Is there something about them that would give you pause before you used them?

Paul

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 11:42AM
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mendopete

Niivek;: I was not referring to plastic feed-sacks, but they would work fine as a bin. Re-use is great. I have used those sacks to store castings.

Paul:: I have used a 16 gallon plastic pot and it worked fine as a bin. It may be a very good option for you... outside in the summer and move to the shop when it cools. The black plastic really helps heat the bed if it gets sun. It may need some shade or cover. I like your other idea also. Give it a try.

Grow bags ( generic term, not brand) are used a lot around here. I see them for sale as large as 200 gallon on cragslist. There are quite a few brands and types of materials used. The ones I bought feel like heavy felt. I like the way they breathe, while still retaining moisture. I really expected it to be a one-time use, but it held up well.

The downside of these bag systems is harvesting VC. You may need to dump and sort. For growing a herd, just keep splitting the bin and start new ones.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 5:55PM
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mendopete

Update:
I gave away 2 worm-bag bins. One went to my son who has an interest. Another was given to my next-door neighbor as a retirement gift. She is FACINATED with her bin, and like most of my neighbors had NO idea I was wormin'.
I checked the other 4 this morning. They have been neglected except for about 4 "over-feedings and floods". They are a bit dry, but the worms seem fat and happy. One bin threw 1/2 a cantaloupe skin out at me when I opened it!
Three bins were de-commissioned and added to my 3 worm cages, which needed some re-enforcements. One will be kept active, waiting for the next perspective worm farmer.
Upon examining the bags, I found a small hole (about 3/4") chewed through the bottom of one. Mouse, rat or ??, I don't know. Other than that, the bags were sound with no rot.

Not to endorse anything, but I could read the smeared ink print on 1 of the bags. "Root-pot, 10 gallon bag made from 100% recycled material., for soil and soil-less gardens, creates a dense and fibrous root structure". The texture is "felt-like" and they appear to be woven. They make a great starter bin.

Good luck everyone!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 12:33PM
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