Worm Bin

homersgarden(7)March 1, 2009

I have been searching for a worm bin and have found a dealer on E-bay. It is Guistano or something like that. It is a five tray bin with the spigot at the bottom. Anyone have this style? What can you say about it?

I have had my rubbermaid homemade bins for almost a year and they are working okay, but I can't figure out how to separate the food scraps from the castings. I followed the directions so I am not sure if I did something wrong or if that is the way it is.

Regardless, the location isn't very easy to get to and I want one that looks better so we can easily access it from the kitchen. Thoughts on this?

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In my very humble opinion--save your money. Outside I have both something like what you are talking about and a trash can with holes drilled in it.

The five tray thing with the spigot is falling apart and dealing with it kills my back!
On the other hand, the trash can is fine.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 8:45PM
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ice_worm(2 AK)

I have a Can 'O Worms, and I like it. It sounds similar to what you are describing, but the COW is round, not square, and has three trays.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 10:28PM
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folly_grows(10 SF by the Bay)

I have a 3-tiered Gusanito Worm Factory that I keep just outside of my front door and like it. I'm a petite woman and can easily lift the VC loaded trays. While I would like a COW, I'm pretty sure that the weight and bulk would be too unwieldy for me. However, the GWF is small and expensive. In seven months I haven't been able to recycle as much food scraps as I had hoped, but I have easily harvested fluffy worm compost three times already. When the weather warms up and all those winter cocoons open up, I am planning to order two more trays so that I can accomodate all of our food scraps and junk mail by our first anniversary (the worms and me, not DH and me)

Out of curiosity, I recently began a nested 10-gal tote. I am surprised at how much wetter that bin is, and I can already see how much more work harvesting will be. If I had the space I would start a flow-thru trash can model. (sigh) I can dream, can't I?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 10:08AM
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Folly_grows, I would be very interested to hear an update from you comparing your GWF system to the nested 10-gal tote. Now that you've had the latter going for several weeks, do you have any impressions to share?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 12:11AM
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Don't waste your money! For a very easy to make and effective DIY worm farm, complete with a tap spigot, check the link below.You don't have to be a handyman to construct this one.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hoe to Make your Own Worm Farm

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 2:29AM
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I have a Worm Factory, which seems to be almost exactly like the Gusanito, except mine has a flat roof. I do not have a COW, but I have seen them in operation, and they look to me to be the same size as either of the other two, but they are round.
I like my WF, but with hindsight I don't think it was worth the money it cost. On the other hand, it does look more "attractive" than my other (homemade) bins, so if I had to keep it in the kitchen that might make a difference to me.
I must say, however, that having one of those tiered systems does not make separating the worms from the finished vermicompost a snap. There are fewer worms in the bottom tray, but in my experience there are always a good many down there. You could of course just let those laggard worms fend for themselves in the garden, but I hate to do that!
So I always end up doing the dump and sort thing. Fortunately for me I have a good place to do it (on a work bench in the basement) with a radio to listen to, so I sort of enjoy it. I doubt everyone would!
I thought the link from african was interesting. The bin they describe is a lot like the OSCR Jr, which I have made several of. I'll tell you one thing though: lifting a 10-gallon bin full of worms, bedding, etc., is not all that easy, and I would definitely not want to make a habit of trying to hoist larger ones. If you do something like that, I say stick to the smaller bins.
Let us know what you decide to try.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 8:07AM
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fagopher(zone 5)

I bought the 5 tray gusanito WF...

If it is me, I would have made one myself (due to the cost) but my wife would not dare let me do that. She is worried about how it looks and it was already hard enough for me to convince her to let me try the worms composting (she has not dared yet to look at the worms :) )

So, after a few weeks with it, it is very slow but it is going ok... easy to keep, looks nice, and have this water collector tray. I don't see it handling all the food scraps we produce so I am now thinking in combining it with a tumbler composter.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 10:13AM
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folly_grows(10 SF by the Bay)

jj -- Since you asked...

Listen to mbetts; she's right on all counts. However, the GWF, although expensive, was worth the cost for me because of its size, appearance, ease of use, and peace with DH who was dubious about the worms.

Both the GWF and 10 gal tote are doing well. The tote is hidden away in my mother's garage so is only fed two or three times a month when I go to visit. (Mom's not enthusiastic about my worms.) It is still much wetter than the GWF. The bottom tray of the GWF is well processed and fluffy, probably ready to harvest again. The tote contents look pretty mucky. Big clumps of stuff even though fed the same way (chopped, frozen, then defrosted) and same foods as the GWF. The tote is getting heavy to lift, so having several of them stacked would be even harder, and I'd start worrying about my back. If I were going to make one of those tiered tote systems, I would probably have to go down to the 3-gal size.

In order to facilitate future harvesting, I divided the tote into two sections and am feeding in only one side. The divider I used was a wired gopher barrier -- essentially chicken wire. The second section is just bedding. I can already see that harvesting is going to be a much messier process than I am used to with the GWF.

So it comes down to cost, time, and aesthetics. Your choice. They both work.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 11:08AM
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I just posted my experiences comparing the two types of bins in the "vermicomposting vs. composting" thread. A worm factory and the totes. I neglected to mention the totes are nested for drainage, though.

For your situation, if ease is preferred over function, go with the tiered worm factory. I'm in the same boat as Fagopher. My wife wanted something a little more aesthetic. My other bins are hidden away in my man cave.

I use the dump and sort method, but I don't dump the entire contents. You should plan your bin out to allow one side to become the new safe haven when it becomes time to harvest castings. Only feed from one side for a month or so. Let the food dwindle. Switch to the other side. Harvest the side that has castings when the food is gone. I make piles and use a light bulb to get the cacoons and any worms. The older worms will often try to use the old side for breeding, so don't assume that they are stragglers or stressed or dying. Breeders will sometimes separate themselves from the young if they can. I'm guessing because they can't mate with the young, but I don't know the exact reason. Maybe they are just annoyed by those crazy kids. If you want to attract the breeders, use cornmeal. Then you can set up another bed if you want to concentrate on propagation of more worms. Use the harvested breeders for a cacoon production bed and harvest cacoons every 2 to 3 weeks. Put the cacoons back in the bins for composting and you will see your composting take off in a couple of months. Or throw them in a cool compost pile to speed that process. Then again, you could just put them all back in the bin after replacing what you took out with new bedding.

Like mbetts, I even separate cacoons and worms from castings with the worm factory and I find it enjoyable. It's therapeutic. My wife and kids think it's disgusting.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 1:49PM
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I also find it therapeutic! My husband is repulsed! One of my teen daughters can get into it sometimes. We sit out on a nice day in the garden, in fall or spring, and go through piles of composted stuff and pull out the worms. Put them back in the tiered bin and shake the compost around the garden.

We have tea. We chat. You might be surprised how much easier it is to talk about tricky things like sex and drugs and parental expectations while sorting worms then it is at the dinner table, or in front of the mind numbing TV.
That is with my outdoor bin, I have yet to harvest my indoor bin. So far I've just scooped up what falls from it's bottom air holes on to a tray I put under it.
I'll want to do a big harvest soon, to use the stuff in containers for tomatoes.
Not sure how to do it. My outdoor table is now covered with Winter Sowing containers,can't sit and work out there for another month. What do you all think of this idea?
Put some holes in the cloth bags the worms came in and fill them about half full with cornmeal and stuff the bags down about mid-way into the bin then collect the bags a week later, add the worms to my outdoor depleted bin and use what's left for my containers, and as I handle it look through for stray worm and cocoons. Sound like a plan?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 4:55PM
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anewgarden, if you've got a spare bin, you could perhaps take a look at how I harvest.

I set up a bin with my bedding. I then take a plastic kitchen bag with is punched full of holes with a kitchen fork. Lay this on top of your new bin.

Spread some vc and worms over top of the plastic bag, leave a light on. Go have some coffee, come back a while later, and the worms will have migrated naturally through the holes into the new bin.
Scoop the castings into your pail, taking a quick look for cocoons and stray worms.

Spread some more worms and poop on top of the bag, and do it again.
This has worked very very well for me, and little mess.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 5:00PM
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I do have an extra indoor bin ready to receive more worms! i will try that method. I think i will still try my other idea too, just so I can carry a small cloth bag full of worm out to my out door bins. They need some new worms soon.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 6:33PM
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I have both the Worm Factory and the COW. Both do a good job for me. I like the fact that the Factory has the trays so the worms can crawl up as they feed. True, some worms do stay in the tray but they also make good garden additions. I use the new worms and extras in the vegetable gardening and I have also placed them in the larger pots. While both are small they do have a pleasing look in the kitchen. The ease of use, appearance and cleaning of the outside are plus factors despite the cost. If you need more compost you can add more trays. The Factories moisture tray makes a great "worm tea" for my houseplants!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 6:39PM
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With layered bins, the easiest way to harvest is to put the harvest tray on top, uncovered (though not in the dark obviously), and scrape some VC off everytime you go past. Bet you won't find any worms!!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 2:23PM
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Ummm, I actually hadn't thought of that, cathd66. That also allows the castings to slowly dry out, I'm sure.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 1:46PM
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cathd66 has a great method of seperating the worms - but you don't want to become too obsesive about removing every last worm - consider that the compost is going to be loaded with cocoons anyway that will hatch out in time. Three tiers including the sump is quite enough - more is just PT

Here is a link that might be useful: Making a 3- tiered worm farm

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 9:15PM
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I have a rolling bin, as you can see from the photo. You feed at the top. All the castings are on the bottom. You simply secure the top cover, and then roll 180 degrees and, voila, you're scooping as much black gold as you need. I harvest the poop maybe once a month from this bin. I get most of it from my cinder block bins, but the roller is definitely one of the easiest to harvest from.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 2:33PM
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That's the most ingenious bin design I've ever seen. Awesome!!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 4:24PM
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