Office worm bin

sbsliderApril 16, 2013

After owning and operating a can-o-worms bin for 10 or more years, I have rediscovered my little critters recently. It started with my wife commenting the worms were not eating much lately. In the time I have owned the bin, I put brown material in pretty much never. I harvested compost maybe 2-3 times. The bin was not being used as intended.

After doing a bit of internet reading I bought some coir and shredded some newspapers. I was able to revitalize the bin in a matter of a few days just by adding in a significant amount of brown matter. The worms, which were hiding in huge clumps, sprung back to life. Now there are TONS of them all over.

So many worms I decided to pull a bunch out and start a bin for my work food scraps. It will be mostly fruit, but a few veggies and I will bring in veggies from home occasionally to keep a decent balance.

So a really long lead in to my question. My work bin is two rubbermaid 10 gallon bins, both with holes. I have been a bit concerned about how to deal with the worm inevitable worm tea. I have decided to lay a single sheet of newspaper in the bottom bin, and lay some coir on top of it. The newspaper lighly covers the holes in the bottom bin, do I risk not having sufficient circulation in the bin? There are also small (3/32") holes along the tops of the bins, but the holes in the sides of the lower bin are covered by the upper bin presently.

The purpose of the lower bin is to provide a vertical separation bin when the lower bin compost is complete. At this time, it is not providing a real purpose, just a storage location until I need to harvest. I don't really have another place in my office to keep it,

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chuckiebtoo

One way to work around the prob with excess water is to eliminate it. The whole "wrung-out sponge" definition of proper amounts of moisture is way too interpretive.

I gradually got away from using more moisture than is necessary to the point where there is hardly ever any leakage.

But occasionally there will be some, and the way to handle that is make your bins with only 2 holes in the bottom. One on each side of one end of the bin,

When the moisture level is OK, tilt the bin up slightly so that the end with the holes is elevated. When you need to drain some leachate (not worm tea) tilt the hole-less end up slightly for drainage.

Chuckiebtoo

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 9:01AM
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equinoxequinox

I had read about the tilt to drain but never before have read about the tilt the other way not to drain of your system until now.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 11:48PM
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chuckiebtoo

Sbslider: Watch the "shoe-box" sized worm bin post for my upcoming post. I first started producing bins of that size for newbies/office situations/children and it is so user-friendly to make me almost swear off those big ole totes. (boy do those things get to be a load)

They are cumbersome, unwieldly, space-robbing (think of all that unused space in the upper 2/3's of each one)

Also, if you have a bin disaster with one 18 gallon tote, you could lose the whole damn herd. Think stock market crash diversity.

Chuckiebtoo

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 9:47AM
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sbslider

We are eagerly anticipating your shoe box size worm bin for sure. My office bins are 10 gallons, and there is not a ton of unused space at the top of the one I recently started. But smaller would be easier to handle, especially where mine is located.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 9:57AM
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11otis

Last year I decided I am ready to experiment with undrilled plastic bins. I used a 16 gal (??, the next size up from 9 gal) Rubbermaid tote and lined the walls with corrugated cardboard. (yes, I am a big fan of corrugated cb). The bottom was lined with strips of corr.cb vertically (got this tip from another website). From previous experience, when cb or newspaper is put flat at the bottom of a bin, they often do not compost completely.
I was very careful with adding wet wormfood. Just like cuckiebtoo"s idea, the bin is slightly tilted and when ever I feel that it got too wet, I inserted a rolled up corrugated cb to the lower end "chimney"-like. Even when it's not too wet, I use these "chimneys" for extra air and the worms love to hide and breed between the roll layers.
I harvested this bin last week. The VC is wetter at the bottom but not mucky. When grabbed by hand, it maintained the shape but I could break it up and no uncomposted paper product from the bottom either. I guess I graduated, hehe.

BTW, liquid coming from the bottom of a bin is NOT worm tea, it is just leachate. It was mentioned that a properly managed bin do not have or very little leachate. So sbslider, if your bin doesn't produce leachate, you could have 2 working worm bins instead of just one.
Besides, no holes at the bottom means NO MESS.

This post was edited by otis11 on Sun, Apr 21, 13 at 13:46

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 1:41PM
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sbslider

Thanks for sharing this Otis11. I have been fooling around with worm towers today and thinking that the worms underground don't have ventilation holes beneath them either. It makes sense that if you manage the input contents that one need not have liquid coming out. I like the cardboard chimney idea, it will be incorporated soon in my office bin.

I can still have two working bins instead of one, just need a bit of duct tape . . .

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 1:48PM
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11otis

sbslider, an additional note, I think it is important to use corrugated cardboard rather than just cb to prevent compaction.
I am also (very) picky when p/u corr.cb from stores. I only take the double layered cb. The asian ones are better for my composting than north american, they break up faster (inferior qual.?) It makes real nice crumbly VC.

This post was edited by otis11 on Mon, Apr 22, 13 at 16:26

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 12:18PM
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thedogsLL(6B)

Otis, when you say corrugated, you mean the two sided c.b. with the wavy layer between? Or something else?

Lynn

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 5:09PM
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11otis

Yes, the one with the wavy layer in between My favourite is the one that has more than just 1 wavy layer. Usually to pack machines with.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 8:08PM
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