white 5 gallon buckets/how many worms

love2garden-nc(7)July 14, 2012

I read online that you shouldn't use white 5 gallon buckets because worms don't like white/light. it said you should use dark colors. Has anyone had a problem with white buckets? Also, how many worms can you put in a stacked 5-gallon bucket setup? I was planning to order 2000 red wigglers--it was only $10 more than 1000 worms. But is that too many worms for a 5-gallon bucket setup?

I appreciate any info--I've never done a worm bin before, so I look to the advice of folks that have already done it. thanks:-)

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The worms do not like light, so it's not the color of the bucket completely, but more it's ability to let light pass through. Most recommend a darker color as opposed to translucent.

As far as using a five gallon bucket there have been some videos where a guy made an upward migration system with them, no idea how well it works. I will say that you are better off getting a cheap plastic container with more surface area over a bucket that gives depth. That is not to say a five gallon bucket will fail, you may just have more of a challenge getting it down and less folks who have used the same system to bounce questions off of.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 2:27PM
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To answer your question about the number of worms, two pounds is a good amount and more than I would put into a five gallon system. If you had an 18 gallon tote that costs five dollars at walmart it would be just the right amount :)

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 2:30PM
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What is your goal? Worms, castings or waste conversion?
I use white buckets that I put a handful (+/-) in each one to increase the number of worms I have.
I tend to leave bins, tubs or buckets with only the holes they come with.
The worms aren't in the bright light so to my knowledge have not had issue with the color of the bucket.
Keep them comfortable (70ish), moist, well-fed and left alone and they will do well for you.
I also tend to stay away from internet absolutes since none of my worms have the internet.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 3:09PM
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2,000 worms, if adult shold look in volume like two pounds of hamburger. 2,000 in a 5 gallon bucket spread evenly across the top would be maybe an inch deep. 2,000 worms in a 5 gallon bucket sound like it is time to divide the worms into 4 five gallon bucket systems and still be generous with the worms. With 2,000 worms they have just a few cubic feet for the worms themselves, the finished vermicompost, the ready to eat food, the food that still may need time to be ready to eat, and the bedding. That is a full bucket list. For 2,000 worms in a 5 gallon bucket the food would maybe need to be blenderized, frozen, aged and a bit of vermicompost added to it to get it going.

Some vermicomposters use clear bins. The light probably does not pass through the firt few bits of bedding. Dark might be better. White is probably dark enough.

Moisture level and oxygen level would be much more important.

I hope our advice can help others have happy worms.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 7:56PM
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I just wanted to post back and say thanks to each of you that took your time to offer suggestions. I greatly appreciate it. I went with the 2000 worms (couldn't resist the cost savings) and 2 5-gallon bucket setups. I may add another one. Worms are here and things seem to be doing ok.

BTW rookie09, my goal is castings--I hope to use it on my garden. But your question raised my curiosity--do you follow different methods according to your goal?

This is a great forum--I try to read it reguarly. Thanks again to all of you that take the time to share your experiences/knowledge with us newbies. Hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday:-)

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 11:24AM
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My goal is easy wormin'. I split them when I'm ambitious, mainly feed them pre-composted stuff and just reap the benefits of their efforts.

Others remove the adults after 21-30 days, keep the cocoons in a different bin and put the breeders in another set-up for maximum worm production.
I do use teas to make the castings/compost go further.

Flow-thrus increase the waste processed. Manures or pre-composted stuff for maximum castings.

Good luck, have fun.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 9:01PM
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Do yourself a favor. Set up more than one worm bin in case of failure. Most beginners end up killing off a bunch of worms at the start.

If they're moist and have a bit of cardboard or newspapers they're good. Leave that bin just like that. Do one bin with this basic and actually feed the other bin until ya get familiar wtih being a good host. I always hate to see other people do as I did: kill 'em all off and have to start over again. I was able to salvage some worms from that original slaughter but they were few and starting with a few is very frustrating.

Two bins, at least. To this date I keep several bins for a variety of reasons but the primary is in case of a mass die-off. It is not uncommon to hear of a mass die off with no explanation. I live in both temperature extremes and easily forget about my wormies so I need back up. I benefited from this on one occasion already. After all this time and work I hate the threat of losing them all.

There's so many tricks wormy peeps have contributed. Here's mine: A bin for seed-starting medium. The worm castings used to make compost tea are placed back into a separate bin with live worms and a lean diet. (I place worm castings in nylon stockings or panty hose and tie it to the side of the bucket to be brewed with a bubbler. Worms and eggs survive this process because of oxygen in the water) The worms reprocess those used worm tea castings in the bin. Within a few weeks they are once again nutrient dense with the addition of new castings and it is a much finer planting medium. No sticky "cakey" worm castings. No need to mix with another medium for starters.

Good luck to all!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 6:52AM
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I have one of those systems... and even created a video showing how to build a 5 bucket stack. My system works pretty well and over time the worms do make their way up. Some of my stacks may have close to 2000 worms in them, but I did not start with nearly that many.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 9:15PM
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No problem using white or even clear buckets/containers. If concerned, line the inside with corr. carboard and that will have a tri-purpose. Filtering/dimming the light, absorb extra moisture, and become food at the end. However, if you have concerns re. fungus gnats, this could become a favourite breeding place for them.
I use this size for breeding and experiment bins and will not keep more than 2000 babies and juvies but definitely not adults.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 3:31PM
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To Patrick 1969 where can I find your video on worms in buckets.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 11:12AM
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To Patrick 1969 where can I find your video on worms in buckets.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 11:23AM
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To Patrick 1969 where can I find your video on worms in buckets.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 11:24AM
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