Expanding from a worn inn

mr_yanJuly 29, 2012

I currently have a worm inn and have had it up and running for about 9 months. So far I have harvested at least 6 gallons of nice compost from it. At the rate we cook our family creates more veg scraps than I think a single worm inn can handle.

I just weighted the scraps from a little less than the last week and got 3.25 pounds.

I am thinking of building another FT system.

At the moment my worm inn is full. I took it outside yesterday and emptied it in a wheelbarrow. Now it is homoginous but it looked to be doing well and had a lot of worms in it. Some areas were heating up but worms were present in that area so I don't think the heating was too much.

When I start the new bin I am thinking about emptying the worm inn again and splitting the contents half and half between the new bin and the worm inn. Is there any reason this would be a bad idea? I was also thinking of mixing in a bunch of bedding and new food to the top half when I start the new bin / restart the worm inn.

These bins will live in my basement - where the worm inn currently lives.

Thanks, Yan

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Forgot to add this:

My goal for the worm bins is the compost more than the waste reduction.

I won't have much need for compost until next spring when I start to wake up the beds and containers from winter. With this I am not too worried about mixing in the finished compost that was in the worm inn.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 9:52PM
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The splitting should be fine -- I did this when I went from one Worm Factory to two. It gets the new bin off to a good start.

One thing I do to handle variations in flow is use a holding bin for almost-ready compost. In periods of high input flow, I empty out the bottom trays before they are quite done, and let their contents finish in a large plastic bin, which is open at the top. In general, using a finishing bin means that the moment of emptying does not have to be the same as the moment of putting the compost in the garden.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 11:38PM
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I can't think of any other way to do it. I guess you could start the new bin brand new. But when you have all this great starting material that practically guarantees sucess it is great advantage to be able to use it.

The finishing bin is a great idea to make more room in the working bin.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 3:55PM
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Thanks guys.

I'll make the second bin, hopefully, this weekend.

I do like the idea of a finishing bin. I bet I'll need that by early to mid winter. Do you sift this as it goes into the holding bin to remove large bits of bedding and worms? I also see this as being advantageous so you're not dumping cocoons into the garden. Many will hatch in the holding bin /bag and can be captured.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 6:58PM
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You are right on target for understanding the purpose and uses of a holding bin. Yes sift and put large bits of bedding and worms where you want them. There is a sort of feast followed by famine season for vermicomposters who start plants with vermicompost. The stuff piles up in buckets and then a month later we are trying to squeeze that last bit of vermicompost out of our bins and putting the worms into all new bedding and food and a bit of old once trhough the bin chunkies.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 9:35PM
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What I do: by the time compost goes into the finishing bin, there is no distinct bedding in it -- just uniformly black, damp compost, with only a few eggshells unincorporated. I don't sift out worms, both because it's laborious and because they're still doing good work. (I'm using a simple big open-at-the-top plastic bin with no further aeration. This would not be a good idea for early-stage composting, but by the later stage the compost is pretty well-behaved, springy/spongy with good aeration.)

I use sun to sort compost from worms out of the bin when I need it: drag it into the noonday sun, let the sun drive worms out of the top inch or two, scrape that off until I start seeing worms, do yardwork for 15 minutes, repeat. You end up with a mass of worms at the bottom which you can tip back into the regular bins.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 2:49PM
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