Flow through bin -- worth it?

machinist17(5a)October 11, 2012

I'm currently using a rubber maid worm bin with ventilation and drainage holes. Everything is going great, worms are eating well and there are plenty of cocoons. I kind of have an itch to build a flow through system out of a trashcan I own. I think it would work better to harvest vc and I've heard that worms are more productive in a FT (not sure why). But my current in is 3 square feet about 8 inches deep. I've read that in a FT system, you want at least 18" of depth. The surface area of my trashcan is 2 square feet, but roughly the same amount of cubic feet. Should I go for it, or will the smaller surface area impede the growth of my worm population?

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ft bin have more oxygen flow thus why worms would do better.

i would rather go a wide bin rather then a tall one. i have made worm bins using burrow worms in a 5gal bucket not a great idea. you can make ft bins out of wood yourself it is not hard i have seen countless ones that are both wide and deep out of wood.

if you use the trash can idk if it would work good i would assume if your population got bigger majority of the worms will be at different depths and the population would be stunted at one point due to lack of space when this happens you can start a new bin or do w.e. with the worms. so basically i don't see any real problems that we already have in our regular bins. it is up to you experiment and see if worth doing.

their are some videos on youtube i saw on flow through trash cans not sure if they work great but i do see people using tall contianers like barrels/trash cans and they don't seem to have problems so i would assume a flow through out of this would be just as good

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 2:05PM
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It sounds like you are ready to expand. It is fun to create new wormeries and split the herd. Having 2 systems will allow you to experiment and still have worms if things go terrible wrong!

The main advantages to a flow through system are increased air flow and easier and mostly worm-free harvest. Some maintenance will be needed to maintain proper moisture levels. Building one would be fun.

Go for it! Good luck, Pete

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 11:06AM
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So I went ahead and built it. Rather than use a trashcan, I ended up using a plastic bin and a wire rack. I cut the bottom out of the plastic bin and have it sitting (and zip tied, so it doesn't slip off) on top of the wire rack, with a container underneath to collect castings. I transferred the contents of my older bin into it. I used 3 layers of newspaper, seems to be holding up well.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 5:23PM
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looks nice. won't some of your food scraps fall through once they reach the size of those holes? and worms etc fall through too?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 7:37PM
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Well, from everything I've read about these flow through systems, the worms stay in the bed because the bottom fills with worm castings. You always feed at the top, so the worms continually move upwards. You get the occasional stragglers, but you just put them back in the bin. As for the worm poo falling down, that's the idea. Sometimes it will crumble down on its own, sometimes you have to rake it down from underneath with a garden rake (or your fingers, I guess). The stuff above what you scrape down is firm enough that it doesn't all fall through, but rather forms a dome and then slowly settles down to the bottom.

At least, I hope this is what happens!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 8:02PM
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machinist17 Looks good. Looks fun. A bit top heavy but we all work with what we have. I think you will have fun working with the system. I am going to enjoy reading about it. Looking forward to it.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 8:06PM
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I was going to comment that the spaces in the rack are far too close together. It will be difficult to harvest this bin. Very little will fall through the rack without a lot of effort on your part. And a flow through should be about 18 inches deep. But this is worth a try. If it doesn't work out, you should still have a healthy bin.

I do like the fact that the rack is not supported by the bin.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 2:12AM
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Well, so far the newspaper has not decomposed yet, so I don't have any castings falling through. However, the worms are have been getting a diet of aged horse manure, raspberries, spinach, and banana peels, and they're going nuts. When I dig down a couple inches there seem to be a million worms. Hopefully it keeps going well.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 3:51PM
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Way to go!!
Our worms have similar diets except mine get pumpkin and squash instead of spinach ;)

I think the paper should not decompose for awhile. But by the time the bin is full, you should be able to harvest. Maybe 4- 6 weeks?

Suggestion: take a large pair of cutters and remove 1/2 the rack wires if harvest is difficult.
It sounds as though you are doing it right and the herd is happy. Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 1:13AM
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I have a bin where vermicompost does not fall through 3" by 3" holes on it's own.

I have a bin where vermicompost does not want to fall through 7" by 7" holes on it's own.

When I can entice the vermicompost to fall through, flow through?, it wants to fall in a column from the bottom all the way to the top.

My vermicompost is not reading the instructions of how I am imagining my flow through to work.

Huge flowthrough systems solve this by using precomposted cow manure.

This flow through concept has not caught on in my toss in an apple core, toss in an egg carton flow through system.

I do get the benefit of air at the bottom of the system.

Moving bins around with 3 and 7 inch holes in the bottom is always exciting.

I see your system is attached to the base with ties. It would be cool if the base was inches bigger and you could push the bin around back and forth over the base to harvest.

This would take the place of a harvest bar.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 5:12AM
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This is an Eliminator 600 which I use in my house. Great air circulation, flow-through design, able to process lots of waste.
Unfortunately, it is no longer made.
The bin on the left is the Eliminator 600, the one on the right is a smaller 300.
EliminatorTM 300
16" x 13.5" x 18"H (compost chamber)
41cm x 34cm x 46cm
1.5 ft2 area

EliminatorTM 600
19" x 25" x 18"H
48cm x 64cm x 46cm
3.3 ft2area
That bar you see is attached to a grate inside on the bottom of the bin. Just pull and push the bar a few times and the vermicompost falls into that green collection tray. No messy trays to stack.
I wish someone would start making it again.
They were made in Australia with tubular steel and the problem was the cost of shipping to the USA.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 1:50AM
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