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Starting a new bin - in TidyCat buckets?

Posted by liz_h 7/8 (My Page) on
Fri, May 2, 08 at 1:07

Several years ago, I had a wormbin in a large Rubbermaid tote. I'm ready to start one up again. We have a huge stack of empty TidyCat buckets that I'd like to use. I realize that the shape isn't ideal, but the price certainly is! I assume I'd need to keep them no more than half full, and use a few of them.

I plan to keep them in the mechanical room which has temperatures from about 68 to 72F.

I've been reading a lot here and other places online. One set of instructions said to prepare your bedding and add food to start decaying about 2 weeks before you get your worms. I know I didn't do this before, but I assume it would speed up the process.

Do you think I'd be OK with this shape bucket if I'm careful?

Photobucket


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Starting a new bin - in TidyCat buckets?

Hi Liz,
Jerry from WellsWorms has had one of these going for a couple of years, and it certainly works for him. He drilled holes in the lid, and in the bottom, and nested it inside a solid bin for any drainage.

I'm actually getting a guy started with vermicomposting, and he wants to use his kitty litter pails as well. My only thought would be to put 1/2 lb in 2 pails, as opposed to 1 lb. I think it would be best because of the smaller surface area, but that is only my opinion.

Sherry


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RE: Starting a new bin - in TidyCat buckets?

I think you could make it work. Just as you said, be careful with it. The smaller the environment, the faster it can get out of control. Watch your moisture closely & I think I would pocket feed slowly so as not to create any heat in the entire container.


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Drilling Holes & Drainage

Thanks! DH is picking up some freecycle worms for me this afternoon. That was a lucky hit. I hadn't looked at Freecycle for a year. I don't know how many worms there will be, but will keep it to about 1/2 pound or less per bucket. I use a lot of fresh produce - I think we could keep several pounds happy with no trouble.

My question now is the hole drilling. I'm assuming we should put 1/8" holes in the sides and lid for air, and in the bottom for drainage. The last set of directions I looked at online said to start with 9" of fluffy bedding matter, so that's what I'll do. I hope to use a combination of newspaper strips & shredded cardboard.

I'm a bit unsure about the bottom drainage. If I expect a lot of liquid to drain out, I can place them in a 1'x 3' tray. Otoh, if it should be a very rare occurrence I'll just place them on the concrete near the floor drain that's already there.


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RE: Starting a new bin - in TidyCat buckets?

I would put feet on it. Take two 1x2s about 8-10 inches long and mount them under the bucket. You can mount them by drilling a couple of holes in the bottom and screw the bucket to the boards. This will create a space for air and the worms will want to wonder less because there is light under the bucket.

By the way, I am a master composter who volunteers for the county teaching people about composting. I am going to use your idea in my next class next week as an example of what can be done without spending a bunch of money. Thanks for the tip.


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RE: Starting a new bin - in TidyCat buckets?

You're welcome. :) The actual bottom of the bucket is about an off the floor - maybe 1/2 to 1 inch. Do you think that's enough? If so I'll ask DH whether he'd rather cut away the sides a bit more to let light in or add the boards. He's certainly got plenty of wood scraps around. I love the idea of anything that will encourage them to stay in their bin!

Off Topic note - I grew up with my Mom & I being the "handymen" of the family, as opposed to my Dad and brothers. Then I married a man who loves to do all that sort of puttering, and knows a lot more than I do. Since he also does the dishes I don't demand equal time as Ms. Fix-it. ;-)


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oops - forget that question

Ralph - scratch that last question. I just looked at the buckets again. In actuality they just have two strips along the bottom that are raised up. Most of the bottom would be right on the floor.


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RE: Starting a new bin - in TidyCat buckets?

It's been a year since the last post. Any updates on how this system worked? I have alot of these buckets. I thought of just using a second bucket as my drip pan.


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RE: Starting a new bin - in TidyCat buckets?

  • Posted by liz_h 7/8 DFW Texas (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 28, 09 at 17:17

I'm sorry to say that I executed the plan very poorly. My free worm start had maybe 2 dozen worms and some eggs/cocoons. But I fed it the first week or so like it had plenty of worms to chomp away. And I didn't let the food sit in the worm bin for a day before I added the worms. By the time I realized how bad that ovefeeding was, the system was a mess and the worms had died. I've since learned a lot more and think I could probably make the system work. It would need more careful watching than a larger bin.

Your post comes at a good time. Just yesterday I signed up for a local worm compost class & ordered 2 pounds of worms. I had planned to make a Rubbermaid bin, having forgotten all about those buckets. I'll have to see how many we have. We haven't used litter in a bucket in quite awhile, and the buckets can be useful for other things. (My class and worm pick-up won't be for another week.)

I can say one thing with certainty. I won't try another worm bin with a free start again. I don't have the patience for it. We generate a lot of produce scraps most days. I don't think even the 2 pounds of worms will be able to handle it all at first. And I've definitely learned the dangers of over-feeding! I think that with the bin I had 15 years ago, I occasionally overfed, but the bin managed to limp along. I want to keep this new bin as healthy as possible.


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RE: Starting a new bin - in TidyCat buckets?

This was helpful!! It is hard not to overfeed! Thanks for the reminder!


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