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Bill's system

Posted by wowworms MI (My Page) on
Tue, May 27, 08 at 12:58

Bill at some point you posted a pick of your outdoor worm bin. It looked like a wood built retangle on the ground? Is this correct? I kept thinking about it and wondered if you have a bottom on it? And what do you do in the winter months? I know you had a lid. Do other pests or critters bother you?
You also have just an outdoor compost pile, you stated you rotate every 10 days? Now that i am collecting papers and kitchen scraps i find i have way more than the worms will handle (4 boys and myself). So i stated this pile with leaves and grass and I'm burying the extra stuff in the pile I don't rotate cuz it's hard to do i but it in a chicken wired cage built to put garbage buckets in to keep the critters out of it. And my dog loves to dig and eat. Any suggestions to improve? Should i be cautious as to how much scrap i put in the pile?

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RE: Bill's system

For your compost piles on the ground, you can put anything in them that you want to. The worms and bugs in the soil will do a lot to help it break down. And if you can't turn it, that's not a crisis either because it will eventually break down no matter what you do. If you have the space for a slightly larger pile, you might use wood pallets (instead of the chicken wire)to corral your scraps and stuff so the dog can't get into it. You stand four of them up on end and wire them together so they form a box that's open at the top. Secure one corner with bungee cords, so when you want to take compost out you can open that side like a door. Otherwise, you just toss your stuff in whenever you have it and I can almost guarantee you will rarely fill this bin up. Most critters won't bother this bin, but if they do, since they can't destroy the pallets, it's hardly noticeable.

We built our compost bins (8 of them) out of pallets and rotate the compost whenever we get the chance. But certainly not on a regular basis. We still get plenty of usable compost, the dogs don't bother the bins, and since we live in the country, I'm sure the critters get in there, but they don't eat much. The compost sits directly on the ground which helps it break down very quickly.

You can also build a sifter from 2x4's and 1/2" hardware cloth. Ours sits up high enough to roll the wheelbarrow under it so we can sift the compost directly into it. It's also high enough to set a 30 gallon trash can under it if we plan to store the compost for later use. Anything that doesn't fall through the hardware cloth goes back into the compost bin.

Some things we never put in our pile are meat, bones, citrus or blood. We compost all our grass clippings, leaves, paper trash and cardboard boxes, phone books, junk mail, newspapers, and kitchen scraps. The good thing about a pile on the ground is that it almost never gets too wet, extra moisture leaches down into the ground and your pile cooks the rest. We do occasionally mix in a little bit of finished compost to a pile that's not heating up because it contains micro-organisms that will jump start the composting process.


RE: Bill's system

some about my composting, at the bottom of the page is a link to a 2nd page, and one about the large tumbler I have .... the worm bins I do are on the ground, and in the winter I try to insure it's fairly full, so they have a good depth to dive into, but they can also go into the ground [which I doubt they do cuz they're so well fed] .... there are active worms in the hot bins all year, when it's at it's hottest, they hang out closer to the sides, but I've found them in areas warm enough that if I pick them up they feel warm .... a cover is needed in this very wet climate to control moisture

I'm in the process now of making some fixins for the worms in the digester - about 40% grass clippings along with stable sweepings from a friends farm put thru a shredder to mix and break everything up, straw, spilled hay, sawdust, and horse biscuits ... when it's past the heating stage, I'll soak it well and fill the worm bin [about 2-3 yards] and other than watering it in summer, just ignore them, to use the castings next spring in the greenhouse

the hot bins are a year round thing to use the produce scrap from the local natural foods store [and my yard waste], I use some in the garden in the spring, and some of it goes to the worms, but like Cheryl says, those bins never really fill


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