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How Many of You.....

Posted by merrygardener z8olywa (My Page) on
Fri, May 14, 10 at 20:58

Have more than one bin going? I have had my "cedar coffin" (about 2' X 5')going in the garage for 12 or so years. I am amazed that it hasn't rotted out the bottom! I recently gave away 5+ pounds to lucky Craigslisters but seem to still have a plethera of worms. So naturally (?!) I'm thinking about increasing my capacity to manage all our food waste so there is less composting of food. I am interested in the stacked "flow through" style.... and perhaps have them indoors (perhaps hidden in my closet- others in my home just don't need to know about this!). I am not finding the link with the "how to" tutorial for setting up such a system. Please share the link and your experiences as a "TWO!" (On the kitchen forum folks refer to themselves as "Totally Kitchen Obsessed"- I think I am the worm equivalent!) :)


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RE: How Many of You.....

  • Posted by karendee 5Wst. of Chicago,IL (My Page) on
    Sat, May 15, 10 at 12:51

I only just started and I am planning my next bin. I have lots of flowers and could use the great VC for them!

I hope I do well on my first bin (a flowthrough)so I can have more worms and more food composting ability.

If I could have bought more than 1 lb. of worms I would have!

Karen


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RE: How Many of You.....

merry .... this site has pictures that may help you.
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Another how to site - no pictures, but pretty clear
http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/verm/msg100653415954.html
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Here is a link that might be useful: 3 tier flow thru


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RE: How Many of You.....

How much food waste do you have if a 2' x 5' bin full of worms doesn't deal with it?


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RE: How Many of You.....

""3 tier flow thru""
Sorry, this is not a flow through but a stackable system.
A flow through is ONE unit, where you add food on top and harvest VC from the bottom through an opening or a hole, depending whether it's converted from barrels or garbage bins or made of some kind of fabric.
You might want to check this out:

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/verm/msg042040421641.html


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RE: How Many of You.....

I have 3 bins. One flowthrough and 2 RM 2-tier stackables.


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One tiny less than square foot surface area flowthrough. I put food in the top and it is supposed to fall through the bottom. It is made out of two parts. So I would call it a stackable flowthrough. There is one big opening top to bottom. Not little holes for the worms to flow up. I'm still working on explaining gravity to the foodstuff.


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randomz: 5 healthy veggie eating folks here, with lots of home made meals... and leftovers. I don't grind, blend or otherwise help out those worms, so everything goes is "as is." I have always supplemented by composting outside but would rather not do that with our growing raccoon population (and other creatures).

borderbarb and otis11: Thanks for the links! The "true" flow through looks fun. Now, for the questions!:

1. Why don't any of the "true flow throughs" have holes on the sides for airflow? Is it because of the airflow opportunities available with the grating?

2. What keeps things from falling through the grates once the newspaper has either been eaten or decomposes? Do you "go in" and build that lower layer back up or just keep adding to the top?

3. For those of you with the garbage can flow through who have had them for more than a year... do you love them?!


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1) Since both the top and bottom are open, or closed, but not tightly, air flows in from both ends. There isn't need for additional ventilation.

2) The VC holds together. You neither need to nor want to rebuild that layer. You just keep adding to the top.

3) Mine isn't made from a garbage can, and I have not had it that long yet. So far I love it, but I still need to get a feel for how much I can feed all at once. I am having heating problems from too much food.


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RE: How Many of You.....

"1. Why don't any of the "true flow throughs" have holes on the sides for airflow?" I believe the stacking systems and the true flow throughts do not have holes on the sides because psychologically when people look at something that is supposed to contain worms inside their house they do not want to see holes in the sides. Same reason many cover their bins. My tiny flowthrough has 4 3" holes on the sides. Nothing falls out. I still wonder if the middle of the bin is anerobic or non anerobic. I do not think air gets in. I could be and hope I am wrong. I love your question. I think people should be able to compost in milk crates stacked.

"Is it because of the airflow opportunities available with the grating?" I read one person who said the compost "cracks" and makes air vents. I'm not convinced air gets more than 6 (could be 2 or 9) inches in from the top or bottom. And how much air would a 1/4 inch hole let in? Tons or none? I do not know. But I really want to. For all I know the phenominal composting powers of flow throughs are because no air can get in and non anerobic composting is 10 times more efficient than anerobic composting. Bokashi works too. And worms love bokashi.

"2. What keeps things from falling through the grates once the newspaper has either been eaten or decomposes?" Keeps things from falling? How do you get yours to fall? I want to know what keeps the stuff up there? Fall vermicompost! Fall! Looking at the blue barrel flow though I really want to know if they guy ended up taking out all but 3 bars. I don't even think the newspaper is always necessary. If something like a pillow could be put right against the bars and the bin filled, when the pillow was removed, very little vermicompost would fall.

"Do you "go in" and build that lower layer back up (???) or just keep adding to the top? The goal is to add to the top and remove from the bottom. Preferably into a bin that can be switched out. If we did not want to move trays around, we did not want to shovel out of an inacessable area.

"3. For those of you with the garbage can flow through who have had them for more than a year... do you love them?!" I have only had mine for a glorious, heavenly month, thus am not qualified to answer. A bin was good practice to learn the principles.


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I started with one COW (stackable) then was given another before I built a wheelie bin FT and then was given a rectangular Worm Factory.

1) I included a ventilated chimney in the middle of my FT which may be helping with aeration, but I don't really know as I would need an identical system with NO chimney to see if it made a difference.

I have thought of drilling a series of small holes through the sides of the FT, but not really wanting to risk that it causes problems, eg worms escaping or castings leaking out, or bugs getting in.

2) I started the FT with 4 layers of newspaper, but it collapsed pretty quickly and I was getting a lot of stuff falling for the first couple of months. I would use more newspaper or cardboard if I do another one.

Since then, I have done a little scraping, but recently the bin has been dropping a manageable quantity of castings into the bottom chamber all by itself.

3) I see advantages to each style. Stackable easily lets you lift off layers and see how things are going. You can also re-organise the layers if you want.

The FT seems to handle a bigger volume of foods, but while my own experience is still limited, I have read people saying the castings are not as fine and pure.

So, stackable seems to be slower with more complete processing, FT is faster but produces vermicompost more than vermicastings. I love them both.

I am currently experimenting with using one of the COWs as a finishing bin to allow the output from the FT to get extra processing.

I was pretty much handling the scraps from 3 people with a high vegetable intake with the first two COWs, so I started adding horse manure to the mix when I built the FT.

I am thinking of building another FT simply to produce a bigger volume of castings.


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I started in the fall of 09' with an 18 gal and 32 gal rubbermaids. I now have (5) 18 gal rubbermaids doing very well. Total worms is approx. 10 thousand. Hope to have 10-15 bins going by the fall as I want to turn this into a small business. - Jim


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I have both tubs and flow-thrus no stacks or store bought systems. My favorite would be a small kitchen trash-can flow-thru. It produces a lot of vc, worms do well in it and even after several harvests it still weighs 39 lbs. I used an old trash can and scrap electrical wire so the only investment was the initial squirm.


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Got some pics or a better description of the small FT? Sounds interesting.


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  • Posted by karendee 5Wst. of Chicago,IL (My Page) on
    Mon, May 17, 10 at 10:05

Oops I added some small holes on the sides of my flow through. I wonder if I should tape them up? Oh well we will see if I kill these worms

Karen


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RE: How Many of You.....

Karen, the holes should be fine.


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  • Posted by karendee 5Wst. of Chicago,IL (My Page) on
    Mon, May 17, 10 at 19:45

thanks I will leave the holes, more worms were in the top of the bin today munching on some newspaper (when I took my wet cardboard cover off).

I added 5 noodles that fell on the floor at dinner. They seemed happy and wiggling.

I hope the bottom has enough food/microbes for them too.


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Merry - have you decided on your next bin type yet?

Randomz - as soon as somebody is here that can take and post a picture I'll get one up.

Karen - stop worrying about the worms. outside they live in manure and leaves. they will be fine.


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Merry - have you decided on your next bin type yet?

Randomz - as soon as somebody is here that can take and post a picture I'll get one up.

Karen - stop worrying about the worms. outside they live in manure and leaves. they will be fine.


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I think I'll give the Rubbermaid stacking system a go. I am drawn by the notion of a) more time with my beloved worms to really catch the action of what is happening in there and b) a chance to produce even higher quality castings. It's likely, however, that my curiosity will get the best of me and I'll also be setting up a garbage can flow through and join the likes of sbryce and rookie09 with 3 bins! :)


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I should have added randomz and jim08204 to that previous post. It seems far less fanatical when you are among many!


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"recently the bin has been dropping a manageable quantity of castings into the bottom chamber all by itself" flowthrough nervana. That is where I want to be.

"drilling a series of small holes through the sides of the FT" I'm experimenting with big holes in the sides of the FT. No horror stories yet. I'm not convinced the air goes more than 1/4 inch.

"I am currently experimenting with using one of the COWs as a finishing bin to allow the output from the FT to get extra processing." Yes, yes, yes. This is exactly where it is at. The flow through mixes the lemon rinds with the egg shells, the watermellon with the cardboard, the lime with the coccoa nut, to get all to a balanced. The harvest from this is perfect for the COWS. The big worms can be tossed back on top of the flow through. The cocoons and babies have a nice, safe, nursery.

rookie09 Yeah for "small kitchen trash-can flow-thru"'s. This is similar size to what I have. I read about yours first. It is a nice household size. It is interesting that instead of using a small kitchen trash-can to throw stuff out the same size can be used to make good stuff. A magical inovation, I feel. I hope in the future many people have these or if needed large flow-thru's.


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RE: How Many of You.....

  • Posted by karendee 5Wst. of Chicago,IL (My Page) on
    Tue, May 18, 10 at 14:49

So true I will stop worrying! Well I will at least try to stop worrying.

I guess if they can live in poop they can live in my FT.

Thanks!!
Karen


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