A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article about the benefits of vermicomposting bins but I didn’t really cover how to build your own vermicompost bin. Today I’m going to show you how I built my vermicompost bin, I tried to take a bunch of pictures and even made a custom mount for my tripod so I could shoot some video with my iPhone. Please be kind this vermicompost bin video is my first attempt at a little video editing. You can see my son in the picture to the left playing with the worms, we sat there for 45 minutes talking about the worms it was great.
How To Build A Vermicompost Bin
The first step when building a vermicompost bin is to gather all the supplies. For my worm farm I was able to keep the costs under $20 but I all ready had the bin and Cara was able to get the worms whole sale. I bought a quart sized container of earth worms, I’m not quite sure how many worms in total but I’m not worried they’ll begin multiplying soon enough and the worm population will grow.
The parts included in my vermicompost bin:
1 – Quart of red worms (15-20 worms if I had to guess)
- 1 – Roughneck Storage Box, 10 Gal(Amazon)
- Cordless Drill
- 11/64 inch drill bit – or something similar
- 7/8 inch spade bit
- PVC 90º elbow - Mueller Streamline 3/4 in. x 1/2 in. PVC Sch. 40 90-Degree Slip x FIPT Elbow (Home Depot)
PVC Flush Bushing – Mueller Streamline 3/4 in. x 1/2 in. PVC Schedule 40 Pressure SPG x FPT Bushing (Home Depot)
- PVC Ball Valve -LEGEND VALVE 3/4 in. PVC Solvent Socket Ball Valve (Home Depot)
- 3 – 18 count Egg Cartons.
It would be a huge help to me if you could hit the like button on my video, but please don’t feel obligated.
Even though you can watch the video and see all the steps I’ll write them out encase the video stops working at some point.
- I began by drilling the 11/64 inch holes around the outside of my vermicompost bin. These will allow the air to circulate which is important for the worms and the health of the compost inside of it. I tried to place the hole 1 inch apart, any closer and I thought the structural integrity of the box my be compromised. It’s a pretty common concern of people’s that keeping this vermicompost bin inside will create a smell wafting through their homes, but I kept our worm bin right next to the front door for a week after completing it just to see and unless I opened the lid there was no smell coming out.
- Next I drilled the hole for the PVC drainage components. The 7/8 inch spade drill bit left the parts barely fitting in which was good, I wanted a tight seal. I don’t think Cara would appreciate all the worm tea leaking over our floors. It’s not in the video but after I had all the PVC fittings installed I tested it by filling the tote with water just above the fittings and waited to see if I had a leak. Luckily my setup was leak free but if I had a problem I would have brought in some caulk around the fittings to remedy this.
- With all my drilling done I turned my focus to the egg cartons. I split the cartons down the folding edge so I could harvest the bottoms. I wanted to use them on the bottom of my compost bin to create some air pockets that would allow any of the worm tea to sit at the bottom and let the compost stay drier (which the worms prefer). If you’re looking at a full egg carton you can notice the peaks between the eggs, as I plan to put that side of the egg carton face down I went about cutting off these peaks. By modifying the egg carton in this way they will sit flush on the bottom of the vermicompost bin. Once they were cut I placed them in the bin.
With all the changes done and the parts installed it was time for the easiest step yet. Adding my compost. For me I planned this out in advance and had built up a supply of food scraps for the worms to feast on, and if you watch the video you can see me struggle with the smell that comes out when I transfer it (my dad told me he got a good laugh, love you to dad). If you’re not going to build up a supply of kitchen food scraps I would hold off on buying your worms until you do. Once you have your compost and your worms in the bin you can just sit back and wait for some of the best gardening soil you’ve ever had.
How To Produce Worm Compost
Although this will probably be its own post when I finally have enough compost to harvest, I wanted to just quickly touch base on it now. There will be 3 byproducts that I can think of from this vermicompost bin:
- Worms – As long as I keep the worms dry, fed, and in a cool dark place they should be happy and continue to multiply. This will be a great resource for fishing supplies and I can spread excess worms throughout the yard and have them working on the soil out there. I also think worms are going to be a first great pet for my son, rather than pacing around the yard picking up land mines or cleaning a litter box I’ll be harvesting some black gold compost to use in our gardens!
- Worm Tea – This is another subject that deserves its own post but the excess liquid that I drain out of the vermicompost bin can be made it to worm tea with some really quick and easy steps. If you don’t know what worm tea is just think of it as liquid fertilizer.
- Organic Compost Soil – This of course is the big one. With my bin setup in the way it is now I’ll have to tip it over and sift thought the contents by hand to actually separate the compost from the worms and the kitchen scraps that haven’t broken down yet. I’ve got some ideas and some supplies that I got from a friend that should help me build a system to sift through the compost much more effectively.
I hope you found this article helpful, if I was able to inspire anyone else to try this I hope you let me know!
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