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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i finally ready to commit to raising a worm bin of my own and making my own cast for my tea, im tired of dealing with sediment problems in my brewer"in free suspension" and small fungal complexes with my current supply


i would like to build a small flow through bin may be 4 x 4 or something
what i really need help with is the design for the grate at the bottom and how to built it so to do it right, a hand crank method would be perfect but if somebody has a better idea I'm all ears too

any help would be greatly appreciated
 

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I want to do the same exact thing. I built my own compost bin from pallets, but from what i've been reading is there anything better for the lawn than worm castings? I want to build say a 3' x 3' drawer style bin. From what I've seen on some of the commercial ones, all the drawers have screened out bottoms for the worms to climb up thru, and the castings to fall thru. I've been thinking of using llke 1"x 6" stock for the drawer sides and 1/4" hardware cloth for the bottoms. I think what I have to do is build the bottom drawer say 3'x3' square. Then the next one maybe a few inches shorter on all sides to fit inside of the drawer underneath. Maybe with a couple of short "legs" on the corners of the top two drawers so they sit on top and inside one another. Make any sense???? I'll try to draw some type of scetch. If you've seen any of these worm condo type things: you know what i want to build, except out of wood.
 

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sediment is a thing that happens, worms have a gizzard that needs grit to grind up there feed! we have to add sand or they are slow to do there thing(eat) those small bins are real cute but you will need a little more space.

my favorite worm hotel is just a plastic shelf (HD) with 5 shelfs. just add some sides and thats it, 30 sqft of worm bed in a 6sqft foot print, that or just do it correctly. we have 3 sizes of bed module that we sell 4 foot 8 foot and a 16 foot stainless, the stainless is super big$$$ we have almost 80K into our 2 large stainless beds, and they will pay off in 1 more year!!!!
 

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look its real easy, it just takes a lot of tinkering, and I got a whole fleet of free thinkers, college types , traders of info, and it was still a real challenge to get it all together, even the Angle of the scraper bar can mean live or dead worms. the way they get feed, the whole thing is a real load of variables. if I had it to do all over, I would just raise the money and pay for a system. we have set someone up just south of us, all new gear, I mean the works, from end to end, another chick! she has a start up 2 month old gig with 280 new clients, she is Killing em. and the income potential is staggering, 40 k in equipment and trucks to get going and its all set up and working.

so the long and short of this is, diy is king but also take a look at the time and extra parts it takes, some times its easier to just get an off the shelf set up, and cheaper.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
but that would take all the fun out of it! lol
i get your point and expected that kind of response, but i'd thought i'd ask any how's,
wallet is tight right now, new biz getting established and my beautifully 8 year old daughter needs new shoes and such

diy right?

will a big wench work? jk:)
 

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one more thing I forgot to say, don't try and vibrate the worms casts out, they are real sensitive about vibration and will split the worm bins and be all over the place!!!

also you NEED to have a light on them all the time, if it gets dark they will want to roam around, think pink walls!! and not with paint!!! if the power has ever gone out in your house ever!!! get a battery back up light from a home store, spend the extra80$ so your investment does not crawl away!!!
 

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I have been trying to design one using an auger with angle iron as a scaper. Trying to figure out the proper twist to keep the worms out. Don't have the money to buy a lot of different augers. But to me this is the best method to controlling the speed to keep from killing the worms that want to hang out at the bottom.
 

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here we go ito a short course in over engineering.lolol the scraper we have set up takes almost all day to make it 48 feet. so its about 2 feet per hour or .003 feet per second.

 

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sediment is a thing that happens, worms have a gizzard that needs grit to grind up there feed! we have to add sand or they are slow to do there thing(eat) those small bins are real cute but you will need a little more space.

my favorite worm hotel is just a plastic shelf (HD) with 5 shelfs. just add some sides and thats it, 30 sqft of worm bed in a 6sqft foot print, that or just do it correctly. we have 3 sizes of bed module that we sell 4 foot 8 foot and a 16 foot stainless, the stainless is super big$$$ we have almost 80K into our 2 large stainless beds, and they will pay off in 1 more year!!!!
Do you have a website or pics and prices of your worm modules?
 

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one more thing I forgot to say, don't try and vibrate the worms casts out, they are real sensitive about vibration and will split the worm bins and be all over the place!!!

also you NEED to have a light on them all the time, if it gets dark they will want to roam around, think pink walls!! and not with paint!!! if the power has ever gone out in your house ever!!! get a battery back up light from a home store, spend the extra80$ so your investment does not crawl away!!!
I think you told me a story once and the gist of it came down to...

squish squish squish...
 

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For those who don't have much space nor money, why not keep it simple? Just buy whatever size plastic bins from Wal Mart, drill some holes for air (see my website for details) and layer in the feed/bedding. When the bin is full, with no trace of undigested food (may have some particles) just use a plastic mesh transplant tray to trap out the worms and start the bin over. This method keeps us in enough vermicompost to make as much CT as we wish. We started off this way with about 10 pounds of worms in 2 bins. Within 6 to 8 months we had 10 bins and about 50 pounds of worms.

Make sure you begin with a high density of worms, for the space you have. This way they multiply rapidly. You can pick out their capsules if you like but the capsules will survive the compost tea making process and you can put your spent compost on your garden or in a separate bin and add a bit of food. They will hatch out 3 to 6 per capsule for red wrigglers, you can trap them and add them to an active bin. We put the spent compost into the garden beds in the greenhouse and later on we lay a few traps on the soil to trap out the worms that hatch.

I noticed Treegal mentioned adding sand/grit to the worm beds. I'm unsure whether this speeds things up but we have found it unnecessary. I consulted with Kelly Slocum (a renowned worm expert) on this and she said worms will find all the grit they need in the foodstock provided (as long as varied somewhat), particulrly if using poo and or sphagnum peat moss.

We even trap out our windrow in the barn by laying the mesh trays on top filled with food. Once trapped out, we have around 100 yards of vermicompost to use. I think this is plenty for a small landscaping business for a year just to make CT. If you are talking a large commercial production that's different.

My friend raises worms (African night crawlers) in bins she builds from plywood, around half the size of apple bins. She stacks them up with a fork lift and they have cut aways for adding food (peat moss and wheat). This way she has a huge enterprise in a very small warehouse
(3000 sq ft?). When the bins are full and the food eaten, she dumps them into a rotating mesh harvester (like a soil screener). The worms roll out the end along with most of the capsules and the very even castings fall through the mesh. She always has more castings than she can sell. Yelm worm farm harvests their vermicompost the same way but they raise them in windrows. They have an immense production.

Tim
 
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