Easy Self Contained Vermicompost!
Vermicompost is the process of composting organic waste with red worms. Initially an experiment for me, it has turned out so well that I had to expand my ranching operations to larger accommodations. Finally, the worms are out of the closet. (Well to be honest they were under the sink)
My wife was not really too thrilled with the idea of worms under the sink. I liked it, the worms liked it, so what is the problem?
It appeared that the boys were going to have to move to the garage. I could only stall for so long. I've been concerned about them catching H1N1 or something out there in the cold garage by themselves.
The idea finally came to me while I was filing some paperwork. I could operate a small colony inside a file cabinet!
So it was off to the thrift store where I found this one waiting for me for only 14.99. (I love it when a plan comes together.) I call it a "vermi-file"
(and the boys just love their new digs!)
The first thing that I did was remove the thin metal sheeting that served as the bottom of the top drawer. I used a scrap piece of expanded metal for the bottom. I bought a composite blase for my circular saw and cut it precisely to allow me to use the original bottom supports.
The lower drawer strayed intact. I used an ole recycle worm container to capture and control all my worm castings. This is a real handy place to store it until it is time to use it in my flower beds or on my lawn.
All joking aside my wife loves roses and she has a 'Mr. Lincoln' that she planted some fifteen years ago. My wife loves what vermicompost has done with that bush and I love coming in on a Saturday morning with an arrangement fresh fragrant rose buds. Guys I am telling you this is a great way to score points! Either the worms or I have now been granted grace.
You can easily design your own flow through system. I decided to get a little creative and set this up like a mini reactor by adding a sliding bar the harvest finished vermicompost. You can make it as simple or complex as you desire.
If you look closely you can see that I added nylon gutter mesh around the inside of the drawer to aid in air circulation. More about this later.
To start out a worm bin that is going to act as a mini reactor you will need to lay down some newspaper to keep your bedding from falling through the grate until your bed gets situated. I use a mixture composted cotton burr and worm castings for bedding. I do this so that there is a friendly environment for the worms without providing additional feedstock. I won't feed the worms for about a week unless they start banging their tin cups on the wall.
In about four weeks I will start harvesting vermicompost out of the bottom of the unit. The newspaper that you put down is long since decayed. You will find that when you set up a vermifile like this that nothing is going to fall out on it's own. The sliding bar will break it up so it will fall through the expanded metal bottom.
What I like most about this is that I can have it indoors and no one is the wiser. There is no smell and I guess that I am blessed because I never had much of fruit fly problem. I think that is because I have learned to 'bury' their food stock.
Having the boys inside is nice but maybe your wife won't let you slide on this one, that is okay. You can easily modify your design if it is going to be outside in your garage or workshop. By using foam insulation to the outside and adding a small fan in the back along with a heating cord on the inside your herd will do just fine!
This is a great design for bait shops. Nothing works best like live healthy worms on the hook!
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