We have just finished building our biggest ever red worm bin. It was designed to fit on a pallet for easy moving around our space. We are thinking this red worm bin will hold up to about 50 pounds of red worms if we can feed them well enough. The earth worm castings produced will help supplement our high demand for premium organic earth worm castings this spring. The bin was built to hold over 800 pounds of earth worm castings at capacity.
About 4 feet by 4 feet opening for a total of 16 square feet of surface area.
Started with about 10 pounds of red wiggler worms
Used this 1/4 inch galvanized wire rope for bottom section of flow through
2.5 inches between each 1/4 inch wire will allow regular flow of earth worm castings
Painted inside wood with oil based white paint, second coat was added after this picture.
Below is a macro clip of a red worm moving around in worm castings. Notice the little bug hitching a ride on the red worm at around 12 seconds in. This video was taken with a simple macro lens attached to an iPhone 4.
My goal was to build a worm harvester that would work on a small scale commercial operation. I need an efficient harvester that will be able to separate my worm material into three separate piles at the same time…the worms, cocoons, and castings. I decided to design and build my own rotating worm harvester. Almost all my materials were bought from hardware stores such as Lowes or Home Depot.
Since the last update the material has settled down about 8 inches. First image is after digging down 6 inches to find the red worms doing work. Second image is after adding about 25 gallons or 100 lb. of donated food waste provided by Cambridge Tea House.
I feed my bin with 10 gallons of half processed VC loaded with red worm cocoons on top of last vegetable waste feed. On top of the cocoons 20 gallons of loose leaf tea, watermelon and other random tea shop veggies was tossed in the top. The bin is about as full as I am going to let it go so I will update next Thursday to see how quickly the food has dropped.
This flow through worm bin is made from a 132 gallon Compost-Air, an aluminum grate base and 8 cinderblocks. Since I started this bin half full of donated loose leaf tea and other restaurant waste the bin was stocked with 8lb. red worms. This Compost-Air has half inch holes punched through the sides, no lid and a flow through bottom surface. The high air flow creates a perfect aerobic composting environment which leads excellent breeding and earthworm castings production by red worms.
Worm stocking densities are below:
0.5 lb/square foot density is 17 lb. of composting worms
1.0 lb/square foot density is 37 lb. of composting worms
2.0 lb/square foot density is 74 lb. of composting worms
The upper 5 gallon bucket has 1.5 inch gaps cut directly out of the bottom with a Dremel 300. Food scraps flow from the top then out through the newly cut bottom. The second bucket holds the nested upper bucket to catch castings and liquid. The cutout of the lower bucket has a 1 inch lip, enough to hold a small lake of liquid.