Bentley’s Super-Duper Worm Food Tool!

I like to think I’m pretty serious about my vermicomposting efforts.
(Yes, that IS indeed an axe in the background. lol)

Today I got a chance to re-enforce that feeling by creating a fun “worm food tool” I’ve had in the back of my mind for quite some time. Right off the bat, let me point out that this was actually an idea I got from someone else – sadly, I can’t remember who (my apologies to you if you are reading this)! The basic idea is as follows – chop up food wastes (etc) using a high-powered drill with a paint stirrer attachment. Of course, in order to keep this from getting really messy, you also need some sort of enclosed vessel. I thought a 5 gal bucket with lid seemed like a good choice (especially since I happen to have a lot of them).


[NOTE: Until recently, it was the lack of “high-powered drill” that was my main hang-up (since I already had the paint stirring blade). My rechargeale Black & Decker “weekend warrior” special just didn’t cut it I’m afraid. I decided to purchase a new drill this week since my dad and I have started my new VermBin48 (more details on that SOON!) – whoohoo!]

All I did was drill a hole in the center of the lid, insert the stirrer then attach it to the drill.

For “food” materials I used a couple of chopped up zucchinis plus a bag of frozen-then-thawed food waste.


The results?

After some initial struggles (involving a spinning bucket – lol), I kinda got the hang of it and the process started working for me. As long as I didn’t bury the blade too deep in the waste materials I was able to cut a lot of it up quite well.

There were some big chunks left, but all in all I was quite pleased with the results! What I am thinking I might do is actually cut some pieces out of the stirring attachment (with a hacksaw) so it works better as a cutting blade. I may also need to come up with a better container since I ended up busting through the side of my bucket!

I will definitely be playing around with this approach (and tweaking my methods) this fall, and will be sure to post some more updates!
8)

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Comments

    • John filon
    • October 4, 2012

    Much easier to use a ninja blender. 100.00 well spent. It does awsume. 1 load = 1 gallon bag.

    • Bentley
    • October 4, 2012

    I tell ya what, John. If I’m dropping $100 for a blender (and yes, I’d love to own a Ninja myself), it’s NOT getting used for food waste!! I love worms and all but…there’s a limit!
    😆

    Aside from that, I like having a larger container to work with.

    • Suzan
    • October 4, 2012

    No need to go fancy with the blender … any functioning machine will do the job. I got mine off my local Freecycle mailing list — for nuthin’ . If I burn it up or drop the container and break it, I’m not out anything, and can put a request out for another one. There are “chapters” of Freecycle all over North America — go to http://www.freecycle.org to search for a group near you.

    • Raven
    • October 4, 2012

    How about filing the edges of the paint stirrer attachment so that they’d be sharper (like a blender blade) ?

    • BlairMo
    • October 5, 2012

    My boyfriend says it is the torque of the drill not the sharpness that matters – though I think it is worth a shot to try! My only concern is if it is too sharp, it might cut into the bucket… Randomly enough I also tried this a month or 2 ago – I got the idea from some guys at home depot : ) Though I must confess, Bentley’s paint stirrer is much bigger than mine! Mine was in fact too small, so I added some wire hangers to it to act like a weed whacker. I think the issue is that the end product is not very consistent – the big chucks leftover and the fact that you can’t quite get to the bottom of the bin (not to mention forget about getting a good chop into something like carrots!). I certainly prefer it to chopping though! Last week I used the drill method, then took the partially chopped up bits and stuck them in a blender I bought at a garage sale ($10) and pureed it to mush. I then poured a thin layer of it into the VB 48 and covered it with a big piece of paper I found in some packing materials to hopefully keep out the flies. So far I think the worms love it, though I do have to admit I got a little too excited and definitely overloaded the bin – I guess it will be a week or 2 before I get to try anything else!

    Another thought I have had recently is that I am very tired of destroying card board with a box cutter. What do y’all think about using a wood chipper??

    Thanks!
    Blair

    • John
    • October 5, 2012

    I know I use to use a blender, but it was not really fast enough for me…and to get it to work really well I always had to add water to the mixture…making everything too wet. I now use a old food processor.

    And I have never added 28 pounds to my worm inn like somebody (not mentioning names, but he/she may own this blog) so I can’t imagine how long a pound or blender full at a time would take to make that much food waste!?!?!?!

    • Bentley
    • October 5, 2012

    Great idea, Suzan!
    —–
    Raven – I plan to cut out sections of the stirrer blade, but filing down the pieces that are left is definitely an idea to explore! Would love if I could find an actual drill attachment with a blender type of blade on it (no idea what that would be sold for though – haha)
    ———-
    John – haha! Yeah I guess I forget that a lot of people are only working with one or two systems. In my case – crazy experiments aside (lol) – I know I’ll have SOME place to put the waste materials regardless of how much I make.

    • norah
    • October 16, 2012

    I think the easiest idea I have heard of for this is a garbage disposal unit mounted in an old sink with a big bucket underneath. I have all the makings but my husband so far has not got around to making it. I am not the slightest bit mechanical and can’t envisage doing the job myself soooo…. I wait!

    • BlairMo
    • October 17, 2012

    Norah – I like that idea alot! I wonder if you will need to add water though, like John has to with the blender? I noticed I have to add some really “juicy” stuff like a tomato or some zuchinni to get my blender to make a “smoothie”…

    John – would it be crazy to cut a hole mid way up the blender (mine is plastic) and attach a short hose to it, then at least you don’t have to constantly dump loads of stuff and can just keep adding? Maybe a little too wishful thinking though…

    • Evan
    • October 30, 2012

    Bentley-
    Hey man…I’ve kept in touch with your blog throughout the years and it’s definitely helped me on my way as a vermicomposter. I see that we have a very similar approach to what we expect out of vermicomposting; ease of use and efficiency. I’m currently doing mass food composting at the school I teach at. Funny thing is, another person suggested this paint mixer idea to me 2 weeks ago and now I see it here on your site. I’ve been dealing with a similar issue. We have 5-10 lbs of scraps a day and I need an efficient way to chop it up .I have one of the corkscrew type drill attachments but my drill is only 4.5 amps and it’s not cutting it. It’s also not sharpened. Have you gotten any headway on this? Did you end up sharpening the mixer/cutting out pieces? Also, what amp drill do you use? Like another user said, I think the torque is what matters here. I need more RPM. Let me know when you can!

    • ONEMAN
    • December 7, 2012

    Fantastic set up and a huge tool and the bin is the right size the only problem i see is that the blades are too big and you need to add about the same amount of rain water to cause a whirl pool? Then drain the whole bucket through a bin with drainage holes in and then age it? I even use the drainage slops to wet down my out side bin with leaf litter in. Think the blade has to be reduced by about 3/4 its always faster in the center, its a Centrifugal thing?

    • ONEMAN
    • December 7, 2012

    I am currently using a Philips hand blender viva collection HR1617. With replacement within one year if it goes wrong. I use the same size bucket as you but i add 50% brown cardboard with the scraps and then the same amount of rain water, this forms a soup in less than a min and stops any rotation or vibration.Then i just drain it and use the slops and the food a few weeks latter. I have been through a lot of top brand name hand blenders ( Gordon Ramsy’s being one that i got through 3 in one week ! ) this one is less power but does the same job without over heating. and i have been using it twice a week for over 3 months now. Great for the smaller scale farmers. Hope this helps.

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