If you have followed this website for any length of time, you will know I have been a major fan of the Worm Inn for years now. In case you’re curious how long, it’s been ever since it was invented nearly a decade ago (as I type this) back in the summer of 2008.
Yeah, I suppose it doesn’t hurt that I somehow managed to “inspire” its creation – in a very weird way I might add – but when it comes down to it, what I’ve always loved about it is that it just plain WORKS – really well – and is very easy to use.
As great as Worm Inns are, and as much as I have recommended them over the years, there have always been a handful of nagging concerns about the design – partially based on my own experience with them, and partially due to feedback received from others who have purchased them.
A few prime examples include:
– In certain situations (eg low humidity locations) they can dry out very easily (or at least require a lot of watering).
– They don’t come with a stand (even with the “stand kit” additional supplies need to be purchased).
– The screened lid (an awesome feature in my opinion) can become damaged very easily.
– The unit sometimes doesn’t fit properly on a stand (I only encountered this with the regular Worm Inn)
Well, long story short, my good friend Steve Churchill (of Urban Worm Company fame) decided about a year ago that he wanted to come up with what he felt was an improved design for the worm bag flow-through system concept…
The Urban Worm Bag*
In a lot of ways, this ongoing evolution of the concept seems only fitting – after all, the Worm Inn was originally inspired by the “Creepy Pants” vermicomposter, which was originally inspired by Amy Youngs’ “Digestive Table” and the Australian “Swag” system.
Back towards the end of January, Steve was nice enough to send me an Urban Worm Bag to “play with”. The moon and the stars weren’t quite aligned yet (lol), so although I unboxed it, and set it up (and took pics of course), it wasn’t until this week that I felt ready to get the project started.
To be totally honest, my original intention had been to do a fun comparison study featuring both the Worm Inn (Mega) and the Urban Worm Bag…but I guess the stars and moon never ended up aligning for that one (nuff said).
Minor melodrama aside, I like the idea of just putting the focus on the UWB for this first “experiment”, and given the limited space I currently have in my basement, this has likely made things easier anyway.
Lemme take you through the unboxing and set up process.
The UWB came in a very nice elongated box (banana peel added for scale – and it seemed somewhat appropriate – haha). I really like the logo he came up with for the product as well.
Everything looked very professional and well organized inside the package.
This included a really nice how-to pamphlet (not that I needed it – more about that in a second)
In terms of size (there’s that darn banana peel appearing out of nowhere again – haha), my initial impression was that the UWB was somewhat smaller than the Mega. That opinion ended up changing (we’ll come back to that).
Steve felt that a solid lid would hold in moisture better and last longer. This also helps to shade the worm zone better than the screened lid of the Worm Inn.
Ok, so I originally figured I’d have more of a step-by-step stand set up photo series, but I didn’t realize just how EASY (very intuitive) it was to put together –
with UWB on it. It probably took 5 minutes or less. I was very impressed with the quality of the stand components. Rugged plastic corner pieces and strong (but still fairly lightweight) metal pipes. I think Steve was smart to give the unit a fairly low center of gravity as well – that should help to avoid wobble once it gets really heavy.
Back to the size of the thing – while the pictures here are misleading, I must admit this thing is BIG! In terms of volume my guess is that the UWB is similar to the Mega, but it is definitely a shallower, wider unit. There are pros and cons to this – I’ll touch on these in a minute.
The inside walls are interesting – they definitely look less “breathable” than the Worm Inn. But given the other design tweaks just mentioned (wider and shallower) I think it could work out well.
The very bottom of the unit is also interesting. Instead of a basic drawstring/toggle apparatus (which I happen to like a lot) there is be a distinct pocket-like compartment with a zipper. In some ways this may make things easier come harvest time, but we’ll have to wait and see.
All in all, I am very impressed with the Urban Worm Bag. Steve clearly zoned in on the features (of Worm Inns) that people complained the most about, and came up with what look to be “better” alternatives (for many – not necessarily for everyone).
Of course, time will tell, and that’s what this new project is going to be ALL about (putting this worm bin to the test)!
One little footnote I do want to add about the size of the UWB – it was a bit of a pain trying to move it around once completely assembled. It’s surprisingly wide! I literally had to dismantle it partially just to get it through my basement bathroom door. On the upside, it is so easy to snap the stand back together that this was hardly an inconvenience at all. I mainly mention this as a heads up for those who might have limited vermicomposting space (small apartment, crowded house etc). The unit is probably the nicest looking vermicomposter I have ever owned, so perhaps you won’t really need to “hide it” away in a corner of your house anyway!
OK thats all for now – but there is a lot more to come.
DO stay tuned!