Bentley’s VermBin 48

Just wanted to let everyone know that my VermBin48 is basically finished. I (gradually) built most of it with my dad outside over the course of several weeks, then moved it indoors (also with his assistance) so as to be able to use it all winter long. I say “basically finished” since I still haven’t attached the lid or installed the lid vent(s).

That being said, as far as I’m concerned it is ready for action! Setting up my VB48 system will likely be a gradual process as well, but I’m certainly excited that the wheels are in motion and that I’m now able to start writing about my adventure!

My 5 year old daughter, Adaia, happened to be home sick from school today, so I came up with the idea of letting her paint the bin. It’s always fun getting her involved in my vermi-shenanigans (she seems to enjoy it as well) – and between you guys, me and the fencepost, I think it will help my wife feel better about seeing a giant worm bin next to our washer and dryer!

Adaia made a good start on the bin (before deciding she wanted to do something else), and it’s nice to see some color! I have little doubt that over the course of the next few weeks it will end up with a LOT more paint on it, along with all manner of princess and Dora the Explorer stickers.

One of the advantages of taking so darn long to get my own VermBin up and running is that I’ve learned from the experiences of those (many) who have gone before me. It seems that one of the fairly common issues has been premature holes in the cardboard/newsprint “false bottom”. In light of this, I decided to go REALLY crazy with mine! I started with multiple layers of corrugated cardboard down over the floor bars, followed by many many layers of newsprint (folded up the sides).

I’m not overly concerned about the fact that it will likely take a LONG time for the bottom to rot out enough to start harvesting. I just want to start by having lots of fun breeding loads of Red Worms and processing loads of organic waste materials – and we’ll take things from there.

As you can probably tell, I did end up deciding to add some insulation. This was primarily my way of protecting the plywood walls of the bin (I decided not to bother with wood preservative), but it will likely also help to keep the contents warmer during cool winter months (gets chilly down in the basement) and help to keep more moisture in.

I can see that it’s going to take a LOT of bedding (and other materials) to get me anywhere up near the top of this bin. I’ve started adding some shredded newsprint and cardboard today, but have a looooong way to go!

I have quite a lot of wet shredded cardboard sitting outside, so I’ll likely add all of it once my layer of dry material is a bit thicker (so as to avoid having water potentially drip down through the false bottom). I also have plans to add quite a bit of well-aged horse manure once I can get my hands on some, and of course plenty of food waste as well.

As for worms, I will simply be transferring lots of worm-rich material from my outdoor beds to the new bin once I feel it’s ready to receive them (likely once the aged manure has been added).

Anyway – should be lots of fun!

By the way…if you happen to be a VermBin Series member, you’ll be receiving a guide (and/or videos) describing my building experience in much greater detail. I’m hoping to get that put together sometime before Christmas – just trying to wrap-up a much larger RWC project (more on that soon, I promise) in the meantime.

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    • Laura
    • October 29, 2012

    Well done Bentley! Vb48 looks a good size. what did you use for grid and at what spacing – just curious? I see you also have the problem of finding trays to fit the bottom shelf exactly. Your little girl has grown up into quite the young lady:) Laura

    • wiredds
    • October 29, 2012

    I didn’t put insulation in the sidewalls of my VB24. Interesting that there is mold in the plywood walls but none on the 2X4 woods. Maybe the glue holding the plywood is the culprit for the mold!

    • John Duffy
    • October 29, 2012

    You are going to love your new bin. I had 3 layers of cardboard in the bottom of mine & it took almost 9 months to break through but, that was in an unheated garage.
    Adaia is getting so big. Looks like she’s having a great time hangin out with ole dad.

    • Sue
    • October 31, 2012

    “”I can see that it’s going to take a LOT of bedding (and other materials) to get me anywhere up near the top of this bin.””
    It won’t take that long Bentlley. Before you know it you’ll think the bin is too small already. Mine is almost full (in operation since Jan.2012)

    • Bentley
    • October 31, 2012

    LAURA – VBs use conduit bar and spacing is about an inch. As for the bottom shelf, I chose not to buy an additional sheet of plywood just so I could create a surface there. I actually prefer to have it open like that. Have not bothered to see if I can find tubs to sit down there. Once I get closer to harvesting time I will likely just lay down some plastic sheeting and fold it up over the cross beams down there.
    THUAN – that IS interesting. I suspect it is indeed the glue. I decided to go with a regular plywood instead of the OSB/LUAN recommended by Joe – I suspect that it will be more resistant to breakdown. The trade off being that it’s more expensive.
    JOHN – I’m definitely excited! This will basically be the largest indoor bin system I’ve ever worked with so I’m looking forward to “playing” with it this winter! Adaia is definitely growing by leaps and bounds – and I’m taking advantage of this stage in her life when she still thinks I’m cool and fun! It won’t last forever, that’s for sure! LOL
    SUE – haha, you are probably right. I am REALLY excited to finally have some place to put all the excess cardboard and paper that seems to accumulate around here. With a bit of time and focus I’m sure I’ll have it filled up fairly quickly.

    • Stephanie Davis
    • December 26, 2016

    Hi Bentley and thanks for all your insights. I read u regularly. Question:
    Did u insulate all 4 sides? It appears the bin is flush against a wall and that you added a 2 inch layer of white insulation? I live in Boston and would like to something similar in my basement but want to protect against the cold…

    Thanks again

    • Bentley
    • January 10, 2017

    Hi Stephanie
    I insulated all 4 walls of bin. The white styrofoam behind the bin is just what happened to be on my basement wall when we moved in (we’ve left the wall unfinished in this room). A VB48 should hold a nice amount of heat – when I first started the system in my basement – I had the opposite problem! I was trying desperately to cool it down! lol …Use all that volume to your advantage!

    • Pete
    • May 31, 2019

    Hi Bentley

    My bin is slightly smaller than yours and made of pallet wood rather than sheets of play. I have a lot of aged horse manure which is very dry. I’m unsure whether to soak all of it in water or use some as dry bedding? What do you recommend?

    • Bentley
    • May 31, 2019

    Hi Pete – if this is an outdoor system I would say it is likely quite important to make sure the bedding is nice and moist before use. If trying to balance a wet system, dry material is great (great to mix with water rich food wastes as well). They really love moist (but still oxygenated) conditions.

    • Pete
    • May 31, 2019

    Thanks heaps Bentley, very helpful. I’ve soaked about half of it overnight and will add it soon. I’ve kept the rest to add gradually dry with fruit/veggie scraps (which I’ve been blending for my styrofoam and in ground “bucket”). I’m in two minds whether to blend them for the cft bin.

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