John’s VermBin24

I’m sure some of you must be wondering what ever became of Neil’s VB24 series (there hasn’t been an update since the beginning of October). Well, as is often the case in my own world, Neil ended up very busy with “life stuff” (in his case, this involved attending teacher’s college while holding down a full-time job) and simply hasn’t had the time to provide any more updates. Of course, this is totally understandable, and I will always be grateful for everything he has able to share with us (not the least of which was his building guide, of course!).

When long-time reader, and good “worm friend”, John Duffy, recently told me about his own VB24 building experience, I decided ask if he’d be willing to let me share some of his updates here – and, as you can probably tell (wink, wink), he say yes!
(thanks again, John!)

Below is John’s first installment, along with some photos of his new VB24:

Building the VB24 was really quite simple. The plans were very concise. (I would, however, suggest screws vs nails just for strength)

I took my time & used the “measure twice, cut once” school of construction advice. I would also suggest using a “helper” to help hold the wood while cutting it so as to reduce the chance of the circular saw kicking back at you at the end of the cuts. (Yeah, I have the scar from a bad decision)

I personally didn’t have a “helper” available so I used several 1 gallon paint cans (evenly spaced) to support the wood as I made my cuts…As any DIY guy can attest, sharp tools are much safer than dull tools.

I had a new carbide tipped blade in my circular saw so sawing the wood cleanly was a breeze. Cutting the conduit would have been a lot easier if I would have had the presence of mind to invest in a new hacksaw blade.

I painted the VB24 with 2 coats of exterior acrylic paint inside & out and let it dry thoroughly before adding my worms. Tonight, I added the contents of my 5 tray stackable worm bin. I had probably 2 lbs of redworms and maybe a pound of European nightcrawlers. I put down a layer of cardboard to cover the grate & plugged any gaps with moist newspaper. I live in southeastern Indiana so it’s a bit on the chilly side in these parts. I have the bin in an unheated garage where the air temp is about 45*… The bedding temp is holding at 50*…I plan to add some fresh horse manure to help raise the bedding temp.

I’ll try to send you monthly updates as to how the bin is performing… I suspect that things will be slow-going until about March when things warm up a bit around here.

…”You might be a wormhead if” you ask Santa for an 18″ compost thermometer…Yup, I did.

Have a great weekend!

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    • Neil from Maryland
    • December 22, 2011

    Looks Good, John! Nice work!

    My VB is in an unheated garage as well. Since I started the project several months ago, I was able to get my bin mostly full before the cool weather hit here in Maryland. The air temperature inside by VB has been between 45-60 degrees in recent weeks, but when I dig into the habitat, worms seem to be doing fine just a couple inches below the surface, so I’m confident that the temperature of the habitat is still suitable for them.

    Looking forward to your updates!


    • Bentley
    • December 22, 2011

    Neil! Thanks for stopping by with your progress report!

    • Larry D.
    • December 27, 2011

    Good job John! Most of us tend to use what is called a rip blade in our circular saws.Less teeth equals cheaper blade price.Best to get a blade with a lot more carbon tipped teeth.Smoother cuts,and less kick back.Just cuts slower.No need to get in a hurry anyways,right?
    Also, at least where i live,if you got a Big Lots in your area.They have a meat thermometer with a longer than normal probe.Only place i see them around here.Real reasonable price too.Not as long as a compost thermometer.But in most bins it will work good. Hopefully all their stores got them.Doesn’t hurt to look!

    • John Duffy
    • January 1, 2012

    Thanks for the tip Larry. There are a couple Big Lots stores close by…i’lll have to check them out

    • Anthony
    • January 3, 2012

    Just wondering: in this system, what happens to the excess liquid? Is there a ‘reservoir’ type tray inside?

    And i know Bentley generally shies away from saying how much material any given system can process, but any rough rough guesstimates?


    • Bentley
    • January 6, 2012

    Hi Anthony,
    I suspect that excess liquid won’t really be a problem – for the same reason that it’s rarely an issue with a Worm Inn. If you have a nice thick cardboard false bottom and use lots of absorbent bedding materials, there is a good chance the excess moisture will simply evaporate off. You could certainly put something underneath just in case, but I suspect there will be a greater chance of dry materials falling down (once false bottom has decomposed) than liquids.

    As for the amount it (or any other system) can process – the reason I “shy away” from making recommendations is because it can vary widely, depending on many different factors (temps, how wastes are prepped, what wastes are used etc etc). That being said, hopefully John will be able to provide us with a rough guesstimate of how much his system is receiving at some point (although, it’s important to remember that John’s system is sitting in a cool location, which can slow down vermicomposting a lot).

    • Joe
    • January 17, 2012

    Nice job on the bin.

    I have the VB96 and it’s producing like crazy.

    Always figured bigger is better.

    Compost On!!

    • Bentley
    • January 18, 2012

    Hi Joe!
    Great to see you around these parts.
    Reminds me – I should post that picture of your vermicompost.

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