Wooden Stacking Bin-08-06-10

Wooden Stacking Worm Bin

Last week I wrote about setting up my wooden stacking flow-through bin, after a very loooooong period of sitting idle down in my basement (see “Wooden Stacking Bin – The Return!“).

Well, today I decided to add the worms so as to really get things rolling with this experiment. As you will likely recall, I will only be adding coffee grounds and shredded cardboard to this system in an effort to see if this approach will work. If we were also adding food waste to this system I probably would have waited a little longer before adding the worms, but in all honesty, the grounds don’t see to be going through much of a “rotting” process at the moment, so my hope is that the addition of the worms, and the “compost ecosystem” material that comes with them, will help to get this moving along.

I’m not overly focused on EXACT quantities of worms being added, opting instead for a quantity that “seems appropriate” (you just kinda get a feel for this sort of thing after awhile). Basically, I filled a small tub with very worm-rich material (from one of my productive outdoor beds) and then added a bunch more worms by hand.

Tub of Red Worms

Before I added them, I made sure to water the cardboard and grounds quite thoroughly. Moisture is definitely going to be something I’ll need to keep an eye on – and I suspect that I’ll be adding water regularly (unlike with a plastic enclosed system). Adding the worms simply involved making a shallow depression in the middle then dumping in the contents of the tub.

Adding Red Worms to Stacking Bin

I ended up having to spread the material around a fair bit so as to get the lid back on in a reasonable manner (i.e. not teetering on top of a mound of compost material). I’m not impressed at all with depth (or rather the lack thereof) of these trays – but hey, the show must go on, right?

That’s basically it! I will likely leave the worms alone for a few days (other than peeking in side to see how they are doing) – I won’t add any more coffee grounds (not that there is any room – haha) until sometime next week. The material the worms came in will certainly still have some food value, so I’m not exactly worried they will end up starving to death!

I will provide another update in a week or so!

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  1. Bentley,
    An interesting bin but I don’t see how it is a flow through. Can you remove the material without unstacking it?

    • Tracy M
    • August 7, 2010

    Bentley, do you think the coffee grounds might be used like egg shells in their tummies?

    • Don
    • August 9, 2010

    looking at your straw/worms picture,[from one of my productive outdoor beds] it appears fairly moist. Do you keep your outdoor bins with this type of material pretty sopping wet?

    • Bentley
    • August 9, 2010

    CHUCK – I guess it depends on your specific definition of flow through (aka “continuous flow”). Yes you do need to remove trays from the stack in order to harvest, but (in theory) there is little else you need to do apart from dumping out the vermicompost. This is definitely not the same as a static rubbermaid type of system, since the worms should continue to follow the newer waste materials in an upwards direction (hence the “flow” component).
    In my mind, a flow through system is an system that involves the worms moving away from their waste materials towards food materials in a systematic manner that allows for easier harvesting of vermicompost.
    Again, I’m not saying I am a huge fan of stacking systems by any means, but I’m still stickin to my guns on the label!
    TRACY – Generally, you need something very hard and essentially inorganic for aiding the grinding of materials in a worm gizzard. So, tiny stone fragments etc (which can be found in a pinch of garden soil) are what you are looking for there. Grounds are an organic material that aren’t likely hard enough to assist with grinding.
    DON – I wouldn’t say that the material was “sopping wet” by any means, but in my outdoor beds (which drain into the ground) I do aim to keep things as moist as I can (can be somewhat challenging during heat of summer though). Worms LOVE it wet – as long as it remains oxygenated.

  2. Thanks for the clarification. Check out my idea of a Continuous Flow wooden bin system. http://cascadeworms.com/store/wood-worm-bins/ . I would love to know what you think if it.

    • Kator
    • August 12, 2010

    Hey Bentley – Looking forward to your project progress reports. Wigglers wired on caffeine .. interesting experiment 🙂

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