Backyard Vermi-Filtration, Fertilization System?

Some years ago now my fancy green plastic rain barrel developed a crack, rendering it useless for its intended purpose. Me being me, I just couldn’t handle the idea of tossing it in the trash. Bare minimum it felt like some sort of composter waiting to happen.

Well…that never happened. It just sat in the corner of my backyard and collecting and releasing small amounts of rainwater every so often.

This year I decided enough was enough! My first idea was to convert it into some form of DIY “Garden Tower” – but I wasn’t quite sure how to make that happen.

More recently, on a whim I decided to add some bulky vermicompost screenings so it could at least release some nice liquid extract to the surrounding vegetation any time it ended up with water in it.

This got me onto the idea of turning it into much more of a robust system – something that could support a thriving population of Red Worms and hold/release a lot of moisture (and other good stuff). I have access to plenty of expanded clay balls (dumped from a vermi-gardening system some years ago) and coarse wood chips, and I have been separating out a lot of both recently as I work through some mature material from outdoor worm beds.

I am slowly building up a zone of mostly inorganic, and very resistant organic matter down in the lower half of the bin.

While I probably won’t ever treat this like a “worm bin”, once the coarse filtration zone is established I will likely start adding green yard wastes up above. These will break down over time, releasing nutrients that will help to break down the organic matter below and boost the available nutrition for the worms.

I collect some “greywater” (water from cat bowls, salad washing etc) and will dump this into the system, along with some rainwater (especially once the system is more established). I think it will end up serving as a valuable water bank – and I am very interested to see what sort of effect it has on the surrounding vegetation!

Stay tuned for more updates!

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    • Austin
    • July 11, 2020

    Hello Mr. Bently, This is Austin from Denton, Tx, the RN. I sent you A meal with pictures, but I thought this was a good place to expand on your vermin filtration program. I finish the bioreactor, but didn’t get back to you. Working on the second one now. I hope to have some data for you in the fall or spring.
    I have search everywhere on this side of the hemisphere for research on vermicompost extract. I can find tons of video on vermiwash, but not the way I want to do it. I did find a very interesting video in India on what I called true vermiwash. I just want to take my vermicompost and place it in water in a microbag, massage the microbes out like Dr. Elaine Ingham do with compost extract. She is mostly doing research on the compost tea and some on compost extract. See below the videos describing the various methods I just mentioned. Vermiwash true vermiwash Elaine Ingham Soil Food Web Compost and Compost Tea ( scroll to 37:41 to see how her helper makes compost extract.)


    I simply take my food waste(vegetables and fruits, grains, etc…) out to the vermibucket and filled them and the worms and microbes do the rest. That’s why I like the bioreactor. I fill it up and the organism do the rest. It’s like going to the bank and watching your money turned to gold, I mean Awesome nutrients!!!

    I recently completed research on how longs it takes for worms and microbes to convert food waste into vermicompost in a garden vermibucket that’s inside the ground of square foot garden beds in late May, June and early july in Texas. Nothing fancy, I just had to get the data out there because My friends where asking me.
    This video is listed below too.

    I have about 18 vermibucket throughout the garden. The vermibuckets are lowes 2.5 gallon paint buckets with drill holes in the sidewalls and bottom and covered with a 10” valve cover top. I can pull the bucket up with the hand rail to use in the garden bed for planting in various holes without going back to the bucket each time to get some material.

    Do you have any research completed on using vermicompost extract on plants?

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