‘Souped-Up’ Simple Pet Waste Vermicomposter

Recently I have been writing about my small “Super Simple Pet Waste Vermicomposter“. Well, now that I’ve started using compostable kitty litter again, I’m definitely going to need something a lot bigger!

Initially, I was planning to create something similar to my “Vermi-Fertilization & Watering System” that could take the place of my much smaller “super simple” bin. After giving it some more thought, however, I decided instead to create an open-air system since it would be much easier to set up – and likely a lot more effective as well.

IMPORTANT NOTE: As I’ve written before, I really only recommend composting/vermicomposting dog/cat feces if you are fairly experienced – especially if you plan to set up an open-system like the one you’ll be learning about here. It’s very important that: 1) you choose the right materials, 2) you know how to set up the system properly, and 3) you know how to choose a good location for the system.

The site I chose for my bed is a shaded, unused stretch of garden in behind my compost tumbler. It is on the other side of the yard from my veggie gardens, and I think the close proximity to the shade tree (a Manitoba Maple) will make it even more favorable. (in case you are wondering, the beige slab is just an old piece of particle board)

I started by laying down a bunch of weeds I recently yanked from my gardens. There isn’t anything particularly noteworthy about this. I simply wanted to build up the bed a bit so as to create a buffer zone between the composting litter and the soil below. Gradually over time, this lower section of the bed will become an excellent worm habitat and bio-filtration zone.

Next, I added some of the rich compost I removed from my sandbox trench. I was actually surprised by the number of tiny Red Worms I found in it!

I then added some shredded newsprint (actually old flyers) that have been used as a cover material for my VB48 bin. As such, they will actually be nicely inoculated with microbes and should serve as a “living material” to help get things going in the bed (along with the compost). At this point I also added a bit of rock dust, and watered everything down.

Next, it was time to add the partially used wood-pellet litter, cover it with more of the compost and water down again before…

…adding a cover layer of aged straw etc (taken from my outdoor worm beds)

I will continue to build up the bed like a “lasagna garden” as more of the used litter becomes available. I have no plans to actually add worms since I know they will find the bed on their own (and again, there were some in the compost material I added).

I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted on my progress!

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    • John W
    • June 22, 2013

    They sell the wood pellets in Tractor Supply here in FL. Its in the rabbit/small animal section as a bedding.

  1. What kind of heat you reckon the urine and straw is gonna generate? At least your worms have a big safe zone. I know my worms love the lawn weeds. 🙂

    • Michael
    • June 23, 2013

    Where are the systems for dogs? Everything on here lately is for cats. Not a cat person at all, don’t like them.

    • Bentley
    • June 23, 2013

    JOHN – What’s the pricing like? What kind of wood is it?
    LARRY – There could be some decent heating if it gets fairly big, but I think the shady location and relative infrequency of new material getting added will help keep it at a reasonable temp.
    MICHAEL – I’ve been calling these systems “pet waste vermicomposter” for a reason. If anything, dog wastes are easier to deal with than cats (since no litter/urine to contend with) – so any of these systems would work perfectly fine.

    • Michael
    • June 23, 2013

    Setup is the same, gotcha. Can these type of systems reduce harmful pathogens of the waste?

    • John W
    • June 24, 2013

    a 20 pound back cost $5.99
    It is pine.

    • Kim from Milwaukee
    • June 26, 2013

    The title always brings to mind the poop soup digester thingee my sister uses for her doggie doodoo disposal. That thing is so gross!! Composting is soooo much more pleasant!

    • Bentley
    • June 27, 2013

    MICHAEL – Research has shown that composting worms can indeed reduce pathogens in waste materials significantly, BUT the assumption here isn’t necessarily that we are producing a completely safe material. As such, I always recommend caution when putting it to good use later on (maybe as a mulch for ornamentals in low traffic areas etc). If you set up a series of these systems, leaving each one to sit for a long time once filled, I suspect that the pathogen risk will be even less of a warranted concern.
    JOHN – Interesting! See if you can find a supplier for any sort of stove pellet. They will almost certainly be less expensive than that (my hardwood pellets were $5.99 for 40 lb)
    KIM – “Poop” and “Soup” should never occur in the same sentence, let alone in the name of a product! Haha! Doesn’t exactly conjure images of cleanliness and eco-friendly waste processing! Yikes.

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