Back in early spring of 2011 I held a contest on behalf of Jerry Gach, owner of the Worm Inn Brand. He wanted to release a larger version of the Inn, and needed to come up with a good name for it.
Many entries came in. A lot of them were very good. But of course we could only select one winner, and that was…drum roll please…”Worm Inn Mega” (big surprise, haha!). Leigh B. was our grand prize winner.
Unfortunately, that’s where the fun ended…at least for the time being. Jerry ran into some challenges with the project and ended up having to put everything on the back-burner.
I actually assumed that the entire idea had been scrapped – so you can imagine my pleasant surprise when Jerry recently informed me that not only was the project NOT dead, but that he was in fact getting ready to officially launch the new Inn!
The next logical step, of course, was for me to start playing with one of these bad boys! So Jerry sent me a beautiful “port” specimen, and here we are.
I’m sure some of you will instantly be wondering about the support stand. As you can see in the pics, it is basically identical to the one used for the regular Worm Inn.
How on earth is that thing going to support the weight of this beast as it starts to get full?!?!
Good question (lol) – and this is actually something I’ve a bit “worried” about to be totally honest. But here’s the thing…
For starters, this stand has a larger footprint – instead of using lengths of 3/4″ PVC that are 18″ x 18″ x 18″ x 18″ it uses 20″ lengths. Doesn’t sound like much of a difference but it actually adds a lot more stability. Also, the way the ‘Mega’ attaches to the stand is much more secure. Normally with a Worm Inn I would just attach the straps to the bars themselves, using a single zip tie for each strap. With this one I was able to attach each strap to a corner piece using two zip ties offsetting one another.
Let’s now talk about the set up process.
Since I don’t really have a lot of room in my basement for any new vermicomposting systems (just ask my wife – she’ll tell you! lol), the only viable option was to transfer everything over from the regular Worm Inn to the Worm Inn Mega. That other Worm Inn was actually quite close to full, so this approach has the advantage of letting me test my stand-support “worries” right out of the starting gates (I’ll share a progress report on that a little later). There is also the advantage of providing me with a decent sized, hungry worm population – probably quite a bit less than an “optimal” population for a system of this size, but I actually prefer letting a worm population grow into a new system anyway.
I didn’t just dump everything in, though. As per usual, my first step was to create a thick “false bottom” with shredded bedding materials. Given the fact that I was adding lots of worm-rich material right on top, I decided to also add a moistened-newsprint “floor” as well. This way I’ll end up with fewer worms down in the dry, unfriendly false bottom zone.
Over to the right you can see how the regular Worm Inn (purple one) looks in comparison to the ‘Mega’. It’s actually not the best comparison shot – makes them look closer in size than they actually are.
Since I had a fairly thick layer of old grass thatch (I was more than happy to take off my neighbor’s hands!) as a cover material in the Worm Inn, I decided to use that as my first “official” bottom layer in the ‘Mega’.
There were actually quite a few worms in this material, so I was glad I decided to lay down the newsprint!
Next, I added a thick layer of mostly-unprocessed bedding materials (again, with plenty of worms in it), before basically just transferring everything else. I did make a bit of an effort to try and balance the processed stuff (which was looking really nice, I might add) with the unprocessed stuff. I want to provide the worms with a decent habitat in the new system.
I then added a big ol’ bucket of pumpkin waste with more of the moistened grass thatch. I didn’t weigh it, but my guess is that it might have been around 10 lb worth of material.
Lastly, I covered everything with yet another thick layer of the grass thatch. I would have normally used something like shredded cardboard/paper as cover bedding, but I didn’t happen to have any on hand. The thatch is actually really nice stuff, so I am more than happy with it for the time being.
Basically what I was left with at this point was a Worm Inn Mega containing more than an overloaded regular Worm Inn. Getting back to the topic of stability – I am actually really impressed with how stable the stand is. As is almost always the case with these PVC stands there is a bit of sway any time I work with the system – but the key is that there is absolutely no sense of imminent distaster – Haha! Again, I really think that the balanced strapping system and the bigger footprint make a HUGE difference. Having it sit in a corner should help me to avoid any major collisions (don’t want to push my luck! lol).
In the past, people have suggested the idea of making your PVC stand more rigid by adding epoxy (or some other strong glue) in all the joints. This may be one way to make the stand a little stronger, but I actually wonder if a bit of sway might not be better (sort of like buildings designed to sway a bit during earthquakes etc). Some people may also decide to simply create their own stand for the ‘Mega’.
Which brings us to the next important topic! When is it available for sale???!
All I will say for now is “VERY SOON”!