The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Mid-scale worm bin management

Binet Payne's method of worm bin management is quite complex, but it can be summed up as follows:

Worm factoryWhen I first read Binet Payne's method, it felt overly complex, but as I sum it up for you, I can see the importance of each step.  For anyone who's not an obsessive list-maker, though, I suspect this sytem would be tough to stick to, which makes me think somebody needs to invent a system that does all of the thinking for you.  I've seen worm bins where you fill the bottom bin up, stack on another bin which you fill up and into which worms migrate as they finish the bottom bin, and so forth, but this would be a very bulky system on any scale larger than a few cubic feet.  I'm sure we can come up with something better.  Any suggestions on how to scale this idea up to a farm-sized version?

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This post is part of our Worm Cafe lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I like the bathtub worm farms, a bit like this one:

There are lots more examples around the web. The nice thing is you can harvest the worm wee as a liquid fertiliser. I don't think I'd have enough food to keep one running, though, with pigs, chickens, ducks, guinea pigs and compost bins already screaming for more!

Comment by Darren (Green Change) Thu Dec 2 16:25:30 2010

I like the idea of bathtub worm bins a lot for the medium scale, especially because of that handy drain for worm tea. I wish there was a way to tweak them, though, so that they did a lot of the managing for you --- I think you'd probably have to manage a bathtub worm bin with all of the intricate steps Binet Payne uses in her bin.

I totally understand your feelings that you wouldn't have enough scraps for a bathtub worm bin. If we can't tap into the community's food waste in some way, our dreams of worm bins are going to end fast...

Comment by anna Thu Dec 2 18:41:29 2010

Another setup is the "flow-through" or continous flow type systems. Food scraps and bedding go on top and castings/compost is harvested from the bottom. These can be made in all scales & sizes. There are many great examples on the web and i'll list a few below.

Comment by Adam Fri Apr 8 22:10:24 2011
Interesting! Same theory as many composting toilets, in a way. I suspect this won't be our last worm bin, so we'll have to ponder that before we build our next one.
Comment by anna Sat Apr 9 08:10:52 2011

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