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Can-o-worms composter
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JonO



Joined: 05 Mar 2005
Posts: 119
Location: South Birmingham
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 05 8:39 am    Post subject: Can-o-worms composter Reply with quote
    

Anyone ever tried or had any success with anything like these ?

https://www.wigglywigglers.co.uk/shop/foundoption.lasso?findit=Can-O-Worms&-session=shopper:DA4A634599362677EE2F8FD9E3A56C4F

They look good but expensive ? Searched the forums and couldn't come up withanybody reviewing them !


Treacodactyl
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 25705
Location: Jumping on the bandwagon of opportunism
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 05 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Is this thread any use? I must get round to making my own if I can.

https://www.forum.downsizer.net/about2319.html

Blue Sky



Joined: 30 Jan 2005
Posts: 7658
Location: France
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 05 9:41 am    Post subject: Re: Can-o-worms composter Reply with quote
    

JonO wrote:
Anyone ever tried or had any success with anything like these ?

https://www.wigglywigglers.co.uk/shop/foundoption.lasso?findit=Can-O-Worms&-session=shopper:DA4A634599362677EE2F8FD9E3A56C4F

They look good but expensive ? Searched the forums and couldn't come up withanybody reviewing them !



I looked at the wriggly-wrigglers site a while back but I found a very useful site on how to make your own wormery for about a tenner. (I'll try to drag out the link later)

With regards to the little blighters themselves I first tried with garden worms and failed. Then a very nice chap (on here) called Hedonists sent me the proper stock - yes all the way to France. Very kind indeed. They arrived last week and seem to be doing just fine in their new home. They are struggling a bit with the language tho'

Sorry Hedonists if this overwhelms you with worm requests

Blue Sky



Joined: 30 Jan 2005
Posts: 7658
Location: France
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 05 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Right, found it - here's the link:

https://www.troubleatmill.com/wormbin.htm

Well worth a visit!

wellington womble



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 15047
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 05 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

I've got one. They are essentially very simple bits of kit, and the link above will provide you with as good a bin, easliy (for a lot less than 80 quid too!) They are very slow during winter, so unless you really want worm casts, you may be better off with a compost heap. In the summer they work much faster, but still can't cope with anything like the amount of kithchen waste a family produces. If you can keep them somewhere warmer, they would work better, I think. I'm doing an article later in the summer (how not to do it!) I think we could easily keep 3 or 4 going.

But, they make great liquid fertiliser and pottin compost, and are very easy (once you have a few basic mistakes ironed out). They don't smell (although the fertiliser does) and would be fun for kids of all ages! I will biuld another, but even then I'll still need a compost bin for the rest of the kitchen and garden waste

JonO



Joined: 05 Mar 2005
Posts: 119
Location: South Birmingham
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 05 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Well I will look into making one of my own, Simon that linke was great (A bizzare tag on the rest of there site !).

I have 3 compost bins already ! Just wanted one that would produce stuff for seedling (Finer stuff) and also the fertiliser for my tomato's which I presume is its primary use (Other than another oddity for the neighbours to look at !)

Milo



Joined: 16 May 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Oop North-ish.
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 05 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

I have one, a Wigglywigglers' version but I stopped using it a few years ago. I kept it in the cellar with limited success, (like close to failure), then moved it outside into a shaded location, but still ended up with something more like a foul-smelling mess than good compost. And I didn't find much use for the liquid run off.

I was probably doing something wrong, or not doing something right, but it seemed to me that the balance of contents was quite critical and I felt that I wanted something which I could just leave alone to do what it was meant to do. I made several starts and spent quite a lot of dosh on posted worms.

In the end I kept going with my free compost bin and a large handful of compost worms and got much better results.

After that very poor advert, my Wigglywormers' bin is for sale - say a ridiculously inexpensive 20 + P&P, or whatever swap you might like to offer.

But don't tell my wife because she bought it as a present for me!

Last edited by Milo on Sat May 21, 05 10:00 pm; edited 1 time in total

wellington womble



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 15047
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 05 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Sounds like a worm bin's what you need then - I can't speak for the compost, cos I haven't got any yet, but the 'worm tea' seems to be good for my containers (beats buying stuff in unnatural red colours anyway!)

You do have to put dry material in them too. I use shredded
paper, used kitchen roll, and egg boxes and things, to stop it getting too wet. I put dryer kitchen waste in (like spud peelings not lettuce trimmings, for example) I've also found that the smaller the stuff you put in it, the better it works, so I normally stick to peelings in it, rather than broccoli stalks - they seem to rot rather get eaten, and the worms don't like it.

I'm going to get a paper shredder, so that I can compost and feed to the worms all our paper (we both work from home, and generate masses of the stuff!)

Mochyn's got one too - she might have something to add later.

Edit - they take a while to get going, by the way - you might som eliquid stuff this year, but proabably not compost - not sure if you would get it in time for spring, it depends how warm you can keep them over the winter!

Blue Sky



Joined: 30 Jan 2005
Posts: 7658
Location: France
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 05 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Good thread ... I'm learning more and more about worms every day.

Could someone in the know maybe do a topic just for us wormers?

I would be happy to join in with our progress on our new-found hobby. needless to say, I do not have enough experience with them yet to initiate the topic myself.

I nominate "Hedonists"

Sorry mate, as if I havn't put you out of your way already with the worms requests.

mochyn



Joined: 21 Dec 2004
Posts: 24581
Location: mid-Wales
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 05 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

I do indeed have a wormery which was given to me some years ago by a client. It works really well, thrives on neglect, and produces a good quantity of fine-grade compost and 'liquor', both of which get used in the greenhouse. I don't do anything special, just bung in a bowl of veg. waste occasionally, rarely any paper or card, and, yes, mainly small stuff. I don't wrap it in the winter, but it's in a sheltered space on the yard by the shed and quite near the house so it doesn't usually get too cold, wet or hot! We don't bother with the 'worm treats' that came with it: I think the bags got lost in the move.

We even managed to move it from Shropshire 3 years ago with no loss of productivity!

JonO



Joined: 05 Mar 2005
Posts: 119
Location: South Birmingham
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 05 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Well Milo, I may be interested in your 2nd hand (or worm) can-o-worms as it will save me having to build one and allow me to spend my time sorting the ducks and chucks more ! If your interested in sneaking it out of the house ?

How far North do you live if you don't mind me asking ?

Milo



Joined: 16 May 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Oop North-ish.
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 05 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

I'm at the centre of the universe, JonO, halfway between Lands End and John o'Groats. Contact details on my website.

Hedonists



Joined: 13 Jan 2005
Posts: 95
Location: Romford, Essex.
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 05 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

simon wrote:
Good thread ... I'm learning more and more about worms every day.

Could someone in the know maybe do a topic just for us wormers?

I would be happy to join in with our progress on our new-found hobby. needless to say, I do not have enough experience with them yet to initiate the topic myself.

I nominate "Hedonists"

Sorry mate, as if I havn't put you out of your way already with the worms requests.


Haha. Errm, not sure really.

I've learned a lot from reading one or two vermiculture forums.

I built my bin from a plastic dustbin, bought for about six quid. I drilled plenty of small holes in the bottom of the bin, so that excess moisture can escape. And used a drill attachment to make four 2" holes in the walls of the bin for airflow; two at the bottom on one side and two at the top on the other.

I bought a couple of tubs of brandlings (aka red wrigglers) from a local fishing tackle shop and added them to the bin along with some shredded paper. I probably started with no more than a hundred worms, and a year and a bit later there's hundreds and hundreds of the little blighters.

My bin has been going for nearly eighteen months now. For the first nine months I did everything 'by the book' and harvested half a bucket or so of nice dark worm castings. The second nine months I've done everything wrong and ended up with about ten buckets of really thick, heavy brown stuff.

Within the converted plastic dustbin I include a few inches of damp shredded paper at the bottom, for them to nest in (newspaper, used A4, etc but no glossy paper). Followed by household scraps, including tea bags, coffee grouts and all scrap veggies & rice/pasta, plus cardboard inners from toilet rolls etc (the worms seem to like nesting in these also) but no fat, no meat, no dairy. I add a 6" layer of dry shredded paper on top (moisture collects around the rim of the lid, and the worms LOVE to gather there - the dry shredded paper puts em off).

For the first nine months I stuck with this regime. There's only the Duchess and me, so the level of household waste is steady but minimal. The level of material between the bedding and the top layer of shredded paper varied between about six to twelve inches. As I've said, it resulted in about half a bucket of really nice dark brown castings. Not quite "Black gold", but well on the way. I'm confident that if I'd have left the worms in there longer, without feeding them more, the castings would have ended up darker. Worms will quite happily live in and continue to reconsume their own castings. As they do so the quantity of the castings reduces, but the quality improves.

The second nine months I practically filled the bin, with loads of garden waste (grass cuttings, gone-to-seed-lettuces, old pepper plants - they loved the pepper leaves!) layered with damp shredded paper. I now have over half a bin of heavy brown. It doesn't smell until it's given a good stir, and then it gives off a mighty pong! A really strong manure type smell.

From the smell and the look of this stuff, I reckon it'd make a wonderful fertiliser. Although as it looks so raw, perhaps to be dug-in in the autumn, for growing in the spring. However I'm more interested in a longer term experiment and so will probably leave them in this environment, without feeding them further, for the next nine to twelve months.

It's worth noting that I'm only using brandlings (aka red wrigglers) which are what I'd describe as "surface feeders". It may be that the full bin is too deep for them (in fact everyone says it is ). There are other worms that live much deeper in the mix and to combine them with the dragglers would be better suited to my environment. I intend to research this more fully.

At present I have one vermiculture bin, and one 'cold' compost bin. I'm thinking about buying a couple more, so that I can semi-compost material, before feeding it to the worms.
- apparently the worms eat the bacteria which break down the waste.

My bin is kept outside, where it becomes host to many other grubs and flies, plus the occasional slug or snail. Many of these, such as the soldier fly grubs, greatly aid the vermicomposting process. In fact soldier flys can be so veracious as to threaten the worms, but keeping a dry bin (set bin to level 'moist') helps to prevent too many of them.

Someone mentioned earlier that their worms couldn't keep up with the household waste... you don't have enough worms I think this is also part of my problem at the moment. Even though most agree you should start with something like 1000 worms, I started with much, much less. It's only a year or so later that I have this kind of number. Next year I hope to have thousands & thousands of the little bleeders. I don't know how they do it, but worms will vary their popluation numbers according to how much food is available to them.

Bottom Line
---------------
You can get good castings from worms fed on nothing but damp, shredded/ripped newspaper. If you're using only dragglers (the most commonly reccomended worm for vermi-composting) a wider more shallow bin may give better results.

The little buggers adapt to pretty much any environment (which IMO is why they're so great). Search Google for how vermiculture is helping people in India to compost sewage.

Am afraid I can't give any advice on any of the commercially available bins, as I think 60+ quid for something to keep worms in, is a bit steep.

I've heard of people building wormeries underneath chicken coops or rabbit hutches. If anyone has any experience of this I'd love to hear it. I understand you shouldn't feed the chicken-pooh worms to the chickens, but it's ok to give them the rabbit-pooh ones. I'm very interested in breeding rabbits for my pot, and think this is garden-geek cool

Apologies, if this all seems a bit rambling.

You haven't lived until you've harvested worm eggs

Blue Sky



Joined: 30 Jan 2005
Posts: 7658
Location: France
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 05 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Hedonists wrote:
Next year I hope to have thousands & thousands of the little bleeders.


You will have to stop giving them all away then

But seriousely, thanks very much for that post. Very helpful to me and I am sure many others well find it useful also.

The home made bin gets my vote of approval. No sense wasting money eh?

wellington womble



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 15047
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 05 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Thanks Hedonist - I bet your fingers are aching now! Some of what you said is different to what I've got in my booklets, but if its working, then who cares?

I can add a few mistakes I've made along the way - perhaps it'll help others avoid them.

Don't stack the empty baskets under the one your using to keep them out of the way. The worms go down and can't get back up again!

Put the bin under cover, or find a lid for it (a dustbin lid is good, as the air still needs to circulate) Otherwise the worms all try to escape when it rains!

Put lots of dry material in - shredded paper is really good. If the bin gets too wet it gets a bit pongy and slimy, and you get extra wildlife with it (manure type flies, I think)

Keep the bin as warm as possible - if you can overwinter it in a greenhouse or keep it permanatly inside somewhere, they will work much faster. otherwise keep it sheltered and biuld in some insulation. I used bubble wrap and duck tape, but it would be much easier to incorportate as you build it if you build your own.

Lastly, remember to ask mochyn (or hedonist) why the worms appear to be drowning themselves in the sump again! Are they just stupid, is there possibly too much liquid in there, and does this explain why I maybe don't have enough worms?

I think they can't cope with our level of waste really - we generate about one bin bag a week, and I reckon that more than half of that is green waste. I suppose what I really need is a pig!

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