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Raving Loony
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2,253 Posts
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I've been reading about worm composters. I want one. Faster compost, liquid fertilizer, and a bait farm, all in one compact package-- I am in love.

First off, can I use an old plastic storage tub with a lid that is not very tight??? I will fasten the lid down somewhat. And obviously I have to put holes in the bottom.

Second off, around what temperature does it have to be kept???? DH says it is not allowed in the house (worms come in a styrofoam container from the bait shop, don'tcha know). Can I keep it in a partially underground outbuilding, or am I going to have to farm it out to a neighbor during the winter????
 

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Sic semper tyrannis
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745 Posts
my worms survived a couple of weeks in the teens and mid-20's here in SC in a plain old wooden box. They're surprisingly intelligent and will get to a spot in their home where the soil temperatures are good enough for them to survive, but I wouldn't expect a lot out of them if it's crazy cold. Too hot is bad too, though. If the partially underground building doesn't get down to freezing, they'll do fine in there.

And use two plastic tubs nested one inside the other. The inside one, poke your holes, put your bedding and food and worms. Get it good and damp. They'll let you know if something is wrong in there because they'll try to escape. I put window screen over the holes I drilled to keep them in.

The biggest problem I've had keeping worms is not what happens to the worms, but the visitors to the bin. Millipedes are okay, but centipedes can decimate your worm bin if they get in there.

Here's the tips I followed when I bought my first 2lbs of worms.

http://www.allthingsorganic.com/How_To/06.asp
 

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Taoist
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2,028 Posts
I've been reading about worm composters. I want one. Faster compost, liquid fertilizer, and a bait farm, all in one compact package-- I am in love.

First off, can I use an old plastic storage tub with a lid that is not very tight??? I will fasten the lid down somewhat. And obviously I have to put holes in the bottom.

Second off, around what temperature does it have to be kept???? DH says it is not allowed in the house (worms come in a styrofoam container from the bait shop, don'tcha know). Can I keep it in a partially underground outbuilding, or am I going to have to farm it out to a neighbor during the winter????
*laughs like h**** You'd think it be the wife grousing about worms in the house. My DH keeps his fishing worms in the fridge with the food. ICK!
 

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Prep and be calm
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464 Posts
I've worm composted for about 15 years now. I use one that is made for the purpose and sold by our city to promote composting. However I've heard that plastic tubs with the right holes work just fine. The one that was sold has three stackable bins with plastic mesh on the bottom and the bottom most bin is solid with a spigot so that liquid can drain out.

The way the tiered system works is you get the first bin active and it fills up gradually with worm castings. When its full, put the 2nd tier on top of the full bottom bin and put some food scraps in it. The worms will migrate up through the holes in the bottom to start working on the second tier food. When you are ready to repeat and add a third tier the bottom most bin will pretty much be pure castings and ready to use.

Be careful not to put in onion or citrus scraps much as the worms do not like these. They seem to love banana peel, and other fruit and veggie scraps. I often take the food scraps to the worm bin in a paper bag and just put it all in the bin -- bag and scraps. They seem to like the brown paper bag as cover. They do not like being jostled much.

Worm castings seem to need to be mixed with other soil ammendments. . . they seem too dense for use straight in planting. I mix them about 1/4 castings to 3/4 compost.
 
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