Before we dive into the set up, be sure you’ve checked out the why and what Vermicomposting post – it may help you understand what’s behind all of this set up!
If you’re here, I’m going to go ahead and assume you may be curious about the set up of creating your own Vermicomposting bin, which is what this post will specifically focus on: the how. How to prepare the bins before getting to the exciting part: adding the worms. As part of this Vermicomposting series, I’m breaking down each part of the process into a post. That being said, I won’t be going into many additional details here about what happens after the bins are set up. That’s to come in a following post! Stay tuned!
P.S. As I said in the first post, this set up was inspired by this article from The Spruce. Check it out!
This is an ON THE CHEAP solution to create a vermicomposting bin. A completely DIY option, which I’m ALL about. If I can make something, I will (generally speaking). There are many other convenient options out there, but they are much more expensive, and seemed to take up more space than I had available. Just figure out which option is best for your space, budget, and time, and move forward accordingly.
Now, onto the set up for this budget friendly option (video and description to follow)!
Vermicompost Bin Set-Up Video:
What do I need?
- 3 5-gallon buckets
- 1 5-gallon bucket lid
- A drill
- 3/16″ drill bit
- 1/8″ drill bit
Set aside one bucket – this one will remain as is (i.e. NO HOLES the entire process). In the TWO remaining buckets, drill 3/16″ holes approximately 1 inch apart from one another all along the bottom of the buckets. These buckets will allow for drainage and for the worms to migrate eventually (more on that later!).
In the same two buckets, use 1/8″ drill bit to drill holes along the top edge of the buckets, which will allow for aeration. This is important because the natural balance of the bucket is important – you want air to be able to circulate to help compost and control the moisture in the bucket. Also drill 1/8″ holes along the top of the lid.
Step 3 (optional):
This is an optional step, but one I highly recommend. Now, as you’ll see in the video, I had the idea that the worms would be deterred by the “pokey” part of the drill holes, and thus wouldn’t be able to escape. Well, while this isn’t the post about the worm part of this whole ordeal, I’ll just say that it’s not a deterrent. The worms generally will not escape. They want to be in the dark, with their food, cozy and cuddled in. But the first night or two, they’re adjusting to their new home and might not really know where they belong. More on that later, BUT this being said, I’d recommend gluing on some sort of screen to just prevent any possible escapees.
I also hope you learn from my mistakes and do this before you’ve placed your bedding, worms, and food scraps inside. 😂
This step will take a little common sense on your part – the lid is pretty self-explanatory to seal. I placed the screen on the top of the lid, since, you know, I already and the inside filled – haha. If you wanted you could glue the screen on the inside. I’m guessing it doesn’t make much of a difference.
First, you’ll cut a piece of the screen out, the size of your lid (or at least the part that has holes). I used Gorilla Glue to attach it, which requires water to set up. So I took an old watercolor paint brush to add the water and made sure I had latex gloves, since the glue will squeeze through the screen. I put a thin layer of glue around the lid, being careful about not getting it too close to the holes since Gorilla Glue does expand. I wet the screen slightly, laid it on the glue, and attempted to push it down. I let it dry, and did have to go back and add some glue in areas where it didn’t stick so well.
As for screening around the side holes, that gets trickier. I do believe it would be much easier to do before you continue on, again, with the worms inside. This definitely required the use of latex gloves, as I had to hold down the screen until it set enough so that it would stick, and got glue everywhere.
For this part, I cut several strips of the screen that fit “inside” the little lip. I’d likely recommend gluing the screen on the inside of the bucket for the sides. It seems as though it will be easier to get the screen to stick if done this way (again, trial and error for me). I have one bucket left to do this in, so I will report back!
Similarly to the lid, I applied a thin layer of glue, wet the screen, placed it on the glue, and slightly pressed until dried enough that it stuck (although it will take a while to dry completely). I continued going around in sections until complete. Let dry at least 24 hours.
Learn from my mistakes: don’t buy the “screen repair tape”; I swear I read it was breathable. But it is not. Definitely not.
You’ll only start out using the bucket with no holes, and one of the buckets with holes. Eventually you’ll add in the last bucket with holes, but not for a while. Feel free to store that one away for the time being.
Now that the bins are ready, you’re set to order your Red Wiggler worms, gather bedding, and start collecting food scraps. More info on all of those important steps coming up next!
Please leave me a comment below if you have questions! I’m happy to help you along this learning journey in whatever way possible! 🙂
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