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May 27, 2014

Homemade Vermicompost Bin Design

This post shows how to make a vermicompost bin from the bottom up. To follow this simple homemade vermicompost design, you will need the following.
  • 4 buckets that are the same shape and size
  • 2 lids (one for the base, the other the lid)
  • a piece of mosquito net that is roughly twice the diameter of a bucket
  • a drill
  • drill bits (1/8 inch and 3/8 inch)
  • a saw
  • a cool location (preferably not one exposed to harsh direct sunlight)

Clean the buckets especially well if the buckets are being recycled after use for something (like oil or citrus matter) that earthworms do not like in compost bins.
simple homemade vermicompost design

For the base, set aside one of the lids. For leachate reservoir, prepare one bucket as follows. Before you start however, note that, another bucket will fit directly into the bucket that will be used as a leachate reservoir.

Mark the point where the bottom of the higher bucket will reach into the leachate reservoir. On either that point or just below it, drill holes that will establish the top level of the leachate. The leachate will need to drain out into your base if too much leachate accumulate before you are able to use it.
simple vermicompost bin design

For the worm safety net (that will prevent earthworms from falling in and drowning in the leachate reservoir, set aside the net. It should be fitted between the leachate reservoir and the bucket above. Sorry, I did not take any photos.

For the main vermicompost bin section, drill holes at the bottom as well as sides of the bins. The holes at the sides help with ventilation while those at the bottom will allow liquid to drip through the system to become leachate in the reservoir below. Use 3/8 inch drill bits so worms can fit through the holes. This is key since earthworms need to migrate upwards from one vermicompost bin compartment to another when they have completely composted lower levels. Regarding the holes on the sides, drill below the rings that protrude horizontally from the sides of the buckets (i.e. when the buckets are upright).
simple homemade vermicompost design

simple homemade vermicompost design

For the spacer, cut the base of one bin below the protruding rings. The spacer will go between the 2 compost bins to create more vertical space between the bottom of the top and the lower vermicompost bin compartments. More space simply allows you to put more kitchen or other scraps into the vermicompost bin. You may drill 3/8 inch holes if, unlike the case shown below, you leave a lot of the bottom of the sides of the bucket (i.e. below the rings). In the image below, the spacer is in the middle. It was cut very close to the protruding rings.

For the lid, drill as many small holes as you can with the 1/8 inch drill bit. The small holes will enable ventilation but prevent the earthworms from escaping. Good ventilation in a vermi composting system prevents bad odor. In fact, once you have set the system up well, the vermicomposter should be suitable even for a corner in a well ventilated kitchen.
The image below shows the order in which the various parts will be stacked. Oops, we forgot to include the base in this photo. 


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