DIY Bathtub Worm Bin / Vermicomposting System!


Hey there how’s it going everybody it’s Dan
from plantabundance.com. Today I’m going to be doing another DIY project. I went ahead and picked up this 350lbs. cast iron bath tub with plans to convert it
into a vermicomposting system, and I’m happy to report the project is now complete. I’m very happy with the results. So I’m going to go ahead and share with you
exactly how it is I put this system together. So if your not yet familiar, “vermicomposting”
is the farming of worms, it’s composting down food scraps, coffee grounds, newspaper…
different items that most people are going to have around there house on a regular basis,
and filtering that through your worms creating a really rich organic worm casting which is
the worms feces, which is a very high quality garden fertilizer. It can be used to make compost tea; and many
systems such as the one I’m going to be sharing with you today, are set up in a way so that
they can also capture whats called “worm leachate” or a “worm tea”. This is the liquid fertilizer that can be
captured from the drain of the tub. Again, just a wonderful resource for any gardener. As well as being environmentally friendly,
this is just a great system a great way to keep many biodegradable items out of our local
landfills and instead return these items back to the soils to enrich our plants. So like I had mentioned, this bath tub is
cast iron, 350 lbs, this project here is not going to be for everybody. the reason why I chose the bathtub and everything
else that was used to make this project; is because they were free local resources. So I’d encourage anybody out there watching
who may be looking to create a similar type system to look into whatever resources might
be available in your area. These systems can be created out of many different
types of materials. My first worm bin was made using 32 gallon
storage totes and that worked great! It’s all about just really understanding the
worms life cycle and how to create a really balanced ecosystem within the bin. So with that being said, there’s a lot of
other examples of bathtub worm bins out there. I got a lot of good information online and
now I would just like to contribute to that overall base of knowledge and share with you
how it is I put my own spin on this project. So most tubs are going to have a pre-installed
slope within the tub, so even when you install the tub level on whatever stand you choose,
it’s going to easily flow that liquid towards and out the drain as was the case with this
set-up. So as you can see I used cinder blocks to
build the stand for this tub. Again, I chose this material as a free local
resource, it’s robust enough to hold up this 350 lbs. tub. And aesthetically I kind of like the way it
looks as well. the next step is going to be to go ahead and
put a layer of rock on the bottom of the tub. This is going to help with drainage and again,
help with the worm leachate that’s going to be flowing out of here that’s also a valuable
resource that we want to collect. So for that I’ll be using these larger river
rocks. I’ve seen this done with pea gravel, 3/4 ” rock,
but this is what I’ve got on hand and this will work just fine. This tub ended up requiring (3) 5 gallon buckets
full of this river rock. So now that I got the rock nice and clean
and verified again that everything is draining properly I just want to share with you, this
is the bucket I’ll be using to collect that leachate. This is a 2 gallon square bucket, we’ll see
how that goes. I’ll be updating you in the future and let
you know if this is adequate and how often I’ve got to empty this bucket out in a system
of this size. Alright so moving along. I’m going to be using this trampoline as a
mesh layer. This is going to help separate the compost
and the worms from the drainage rock, helping to keep the worms contained and the system
functioning properly. I’ve seen this step also completed using window
screen and landscape fabric but again here’s another free local resource. I’ve actually already used this in a previous
project here so I had it on hand as well. And it’s a very strong material and it drains
very well. So this will do a great job in this worm bin. So after giving the trampoline a quick wash
you can see this is how I’ve gone ahead and laid it into the tub. By having one large crease when laying it
in, because the trampoline itself is rather large, that’s going to help you avoid having
wrinkles all along the edge of the tub, it just creates a better surface for your lid,
it also looks better aesthetically. So now that the trampoline ‘s in the next
step is to fill it with the worm bedding of your choice. I’ve chosen to go with this “coco coir” or
“coco fiber”. This is a very popular choice in vermicomposting,
one important thing to note if you do choose to go with the coco coir is to make sure it’s
been deemed safe for use in vermicomposting. Coco coir is high in salt and requires a double
rinsing process to ensure that it’s not going to be detrimental in any way to the bin. I’ll put a link below this video if you want
to see the product I’m using. I got this off of Amazon, free prime shipping. Now I chose to use the coco coir for the worm
bedding because I’ve used this stuff in other gardening projects in the past and I know
it creates a great balance of moister to oxygen, which is great for a worm bin, it’s soft,
it’s fluffy and it’s also organic; and over time these worms are going to be actually
eating this and breaking it down and turning it into worm castings which makes an excellent
fertilizer for the garden which is why we’re doing all this. So to hydrate this 11 lbs. block of coco coir
all you do is add 5 gallons of water, give it a few minutes then go ahead and blend it
up with your shovel. Now we’re ready to go ahead and back-fill
into the worm composting bin. As you can see (1) 11 lbs. block was the perfect
amount for this project. I’m still about six inches from the top which
is going to allow me the room to add in some food scraps as well as a brown layer around
the top. Alright so moving right along. Here’s the worms that I purchased. I got 2000 worms and roughly 1000 worms is
about a pound and that’s important to know because these red wigglers, they actually
eat half their body weight each day. So my 2000 worms here are going to require
approximately about a pound of food a day. So here’s how the order arrived. The worms look nice and alive. So some people might not know this but not
all worms are created equal when it comes to a worm composting bin set-up, and I’ll
share with you why. The most common worms that you’ll find around
your house if you dig a shovel into the ground and turn over the soil. Those are going to be what most people might
call earthworms, which these red wigglers are also earthworms but they’re more of a
nightcrawler, these larger, long fat worms….and these worms were not designed nor are they
suitable for a worm bin type set-up. Their actually soil dwellers and they like
to dwell several feet below the soils surface so, they will actually die in a set-up such
as this. Now the red wigglers, or the redworms as their
known are surface dwellers. They prefer to be somewhere within the top
six inches of so they are perfect for a worm bin set-up. Alright, so next I’m going to add some food
to this bin. Here’s some examples of what I’ll be putting
into this bin on a regular basis. I’ve got some coffee grounds here with some
vegetable scraps, coffee filter. I’ve also get some green leafy material from
the garden. Got some paper towels. As long as their not too greasy and dirty
they are fine to throw into the bin as is newspaper. I’ve got eggshells, those need to be cleaned
and crushed before you put them in. Bready materials, tortillas, rice, bread,
those can all go into the bin as well. There are many things you want to avoid putting
into the bin. Things like citrus, worms don’t like to break
down the citrus. But more importantly things like meats, dairy,
oil. All these things will create a rancid and
rotten environment and they may attract in rats and things like that. And then atop that it’s a good idea to add
a brown layer. This is going to help to reduce any possible
smells that come out. It also helps to darken the surface where
the food is at, and retain moister. Once that’s done, I went ahead and added this
little cardboard slip again, just further securing that brown layer and over time that
cardboard will also become moist and more pliable and act kind of as a skin to the whole
system. So the last step I went ahead and measured
and then cut a piece of plywood as the finishing lid to this project. It also creates a pretty nice tabletop that
can be functional that way and I’ve even sat on this. Well that’s it for now everybody. I’m really happy with the way this project
turned out. I hope you enjoyed the video. And as always, I hope this video finds you
and finds you well. Take care everybody, I’ll be talking to you
again soon!

27 thoughts on “DIY Bathtub Worm Bin / Vermicomposting System!

  1. im thinking of burying a tub in the side of a small hill with the drain pipe running out to a bucket or something like that, i live in a cold area and want the soil to insulate it

  2. How often do you have to feed your worms? My system for some reason has not worked out and my worms keep dying so have to figure out a better way to keep them alive.

  3. Great video Dan. The only thing that I would change, is to put a wire barrier across the bin (at about the half way mark) with a timber frame. That way, as you fill up one end with the worm droppings and can't fit any more into that half of the bin, you start on the other end. Over the period of a couple of weeks, the majority of worms will move into the end that is now being filled with food. Once the majority of worms have migrated to the fresh end, it makes it easier to harvest the black gold without having to sort through a couple of thousand worms.

    Just a though, I hope that it helps.

  4. Awesome video… wealth of knowledge.. thanks for the tips on DIY worm composting.. we will be making a smaller version to test it, before going large scale.

  5. I've watched MANY MANY build your own worm bin videos, and this is the one that finally "clicked" in my head as to why you need red worms, the type of bedding, all the requirements to make a happy system for them. Very nice video. This is the one for me. Thank you sir. You've explained it better than anyone I've seen.

  6. I have two of these tubs. I want to use them for gardening. How many blocks do I need to hold the one tub up on each sides? What am I missing besides the blocks. I love your video.

  7. Thank you. Informative, to the point & great clarity from the camera. An inexpensive way to improve your own garden. Wishing you well from Johannesburg SA.

  8. Good tips but i would water proof the lid . I fibre glassed mine both sides as it condensates underneath and kerpsvouf the rain

  9. Actually, night crawlers will not die. I had a very small vermicompost bin made from a plastic cracker container. It was roughly 6" x 6" x 6" and they did just fine. They even laid eggs.

  10. None of my worms complained when I gave them citrus fruits to eat. A few days after they got peal skins they werrrr gonnnn. So this means worms luv lemons and oranges.

  11. is it necessary to put the rock and the trampoline cover in, will you not still get the worm piss to drain out or are these things necessary?

  12. Dan & Alice. great channel. found you by accident but this video on your bathtub worm bin has been invaluable. have studied the value of worm compost for sometime now and feel this is the fertiliser and way of the future for our soils. thanks for this very good video on setup. you guys deserve more subscribers. rgds from Westfishos in western australia

  13. I'm sitting here with a big smile on my face! I know what I'm going to be doing very soon. I have a normal small stack type as I'm new to worms, but jeez I tell ya, I have visions of bags and bags of fertiliser for sale! Regards from NSW !!! Love your channel you guys

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