“How can I make a worm farm using a large Rubbermaid container so I don’t have to spend a lot of money to get started?” ~ Suzanne Prouty
If you have one or a few large Rubbermaid containers, you have quite a few options on what you can do.
You can simply use one container to start off the wormery system (which I will talk about here) or start a stacking wormery (which I will talk about in the next question). Add the starting bedding materials and the initial batch of worms and then you can start adding the organic waste!
Bedding materials can include shredded newspaper, cardboard, coir or simply some damp compost/soil. The amount of worms will depend on how large your container is. 1 pound to 1 square foot will be more than enough.
You can simply add a layer of waste and let the worms get at it for a few days before adding another layer. The problem with this is that when it comes to harvesting, you will need to tip the whole tray out, separate the worms from the cast manually and then restart the process again.
To conquer that problem you can use the horizontal separation technique I have mentioned in previous newsletters. By imagining a line down the centre of the tub, only feed one half of the worm bin. When it is ready for harvesting, feed the other side of the bin and the worms will migrate to the other side allowing you to harvest the processed cast.
How about the problem with liquid/worm leachate? How will you get those out of there?
There is a neat little technique which will allow you to separate the liquid from the system without having to tip everything out (which will cause a mess anyway). By using a turkey baster, essentially a giant pipette, you can stick it into the bottom corner of the bin.
Tip the bin at an angle so that the liquid will gather at the corner, and you can start sucking the leachate out. This will help keep the worms from drowning and will prevent anaerobic conditions from forming.