what type of Vermiculture system should i use and how do i keep it worm in the winter

by Garrett
(Wilkes-Barre PA)

I am an Environmental Engineering student at Wilkes University in North Easter PA. I have been given the responsibility of developing a Vermiculture system to decompose organic wastes from the dinning hall.

I am trying to decide whether I should design a raised bed continuous flow system to decompose the waste and harvest the worm humus or come up with a design that encompasses multiply three bin systems that can be bought online.

The dining hall gives out about 500lbs of waste a month. Also what is the best way to keep worm bins temperate during the cold PA winters.

Thank you for any responses.

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Mar 06, 2017
Choosing the Right Worm Composting System
by: Pauly

Hi Garret,

I would steer away from purchasing several flow-through tray systems as you'll be worm composting outside.

You mentioned the temperatures in PA so the temp and wind will be a big factor.

Are you wanting a system, such as a continuous flow-through, in which you place the material on top and harvest from the bottom? If so it will need to be a fairly large one in order to survive the elements.

In order for a worm bin system to stay warm in the winter (by warm I mean above freezing or higher) and cool in the summer.

To remain warm enough for worms in the winter, but still compost the scraps, you'll need to add plenty of nitrogenous material mixed with some carbon. It sounds like you have plenty of that.

The nitrogen will provide a great deal of heat for the worms plus the mass of the castings, bedding, etc is big enough to keep from freezing as it's insulated well. Extra carbon added on the outside will help to insulate even more.

For summer you'll need a little more carbon than nitrogen to keep good airflow and the mass will also help to keep it cool during over 90 degree temps. If you keep it in the shade, even better.

If you have the space, and to keep the cost very low, I would recommend a "wedge system" or a windrow or just a big static pile, but the wedge system is pretty much a big static pile with much more control of the flow of worms and compost being produced.

If you use several expensive tray systems, they would, more than likely, end up freezing. It would be a lot of work keeping up with all of the trays too. It can still be done but probably more work than necessary.

If you'd like to know more about a wedge system, check out the video below from my friend Brian. This should allow to harvest in 120 days or so.

Wedge System Explained

copy and past link if above doesn't works

Without me getting too deep. Id like to hear back from you in case I'm not understanding you correctly.

Let me know if this helps,

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