Making a Worm Farms From Plastic Drums

Good Day

Firstly, congratulations on a most informative and well put together website- everything under one roof!

A small question

I’m looking at making a worm farm or two for resale purposes.
I not you advocate stacking containers while some websites suggest a plastic 44 gallon drum with a covering/lid of sorts.
I’m guessing the stacking type is more effiicent but is there any disadvantage in the 44 gallon drum type besides space?

Many thanks

Nick


 

 


2 Comments

  1. Steve

    October 17, 2012 at 5:25 am

    Hi Nick

    Thank you for your very kind words about our website.

    If you don’t mind – I’m going to put my rather long reply onto our blogsite – http://www.working-worms.com as it may be of interest to others. If you feel the need to continue further with this chat – please just use the comment box.

    .

    When I was a boy in Zambia, the worm farms for fishing worms were all made from steel 44 gallon (210 litre) drums cut lengthways. Often they would be put onto a stand made from another drum with a half moon shaped discs cut away to support them at a convenient height for sorting out the worms, (We used to make barbeques that way too). The method worked fine in practice, but out there, we had a lot of space.

    In my view the pros/ cons for plastic 44 gallon drums: -.

    Pros –

    · Cheap (especially if you can get free drums),

    · You could get two bins from a single drum (don’t make them too deep or they will be very heavy).

    · Not particularly unattractive (unless the lid is ugly).

    Cons –

    · Takes more time and skill to construct, especially if you want to make a neat looking lid (The only tool needed to make a waste bin farm is an electric or hand drill and no real skill is needed).

    · You can’t nest the plastic drums within each other in stacks, because the drums have parallel sides. (on the other hand the waste bins have tapered walls which make them eminently nestable). Using Nested waste bins in layered stacks makes it far easier to separate the worms from the composted poo – see landing page http://www.working-worms.com

    · As you say – the drums can take up a lot of space, unless they can be stacked vertically, one upon another (this would be a little bit awkward to manage in practice)

    · You need to make a purpose made lid (waste binds come with a neat lid.)

    · Bin must be very thoroughly cleaned of all oil or chemical residue.

    · Not easy to handle – a half drum load of solid worm poo (vermicompost) will be very heavy, at over 350 lbs and even a quarter bin will break your back. Note that with the stacked bin method the poo is constantly removed before each bin gets too heavy – and anyway the bins have purpose made handles, which makes them easier to lift)

    · The worm wee (worm tea) is not so easily collected and its not a good idea to have it remain in the same bin as the worms.

    · Because of space restrictions the drums would usually have to be outdoors (unless you have a large barn) and therefore would be vulnerable to frost and overheating.

    CAUTION: PLEASE DON’T EVER TRY TO CUT OPEN A DRUM UNTIL ALL OIL / FUEL OR OTHER CHEMICAL HAS BEEN VERY WELL FLUSHED OUT – AS THERE COULD BE A RISK OF TOXIC RESIDUE OR NOXIOUS FUMES.

    Best Regards,

    Steve Coe

  2. Steve

    October 17, 2012 at 5:49 am

    Hi Steve
    Thanks for the input- there’s a nice shop up the road at lifestyle nurseries on Beyers Naude- I’ll take a drive past and have a look at their containers etc which are normally of a high quality.

    I see there’s a well established company in Cape Town that sells all sorts of bits and pieces- eco worm farm but there are few similar concerns in JHB that I’m aware of
    Thanks Nick

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