After visiting the Charlotte Airport’s fantastic vermicomposting set-up and speaking with the extremely knowledgeable owner of Go Green, it is easier to see how Clemson could implement its own program! Though the airport bought ready-made worm bins, it would be cheaper for Clemson to build its own, and homemade bins would be just as good as manufactured ones. We would probably want to build our bins out of wood. They would need to be between one and one-and-a-half feet deep with a tight mesh grate across the bottoms, through which the castings will be able to filter. The worm bins at the airport were very long–maybe fifteen to twenty feet long. It would probably be easier for Clemson to make smaller bins, between three and five feet long, and probably no more than two feet across. The trickiest part of the construction is creating a mechanism that will scrape the castings down from the mesh bottom of the bins. Go Green’s owner suggested a sharpened blade attached to a rope. The bins will need to be set upon legs, and then comes the fun part!
The bins will require around one pound of worms per square foot, and these worms will require a bedding of newspaper and semi-processed compost to keep them happy. The worms at the Charlotte Airport eat the compost right out of the in-vessel composter, so we could do the same thing with our worms. We could also sprinkle pre-consumer food directly on top of the worm beds, and they like coffee grounds too! About 1 inch of compost should be added to the bins each week. Any more than that, and the worms won’t be able to eat it fast enough.
One of the neatest ideas we got from Go Green’s owner was in regard to heating the worm bins in cold weather: she puts space heaters under her worm bins and covers the tops of the bins with a tarp to keep in the heat. Simple, yet effective.