Worm Tower?

meadow

Deeply Rooted
Joined
Jan 2, 2022
Messages
517
Reaction score
1,416
Points
145
Location
Western Washington, USA
Has anyone tried (or thought about) in-bed vermicomposting?

Some people are taking plastic containers with a lid, like 6" pvc pipe or 5 gallon bucket, drilling holes and inserting this into a garden bed. Then they'll fill the container with kitchen or garden scraps & browns (paper, cardboard, dry leaves or whatever) and let the worms have at it.

If you're not familiar with it, these thumbnails will help give an idea: link: worm tower videos

Good idea? Yea or Nay. 🤔

I think it would be easy and convenient. Not sure I'd want to give up bed space and wonder how much of the bed actually receives benefit. Still, if nothing else it would feed the worms which in turn give benefit to the bed. I dunno; seems too good to be true. But I want it to be true. 😆
 

Ridgerunner

Garden Master
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
8,118
Reaction score
9,582
Points
397
Location
Southeast Louisiana Zone 9A
I'd value @flowerbug opinion on this. My first thought is probably something trendy on the internet where you could get the benefits better some other way. The biggest benefit may be when you take this out and distribute the stuff that was created in the pipe.
 

flowerbug

Garden Master
Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
12,225
Reaction score
14,949
Points
357
Location
mid-Michigan, USoA
Has anyone tried (or thought about) in-bed vermicomposting?

Some people are taking plastic containers with a lid, like 6" pvc pipe or 5 gallon bucket, drilling holes and inserting this into a garden bed. Then they'll fill the container with kitchen or garden scraps & browns (paper, cardboard, dry leaves or whatever) and let the worms have at it.

If you're not familiar with it, these thumbnails will help give an idea: link: worm tower videos

Good idea? Yea or Nay. 🤔

I think it would be easy and convenient. Not sure I'd want to give up bed space and wonder how much of the bed actually receives benefit. Still, if nothing else it would feed the worms which in turn give benefit to the bed. I dunno; seems too good to be true. But I want it to be true. 😆

any thoughts about how to help our garden wormy friends are welcome. my own methods do not do things like this because i would just rather bury stuff in the garden. if you have a shortage of worm habitat anything you do to encourage them will ultimately help your gardens. bury some things deep too and that provides habitat during the weather extremes and encourages more worms to gather.

a worm tower full of compostable items benefits only the organic loving and more top dwelling worm species, it may provide some limited habitat underneath and around for the more deeper dwelling species. leave the bottom open and you may end up with some night-crawlers or larger natives using it too.

i'm a simple person. i don't want to add complexity to my gardens in the ways of having more things to work around or maintain. my worm farm is inside the house and anything that doesn't fit into those goes out into a garden in a hole some place or perhaps onto the weed pile or under the lilac tree. i also am not a fan of using plastic in gardens. i do have some plastic edging and buckets are plastic that i keep the worms in, but otherwise, no, i would instead look for large ceramic or clay drain tiles or chimney liners or something big enough and thick enough to have a chance of surviving freeze/thaw cycles.

if i had such things to experiment with i would consider stacking them along a north edge and cross-hatching them to give me more space to add garden stuff, i'd also prop them up a bit so that what comes out of the bottom can be moved out into the garden eventually much easier than having to move them or empty them.

expensive worm towers made of plastic, nah, give me some 5 gallon buckets instead - you can melt or drill holes in them easy enough. i'm cheap. i don't think gardening should be expensive or complicated. :)

ok, but what is nice about a worm tower? perhaps you want a base for a birdbath or a place to sit? it could be dual purpose (don't sit in the birdbath).

oh and why to do things inside instead i'll put in another note here in a bit. :)
 

flowerbug

Garden Master
Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
12,225
Reaction score
14,949
Points
357
Location
mid-Michigan, USoA
why a worm bucket instead of a worm tower? point application of valuable nutrients when you only have a limited supply. i want the worm pee/poo to only be used near the most hungry plants and even better yet applied only about when the plants will be actively growing.
 

meadow

Deeply Rooted
Joined
Jan 2, 2022
Messages
517
Reaction score
1,416
Points
145
Location
Western Washington, USA
I don't see much difference between that pipe with its holes and a posthole digger and putting compostables directly into the soil.

That's an interesting idea! I wonder how likely the sides would be to collapse, or how regularly the hole would need to be defined. hmm.
 

Ridgerunner

Garden Master
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
8,118
Reaction score
9,582
Points
397
Location
Southeast Louisiana Zone 9A
That's an interesting idea! I wonder how likely the sides would be to collapse, or how regularly the hole would need to be defined. hmm.
I think you are making it too complicated. How much do you think worms care about how well defined the hole is. The purpose is to get the stuff underground where it can compost and the worms can feed. When I butcher chickens I bury the feathers, offal, and such in an area of the garden that I won't be turning or digging in for a while. At least a month, usually more. I don't put that stuff where plants are actively growing but it's not in a pipe.

The basic idea is to make compost. Whether it is composted by worms, microbes, or both doesn't really matter to me. @digitS' often buries his compostable materials so it will get enough moisture to break down in his dry climate.
 

meadow

Deeply Rooted
Joined
Jan 2, 2022
Messages
517
Reaction score
1,416
Points
145
Location
Western Washington, USA
any thoughts about how to help our garden wormy friends are welcome. my own methods do not do things like this because i would just rather bury stuff in the garden. if you have a shortage of worm habitat anything you do to encourage them will ultimately help your gardens. bury some things deep too and that provides habitat during the weather extremes and encourages more worms to gather.

a worm tower full of compostable items benefits only the organic loving and more top dwelling worm species, it may provide some limited habitat underneath and around for the more deeper dwelling species. leave the bottom open and you may end up with some night-crawlers or larger natives using it too.

i'm a simple person. i don't want to add complexity to my gardens in the ways of having more things to work around or maintain. my worm farm is inside the house and anything that doesn't fit into those goes out into a garden in a hole some place or perhaps onto the weed pile or under the lilac tree. i also am not a fan of using plastic in gardens. i do have some plastic edging and buckets are plastic that i keep the worms in, but otherwise, no, i would instead look for large ceramic or clay drain tiles or chimney liners or something big enough and thick enough to have a chance of surviving freeze/thaw cycles.

if i had such things to experiment with i would consider stacking them along a north edge and cross-hatching them to give me more space to add garden stuff, i'd also prop them up a bit so that what comes out of the bottom can be moved out into the garden eventually much easier than having to move them or empty them.

expensive worm towers made of plastic, nah, give me some 5 gallon buckets instead - you can melt or drill holes in them easy enough. i'm cheap. i don't think gardening should be expensive or complicated. :)

ok, but what is nice about a worm tower? perhaps you want a base for a birdbath or a place to sit? it could be dual purpose (don't sit in the birdbath).

oh and why to do things inside instead i'll put in another note here in a bit. :)

Yes, I'd love to hear about why to do things inside! Thanks!!

Burying stuff on a regular basis isn't a practical solution for me unless I ask for help, which I'd rather not do. DH already has a full load (and then some) so I'm looking for something I can manage consistently on my own.

Part of the appeal (for me) to using an in-ground container in the garden is that, 1. there is no quackgrass, 2. using it would not disturb the plants, and 3. I'd be able to pop open a lid and pretty much use it like a garbage can. Aside from occasional maintenance of course. I do have a source of free plastic containers and have some on hand right now. You have some good ideas on alternatives to plastic. I could transition to something else as I'm able.

Those things aside, what do you think about the mechanics of it? Would material be transported out of the container by the worms, or is the real benefit in distributing the stuff that was created in the pipe as @Ridgerunner has suggested? If that is the case, then there is no reason to have it in the bed in the first place. A far corner would work just as well.

In my imagination, it is all lovely crumbly goodness, rainbows and unicorns! 🦄
 

meadow

Deeply Rooted
Joined
Jan 2, 2022
Messages
517
Reaction score
1,416
Points
145
Location
Western Washington, USA
I think you are making it too complicated. How much do you think worms care about how well defined the hole is. The purpose is to get the stuff underground where it can compost and the worms can feed. When I butcher chickens I bury the feathers, offal, and such in an area of the garden that I won't be turning or digging in for a while. At least a month, usually more. I don't put that stuff where plants are actively growing but it's not in a pipe.

The basic idea is to make compost. Whether it is composted by worms, microbes, or both doesn't really matter to me. @digitS' often buries his compostable materials so it will get enough moisture to break down in his dry climate.

I meant if the hole would stay open and usable without having to dig it out again.

I have some physical limitations that are not consistent, and may not be able to dig it in when needed.
 

Latest posts

Top