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Christopher Greaves

Best Tower Yet!

This is a much-improved version of Lined Tower , based on what I've learned since February 06, 2013.

Christopher Greaves BestTowerYet_HPIM5803.JPG

This morning I spotted a storage bin in the dumpster across the alleyway; the super looked puzzled when I asked permission but nodded OK. He looked even more puzzled when I ignored the neatly folded clothes hidden in the tub (Oh You Humans!) and even more puzzled when I said No Thanks to the lid.

The bin is cracked at one end, about three inches down from the rim, but that won't stop me.

I have a free bin, and it is the same shade of red as my original vermicomposting bin back in 1993!

Dimensions 80x50x45 centimetres. Larger than would be needed for normal domestic vermicomposting, and quite a large footprint, but I want to spend some time inside it, checking on the outfall and so on, so a large size will give me more wiggle room, to coin a phrase.

Christopher Greaves BestTowerYet_HPIM5804.JPG

Here's the refrigerator shelf, free, from a few months back.

Dimensions 51x29 centimetres.

It fits almost perfectly over the tub; almost because if I'm not careful the sides of the tub splay out and the shelf drops in. But I am ahead of myself.

I was and still am looking out for a solid wooden drawer from a chest of drawers. In the meantime I can get on with life, or with decomposition at least.

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Here is the tower, atop the shelf, atop the tub.

Dimensions 40x26x76 centimetres, and a perfect size for the shelf and the tub.

I grabbed the old kitchen cupboard doors for free a couple of months back and screwed them together with eight cheap angle brackets from the local Home Hardware store.

How precarious that shelf looks; it seems as if I have a bare quarter-inch, if that, to spare over the edge of the tub.

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Here is what will greet me as I walk in the door; my kitchen area is ahead and to the left. That's the foot of the sink cupboard visible just past the fire extinguisher.

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And here is a view looking down inside the tower.

How clean everything looks - for the next three minutes.

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Here's a close-up of the suspension.

I have far too little overhang on the front rail. A slight jar to the tower and the shelf would fall sideways into the tub …

Christopher Greaves BestTowerYet_HPIM5809.JPG

I have tossed in about half a shredder bin of paper to form a temporary bed to the composting mass when I first toss it in. This bed of paper will soon be eaten by the residents, after which castings will begin to fall through.

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Here is my mini-tub from Lined Tower .

I elected to toss the castings into the new tower, like the paper, to retard the initial flow of castings until the mass is settled down.

I weighed myself with the tub of castings, without the tub, and with the tub empty: 177.0, 172.2, 173.8, so I guess I've harvested about 3.2 pounds of castings in the past four weeks.

Retarding the flow in the initial days will reduce the apparent flow, but then these initial castings should soon drop through and will compensate for the initial slow flow.

Christopher Greaves BestTowerYet_HPIM5811.JPG

Then I had a brainwave!

I was thinking of laying a black plastic garbage bag under the tower, and hauling it out once a month.

Why not use my vegetable drawer? It fits nicely.

I forgot to take photos, but I had about four gallons of mixture in the older Lined Tower , and dropped them into the new tower; move along folks, nothing to see here …

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Inside the tower I have draped the three plastic bags I used in migrating the old mixture. I'll leave them there until tomorrow morning to give the stragglers a chance to worm their way into the mixture.

I still have about a gallon of mixture in another temporary bin. That will be added tomorrow, after which I'll have only one vermicomposter going for the first time in about fifteen years!

Some of these worms are descended from my original batch; I moved to Markham for a year taking only house-plants, but was delighted to find small worms in the tubs there. One year ago I moved house again, but salvaged eight wrigglers from a houseplant I'd given to a friend.

Hang in there!

Christopher Greaves BestTowerYet_HPIM5813.JPG

OK. Here's the disaster story.

As I was tipping in the four-gallons of mixture, I rested the cardboard Lined Tower on the side of my new tower, and that was enough to make the shelf slip off the tub.

I managed to lower the Lined Tower back to ground level with little spillage, righted the new tower, then transferred all the paper, castings and mixture that had fallen into the tub back into the tower.

Phew!

I'll vacumn the sides of the new tower to make it look neat.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A couple of observations:

1: My tower is oriented with its long edge across the end of the bin. I could rotate the bin through ninety degrees and change the orientation of the tower.

Consider the orientation of your tower as a primary concern because when you come to tip in a bucket of scraps or a bucket of paper, a poor orientation might cause you to spill the load.

2: This morning I removed the plastic bags and tossed a shredded Toronto Star on top.

The mixture is fairly wet and the worms will take a couple of weeks or more to stabilize. A six-inch layer of shredded newsprint will reduce the chance of an infestation of gnats.


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416-993-4953 CPRGreaves@gmail.com

Toronto, Saturday, January 09, 2016 10:24 AM

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