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Re: [GreenYes] indoor composting
Indoor composting can be done in a great many ways.

In vessel systems are one way, but other methods are also used indoors, for
example, contained windrows that are agitated with machines on a regular
basis. These generally have their own special building....:-)

One assertion below made me shake my head, that vermiculture can "can only
deal with much smaller amounts than in-vessel".

The hot setup for high throughput vermicomposting was developed by Dr Clive
Edwards, now at Ohio State University, whilst he was at Rothamsted. It is
now available commercially in many forms, for example, see for several sizes of continuous feed, flow through worm

Another teched out vermicomposting system is the Worm Gin, see

You can make your own flow through system. Plans can be purchased, for
example, from Worm Digest for the Oregon Soil Corporation
Reactor, or OSCR. These plans can be scaled up to large size if you like,
see for example,

Compare an Earth Tub, which holds 3 cubic yards of material, with one of the
larger Worm Wigwam systems, say the 5-6.



The Earth Tub claims to handle 40-200 pounds per day, and the 5-6 claims
75-150 ppd, so they are similar capacity units. It would be interesting to
run them side by side, and compare performance and labor requirements.

Getting back to Andrew's question, get a copy of Worms Eat My Garbage by
Mary Appelhof, Andrew. Cedar is not necessary, any wood will do, odors
should be avoided by good management. But cedar will resist decay longer
than many other woods, so it could still be a good choice.

A very nice bin for a school environment would be an Eliminator, educational
model, which is a wooden and metal flow through bin with a plexiglas side
you can expose to see what the worms are doing. You can see these at .

The most 'bang for the buck' in terms of floorspace for DIY indoor
composting is probably the stacked milkcrate system. Where labor is
plentiful, or in a classroom where you want to give each student his or her
own bin to manage, this setup could be ideal, as 30 milkcrates can be
stacked in as little as a 3 x 4 foot space, using 3 boot trays to catch any
leachate, with two stacks of five crates in each tray.

Crates can be lined with things from landscape fabric to plastic bags,
drainage holes in the plastic please! Tyvek or some similar breathable
material would make another interesting liner, as would wood. Cardboard
won't last, but does make an excellent feedstock...

One other thing about indoor composting, and that is that it sometimes
brings unwanted visitors. The 'bete noire' of indoor vermicomposting is the
fruit fly, Drosophila spp. While no risk to public health, a big population
of fruit flies can nonetheless be highly annoying.

Some folks microwave or freeze their wastes to destroy fruit fly eggs prior
to feeding the bin. Others use deep 'pocket feeding' of their worm bins to
try to avoid fruit flies. Biocontrols for fruit fly larvae include
insectivorous nematodes and Hypoaspsis mites.

Forewarned is forearmed.

Good composting,

Frank Teuton

----- Original Message -----
From: "Nicky Scott" <>
To: "andrew weidmann" <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Thursday, September 05, 2002 4:35 AM
Subject: RE: [GreenYes] indoor composting

> Indoor composting can be done in two ways.
> 1) is by using a completly sealed 'in-vessel' system.  These can be
> purchased -such as the 'Earth tub' they are expensive.  They usually
> of an insulated chamber within which is an auger or paddles to break up
> aerate the material.  Gases and odours are 'scrubbed' throgh a bio filter
> and liquor is collected.  In the UK we have been developing low tech
> based on old chest freezers.  These are insulated containers.  A grid on
> bottom of slatted wood allows air flow under neath (slots cut through
> and fly mesh attatched.  A plastic drainpie acts as a chimney.  This can
> stuffed with a mesh stocking with woodchip in to act as a bio-filter and
> barrier.  Liquor collected through floor can be watered down to be used as
> plant feed.
> 2) More usual. Worm farming. Not really composting though.  can only deal
> with much smaller amounts than in-vessel.  Needs high carbon 'soak'
> materials like scrunched paper and cardboard to absorb liquid and balance
> C:N ratio.  Well documented elsewhere.  try  ?  try a
> search.  Its  Elaine Ingham's site or mine on or
> Nicky Scott
> Chair Community Composting Network - UK

> > Finally - and I hope that people do not mind my questions - does anyone
> > indoor composting?  I was told by a friend that did that it would be
> > to
> > use a cedar wood box because it helps kill the odors.  I have no means
> > making one and can't find any cedar boxes of the size needed for indoor
> > compost.  I would greatly appreciate your guidance.  THANKS!
> >
> > Andrew C. Weidmann
> > Special Education Teacher, Bedford Central School District
> >

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