Project # 2 – The Worm Condo

July may be the wrong time to decide to start gardening in the Arizona desert. But, sometimes you just have to act when the ideas present themselves. Even if it is about 105-degrees outside.

Oh, and yes, I see that I have labeled this one #2. So where is #1? Well #1 is actually creating the raised bed garden area, which is a work in progress. Though I may be silly enough to engage in outdoor projects in temps greater than 100-degrees, I am not totally bonkers. Digging up the backyard and laying / leveling retaining wall stones will need to wait until the temperatures come down a bit. So, we start with Project #2.

I decided to start with this project because I want to start composting, but I am not in a position to spend a few hundred dollars on an enclosed composting system.  My husband is not a fan of the open bins.  Being so close to commercial agricultural ventures, the amount of insect activity is quite astonishing.  If I was going to be composting, it needs to be something that would not attract any more creepy-crawlies or flying friends than we have currently.  I scoured Pinterest and YouTube for ideas.  The initial thought was for us to make our own compost tumbler.  It looked like a significant undertaking and something that I would rather not take on in the middle of the Arizona summer.  Then I remembered seeing ‘Pins’ on worm composting.  I did a bit of research on the supplies needed, and took a trip “to town” to price supplies for this project. This project was going to cost about 1/3 to 1/4 the cost of the compost tumbler so I decided it would be a fairly quick project that could get our composting off to a good start. 

To get started, I purchased the below items:

  • 3-10 gallon storage tubs
  • 1 roll window screen
  • 1-package mini glue sticks
  • 1 half inch (1/2″) PVC 90-degree elbow, threaded on both ends
  • 1 half inch (1/2″) PVC plug, threaded
  • 1 half inch (1/2″)PVC coupler (threaded on one end)
  • 2 rubber washers with 1/2″ center hole
  • Worms 

Other supplies that I purchased because it was easier that spending hours searching through the garage looking for them

  • 3/4″ spade bit
  • 1/4″ drill bit

Supplies on hand

  • Cordless drill
  • Glue gun
  • Extension cord
  • Scissors
  • Emery cloth or utility knife

To get started, we stacked two of the tubs together, bottom to bottom.  A permanent marker was used to show where holes were to be drilled.  We made sure to put the holes in the depressed area as suggested in the YouTube videos.  It’s not necessary to drill them together, but having holes line up would aid in the drainage of the liquid and would be quicker to drill both at the same time. It’s good to have an engineer on the project!  He did put a bungee cord across the tubs to create some tension to keep them from sliding as the holes were drilled.  It only took about 5-minutes and both containers had drain holes!

Next came the ventilation holes on the sides and ends of the containers.  The holes needed to be drilled in the upper area, just below the rim of the tub.  This area of the top tub is left unobstructed even when the tubs are stacked together.  Some of the holes needed the excess plastic curls to be removed. I didn’t want them ending up in the tub.  On the inside, window screen fabric was cut to fit and hot glued to the interior sides and ends of the top two tubs.  This is supposed to keep the unwanted bug activity to a minimum.  No unwanted creepy-crawlies allowed!

The bottom tub received a hole in one of the corners for the drain.  Since this particular tub has nice, flat corners, it seemed like it was the perfect spot.  Rubber gaskets were used on the inside and outside when installing the PVC fittings.  When the time comes to empty the “worm juice” from the bottom tub, the threaded plug can be unscrewed and the juice and be easily emptied into a container.  

Following the quality inspection from the onsite engineering, the “Worm Condo” was given the thumbs-up and the unit was prepared for occupancy.  Unfortunately, there was a abundance of unused vegetables in the refrigerator that have past their prime which was the driving factor for completing this project in a timely manner.  I decided it was time to stop throwing that money in the trash.  In addition, unwanted junk mail and ad papers were shredded to join said vegetables.  The little guys are now settling into their new home.  I am so excited to officially start gardening again!  

(…an to put unused fruits and veggies to go use.)

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