Monday, November 23, 2020

DIY Worm Bins, Two Bins for Permaculture Efficiency

 Two red wiggler worm bins are much more useful to the urban permaculture operation than just one solitary bin.

Two Red Wiggler Worm Bins Increase Compost Production

Any number of worm bins, including just one, are better than no worm composting bins.  Worms can quickly turn kitchen scraps into black castings rich in nutrients, forming the basis for an inexpensive yet excellent organic fertilizer.

Here on the Pensacola Permaculture Urban Farm we used one worm bin for a year or so with good success.  The downside to one worm bin was the daily addition of fresh kitchen scraps.  Adding food scraps daily prevented the red wigglers from completely digesting the bin food and converting the waste to compost.

We tried segregating fresh food to one side but as we periodically turned the bin contents with the shovel, the fresh food would inevitably mix with the finished compost.

Now, with two worm bins we can allow one bin to fully compost once the worms are well on their way to digesting the scraps while using bin number two for fresh kitchen waste.  Rotating the two bins allows for efficient worm composting functioning.

Our red wiggler bins are approximately three feet by four and a half feet in length by one foot deep.

DIY Worm Bin base materials include screen, ground cloth, block & concrete

DIY Worm Bin sill ready for top construction

DIY Worm Bin top is constructed from reused lumber and roofing

We constructed our bins by clearing a level area of space and laying heavy duty poly screen and groundcloth on top of the ground.  A layer of concrete mortar was placed in the form of a rectangle and concrete blocks were then placed atop the mortar layer.  Additional concrete mortar was mixed with water and placed into and in between the concrete blocks.  The concrete mix was then allowed to harden.

Worm Bin lids are constructed with reclaimed aluminum roofing panels

Once the concrete cured a 2 x 4 sill was constructed and attached to the cured concrete with anchor screws.  Hinges were installed and a top built from scrap wood was topped with recycled aluminum roofing.

Worm castings mixed with perlite ready for potting up plant starts

The DIY worm bins are inexpensive to build and provide an efficient and sustainable way of recycling food scraps all the while producing organic worm casting fertilizer.

Every Urban Farm needs two worm bins!

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Super Easy DIY Living Wall on the Cheap

Included here are several photos of a one year old living wall planted with native coral honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens and wild muscadine grapes, Vitis spp.

DIY Living Wall with Coral Honeysuckle and Muscadine grapes

This living wall approach was super simple to construct and importantly, inexpensive.

DIY Living Walls can be Inexpensive and Beautiful with Native Plants

I would say this wall has been one of the best living wall designs that I've put together.

I've been trying different living wall approach approaches for over twenty years now.  I like both the trellis approach and the vertical planter approach.

Trellis Grid Panels are Held Together with Hose Clamps

However the trellis approach has delivered solid screening results with faster coverage and much less maintenance.  Since the vines are installed in the ground they tend to require less additional irrigation than walls designed around vertical planters.

The Vines Also Hold the Grid Panels Together

This system contains about a half dozen retail store merchandising wall grids and another six aluminum porch columns that I attached to concrete bases in the ground via 1/4" anchor bolts.

I sealed the grid panels with an exterior epoxy then attached them to each other and the aluminum columns with stainless hose clamps.

The entire wall cost less than one hundred dollars and covers 25' in length x 8' in height.  We just went through strong category two Hurricane Sally and the wall was unhurt.

We rooted the coral honeysuckle from cuttings so the plants were 'free'.  The muscadine grapes were volunteer sprouts from around the yard.

Because the living wall is adjacent our previous chicken yard, the soil is extra fertile.  Fertile soil is just what the vines want and they have really grown up the grids.

I am always amazed with the structural cohesiveness twinning vines impart to the grids they weave themselves into.

Coral Honeysuckle is a Favorite Among Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds love coral honeysuckle.

So consider finding some retail store wall grid on the internet marketplaces and allowing native plants like grapes, coral honeysuckle, Carolina jessamine, trumpet vine and others to provide you with beautiful screening flora.  No need to buy expensive living wall systems when you can easily build your own.