Making a Worm Bin or Wormery

To Get Started with Vermicomposting you’re going to need 5 Things

1.  Worms

2. A Container

3. Bedding

4. Water

5. Kitchen Scraps (non fatty)

Worms

The worms are the work horse of your compost bin.  Check here to see what type of worms work best for you but we prefer red wigglers. Worms generally eat their weight per day in food but most bins start without 1 pound of worms.

A Container:

You can get fancy and figure out how much food waste you generate in a week and build a container that can hold it or you can have multiple bins.  A bin tray will hold 1 pound of scrap per square foot and you’d like to be able to at least hold a few days worth of food in each bin. A bin should be between 8 and 12 deep because worms feed on the top layer and if it’s too deep moisture starts to build up and it can start to smell.

You can build or buy your worm house.  We sell the worm bins and feel it is much easier and so well designed that it’s more cost effective to buy a bin.  If you need more bin you just add another one.  Many people build their own out of wood or plastic containers.  Of the two we prefer the weight of the plastic.  If it is well maintained you can keep them under your sink or in your laundry room. A smaller bin should never smell as long as it in NOT kept air tight.

Depending on the size of the container, drill 8 to 12 holes (1/4 – l/2 inches) in the bottom for aeration and drainage. A plastic bin may need more drainage — if contents get too wet, drill more holes. Keep the bin off the ground with bricks or wooden blocks, and place a tray underneath to capture excess liquid which can be used as compost tea.  The bins we sell have 5 trays that are screens that allow the worms to move up to the kitchen scraps above.  There is also a tray on the bottom with a tapper to catch all the wonderful compost tea that falls to the bottom.

The bin needs to stay dark inside and although not air tight, needs to conserve moisture for the worms. A lid also keeps out scavengers but that has never been a real problem for us, even in the country.

Bedding

Bedding is a material that gives the worms a place to live but also can be processed. There are many different types of bedding and most you have around the house or are easily found.

1. Shredded newspaper.  We all shred our bills and documents so rather than throwing it in the garbage you can use it in your worm bin.  Try and keep the plastic fronts of the envelopes out of the mix.  Ink is not a problem

2. Shredded cardboard.  Retains moisture better than newspaper but harder to throw through the shredder.

3. Peat moss.  Easy to find at any garden center.  Get straight peat moss, not the fertilizers and moisture gels.

4. Coconut moss.  Its the product we send with all our bins.  A little harder to find but if you have old hanging plant baskets you can use the old coco moss for your worms, even if it’s not good enough for your basket anymore.

Once you’ve chosen your bedding soak it in water for 24 hours.  At that point, take it out and wring as much water out as you can.  We want it to be moist but not dripping. Put your bedding in the bin and fluff it up.  You’ll want to make sure it stays moist, but not wet, at all time.  A spray bottle comes in handy during the winter.

Kitchen Scraps

You’ll want to add the scraps slowly as the worms build in number.  You want your scraps to be composted and eaten, not to rot in the bin.  Lay your scraps on the top or in a corner.  If it starts to smell, reduce the amount of food added to the bin. Leafy vegetables are easier for the worms to digest.  I’ve found they absolutely love Sweet potatoes and corn.  Go here for more on what scraps to use.

For A Printable Guide Click Here

Leave a Reply