Friday, March 19, 2010


I thought I would give a quick tutorial on how to have a worm bin in your very own living room!  Of course, you don't have to keep it there....just someplace cool.  This is a new adventure for us but I thought perhaps some of you would like to join us.

Here's what you will need:
2 tubs (dark - not see through!) about 8 to 10 gallons in size.  I found ours at Lowe's.  They were less than $5 each.

A drill with 1/4" and 1/16" bits

Newspaper - lots and lots of newspaper

A handful of dirt

A sprinkle of sand

A handfull of leaves from last fall

One pound of redworms

Here's what you do:

Drill about 20 holes using the 1/4" drill bit in the bottom of each bin.  the holes should be one to two inches apart. This will allow for drainage and for a "planned escape" for the worms when the time comes.  They will move from one bin to the other.  More on that later.  Here you see the bottom of our bin with the larger holes.

Using the 1/16th" bit drill holes along the top edge of the bin.  These are smaller because they are only for ventilation.  Hopefully, no worms will be traveling through these.  You can see them running along the top of our bin.

You will also drill holes in one (only one!) of the lids.  More on that later!

Now it is time to prepare the bedding.  You are going to need newspappers - lots of them!  Elijah spent a lot of time shredding these newspapers into 1 inch strips.

Use regular newsprint but don't use the shiny stuff. You will need more than you think you need because once it gets wet it compacts.  Keep shredding....

Not quite yet....keep shredding....

Almost done....keep shredding...

Your bin will begin to look like this...

We filled our bin to the top twice before we had enough wet bedding.

Now it is time to get the newspaper wet.  Partially fill a sink with water and submerge the paper in the water.  Make sure it gets good and wet!
Then pull out a handfull at a time and wring as much moisture out of the paper as you can.  Prepare yourself for very black hands by the time you are done.  Don't worry, cleans up well with any of my soaps! Worms like their bedding wet but not soggy. 

Then put the wet paper back in the bin and fluff it.  Seriously.  Gently pull it apart and try to get as much "fluffiness" as you can. You need 3 to 4 inches of fluffy, wet newspaper in the bottom of your bin!

Add some leaves or leaf litter on top of the newspaper.

Throw in a handful of dirt to help the worms digest their food - sort of like grit for chicks. need a sweet friend to share their worms with you (thanks Carol!).  You will need about a pound!  You can also purchase worms or place some wet cardboard down in your garden - turn it over each morning and capture the worms.  They come up to eat the cardboard - they love it!

There are about 500 worms in a pound.  These worms will consume 1/2 of their body weight in food a day. will need to feed approx. 1/2 pound of kitchen scraps a day.  No meat, fats, dairy or oils.  But, they love vegetables, fruit, bread, coffee grounds and filter, tea bags, grains etc.  We found that the worms in our bin like to lay their eggsacks on the tea bags.  The worm babies are very small and white.

Next you will need to cut a piece of cardboard to fit on top of the bedding in your bin. Soak the cardboard so that it is wet when you place it in the bin.  Worms love cardboard! Then put the lid with the holes in it on the bin.  Next you will take the lid without the holes and use it  like a tray to catch any drainage that may come from the bin.  We put the lid on the floor - added a couple of bricks and then put the worm bin on the bricks.  This leaves room for drainage - which, by the way, we have not seen.

Feed small amounts at first.  As the worms re-produce, you will need to increase the amount of food.  Bury the food (under the cardboard and leaves) in a different part of the bin each week.  We pull back some of the leaves and place the food there.  Then we gently cover the food up.  Evidently the worms chase the food around the bin.  You will be amazed at how quickly they eat and move!
Keep your bin in a well-ventilated area. Inside a building during the winter and in the summer it can go outside in the shade.  When you notice that your bedding has all been turned into wonderful worm castings for your garden. It is time for moving day!

Take a second bin, prepared just like the first, and place it directly on the surface of the bedding in the first bin.  Bury your food scraps in the bedding of this top bin.  The worms will begin to migrate up into the second bin through the holes that you drilled.  This will take up to 2 months.  After the big move, the first bin will be filled with almost worm-free vermicompost.  Your plants will LOVE it!

Start the process all over.  This is an easy project, takes very little work.  Just feed, make sure the bedding isn't drying out and harvest when the time comes.  As your worms reproduce, you can either start new bins or share your excess worms with a friend. 




  1. Author : kari

    Yeah Worms! My process is similar except I don't put the cardboard nor the leaves on top. I scored a really good deal on a shredder so I use a combo of newspaper and bills, letters, etc all shredded up on the top. Works really well. I also add egg shells to my bins, helps with the pH. I was told not to put Citrus, onions or garlic in the bins (might be because of the type of worms I use??). I am always amazed at how easy it is. Plus I don't have to worry about attracting criters to a compost bin! Happy Worming!
    (Oh will have to set up some sort of account so I can comment on your new blog!)


  2. I hadn't heard about citrus, garlic or onions. I have done citrus pulp - not the skins - and they appeared to love it. I haven't done garlic or onions - probably because we don't have much of those leftover!

    I shred a lot of junk mail for packing boxes when I mail soap - what a great idea to use it for the worms also!

    Thanks for the extra info Kari!

  3. We did worms once- like 2 summers ago when we lived in an apartment! ha! What were we thinking!? They lived on our balcony until we decided to give them to a friend with a garden, you know, someone with an actual use for them!

  4. That's it! I'm making one for sure! I love how CHEAP this project is--less that $10, if you're given the worms. I'm totally making this when we move! Two months!


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