Gardens

Making a Worm Compost Bin for Vermiculture

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A worm composting bin is relatively simple to make. It only takes a few materials that can be obtained at a hardware store and put together in the convenience of your home.  

The bin can be created using plastic containers, wooden boxes, or galvanized basins. The following directions incorporate plastic containers but they are applicable for other types of bins.  

Tools and Material

  • 2- 8 to 10 gallon plastic storage boxes specifically in a darker color
  • Drill
  • ¼ and 1/16 inch bits
  • Newspaper
  • Twigs
  • Dried Leaves
  • Dirt
  • Large piece of cardboard
  • 1 pound of red worms
  • Blocks or stones

Step 1: Preparing Drainage and Crawl Spaces 

Drill 20 to 30 ¼ to 1/8 inch holes in the bottom of each bin. These holes are for drainage and allow worms to crawl from one bin to the other when harvesting. 

Step 2: Preparing Ventilation Holes 

Drill 1/16 inch holes about 1 to 2 inches apart on each side of bins near the top. Also, drill about 30 1/16 inch holes in 1 of the plastic storage box lids. These holes will allow air to circulate in the bin once it is covered but be small enough to keep the worms from escaping. 

Step 3: Preparing the Bedding 

Shred or cut newspapers into small strips. Soak the strips of newspaper in water squeezing out excess water as you remove the paper from water. The paper needs to be moist for the worms to live. 

Next, place the moist newspaper in the bottom of one bin. Add twigs, dried leaves and dirt to the newspaper, plumping up the newspaper so that there is at least 3 to 5 inches of bedding in the bottom of the bin. 

Step 4: Adding Worms 

For a 10 gallon container, about 1 pound of worms is needed. The worms can't be taken from the earth because they will typically die. The best choice for vermiculture is red worms. 

Also, it is easier to start with too few worms than too many. Too many worms will die if there is not enough food while fewer worms have the capability of reproducing. Just don't over feed the worms.   

Step 5: Completing the Bin 

Cover the bedding and worms with 1 piece of cardboard. Then place the lid with the holes on top of the bin. Place blocks or rocks on top of the unused lid wherever the bin is to be kept and place the bin.  

The lid that is under the bin will catch worm juice and anything else that drops from the bin. Worm juice is a good fertilizing agent that can be added to any garden or soil. You may now begin feeding the worms.  

Step 6: Harvesting 

When the bin is full and there are no more recognizable food scraps left, remove the lid and put the second bin on top of the first one. Put new bedding in the second bin and cover it with a cardboard and the lid. Make sure to follow the same directions in step 3 every time bedding is added.    

Begin feeding the top bin and within 1 or 2 months the worms will move into the second bin. The first bin can then be removed and the compost can be used.

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