How to Add Worms to an Indoor Garden

Overview

The more your indoor garden mimics good habitat for worms, the happier they will be. An indoor garden consisting of deep containers containing food and bedding sources, as well as moisture and darkness, provides the necessary environment. This project works best for those who already maintain an indoor worm bin and can transfer some red wigglers, or Eisenia fetida, into the indoor garden.

Preparation

Step 1

Construct or purchase a planter about 10 to 12 inches deep with drainage holes and a tray to catch excess water. Look for a planter that ideally mimics the dimensions of a worm bin, which may be 2 feet wide by 3 feet long, to provide the greatest possible soil volume.

Step 2

Layer the bottom of the planter with 2 inches of soaked cardboard torn into strips about 1 inch wide.

Step 3

Layer the soaked cardboard with food sources for the worms, such as coffee grounds, tea bags and smashed eggshells, which will provide nutrients without the risk of anaerobic odors.

Step 4

Fill the rest of the planter with peat moss and humus. Add topsoil only if has not been treated with any chemicals or fertilizers. Avoid potting soil, which may contain fertilizer and vermiculite.

Step 5

Add plants to the garden.

Maintenance

Step 1

Add the worms to the planter, placing them gently between the plants where the soil is loose so they can move quickly to hide below the soil surface.

Step 2

Place the planter where it will receive adequate lighting for the plants, but also where the habitat will be dark at night, which worms prefer.

Step 3

Try to keep the soil at 70 to 80 percent moisture as measured by a moisture meter, which can be found at most home centers.

Step 4

Add additional nutrients for the worms via top feedings, scratching the coffee grounds and eggshells into the top level of the soil. Add a good quantity of food when repotting plants, repeating the process of adding soaked cardboard and food sources to the bottom of the planter.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not add night crawlers and similar "wild" outdoor worms to an indoor garden. They require depths of several feet to create permanent burrows and will try to escape the planter.

Things You'll Need

  • Planter
  • Soaked cardboard
  • Coffee grounds
  • Tea bags
  • Smashed eggshells
  • Peat moss
  • Humus
  • Topsoil
  • Plants
  • Red wigglers
  • Moisture meter

References

  • Texas A&M University: Home Worm Production
  • Indoor Garden: Tips on Building a Worm Compost Bin
  • Harvard University Extension School: Worm Farmer, Now or Later

Who Can Help

  • About My Planet: Creating an Indoor Garden
  • Home Interior Decorating: Indoor Garden for Modern Fresh Home Decorating
Keywords: indoor garden worms, Eisenia fetida, red wigglers

About this Author

Rogue Parrish has written two travel books and edited at the "The Baltimore Sun," "The Washington Post" and the Alaska Newspapers company. She began writing professionally in 1975. Parrish holds a summa cum laude Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.