Homemade Styrofoam Vermicomposting Bins

Overview

One of the fastest and most efficient ways to turn kitchen and garden scraps into valuable compost for your garden is to engage in vermicomposting techniques. Vermicomposting is composting that utilizes the recycling power of worms to aerate and compost the organic materials that are added to the bin.

Step 1

Thoroughly clean a styrofoam container, such as a cooler, removing any debris or residue from the inside of the container. Dry or allow to drip dry.

Step 2

Turn the cooler upside down and poke holes in the bottom with the screwdriver or knife. The holes should be about 1/4 of an inch wide and there should be one at approximately every 4 square inches in the bottom of the cooler.

Step 3

Add crumpled strips of shredded paper, newspaper and/or dried leaves to the bin. Do not fill the bin more than 1/2 full of this material. It is best to use paper that doesn't have varnish or colored dye in it. If using newspaper, use the black and white sections and not the varnished coupon or sale flier sections as these are coated in chemicals which can interfere with garden growth.

Step 4

Add coffee grounds, tea bags or wet kitchen scraps on top of the dry paper layer. Make this layer no more than 1/3 the depth of the dried paper layer.

Step 5

Break the two bricks in half with a hammer and chisel by placing the sharp end of the chisel in the middle of the brick and hitting the blunt end with a hammer. It may take a couple of tries to get the brick to break. The bricks do not need to be cut exactly in half, you just need to have a total of four pieces of brick that are close to half size when you are done.

Step 6

Place the brick pieces inside each corner of the drip tray. Place the cooler on top of the bricks so that the holes in the cooler line up with the inside of the tray-- if any moisture leaks through, it will fall out of the holes and into the drip tray.

Step 7

Sprinkle water over the materials to add some moisture to the mix. Add water until about 1/2 of the paper is wet but not saturated. The amount of water will depend on the amount of moisture that is in the kitchen scraps that were added.

Step 8

Mix the ingredients lightly, leaving at least 3 inches of dry material at the bottom of the cooler.

Step 9

Add worms to the top of the mixture. They will work their way into the mix as they begin to recycle the materials. Keep the mixture moist but not saturated during the recycling period. When the materials have all been turned into a dark, rich soil-like substance, the worm castings are ready to use in the garden.

Things You'll Need

  • Styrofoam cooler or container with lid
  • Screwdriver or knife
  • Plastic tray that is large enough for the cooler to set into
  • 2 bricks
  • Chisel and hammer
  • Coffee grounds
  • Shredded paper, newspaper and/or dried leaves
  • Kitchen scraps
  • Redworms

References

  • Garden Simply: Vermiculture
  • Oklahoma State University: Vermicomposting
  • University of Florida: Vermicomposting
Keywords: vermicomposting, stryrofoam vermicomposter, worm farm cooler

About this Author

Robin Lewis Montanye is a freelance artist, designer and writer. Her articles have appeared in newspapers, national magazines and on several self-help areas of the web. Montanye specializes in gardening articles with information from several universities. She has Internet articles published on Gardenguides.com, eHow.com and Suite101.com.