How to Make an Organic Grow Box for a Kid's Project


Your child can practice organic gardening methods by making a grow box filled with compost. A handful of red wriggler worms will create soil from kitchen waste to provide a continuous supply of nutrients for your plants. Your child's organic grow box can become the centerpiece of a science fair project examining plant growth and yield at harvest. You and your child can also use it to get your garden off to a strong season by starting seedlings indoors.

Step 1

Punch six to ten holes in the bottom of one under-bed gift wrap storage box with a sharp knife or scissors. Place the box lid underneath it to serve as a drip pan.

Step 2

Fill the box halfway with straw, shredded newspaper or dried leaves. Add 1/2-lb red wriggler worms.

Step 3

Dust the surface of the straw bedding with 1/4 cup gritty material such as cornmeal, coffee grounds or crushed eggshells. University of Nebraska-Lincoln extension associate Soni Cochran explains, "Worms have a gizzard like chickens so fine grit should be added to help the worms digest food (Reference 1)."

Step 4

Cover the worms with a 2-inch layer of straw or dried leaves. Wait two days.

Step 5

Add one pound of kitchen waste, consisting of vegetable and fruit peelings, tea leaves, coffee grounds and crushed eggshells, to the box every other day.

Step 6

After 12 weeks, pour the contents of first box, which has now become rich, dark soil, onto a sheet of loose-weave burlap. Worm Woman Mary Appelhof recommends using a screen over a garden cart to separate the soil and the worms.

Step 7

Prepare the second gift wrap storage box as before. Use the worms from the first bin to start a new compost cycle in the second bin.

Step 8

Return the soil to the original bin. Plant seeds or seedlings of your choice in the original bin, which is now full of rich, dark soil. Use the recommended spacing for that flower, herb, fruit or vegetable. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup water.

Step 9

Place the grow box in a window with a southern exposure or under a grow light. Set a timer to provide the recommended hours of daylight for that plant variety.

Things You'll Need

  • Two under-bed gift wrap storage boxes
  • Scissors
  • Straw, shredded newspaper or dried leaves
  • A handful of red wriggler worms
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal, coffee grounds or crushed eggshells
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Kitchen waste
  • Burlap sheet or garden cart with screen
  • Seeds or seedlings


  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Vermicomposting
  • Worm Woman: Worm Bin Harvest

Who Can Help

  • US Department of Agriculture: World Crop Calendar
  • My Green Thumb: USDA Hardiness Zones
Keywords: vermicomposting, organic gardening, kids garden projects, worm bin planters

About this Author

Jane Smith received her Bachelor of Science in education from Kent State University in 1995. She provided educational supports for 11 years, served people with multiple challenges for 26 years, rescued animals for five years, designed and repaired household items for 31 years and is currently an apprentice metalworker. Her e-book, "Giving Him the Blues," was published in March 2008.