How to Make a Worm Bin From a 5 Gallon Bucket


Vermicomposting is the process of using worms to produce compost, a rich soil amendment that adds nutrients to garden beds and potting mixtures. Red wiggler worms are used for making vermicompost at home, as they thrive in shallow soils and they also quickly process the food waste into compost. Worm bins are usually small enough to be kept in a basement or under the kitchen sink. Any waterproof container is easily turned into a worm bin, including the readily available 5-gallon bucket.

Step 1

Turn the bucket upside down. Drill eight ½-inch holes in the bottom of the bucket, spacing them evenly.

Step 2

Turn the bucket lid upside down so the rim forms a lip. Set two bricks or wooden blocks on the lid and set the bucket on top. Excess moisture drains from the bottom of the bucket and is caught in the lid.

Step 3

Place a piece of landscaping cloth in the bottom of the bucket. This prevents the bedding and worms from falling through the holes.

Step 4

Tear newspaper into 1-inch-wide strips. Moisten it with water until it is as damp as a wrung-out sponge and fill the bucket ½ to 2/3 full with the strips.

Step 5

Place a handful of garden soil in the bedding to provide grit to aid in the worms' digestion. Mix it with the newspaper bedding.

Step 6

Place ½ lb. of red wiggler worms in the bucket and place a square of landscaping cloth over the top of the bucket to keep pests out. Leave the bucket in a brightly lit room for one to three days so the worms settle in their new home. Bright light drives the worms into the bedding so they don't attempt to escape the bucket.

Step 7

Place a handful of food waste in the bucket, burying under the bedding. Feed the worms daily providing one to two handfuls of waste each day. If the food isn't eaten for two or three days, cease feedings until the worms catch up.

Tips and Warnings

  • Use new buckets or those that have held food-grade items. Never use a bucket that held pesticides or other harmful chemicals. Do not feed the worms meat, dairy or greasy food waste.

Things You'll Need

  • Bucket
  • Drill
  • Bricks
  • Landscaping cloth
  • Newspaper
  • Soil
  • Red worms
  • Food waste


  • New Mexico State University Extension: Vermicomposting
Keywords: making vermicompost, homemade worm bin, composting with worms

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.