How to Make a Compost Bucket


Keeping worms in a bucket is an easy way for you to make nutrient-dense humus to enrich your garden and flowerbed soil. Also called vermicomposting, worm composting is a nontraditional compost method that allows you to create "black gold" in a space as small as a 5-gallon bucket. Not only is worm composting an excellent source of organic compost, but it also allows city dwellers to reduce the amount of trash they send to landfills. Look for red worms for your compost bucket in a neighboring farmer's manure heap or purchase them online at a worm supply website.

Step 1

Select a 5-gallon plastic bucket for your compost bucket. Recycle a used bucket, if possible, or purchase a new, unused storage bucket from a home and garden supply center. Avoid buckets that have contained chemicals in the past, since these chemicals may leach into the worm bedding and poison your worms.

Step 2

Flip the bucket upside-down on the ground and drill approximately 10 holes in the bottom with a 3/8-inch drill bit to provide drainage for excess moisture. Space the holes evenly across the entire bottom of the compost bucket.

Step 3

Place the bucket upright. Drill a single row of holes approximately 1 inch from the top edge of the bucket to provide ventilation for your compost worms. Fill the bucket ¾ full with damp, shredded newspaper or dead leaves. Place no more than 1 pound (approximately 1,000) of red worms in your compost bucket and cover the bucket loosely with a piece of cardboard to provide darkness.

Step 4

Store your compost bucket in a dark, dry location, such as a basement or the cabinet beneath your sink. Feed your compost worms once or twice per week, giving them mild, organic waste, such as fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and paper tea bags. Bury the organic waste beneath 3 inches of moist bedding to minimize possible odor issues. Avoid feeding your worms additional food until they have consumed most of the previous batch of food scraps.

Tips and Warnings

  • According to Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture, it is inadvisable to compost meats and oily foods or dairy products and grains; these items attract flies and rodents and create foul smells.

Things You'll Need

  • 5-gallon plastic bucket
  • Drill with 3/8-inch bit
  • Shredded newspaper/dead leaves
  • 1 pound of red worms
  • Cardboard
  • Food scraps


  • Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture: Worm Composting
  • "The Worm Book"; Janet Hogan Taylor & Loren Nancarrow; 1998
Keywords: compost bucket, worm composting, bucket worm composting

About this Author

Regan Hennessy has been writing professionally for 11 years. A freelance copywriter and certified teacher, Hennessy specializes in the areas of parenting, health, education, agriculture and personal finance. During her time with Demand Studios, Hennessy has produced content for Ehow, Answerbag and Travels. Hennessy graduated from Lycoming College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.