Vermicomposting Method


In vermicomposting, you allow worms to recycle bedding and food scraps to create rich, organic humus with a nutrient density far superior to regular compost. A vermicomposting bin requires minimal space and labor and therefore is suitable for use in apartments, basements, garages and classrooms. Once you have the bin set up, about all you have to do is add kitchen scraps and monitor the moisture level.

Step 1

Prepare the bedding by soaking it in water until it has absorbed as much as it can. Drain out the water and squeeze the bedding so it is about as damp as a wrung-out dishcloth. Place the damp bedding in the bin, filling it about three-quarters full. Lift it gently to create air spaces for the worms.

Step 2

Set the bedding-filled bin on bricks or blocks. Place it in a location where the temperature will remain between 55 and 77 degrees F. Allow it to sit for three to four days.

Step 3

Sprinkle a handful of sand on top of the bedding. (Composting worms have a gizzard, and thus benefit from grit to aid the digestive process.) Then add worms to the bin. In a matter of minutes, they will crawl down into the bedding, away from the light.

Step 4

Feed the worms with a few handfuls of kitchen scraps. Move the bedding in one spot, set the scraps in and cover them with bedding. Place the cover on the bin.

Step 5

Add food scraps daily, rotating where you place the food each time so you don't create a large pile. You want the worms have easy access to each addition.

Step 6

Keep the bin dark and the bedding moist. Mist the bedding with a spray bottle as needed to keep it damp enough to hold its shape when squeezed but not so wet that you can squeeze out drops of water.

Step 7

Harvest vermicompost when all the bedding in the bin has been consumed. Move the vermicompost to one side of the bin. Add fresh bedding and a little food to the side you cleared out. Put the cover on and wait for the worms to move out of the finished compost into the side with newly added bedding.

Step 8

Remove the finished compost and replenish the bedding so the bin is again three-quarters full of damp bedding. Then keep feeding your worms as before.

Things You'll Need

  • Composting bin with loose-fitting lid
  • Bedding (shredded cardboard, newspaper, dried leaves or a combination of these)
  • Bricks
  • Redworms or brandling worms, about 2 pounds per four cubic feet of bin space
  • Food scraps
  • Spray bottle


  • New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension: Vermicomposting
  • University of Nebraska Extension: Vermicomposting
  • Cornell University: Worm Composting Basics

Who Can Help

  • Washington State University: Cheap and Easy Worm Bin
Keywords: vermicomposting method, compost with worms, begin vermicomposting

About this Author

Ann Wolters, who has been a freelance writer, consultant, and writing coach for the past year and a half, has had her writing published in "The Saint Paul Almanac," and in magazines such as "Inventing Tomorrow" and "Frontiers." She earned a master’s degree in English as a second language from the University of Minnesota and taught English as a foreign language for nearly seven years.