How to Make a Vermicompost Bin


Vermicomposting (composting with worms) offers a composting solution for apartment dwellers or individuals who want to compost throughout the winter. The red worms in the system recycle fruit and vegetable scraps from the kitchen to create a nutrient-rich soil amendment. Vermicompost may be added to potting mix, top-dressed on lawns or worked into a garden plot as additional organic material. It also makes a fine mulch.

Step 1

Turn the storage bin upside down and use the nail and hammer to punch about 20 holes more or less evenly spaced around the bottom of the bin. Then punch three rows of holes spaced an inch apart around the sides of the bin. Make one row about 3 inches from the bottom, another row of holes in the center and a third row about 2 inches from the top of the box.

Step 2

Soak corrugated cardboard strips until they have absorbed as much water as possible. Remove them from the water and wring them out until they are about as wet as a damp sponge. Fill the bin 3/4 full of wet cardboard. Set the bin on bricks to promote proper drainage and air circulation. Allow it to sit for a few days to make sure it won't heat, or to allow it to cool in the event it does.

Step 3

Fluff the bedding to create air spaces for the worms. Sprinkle sand on top of the moistened cardboard and place the worms in the bin. Cover the bin with the lid, but do not fasten it tightly, because the worms need air.

Step 4

Place up to 1/2 pound of food waste in the bin per day by moving one part of the bedding to the side, adding the scraps and covering them with bedding. Rotate the location where you place the scraps so they don't pile up and so the worms have easy access to them.

Step 5

Mist the bedding with a spray bottle if it begins to dry out. Bedding should be damp enough to hold its shape when you squeeze it, but not wet enough to squeeze out water.

Things You'll Need

  • 5- to 10-gallon storage bin with lid
  • Hammer
  • Large gauge nail
  • 2-inch strips of corrugated cardboard
  • 4 to 6 bricks
  • 2 handfuls of sand
  • 1 to 2 pounds of red worms
  • Fruit and vegetable scraps


  • University of California: How to Build Your Own Vermicomposting Bin
  • New Mexico State University: Vermicomposting
  • Washington State University: Cheap and Easy Worm Bin
  • Cornell University: Worm Composting Basics
Keywords: make vermicompost bin, homemade vermicompost bin, worm composting bin

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.