How to Build a Worm Compost


Composting is a method of turning household waste into organic material for use in the lawn or home garden. Adding worms to a composting heap speeds up the process drastically. Worms eat through the organic material, leaving castings made of fine humus behind them. According to the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension, worm castings contain five to 11 times more nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium than surrounding soil, making it ideal for garden use as a soil amendment and fertilizer.

Step 1

Find a cool location in the garage or cellar to put the composting bin. Worms require a temperature between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, says the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension.

Step 2

Weigh your household kitchen waste for one week, excluding fatty foods and dairy, says the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Choose a bin that is 8 to 12 inches deep and has 1 square foot per lb. of food waste.

Step 3

Drill 1/4- to 1/2-inch holes on the bottom of the container to provide aeration, says the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Raise the bin off the floor with bricks, or place the composting bin on bricks inside of another bin to collect any draining moisture.

Step 4

Purchase 2 lbs. of earthworms per lb. of food you wish to recycle in a 24-hour period, says the New Mexico University Extension. Worms are available through garden centers and online retailers.

Step 5

Soak shredded newspaper in water for 24 hours, then squeeze out the excess moisture. Place the shredded newspaper at the bottom of the bin and allow it to cool for several days before adding the worms.

Step 6

Add the worms to the moist bedding and close the lid of the container. The worms will disappear inside the bedding within a few minutes, says New Mexico University. Add food waste to the box once the worms disappear. Add food material for two to three months until the bedding material disappears. Harvest the compost at this time.

Things You'll Need

  • 8- to 12-inch deep bin
  • Scale
  • Red wriggler worms
  • Kitchen waste
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Water
  • Drill


  • Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension: Vermicomposting
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Vermicomposting: Composting with Worms
  • New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension: Vermicomposting
Keywords: worm composting, vermicomposting, home composting

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.