How to Make Earthworm Compost

Overview

Earthworm compost, also referred to as worm castings, is made by providing earthworms a home and feeding them regularly. The worms digest most of your natural kitchen scraps, with the exceptions of meat, seafood and dairy products. They then pass these things through their bodies and excrete worm compost, something regarded to as "black gold" by avid gardeners. Packed with nutrients in a form your plants can use, earthworm compost is a boon to garden and lawn alike. Tend your earthworms well, and you will not run out of this valuable resource.

Making Your Worm Bin

Step 1

Label the three identical opaque plastic bins as 1, 2 and 3.

Step 2

Drill 1/4-inch holes into the bottoms of bins 2 and 3. Create 20 to 30 holes; no particular spacing is required, but make them pretty evenly over the surface. Discard any plastic scraps.

Step 3

Shred and moisten the newspaper so that it is wet but not dripping. Cover the bottom of bin 2 with it. Nest bin 2 inside bin 1 so that bin 1 acts as a drainage collector for your worm bin.

Step 4

Fill bin 2 about three quarters of the way full with soil. Mix in about a cup of cornmeal; earthworms have gizzards to help them digest food, like chickens. The cornmeal will help them grind their food and digest it more easily.

Step 5

Moisten the soil so that when you grab a handful, it forms a ball and then falls apart. Do not moisten it so much that it is soggy. Keep soil at this moisture level, since worms need some moisture (but not flooding) to live.

Step 6

Bury natural kitchen scraps (no plastic or foil, but paper and cardboard are OK) in the soil to dissuade pests (and pets) from investigating.

Step 7

Add worms to the bin and cover it with a piece of cardboard. Earthworms prefer the dark. Feed kitchen scraps to your worms; always bury them in the soil and recover the bin with cardboard.

Harvesting Earthworm Compost

Step 1

Place bin 3 on top of bin 2. Fill it with wet newspaper, soil, cornmeal and kitchen scraps like when you first made the earthworm bin.

Step 2

Cover bin 3 with a fresh piece of cardboard. Do not put any more kitchen scraps inside bin 2.

Step 3

Monitor bin 3 and add kitchen scraps daily; within a few days, the worms will have migrated from bin 2 to bin 3 through the holes, searching for food.

Step 4

Remove bin 2 from underneath bin 3. Replace bin 3 on top of bin 1. Use the earthworm compost for your garden or lawn.

Step 5

Repeat the process any time your active worm bin is full of earthworm compost.

Things You'll Need

  • 3 identical opaque plastic bins, 10 gallons each or more
  • Marker
  • Masking tape
  • Drill
  • Newspaper
  • Soil
  • Cornmeal
  • Kitchen scraps
  • 1 pound red wiggler earthworms
  • Cardboard

References

  • Washington State University Whatcom County Extension: Cheap and Easy Worm Bin!
  • Worm Woman: Worm Composting
Keywords: make earthworm compost, create worm castings, make worm castings

About this Author

Amrita Chuasiriporn is a professional cook, baker, and writer. In addition to cooking and baking for a living, Chuasiriporn has written for several online publications. These include Chef's Blade, CraftyCrafty, and others. Additionally, Chuasiriporn is a regular contributor to online automotive enthusiast publication CarEnvy.ca. Chuasiriporn holds an A.A.S. in culinary arts, as well as a B.A. in Spanish language and literature.