How to Raise Red Wigglers


When you have a red wiggler worm farm, you have less garbage and you are helping the environment by sending less trash to the landfill. You are probably also raising fruits or vegetables, or plan to start so you can use all of the rich, free fertilizer your red wiggler worms will soon provide. Even if you are only interested in raising roses or other ornamentals, the castings that red wiggler worms give you will benefit all of your lovely lilacs and pretty petunias. There are no special materials needed to get started raising red wigglers.

Step 1

Construct your worm bin with three plastic storage boxes with snap-on lids, about 8 inches by 14 inches, or larger. Drill a dozen 1/8-inch holes in the bottoms of two of the containers.

Step 2

Set the two containers with the holes on top of the third container without holes.

Step 3

Place food scraps in the top bin and then add your worms to the same container. Red wiggler worms like to eat lettuce, peels of things like carrots and apples and other non-spicy foods. Do not give them coffee grounds, meat, hot chilis and acidic foods such as oranges or citrus peels.

Step 4

Tear up newspaper into strips and soak it in a bucket of water briefly. Then empty the water and squeeze out the excess moisture and layer them on top of the food scraps. Place the lid securely on the top bin.

Step 5

Maintain a temperature between 40 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit for your worms. They prefer a cool location, such as under your kitchen sink or in your garage. Be sure not to allow direct sunlight to reach their habitat.

Step 6

Feed your worms fresh table scraps every two to three days. If you forget, your worms will not die right away---lack of food actually puts them into a more reproductive phase for a while.

Step 7

Switch the top bin to the center position and the center bin to the top after about three months. Then place food scraps and fresh, moist newspaper in the new top bin like you did when you first started your red wiggler worm farm. Continue to feed your worms as you have been doing.

Step 8

Harvest your worm castings after about three months. From the center bin, which should now have very few worms or food remaining, scoop out 1 tbsp. full of castings for each gallon of water. Use the mixture of worm castings and water to fertilize any plants that you want to give a boost to.

Step 9

Treat unpleasant odors by cutting back on food, improving air flow, controlling excess moisture and cutting back on acidic food sources. If fruit flies invade your worm farm, cut back on food for about one week and be sure to bury all food with the bedding material.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always use the finished worm castings as soon as you can after they are ready because if you let them sit for too long, the nutrients will leach out and the castings will become less fertile. If the area where you keep your worm farm is outdoors and you live in a cold winter climate area, move your worms indoors when temperatures are forecasted to dip below about 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/2 lb. to 1 lb. of red wiggler worms
  • 3 plastic storage bins
  • Newspaper
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Drill gun with 1/8-inch bit
  • Food scraps


  • City Farmer
Keywords: worm farm, fertilizer natural, castings red wiggler

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.