How to Make a Worm Composter

Overview

Composting recycles your organic waste, such as food scraps, and provides a rich soil amendment to use in your vegetable and flower gardens. Worm composting uses worms to compost your food waste into worm castings---usable as a top dressing for plants and as an addition to potting and soil mixes. Worm compost bins are small enough to fit into any gardener's living space. They are ideal for apartment gardeners to produce and benefit from their own compost.

Step 1

Drill 20 ¼-inch holes in the bottom of each bin. Make sure they are equally spaced over the entire surface.

Step 2

Drill 1/6-inch holes on the side of each bin near the top. Space each hole 1 1/2 inches apart.

Step 3

Drill 30 1/16-inch holes on the lid of one bin, spaced evenly. These and the side holes provide ventilation.

Step 4

Tear newspaper into 1-inch-wide strips. Soak it in a bowl of water, and squeeze out the excess so it is moist but not soaking wet. Place a 4-inch layer of the damp newspaper in the bottom of the bin with the holes. Fill loosely; don't let the newspaper compact.

Step 5

Throw in one to two handfuls of soil on top the newspaper. Place 1 pound of worms into the newspaper.

Step 6

Cut a piece of cardboard to fit inside the bin. Dampen the cardboard, and then set it loosely on top the shredded newspaper and worms.

Step 7

Set the empty bin inside the bin with the worms in it. Secure the lid on top of the empty bin.

Step 8

Set the second lid on the floor as a drip tray. Put a brick in each corner of the tray, and set the stacked bins on top.

Step 9

Feed the worms any vegetable scraps, such as peelings, tops and other parts you normally throw out. Bury the food under the cardboard in the newspaper, placing it in a different spot each time. Feed once weekly.

Step 10

Harvest castings by filling the empty bin with newspaper, soil, and food and placing cardboard on top. The worms will crawl through the bottom holes into the top bin, allowing you to take the compost from the bottom bin. Then place the now-empty bottom bin on top.

Tips and Warnings

  • Only add a small amount of vegetable scraps at a time. If the bin begins to stink, you are overfeeding. Make sure the newspaper stays moist at all times, or the worms will die.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 8-to-10-gal. plastic bins
  • Drill
  • Newspaper
  • Soil
  • Cardboard
  • 4 bricks
  • 1 lb. redworms

References

  • Whatcom County Extension
Keywords: worm composting, worm castings, apartment composting

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.