How to Raise Worms for Compost

Overview

Worms are a sign of good, healthy soil. In addition, they help to more quickly convert vegetable kitchen waste and organic yard and garden waste to compost. Growing your own worms for composting and soil augmentation is very easy. Worm composting, called vermicomposting, is a very good way to convert household waste into usable organic fertilizer.

Step 1

Find a location for your worm bed. You will need a space large enough to accommodate a 1-foot-high worm bed that is around 2 feet by 3 feet.

Step 2

Lay a 2-foot by 3-foot piece of exterior grade plywood on the ground. This will be the base of your worm box. Do not use pressure treated plywood as it may contain chemicals that could harm the worms.

Step 3

Drill at least 12, 1-inch holes evenly spaced in the plywood base for drainage.

Step 4

Attach supports to the corners. Use posts that are made from 1-by-1 or 2-by-4-inch boards, cut 12 inches high. Attach them to each corner using screws. These will hold the sides of the worm box.

Step 5

Cut two pieces plywood that measure 12 inches by 2 feet. These will form the ends of the box.

Step 6

Cut two pieces of plywood that measure 12 inches by 3 feet. These will be the sides of the box.

Step 7

Screw the ends and sides of the box to the upright supports.

Step 8

Paint or stain the outside of the box, if desired. This is purely for cosmetic reasons. Do not paint or stain the inside of the box.

Step 9

Mix around 10 pounds of shredded paper with a gallon of garden soil.

Step 10

Add four gallons of water and let the mixture sit for two days.

Step 11

Add two pounds of worms for each pound of plant-derived garbage produced per day by your household. Cover the worm box with a tarp, plastic or wood. Worms do not like light.

Step 12

Feed your worms with plant-based garbage from your home. Daily, every two days, or even once a week will work well.

Step 13

Harvest the worms by making a cone-shaped pile of dirt on a piece of plywood or plastic. The worms will naturally move toward the center of the pile. Wait a few moments, and remove an inch or two of dirt from the cone-shaped pile. Wait a few more minutes for the worms to move toward the center again, and remove a bit more dirt. By doing this repeatedly, you will eventually have a cone-shaped pile that is mostly worms. Add those worms to your compost pile or to your garden.

Things You'll Need

  • Exterior grade plywood
  • 1-by-1 or 2-by-4 board
  • Drill
  • One-inch drill bit
  • Screwdriver
  • Screws
  • Paint or stain (optional)
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Tarp or dark plastic sheeting

References

  • Home Worm Production
  • Raising Earth Worms
  • Raising worms for compost: Successful strategies
Keywords: vermicomposting, organic gardeining, worm farming

About this Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.