How to Prepare a Bin for Worm Composting

Overview

Worm composting, or vermicomposting, is a compact method of using worms as an aid for producing rich, organic compost for your garden and potted plants. Suitable for indoor composting or those with small yards, worm bins are self-contained units that can be kept in a spare room or in a kitchen cabinet. Whether purchased or handmade, all worm bins must be prepared properly before placing the worms inside. Fortunately, all that's needed are items you most likely have that were destined for the trash.

Step 1

Provide ventilation for the worms. Verify that purchased bins have ventilation holes in the lid and sides. Drill ¼-inch holes every two inches in rows across the lid of homemade worm bins, and a row of holes four inches down from the rim around the side of the bin.

Step 2

Tear newspaper in one-inch wide strips to make the bedding material for the worms. Wet down the newspaper strips until it is the dampness of a squeezed sponge. Fill the bin 2/3 full with damp newspaper.

Step 3

Add one to two handfuls of garden soil to the worm bin. Mix it in with the newspaper strips. Soil provides the grit that worms require for digestion.

Step 4

Place the worms in the bin. An average-size worm bin or handmade plastic tub houses approximately 1,000 worms (about one pound).

Step 5

Feed the worms vegetable and fruit waste, boiled egg shells, coffee and tea grounds, and starches such as bread or potatoes. Place the food between the bedding layers in a different area of the bin at each feeding. One pound of worms consumes about ½-pound of food a day. Feed them one to three times a week or when most of the food from the last feeding as been eaten.

Step 6

Check the moisture level in the bedding weekly. Add more damp newspaper if the bedding feels try. If there is standing water in the bottom of the bin, add dry newspaper.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not feed worms meats, dairy products or oily foods. Worms may attempt to escape the bin the first few days. Place the bin in a room with a bright light to discourage them.

Things You'll Need

  • Worm bin
  • Drill
  • Newspaper
  • Soil
  • Food scraps

References

  • University of Illinois Extension
  • Michigan State University Extension
Keywords: worm compost bins, vermicomposting, worm bin preparation

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.