How to Make Your Own Worm Compost System

Overview

Worm composting, also known as vermiculture, is an efficient way to recycle your household kitchen scraps into a useful soil amendment. A worm compost system doesn't take up a lot of room and can be kept indoors. A worm compost bin can fit under the kitchen sink or in a closet or basement, so it's a good option for apartment dwellers. A properly functioning worm compost system doesn't smell and you can use the compost it produces for houseplants as well as gardens or lawns.

Step 1

Drill drainage holes in the bottom of the storage bin. Drill a hole every few inches. Lay the lid of the bin on the floor, wrong side up. Set the bin upright on the four bricks in the lid which will serve as a tray to catch any drips from your worm compost bin.

Step 2

Fill a sink or bucket with water and dump in the shredded office paper and shredded newspaper. Allow the paper to soak a few minutes, then pull it out a handful at a time. Squeeze gently to wring out excess water, but don't compact the paper. It should be damp and fluffy. Fill the bin 2/3 full with the damp shredded paper.

Step 3

Add the worms and cover with a layer of wet newspaper. Add any bedding that was packed with the worms to the bin.

Step 4

Dig a hole in the center of the bin with your hands or a trowel and dump in a couple of cups of kitchen scraps such as vegetable peelings, egg shells and coffee grounds. Don't add citrus peelings at this point, as too much acid can upset the pH balance of the bin. Cover the scraps with more newspaper.

Step 5

Cover the bin with a sheet of burlap or cardboard.

Step 6

Add more kitchen scraps every few days, burying each day's scraps in a new spot in the bin. If the bedding begins to dry out, sprinkle it with a little water. As the level in the bin drops as the worms convert both food scraps and shredded paper to compost, add more shredded paper.

Step 7

Remove finished compost from the bin after six months. Shine a bright light on the bin to send all the worms toward the bottom. Push aside any uncomposted waste and scoop out the finished compost. Some people like to sift the waste. If you find any worms, simply return them to the bin.

Things You'll Need

  • Large plastic storage bin with lid
  • Drill with large bit
  • Four bricks
  • Shredded paper
  • Water
  • 1 pound red wriggler worms
  • Piece of burlap or cardboard to fit over bin
  • Kitchen scraps

References

  • Cheap and Easy Worm Bin
  • Composting with Red Wriggler Worms

Who Can Help

  • Build Your Own Worm Bin
Keywords: worm composting, verminculture, worm bin

About this Author

Cynthia James is the author of more than 40 novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from Modern Bride to Popular Mechanics. A graduate of Sam Houston State University, she has a degree in economics. Before turning to freelancing full time, James worked as a newspaper reporter, travel agent and medical clinic manager.