How to Start a Worm Compost Bin


Not only are worms beneficial for garden soil, they are also a useful tool for creating high quality compost to use in the garden. By making a simple worm compost bin out of a shallow container, you can quickly create a habitat for worms to grow and thrive. As the worms live in the bedding material in the compost bin, you feed them your kitchen scraps every day. Eventually, as the worms consume the food and the bedding, these materials become compost.

Step 1

Select a container to use. A dishwashing basin or a plastic storage bin would be ideal. A wood shipping crate or even a discarded dresser drawer would also be suitable. You need a container that has 1 square foot of surface area for every 1 pound of kitchen scraps you produce each week.

Step 2

Turn the container upside down and drill holes every 2 to 3 inches evenly along the entire bottom of the container for aeration. Drill holes every 6 inches on the sides for additional ventilation. Drill holes in the cover in the same fashion as well, if possible.

Step 3

Place the bricks onto the tray and place the container onto the bricks. This will elevate the worm bin to ensure proper moisture and air content in the bin and the tray will catch water as it drips out of the ventilation holes.

Step 4

Cut 1-inch-wide strips from the newspapers and begin filling the bin with this bedding material. Add newspaper strips until the bin is three-quarters full of strips.

Step 5

Saturate the newspapers with water and then use your hands to wring out the excess water. Make the bedding wet, but not dripping. After wringing out the bedding, toss it lightly like a salad to make sure there are air pockets among the bedding. Sprinkle approximately 1 cup of garden soil over the bedding.

Step 6

Place the worms into the bin.

Step 7

Cover the container. You must cover the container with a secure lid if your worm bin will be outside. If your worm bin will be in a garage or some other indoor location, you could tie a heavy piece of plastic or even a piece of sturdy burlap onto the top of the container.

Step 8

Place the worm bin in a location without extreme temperatures. Avoid direct sunlight because this could damage the worms.

Step 9

Add kitchen scraps slowly to the worm bin. Place the scraps into the bin and bury the food under the bedding. Choose a different area of the bin to bury the scraps every day. Add water when the bedding dries out.

Tips and Warnings

  • Use only vegetable scraps, fruit scraps (no citrus), coffee grounds and eggshells. Never add any animal products, pet waste or grease to the worm bin.

Things You'll Need

  • Shallow container (between 10 and 16 inches deep)
  • Cover for the container
  • Drill with ¼-inch drill bit
  • Tray to use under the container
  • Bricks
  • Newspapers
  • Scissors
  • Water
  • Garden soil
  • Red worms (1 pound)
  • Kitchen scraps


  • Earth 911: Worm Composting
Keywords: worm compost bin, red worms, shallow container

About this Author

Kathryn Hatter is a 42-year-old veteran homeschool educator and regular contributer to Natural News. She is an avid gardener, seamstress, quilter, painter, cook, decorator, digital graphics creator and computer user. She is interested in natural health and hopes to direct her focus toward earning an RN degree.