How to Start Vermicomposting

Overview

Vermicomposting is another term for worm composting. In worm composting, worms consume household waste to create a rich compost suitable for both indoor and outdoor gardening. Vermicomposting can help reduce the volume of waste you send to the landfill and can have the added benefit of creating an excess of worms that you can add to your garden.

Step 1

Drill 1/16- or 1/32-inch holes in the bottom and sides of one of the bins. Drilling 20 to 30 holes per surface should be sufficient.

Step 2

Line the sides and bottom of the drilled bin with window screen. This screen will prevent dirt and worms from escaping through the holes. Glue the window screen in place to prevent it from shifting.

Step 3

Place a brick in each corner of the undrilled bin. Slip the drilled bin inside the undrilled bin with bricks. The bricks will raise the inner bin up and allow air to flow between the bins and through the holes in the drilled bin.

Step 4

Shred scrap paper into 1/2- to 1-inch strips. Paper is a good starting food for your vermicompost bin.

Step 5

Fill the drilled bin one-fourth to one-third full with shredded paper. Dampen the paper, but don't allow it to become soaking wet.

Step 6

Add worms. How many worms you will need will depend on how much material you need to compost. Add about 1 lb. of worms per 1/2 lb. of material added per day.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid leaving your worms in temperatures below 32 degrees F or above 90 degrees F. Avoid adding animal products to your composting bin. Don't add grass clippings or other plant material that has been treated with pesticides.

Things You'll Need

  • Two identical plastic bins
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Window screen
  • Glue
  • Bricks
  • Shredded paper
  • Worms

References

  • Planet Green: How to Build a Worm Composting Bin
  • Crafting Green World: How to Build a Worm Composting Bin (Video)
  • Eco Wisdom: How to start vermicomposting

Who Can Help

  • University of Hawaii Extension: Vermicompost Research Update 2009
Keywords: vermicomposting, worm composting, DIY worm composting

About this Author

Christopher Earle is a freelance writer based in Denver, Colo. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, The Associated Press, the Boeing Company, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, Active Voice, RAHCO International and Umax Data Systems. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota.