Table-Top Worm Composting Directions


Making your own table-top worm composting bin allows you to turn your kitchen scraps into a rich soil amendment to use on houseplants or in the garden. Table-top bins are small enough to keep on a table or under the sink in a small home, or can be used as a classroom project for students learning about composting or recycling. No expensive materials are needed to create your bin, and within two to three months the rich compost will be ready to use.

Step 1

Tear newspaper into 1-inch wide strips. Dampen the strips in water until they are as moist as a wrung-out sponge.

Step 2

Rinse out any dust or debris from a 5-gallon plastic storage bin. Choose a bin that is 8 to 12 inches deep.

Step 3

Fill the bin with a 6-inch layer of damp newspaper strips. Add a handful of garden soil to the newspaper strips and mix it in. This is the worm bedding.

Step 4

Add 1 lb. of red wiggler worms to the compost bin. Place the lid on top loosely so that air still flows around the rim.

Step 5

Feed the worms twice a week, giving them a total of 3 to 5 lbs. of food a week. Bury the food in the newspaper bedding when feeding, spreading it out so the food isn't concentrated in one area of the bin. Feed worms vegetable and fruit peelings, bread crusts, coffee grounds and tea leaves.

Step 6

Check the moisture level in the bin at least once weekly to ensure it maintains the dampness of a wrung-out sponge. Table-top bins have no drainage holes so it is vital to check the moisture levels often. Add dry newspaper strips if the bin becomes too moist or mist the bedding with water if it begins to dry out.

Step 7

Harvest the compost once all of the bedding is broken down into a brown, soil-like substance that has an earthy smell, approximately two to five months after starting the bin. Stop feeding the worms two weeks before you plan to harvest.

Step 8

Push all the compost and worms into one half of the bin. Place new damp bedding and food scraps in the empty half. Continue feeding the worms as usual for three weeks, placing all the food in the new bedding so the worms migrate over to it.

Step 9

Pull out the finished compost from the bin after three weeks. Spread out the new bedding so it covers the bottom 6 inches of the bin and continue to feed the worms and harvest as necessary.

Tips and Warnings

  • Temperatures that are too high or too low may kill the worms. Keep worm bins away from freezing temperatures or temperatures over 80 F to ensure the worms' health. Liquid from worm bins may damage table tops if it leaks. Place a second bin lid under the bin to protect the table.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic tub
  • Newspaper
  • Soil
  • Red worms
  • Food scraps


  • Cornell Cooperative Extension: Worm Compost Basics
  • Washington State University Extension: Composting With Redworms
Keywords: table-top worm bins, vermicomposting, indoor compost methods

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.