How to Prepare Vermicompost


Getting started with vermicompost only requires a few things: bins, bedding for the worms, kitchen scraps, and the worms themselves. As long as your household uses its kitchen at least some of the time, you will generate the kinds of kitchen scraps worms love to eat. They will do you the favor of turning your trash into your garden's treasure with just a little care. From there, it is easy to amend your soil as you would with any compost.

Step 1

Prepare your vermicompost bin. Buy one or make one yourself easily. All you need is a container that is opaque, has good drainage, and will not be damaged by dampness. Place slightly damp worm bedding in the bottom. This can be as simple as shredded newspaper or grass and leaf clippings. Commercial worm beddings are also available, but are more expensive and not really necessary.

Step 2

Bury kitchen scraps in the bedding. Do not use meat or dairy products, as worms do not like to eat these and they will rot. Egg shells can be used if they are first dried and ground up so the worms can eat them. Worms do require some sort of gritty material, such as corn meal, soil, or coffee grounds. They have gizzards that help them digest food by grinding, much like chickens.

Step 3

Tip your worms into the vermicompost bin. Do not dump them from high above. Instead, gently empty the container with the worms on top of the prepared bedding. Because worms do not like light, they will immediately begin burrowing down into the bedding.

Step 4

Cover the worms and compost with a piece of damp cardboard. The worms will eventually eat through this, and you may want to have more cardboard on hand. The cardboard not only helps protect the worms from light, but it also helps prevent unwanted pests from getting into your vermicompost bin.

Step 5

Water the compost and worm mixture occasionally. Do not soak it or allow it to get soggy. It is natural for mold and bacteria to form in a vermicompost bin. If the sight of this organic matter bothers you, gently turn the compost over so that you do not have to look at it.

Tips and Warnings

  • If you notice unwanted pests in your vermicompost bin, avoid using pesticides or other harsh chemicals to combat them. These chemicals will harm your worms.

Things You'll Need

  • Vermicompost bin
  • Worm bedding
  • Kitchen scraps
  • Worms
  • Damp cardboard


  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension: Vermicomposting
  • Washington State University Whatcom County Extension: Cheap and Easy Worm Bin
  • Garden Simply: How to Build a Worm Bin
Keywords: preparing vermicompost, maintaining worm bins, maintaining vermicompost containers

About this Author

Amrita Chuasiriporn is a professional cook, baker, and writer. In addition to cooking and baking for a living, Chuasiriporn has written for several online publications. These include Chef's Blade, CraftyCrafty, and others. Additionally, Chuasiriporn is a regular contributor to online automotive enthusiast publication Chuasiriporn holds an A.A.S. in culinary arts, as well as a B.A. in Spanish language and literature.