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Get Started

Items You Will Need Build a Do-It-Yourself Worm Bin
18 gallon plastic bin
2 lids for plastic bin
(one each for top and bottom)
1/8" drill bit
Package of peat moss
Large bundle of shredded paper
Cow, rabbit or horse manure
Garden Lime (optional)
Food scraps
(recommend at least 3 lbs)
Gusanito Worm Bin
Gusanito Worm Bin
I also offer this excellent manufactured worm bin.

The Worm Factory worm bin is an upward migration worm composting system for home use. Comes with spout on bottom of the collection tray to drain and use the Compost Tea.

For more info, check out the Worm Bin web page.

Step 1: Drill Holes
Drill 1/8" holes on the sides and lid of your bin.  Drill a total of 15-20 holes on the sides near the top and 15-20 holes in the bottom.  This is for ventilation so your worms can get air and to allow excess moisture to drain. To catch any moisture or worms that may leave the holes in the bottom you can use a duplicate lid (buy 2 bins with lids, when you harvest the vermipost you can store it in the extra bin).  

Step 2: Moisten Your Bedding
You can use peat moss, shredded paper, coconut coir or composted manure.  Use a bucket or similar container and fill halfway with water.  Completely submerge the shredded paper, peat moss or coconut coir in the water.  Manure doesn't need to be soaked.  Then wring out the bedding like a sponge by tightly squeezing until it stops dripping.  Just remember that worms don't like soggy bedding.

How to add water to peat

Step 3: Add Bedding to Bin

Good To Know

Cut a piece of cardboard that matches the size of the bottom of your bin. Place it in the bottom of your bin before adding your bedding -- this will reduce the number of curious worms that may exit through the drainage holes in the bottom of your bin.

There are a couple of different ways to do this, depending on what type of bedding you choose to use.

Shredded PaperAdd paper until bin is 3/4 full.  Be sure to "fluff" up the bedding so that it isn't matted or too compacted. Add some dirt for "grit" -- this gives your earthworms something to help their gizzard pulverize their food. You can soak the paper in water or "mist" it with water (see video for example).

Good To Know

Add shredded newspaper directly to your bin while dry, then mist it with water for your garden hose or spray bottle.

If your bin is too wet, try adding a layer of dry shredded newspaper on top.  In one or two days you'll find that the dry paper has absorbed the excess moisture.

Good To Know

Peat Moss
Method 1: Fill bin 3/4 full with moistened peat. Feed bin with kitchen scraps. Fluff bin when necessary.

Method 2: Fill bin 1/2 full with moistened peat.  Add 4-5 inches of shredded newspaper. Feed bin with kitchen scraps. Fluff bin when necessary.

Method 3 (best method if you want to breed fishing worms): Layer the bin with peat, lime, and manure. This method ensures that the pH level of your bedding isn't as acidic as using just peat moss, plus calcium is essential to worm reproduction. Add 3 inches of peat, then sprinkle two teaspoons of garden lime, then add 3 inches of composted manure.  Repeat until bin is about 1/2 to 3/4 full. Fluff bin when necessary.

Good To Know

Don't use slaked or hydrated lime -- it will burn the worms.  Examine the label on the bag of lime.  If it lists "calcium hydroxide" DO NOT USE.

Step 4: Add Food Before Worms
Adding food before your worms arrive is a good idea -- it allows time for microorganisms to begin to decompose the food. Your worms actually digest the algae, fungus, and bacteria that grow on and help to decompose organic material, whether it be kitchen scraps or paper.  Bury a fist-sized mass of food scraps to your bin around a week before you adding your worms.

Step 5: Add Worms
When your earthworms arrive, just gently dump the contents of the bag on top of your bedding.  Give them a hand and gently spread them across the surface.  You can leave the lid off for a little while -- this encourages your worms to burrow into your bin to escape the light.