There are plenty of options for raising composting worms in bins, from basic home-made boxes to high-tech structures that can be purchased at retail stores or through the Internet. I tried many types of worm bins before finally settling on a simple and effective version as the best for my purposes, and will share that design with you today.

This home-made worm bin is based on a Vermiculture workshop that I attended at the Rodale Institute several years ago and have I have managed to keep a colony of composting worms alive and well ever since then with no losses. By “no losses” I mean that the worm population did not die off or migrate out of the bin.

Achieving Care Free Success with Composting Worms

Composting WormsIn addition the bedding has remained in good condition, the worms have multiplied, and the moisture levels have remained consistent without the extremes of drying out or becoming over saturated to the point of leaching liquids. My bin has been relatively care free; all I’ve done is feed the worms.

The only possible issue has been the infiltration of foreign soil organisms such as snails and other tiny creatures. Even this has not created a problem and probably could have been avoided if I had not introduced organic matter and some yard waste from the garden into the bin. On the other hand the diversity could actually be a sign of a healthy bin and nothing has grown out of control at this point.

Creating a Simple Worm Bin out of Recycled Materials

Worm BinBut let me get back to the worm bin itself and share how easy it is for you to make one for yourself. Most of the bins that you find will be made out of plastic or wood, but the material of choice for my bin is Styrofoam. Like the common Styrofoam coolers that you are familiar with, but I recommend recycling the Styrofoam shipping containers that you can find at pet stores. They are larger, sturdy, and used to transport aquarium fish and other critters to the stores.

The thing that makes Styrofoam ideal for shipping aquarium fish also helps create a great environment for worms; it’s the insulating properties! My worms love their Styrofoam bin. How do I know? Well besides them surviving, and multiplying, they never wander off even though my bin has large holes drilled all over it. That is all there is to the bin construction, you simply drill one inch size holes into the sides and bottom the Styrofoam tub.

Adding Bedding and Red Wiggler Worms to the Bin

I’ve come to wonder about the necessity of the holes, and in my next bin I may skipAdding Red Wigglers them altogether. Or maybe I’ll just place a single hole at one end of the worm bin just in case there ever is any excess moisture that needs to drain off, even though that hasn’t been the case since I began using this type of bin. I do keep a shallow tray underneath the bin to protect the floor and the bin itself sits on a few one by one wood strips to allow for air circulation.

When I first started this bin I used shredded newspaper that was moistened and a couple handfuls of garden soil. The soil added a bit of biology to an otherwise rather sterile environment and the newspaper made up the bulk of bedding material that the worms live in. Place a few inches of bedding on the bottom of the bin, sprinkle the soil across, and then add the composting worms to the center. Top things off with a few more inches of bedding, put the lid on, and your bin is ready to work.

Feeding the Worms and Basic Maintenance of the Bin

Feeding the WormsTo feed I usually bury a thin layer of kitchen scraps in the bedding to start with. Over time as the bedding is converted into compost and castings I will just place the food on top over a third to half of the bedding surface of the bin. I also cut a piece of heavy cardboard to lay across the top of the bedding/food in the worm bin. The worms love scraps like salad mixes that are beginning to decompose, cantaloupe rinds, and they will even eat paper.

You can use a spray bottle of distilled or spring water to mist the bedding if it shows signs of drying out, but my bin has seemed to maintain enough moisture that I have not needed to mist it on a regular basis. Over time you will see the depth of the bedding rise as the worms convert the food scraps into rich, dark brown, castings. The worm castings are an amazing soil conditioner and plant fertilizer that will find many uses in the garden and I will talk more about that in the next article.

{ 0 comments }

Sweet Peppers

Scenes from the Mid-Summer Vegetable Garden

July 27, 2016

The vegetable garden was slow developing this season but things are finally shaping up and it looks to be a pretty productive and rewarding year. So far the stars of the garden are the eggplants which are gorgeous and have not suffered from the flea beetle attacks that often riddle the leaves and weaken the […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Troy-Bilt’s New TB4300 Handheld Blower

Troy-Bilt’s New TB4300 Handheld Blower

June 28, 2016

What’s better than finding a great new gardening tool that saves time and effort as you make the yard and landscape look better? Well how about an entire collection of power tools that make your work go faster and easier… and do it without using gasoline or being tied to a cord and electrical outlet. […]

Read the full article →
Sourdough Breads

Sandor Katz’s Fermentation Residency Program

June 14, 2016

Back in April I traveled to Walnut Ridge, Tennessee to participate in a Fermentation Residency Program taught by the well-known fermentation expert; Sandor Ellix Katz. It was a great experience at a wonderful venue with an amazing group of fellow fermenters. The program is offered twice each year and there is huge demand for the opportunity […]

Read the full article →
Garden Installation

2016 Early Season Garden Projects and Activities

March 31, 2016

With spring’s arrival and the weather steadily improving expect a flurry of activity both in the garden and here on the Veggie Gardening Tips website! This post will fill you in on what I’ve been up to, as well as what I have planned for the start of this growing season. My first highlight this year was […]

Read the full article →
Bean Seeds

Buying Heirloom Seeds Direct from the Farm

March 30, 2016

The first batch of seeds that I started indoors a few weeks ago was transplanted into the garden last weekend. They are hardy crops like lettuce, kale, collards, and broccoli that can handle a spring cold snap. There are also ginger and turmeric seeds pre-sprouting indoors in flats, and this weekend I will start planting […]

Read the full article →
Cultivator Attachment

Troy-Bilt TrimmerPlus Attachments Review

November 23, 2015

It’s been two years since I received and reviewed the TB675 EC String Trimmer and that machine has continued to start and operate without a snag. My favorite aspects of the trimmer have been the reliability and easy starting with the JumpStart enging starter, and the fact that it runs on straight gasoline, so I […]

Read the full article →
PASA Conference Auction

PASA’s 25th Annual Farming for the Future Conference

November 20, 2015

I often post an article about the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture’s winter conference shortly before the event takes place in February, but this year I thought I would provide more advance notice and encourage those who are interested in the event to plan ahead for it. The schedule, speakers, workshops, and all the other details regarding […]

Read the full article →
Flex Wide-Area Mower

Troy-Bilt FLEX Yard Care System Update

October 30, 2015

Now that I’ve had a full summer season to use the new Troy-Bilt FLEX Yard Care System in my backyard I thought it would be a good time to provide an update to my previous FLEX review and to share a video with you. I still love the FLEX Mower and have not encountered a […]

Read the full article →