DIY: Supplementing Your Compost Pile With A Worm Bin

Installing a worm composting bin is a great way to supplement your compost pile.  Also, if you don’t have space for a full compost pile, a worm bin is a great alternative.  They’re small and compact, and will flourish with only need a minimal amount of care.

You can choose to use either wooden or plastic bins to contain your worms, however some find that plastic bins keep the worms too wet.  Whatever you choose, you’ll want to drill ventilation and drainage holes in the container in order to keep the worm bedding moist, but not too wet and with adequate airflow.

Prepare worm bedding using newspaper ripped into strips and moistened.  You may also want to add some dried leaves and a handful of dirt to help with digestion.

Add your worms to the bedding.  If you want, you can collect your own worms by leaving out a moistened piece of cardboard on your lawn or garden overnight.  In the morning, it is a simple task to lift the cardboard and collect the worms.  You can also order worms online from a number of sources.

Worms can consume half of their weight in food every day.  One way to gauge how many worms you need is to keep a tally of how much food waste (less the meat and greasy bits) your family averages.  If you average 1 pound per day, you’ll need 2 pounds of worms.

Finally, cover the worms and the bedding with a piece of moist cardboard and place somewhere cool and dry that has good ventilation and the ability for good drainage.

Feed your worms slowly at first, placing your food scraps in different places throughout the bin.  This will encourage your worms to move around.  As they multiply (and multiply they will), you can gradually increase the quantity.

Additional tips:

  • The water that drains from the worm bin can be used as an excellent liquid fertilizer.
  • If you bury the food scraps, you will help keep flies away.  Also, avoiding meat, dairy and greasy foods will help in addition to not attracting other vermin and rodents.
  • DO feed your worms fruit, vegetables, tea and coffee grounds, grains, and cereals.
  • DON’T feed your worms meat, dairy, greasy foods, fats, oils, feces.

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