Planting The Seed With Worm Poo

I recently shared 7 ways to keep food scraps out of the dump, even if your time and space are limited.
Starting a worm bin is probably the cheapest, most widely available option for many of you. I decided to give it a go myself to prove how easy it can be. Check it out!
It only cost me $30 and took about 2 hours. Drilling holes and shredding the bedding took the longest, but if you have some help, it’ll be done in no time.
Here’s what you’ll need, most of which you’ll probably have on hand.
1) Two opaque Rubbermaid bins.
I’m using two 18 gallon bins because I expect to have a lot of worms and food scraps. They cost me about $5 each from Home Depot.
rubbermaid bins
2) Drill with a 1/8” drill bit.

If you don’t have one I’m sure you can find someone who will let you borrow theirs. (thanks Dad!)

3) Dry material like cardboard, newspaper, paper / compostable products.
Provide some relief to your recycling bin and let your worms recycle these items for you. Don’t have any on hand? Travel to the nearest coffee shop and take some “junk” off their hands.
IMG_2935      IMG_2939
4) Food scraps.
Fruit and veggie scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds & tea bags are great. Things like citrus, onions, spicy and starchy foods should be added in moderation. Avoid adding meat, oily items, and dairy. Worms have preferences too… I like to store up food scraps in my CompoKeeper and feed the worms a bunch of stuff all at once.
food scraps for compost   Google Search      IMG_2940
5) Water . Use a spray bottle to keep the materials moist.
I bought one from the grocery store for $2 but you can also reuse an old cleaning bottle, just make sure to rinse it out really well so you’re not dousing the worms in chemicals and poisoning your compost.
6) Two supports to create space between the stacked bins and allow air flow and moister drainage.
I used some old bricks I found outside. Be resourceful here, anything could work. You could try cutting two milk cartons in half.
IMG_2936       milk cartons cut
7) Handful of garden soil (dirt)
If you can’t find any of this laying around… I really hope you’ve got some dirt in your life.
8) WORMS!!
Red wigglers are what you want. I bought some off craigslist for $20…yup sells one pound of red wigglers for $36.
Now that you’ve got the supplies, you’re ready to build a nice cozy home for your worm friends.
1) Drill air holes in one of the bins.
  • Choose one Rubbermaid bin. This will be where your worms live.
  • Use the 1/8th” drill bit to drill 10-20 holes in the lid or upper sides, distributed evenly around. My worm bin stays outside so, to keep my worms from drowning when it rains, I put air holes under the lip of the container along side of the bin at the top, instead of in the lid.
  • Drill 10-20 more holes around the sides equal distance from top to bottom.
  • Drill 4-6 holes in the bottom of the bin for liquid drainage

2) Stack your bins.

  • Place your chosen support materials at the bottom of the bin without air holes. Space them evenly so they’ll provide a stable base for the worm bin.
  • Stack the bin with air holes (worm bin) on top of the supports.
  • Check to make sure the air holes are visible and not being covered by the outside bin. If they are you’ll need to find some taller supports.
3) Build the bedding
  • Shred the dry materials (cardboard, newspaper, etc) into small pieces.
  • Add a layer of the bedding to the bottom of the bin with air holes.
  • It needs to be a couple inches thick to create a comfortable environment for the worms.
  • Lightly spray some water over the bedding to provide this layer with moisture.

4) Add Layers

  • Add a layer of food scraps
  • Another layer of bedding
  • More food waste
  • Sprinkle in your handful of garden soil
  • Spray 10-20 pumps of water over the top
  • Add another layer of bedding to keep the smells down
5) Top it off
  • Add your worms
  • Put the lid on and wah-lah!
Some people recommend letting the bin sit without worms for 1-2 weeks to allow decomposition to start, the microbe community to develop and moisture levels to balance. If you’re going to let your bin sit for a while before adding your worms, hold off on ordering your worms. Once they arrive you’ll want to give them a nice home ASAP.
Let me know if you have questions. Share this with your friends so we can all do our part to keep food scraps out of the landfill and nutrients in our plants.
15 Responses to “Planting The Seed With Worm Poo”
  1. Cassie says:

    Wait, so the top bin is empty? What’s it for then?

    • Kristen Hess says:

      Hi Cassie, sorry to confuse you. The top bin (which has the air holes) is what all of the good stuff goes in (worms, food scraps, newspaper, etc). The bottom bin is there to allow for and catch liquid drainage so the worms don’t drown. This liquid can then be diluted with water 20:1 and be used to water your plants with as well!

      • Cassie says:

        Thanks for clearing that up, although considering I was reading it at 10pm it was probably me who missed it. Can’t wait to start this with my kids!

    • Kristen Hess says:

      Haha, tell me about it! I could barely speak last night, I was so tired from all this Kickstarter launch stuff! Keep me posted on how the worm bin works out. You can stay in touch with us here too!

  2. Angela says:

    How often to do add food scraps? Also, do you continue to add dry material as well? How often?

    • Kristen Hess says:

      I like to add scraps in bulk once a week, a friend of mine (who initially taught me how to do vermiculture) does it every time she cooks. It’s important to have a good balance of dry material too you can add whenever you have some or once in bulk a week.

      • Angela says:

        Thanks! I was planning to do this indoors, as I live in FL and it gets too hot outside for the worms. I am worried it may attract roaches though. Have you had this problem?

      • Kristen Hess says:

        That’s a good question. I lived in Florida for a bit too so I understand your concern. Do you have a sun porch. If it’s in the shade and you’re using an opaque bin (lighter color is probably better than black) the heat shouldn’t be a problem. I’ve always kept it outside because my roommate is afraid of worms.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Buy a schmancy one (Worm Bins on Amazon) or make our own (DIY Worm Bin Instructions) […]

  2. […] another method for recycling food waste with limited space. Bonus: kids love playing with worms so making a worm bin is a fun family […]

  3. […] If you’re like me and live in an apartment building, you can use a worm bin instead! A worm bin is great when you have limited space, and it makes for a great family activity if you have kids. See how to build your own worm bin here. […]

  4. […] method for recycling food waste with limited space. Bonus: kids love playing with worms so making a worm bin is a fun family activity. Follow a Compost Recipe Composting is a science but can be as simple […]

  5. […] method for recycling food waste with limited space. Bonus: kids love playing with worms so making a worm bin is a fun family activity. Follow a Compost Recipe Composting is a science but can be as simple […]

  6. […] another method for recycling food waste with limited space. Bonus: kids love playing with worms so making a worm bin is a fun family […]

  7. […] Here are the instructions for how to make your own bin, click here. […]

Tell us what you're thinking

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: