Building a Worm Farm

DIY your very own vermicompost bin

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This is an easy project; you can find Rubbermaid brand tubs almost anywhere, and lacking that, any other brand of tote that has a lid, and handles to lift them with.

Building a Worm Farm

Earthworms are not picky.  All they require is darkness, moisture (but not too much) and some organic matter.

They don't eat much, or make any noise - they're the perfect pet!

Once they are happy, they'll start to produce little lemon shaped eggs - that's when you'll know that you have the perfect environment for them.

The eggs hatch out earthworms that are perfectly adapted to what you're feeding them, and other factors such as temperature and moisture levels.

Some supplies you will need for your worm farm;

First, you'll need a Rubbermaid Storage Tote, 18-Gallon, Grey

  • Egg carton - kraft paper ones
  • Finished or mature compost to start the herd
  • Some redworms, Ensenia foetida is the redworm, also called manure worm, blood worm, or red wigglers.
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Water to soak the newspaper in (preferably rainwater)

  • Dolomite Lime to alter the pH to less acid than most compost
  • Coffee grounds, tea bags, small kitchen scraps
  • Steer manure or chicken manure to get things really going
  • Plastic bag to place over the top to keep moisture in

Here are the instructions once you've assembled your materials; click on any picture to open the gallery for larger sized images:

Some supplies...make sure to drill some drainage holes at this stage
Put the egg carton upside down in the bottom of the tub
Shredded newspaper...
Wet the newspaper in the rainwater...
Wring out the newspaper...
Dolomite Lime is really cheap...
The texture is like fine sand...
Sprinkle each layer with some Dolomite Lime...

There; now your worm farm is ready to go into a cool dark spot, like a basement, shed or root cellar.

Set it on some plastic, or another lid from the same sized tub to prevent damage to the floor from the 'worm tea' or liquid that will seep from the holes.

Worm Tea can be collected in a jar or watering can, diluted with water and then used for fertilizing indoor plants. 

It can be strong, so use one table spoon of tea, to a gallon (four liters) of water.

Check in a week or so, to see if you can see worms starting to move around.  Generally, if you find cocoons (tiny lemon shaped egg cases) in the manure and finished compost, these will start to hatch out and you'll see really small pale baby worms. Several hatch out from each egg case, increasing your herd in rapid speed.

They may look small now, but give them a month or two, and they'll really start to get to work.

Don't overfeed your worm bin; once the worms start to produce more, you can split them up and build an other one, and feed twice as much kitchen scraps. 

It's best to chop the scraps up small; this helps it to rot down more quickly, and then all the other members of the micro herd (not just the earth worms) can help. 

Sometimes you'll see a white mold forming on the surface of the compost.  This is normal, and generally it's a good sign that the conditions are right for worms.

Bad signs include many worms trying to escape; a really sour smell, or dead worms.  This indicates that there isn't enough air and you've got anaerobic conditions starting. 

Stir up the compost and add a bit more dolomite lime, and leave the lid off for a bit.  You can also add more dry materials, like dampened torn up newspapers, a small amount of sawdust, peat moss or shredded leaves.

The trick is to use moderation in all things, and be patient. 

In time, your worms will reward you with lots of lovely nutrient rich worm castings to sprinkle on your houseplants, make compost tea, or put on the garden.

More options you may require;

click to go to top of this page...

Worm Composting


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