How To Make Your Own Vermicompost Bin & Worm Farm

by heather

Red Wiggler Composting Worms

Red Wiggler Composting Worms

I’ve been resolving for months now to start vermicomposting in my kitchen.

Why do I want to start my own indoor worm farm? Well, 75% of the stuff that goes into my trash is food waste. My town has an amazing recycling program which takes all plastics (#1-#7), glass, steel, and paper. So, all I really throw out is food.

Composting with worms means I would be feeding all that food to them, which means it stays out of the landfill (and doesn’t contribute to the landfill’s methane production).

In return, I get compost tea for my plants, and nutrient rich compost for my garden.

It’s a win-win for everyone!

The Commercial Vermicompost Bin I Want…

canowormskitchenlgI’ve had my eye on the Can-O-Worms vermicompost bin forever. I’m sure there are very few people out there that actually lust after vermicompost bins, but I happen to be one of them.

But, the Can-O-Worms vermicompost bin is a whopping $130. For plastic trays.

I’ve gone back and forth over the purchase. And, I finally decided that I should at least try to make my own vermicompost bin before dropping a wad of cash on that one.

So, lucky readers, yet again you get to learn with me! I’m pulling my classic “write a post while I do research” routine so I can start building my own vermicompost bin weekend.

How To Make Your Own Vermicompost Bin

I found a great set of instructions over at the Herb Gardener.

Quick Aside: I’m in love with this blog. Seriously in love. I found instructions on how to make Lavender Sugar, how to grow dill (mine is already on its last legs), and how to make your own Herbs de Provence. This woman knows her stuff, so go check out her blog! She’s amazing.

According to Sarah at the Herb Gardener, you’re going to need:

  • 1, 20 x 30 inch opaque plastic bin with lid
  • Screening material
  • Plastic tray big enough to fit under the bin
  • Bricks
  • Shredded newsprint
  • One pound of red wiggler worms
  • Table scraps
  • Coffee grounds or fine sand
  • Drill with a quarter inch bit


  • Step 1: Drill ten, 1/4 inch holes in the bottom of the bin for drainage.
  • Drill several holes in the sides of the bin for air circulation: 8 or 10 holes in each side should be fine
  • Lay mesh screening material on the bottom of the bin. This will keep the compost material from dribbling out.
  • Elevate the bin with your bricks, and then place the plastic tray under the bin for drainage.
  • Next, wet your shredded newspaper (don’t use colored newspaper) to the consistency of a wet sponge. This is your worms’ bedding. You can also add some dry leaves. If you squeeze your newspaper and it dribbles water, it’s too wet, but if you squeeze it and it still crinkles then it’s too dry.
  • Fill the bin a third or half way with your bedding material (newspaper). Make sure you fluff it after you wet it down so the worms can easily crawl into it.
  • Top your bedding material with two cups of coffee grounds or fine sand.
  • Place your worms on top, and put the lid on the bin.
  • Don’t add any table scraps for one week; let the worms settle in.
  • After a week, you can add up to 4 cups of kitchen scraps. The more you mash it down or blend it, the faster your worms will be able to eat it.
  • During the first 3 weeks, wait 4 or 5 days between feedings, and never feed more than 4 cups of scraps at a time.
  • After the first month or so your worms will start to multiply, and will be able to handle daily kitchen scraps.

Vermicomposting Tips:

  • The Herb Gardner says that 1 lb. of red wiggler worms can process 1 lb. of food scraps per day.
  • According to Abundant Earth, worms can live up to 15 years. So, they’re definitely worth the investment!
  • Your vermicompost bin is specifically for kitchen scraps. Don’t put in leaves or other outside material, as this will upset the balance in the bin.
  • Your worms will double their population every 2-3 months. But, they won’t overbreed for their area. There will always be a perfect amount of worms for the space they’re living in.
  • Don’t feed your worms any food that is derived from animals (meat, bones, cheese, fat, etc.). They can handle crushed eggshells, however.
  • Your vermicompost bin will work best if it’s not exposed to extreme temperatures. Ideally, 75 degrees is the best temperature, which is why they work so well indoors.
  • Your wormies love moisture, so make sure the bedding material is very moist when you put your worms in.

Additional Wormy Resources

  • I found this awesome tutorial at She built her own vermicompost bin, and documented every step of the process. She took excellent pictures, and I highly recommend checking out her site.
  • That One Caveman also had an excellent list of instructions. His design is slightly different than the one the Herb Gardener just taught us how to make. I really like how his turned out

Last Word…

I’m feeling really good now about making my own vermicompost bin. Yay! I’ve got to go out and buy the right sized bins, as the ones I have around the house are all too big. But, this should only come to $10 or so. Everything else I already have on hand.

Once I have it built, I’ll order my worms. There are plenty of places to buy red wigglers online. I’ll probably just order mine from Amazon.

Are you into vermicomposting? Want to share your tips with me and other readers? Please chime in! I’d love to hear about your experiences!

Also, thanks again to Sara over at The Herb Gardener for her great list of instructions.

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