It’s simple to start a new worm bin; all you need is a bin, bedding, food, and, of course, worms. It is a skill that anyone can learn. However, as I discovered a few years ago, beginning a successful, growing worm bin from scratch, where the worms don’t try to escape on the first night, is a different story.
While the instructions below are vital, they are insufficient to assure that your worms can eat, excrete, and breed in a healthy habitat. Because variances in feedstock, atmospheric humidity, temperature, and the ventilation of your bin will affect all of the other parameters, you’ll need to experiment to determine what works best for you.
Abraham Lincoln is reputed to have once said: Give me 6 hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first 4 hours sharpening the ax. This proverb holds when it comes to vermicomposting, and as you’ll observe, I spend most of my time discussing what you should do before touching a worm.
Vermicomposting is not a mechanical process, especially when starting. It necessitates attentive observation of the circumstances as well as some trial and error.
If you’re interested in setting up a vermicomposting project, you’ll be relieved to learn that there are only a few basic procedures to follow. Only two processes demand significant thought: selecting a bin and locating the best worms.
The rest is simply a matter of gathering some home goods, including your daily food scraps, and setting up the bin once those pieces are in place.
Composting with worms in the home may appear frightening, but it’s quite simple once you have all of the key requirements and some great information, which I hope this article provides!
How To Start A Worm Bin
The following are the required steps to start a worm bin.
Get yourself a bin
You can either buy a worm bin from the market or make one yourself. There are a variety of commercial bins available, including:
- The Urban Worm Bag
- Can o’ Worms
- Worm Wigwam (warning: very expensive!)
- Worm Factory 360
If you want to make one yourself, these are the requirements.
- Make a box out of wood or find/buy a plastic bin by recycling an old dresser drawer or fish tank. 16″ x 24″ x 8″ or 10 gallons is the estimated size.
- Ensure the bin is clean by rinsing it with tap water to get rid of any residue that could hurt the worms.
- Line the bottom and sides of wooden containers with plastic (an old shower curtain or plastic garbage bag works well).
Recommended reading: Step By Step Guide To Vermicompost
Get the bedding ready
Composting red worms dwell in moist newspaper bedding rather than soil. Newspaper strips, like soil, provide air, water, and feed for the worms.
Tear newspaper into 1/2″ to 1″ strips with roughly 50 pages. Colored print may be hazardous to the worms, so avoid it.
In a big plastic rubbish bag or container, lay newspaper strips. Add water until the bedding feels wet but not dripping, like a wet sponge. If it becomes too moist, add dry strips.
Place the strips in the bin and ensure the bedding is fluffy (not compacted) to allow the worms to breathe. Wet newspaper strips should fill the bin to 3/4 capacity.
In the bin, sprinkle 2-4 cups of soil to promote helpful bacteria. The worms’ digestive process is also aided by grit in the soil. It’s fine to use potting soil or soil from outside.
Get your worms
Get a pound of Red Wigglers or European Nightcrawlers from the Urban Worm Company, or find a reliable provider in your area. To avoid worms lingering in post office warehouses over the weekend, worm vendors frequently only ship on Mondays or Tuesdays.
And, for a Monday shipping, the cutoff time is frequently the preceding Friday or Saturday. So, if you order worms on a Monday, your worms will most likely not arrive until the following Monday.
Toss in the worms
Figure out how many worms you have before you start adding them. Weighing the worms is the simplest approach. If you don’t have access to a scale, estimate the volume of the worms. The number of worms is vital for determining how much food to feed them and keeping track of their progress.
Tuck food scraps beneath the bedding
Fruit and vegetable leftovers that would otherwise be thrown away, such as peels, rinds, cores, and so on, should be fed to the worms. Keep the number of citrus fruits in the bin to a minimum. MEATS, BONES, OILS, OR DAIRY PRODUCTS ARE NOT ALLOWED.
Food scraps should be cut or broken into little bits, the smaller the better.
Measure the amount of food you’ll need. Feed worms three times their weight once a week. Every week, check the bin to see if the worms are consuming the food or not. Feeding amounts should be adjusted accordingly. (If you start with one pound of worms, gradually increase to three pounds of food per week.)
Food scraps should be buried in the bin. Remove the bedding, add the food leftovers, and then replace the bedding.
Cover the bedding with a full sheet of dry newspaper
This will hopefully maintain the bin’s moisture balance, any odors contained, and fruit flies from establishing a home in the bin. If fruit flies are present, or if the bin becomes too moist, replace this covering regularly.
Cover the container and place it in a convenient location.
Cover the bin with a plastic, plywood, or cloth lid, but keep the lid ajar to allow air to circulate. You can drill holes in the container if you want to. Keep the garbage out of the path of windows and heating.
FLUFF, WATER, and FEED!!! Feed your worms once a week to keep them happy. Spray water on the bedding if it becomes dry. (Add dry newspaper strips if the bedding becomes too damp.) Make sure the worms have ample air by fluffing up the bedding once a week.
I hope you find this useful. I would like to hear from you. So, let me know if you have any questions about starting a worm bin at home.