Red Wiggler Worms for Compost Bin

Build A Compost Bin For Red Worms: Vermicomposting

by / 9 Comments / 1493 View / May 5, 2012

Build an inexpensive compost bin for red worms and get started on basic vermicomposting!


What is Vermicomposting?


"Vermicomposting is the process where red worms and micro organisms break down rotting food such as breads, banana peels, coffee grounds, paper products,  (anything but meat and oil) and transform it into rich, compost soil for your garden!"


Do you want to put your leftover food to work and save money on buying compost for your garden?

It's easy and doesn't require a demanding time commitment or a lot of money to get started.


How Do Red Worms Create Compost?


It's a comlicated process which I will simplify for you:

Worm Castings Compost Soil on EdenMakers Blog


The red worms live in a compost bin where microorganisms are plentiful.

They  dedicate themselves to eating rotting food, multiplying and excreting  "vermicastings."

Vermicastings are the end product or prized compost soil that can be used in both containers and garden beds.
In exchange for their castings, the worms ask for a warm, cozy, dark bin to live in, consistent moisture, and some food scraps- which, you need to dispose of anyway!
Sounds like a win/win situation.

Watch Video: "How to Make a Vermicomposting Box: Gardens of the Rich and Famous"


In this video, "How to Build a Vermicomposting Bin: Gardens of the Rich and Famous,"  I instruct a couple of  new gardeners, Ari and Emma how to create their own vermicomposting bin using paint buckets.



I appear as the garden expert in a new web series called, "Gardens of the Rich and Famous" on the Digs Channel on YouTube.

Although the show is actually a comedy and not a traditional garden show,  you will take away a valuable "garden 101" tip  from me in each video!

Please subscribe to be notified each time a new video is posted!


Materials for Building a Compost Box for Worms

These are the materials I used in my video tutorial:

  • Two, 5-gallon paint buckets with plastic cover (one bucket will be placed inside the other)
  • A powered drill with 1/4" bit
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Rotting fruit, vegetables, bread, coffee and tea grounds
  • Red Wiggler worms (these are the best type of worms to use for vermicomposting)
  • Watering can


Steps for Building a Compost Box for Worms

Prepare the buckets!

Drills Holes Bottom of Compost Bucket


1. Drill holes on the bottom of bucket that will be nested inside the other bucket using 1/4 inch drill bit to provide drainage for liquids and water.

When excess water drips out of this bucket, it will be caught in the bottom of second bucket and can be used as "liquid tea" for watering plants.


Make Holes in Bucket with Quarter Inch Drill Bit about half inch apart


Holes should be 1/2 inch apart at bottom of bucket to release excess water.

The worms may crawl out but this is not likely.

Add a fine mesh cloth at bottom of bucket if it is a problem.


Drill Holes Compost Box Under Bucket Rim


Add more holes below the bucket rim for aeration.

Add holes all the way around.

Your worms need oxygen too!


Nest One Compost Bucket into Other Bucket Worm Composting


2. Nest the bucket that has holes into the second bucket that will act as a resevoir to hold excess liquid.


Add Shredded newspaper to worm composting bin


3. Add shredded newspaper to the bottom of your compost bucket

The newspaper will function as bedding for your red wigglers and should be fluffy and not compacted down, even after watering.

Many newspaper publishers use soy ink these days which is non toxic, but don't use the glossy paper or colored advertising circulers.


Water Newspaper in Worm Composting Bin


4. Water the newspaper to a "wet rag" consistency.

The newspaper should not be soaking wet as this causes the paper to compact and reduces air circulation for the worms.


Rotting Bread Fruit Eggs For Worm Compost Box


5. Add rotting pieces of food to bin.

You have a wide assortment of foods that you can add to your worm compost bin but avoid meat, butter, and greasy food at all costs!

Oil and protein do not break down easily and you will attract rats and other vermin to your compost bin.



Be a mensch and cut your food into small pieces so that the worms can digest it easiser.

They have tiny mouths, as you can imagine, and a huge appetite.

Red wigglers in captivity will eat double their weight in food.

They channel their energy for eating and reproducing!


Get ready for worm population explosion in your compost bin- which is a good thing.

More worms, more poop!!


Coffee Grounds For Worm Compost Bin


6. Add coffee or tea grounds!

Make friends with the local barista and ask for their used coffee grounds.

Coffee grounds contribute a source of nitrogen and acidity to the compost.

Don't worry if you don't remove the paper filter- the worms will eat that too.


Add newspaper to worm composting bin


7. Add a final layer of newspaper and water it

As a top layer, I like to hide my food under a final layer of moist newspaper.

This gives my red worms a landing pad when I throw them in and the opportunity to dive and explore their new home.

The newspaper also obscures light coming from the top of the bucket (white lid) and maintains a dark environment which is ideal for the worms.

Red Wiggler Worms for Compost Bin


8. Add the worms!

Some people prefer to wait a week or two after preparing the worm compost bucket to give the food an opportunity to rot and time for micro organisms to multiply.

I add them immediately!

No problem so far.


You will need approximately one pound of red wiggler worms for each pound of food in your composter.

Great deals can be had online or at your local garden center.

I spent $15 for one pound of worms and I expect them to double in population in 60 to 90 days!


Place Worm Compost Bin in Shaded Area


9. Add your bucket cover and place your new vermicomposting bin in a sheltered area where it doesn't recieve direct sun.

We are not baking our worms!

Ideal temperatures range from 38 degrees to 85 degrees.

If you don't mind, you can place your compost bin indoors in a kitchen cupboard, utility room or garage.


10. Keep your worms fed!

The first few weeks of vermicomposting will be your discovery period.

Check your bin every few days to inspect the food consumption and assess how often you will need to feed your worms.

A good idea is to feed weekly and set the food in different places underneath your top layer of newspaper.

You don't want to concentrate the food in one area, let them explore!

If you need more paper, add moistened paper to your bin and fluff it so that worms can move around it.


Use Your Worm Castings in the Garden!

Within a few months, your worms will delight you with a supply of fresh compost soil that you can apply to container gardens and landscape plants!

Once you experience the joy of creating your own compost, you will be hooked!



Tips for Worm Composting

  1. Use an opaque colored bucket or bin to keep the inside of your bin dark. Your worms require it!
  2. Make sure the compost bin is always moist but never soaking wet.
  3. Add a little prepared compost or grit to your food mix for extra roughage. Yes, worms need fiber too!
  4. Harvest your worms from the finished compost by luring them to one area of the compost bin with new food. As they gather around the food, they will abandon the clean compost areas so that you can collect it and use in your garden!


Shirley Bovshow AriAndEmma of Gardens of The Rich and Famous Digs Channel

Shirley with Ari and Emma of the Digs Channel show, "Gardens of the Rich and Famous"- a comedy web series with gardening undertones!


Good luck with your worm composting project!

Please leave me your questions and comments below so that I can answer them for you.


Interested in Basic Composting For Beginners?

Perhaps you would like to learn about basic composting that does not involve worms?

Read  "Basic Composting For Beginners"  in my other blog, Foodie Gardener!

If this article has been useful to you, please share with a friend on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest!

EdenMakers Blog is your fun source for garden makeovers,  edible garden design, container garden ideas, lawn less landscapes and gardening news!

Subscribe to EdenMakers Blog and my new show, "Gardens of the Rich and Famous" on the Digs Channel on YouTube!


See you soon.





9 Comment

  1. My pleasure Gabrielle!
    Thanks for watching the video and visiting EdenMakers.


  2. Thanks for this post! It's quite interesting. I knew some things about composting, but worm composting was a new thing for me. Video  is great. I should try this, my boys will go crazy about those worms.  Thank you for sharing!

  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on build compost bin. Regards

  4. hi

    this is mohammad from iran , now i'm doing vermicomposting for my small business and i'm doing well in my new job , now i'm looking for somthing about making or converting the Vermicompost to the liquid protein form , and i wanna know what's the name of this equipment or system and how it works or how i can make such a this thing . i hope i could makes you to find out what i'm talking about . i'll wait for yoour reply .


  5. Great video!

  6. Good point! I do use some citrus peel but very little. Thanks for commenting @sundevilpeg

  7. Thank you for watching @judithreppi ! The paint buckets are an affordable alternative to the Rubbermaid bins. They were under $5 dollars at Walmart. Found them in the paint center! Our cinematographer is amazing! Thanks for commenting on the quality of the video. Shirley

  8. I love this idea; I saw something like this using a rectangular Rubbermaid container, but you made this much easier. I’m going to try this alongside my usual compost pile this summer. And the video quality was outstanding — thanks!

  9. Re: food scraps, also avoid onion trimmings and tops, and citrus remains, unfortunately.

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