Vermicomposting: How to Compost With Worms

Worms can turn your everyday kitchen waste into rich compost that plants absolutely love, and you don't even need a garden plot to make it happen. Here's how to set up the perfect little worm ranch right in your home.

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HGTV Gardening Club Vermicomposting

Building a small worm-composting bin at home is a fun way to teach kids how to magically transform kitchen scraps into "gardeners' gold" with the help of wriggling critters. Bins are fast, easy and inexpensive to make. They also take up very little space.

Materials Needed:

  • 10-gallon opaque plastic storage bin (about 24" x 16" x 9") plus lid
  • tray, slightly larger than the storage bin, or an additional lid for the bin
  • bricks, chunks of wood or planter saucers
  • drill with 1/4" and 1/2" bits
  • shredded newspaper
  • 2 cups of compost or soil
  • water
  • food scraps (fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, egg shells — no dairy or meat)
  • worms, about 1 lb. (about 1,000 worms). Use Eisenia fetida, aka red wigglers (available online)

Drill Holes for Ventilation

1. Drill 18 evenly spaced 1/4" holes in bin bottom (Image 1).

2. Using the 1/2" bit, drill 3 holes along the long sides of the bin, an inch or two below the top lip (Image 2).

3. Using the 1/4" drill bit, drill about 18 to 20 holes in the lid (Image 3).

Set Up the Bin

4. Place the tray where you plan to keep the bin.

5. Position a few bricks, wood or planter saucers evenly spaced on the tray (Image 1). This will provide elevation for the bin and help with airflow.

6. Set bin on top of the spacers (Image 2).

Prepare the Worms' Bedding

1. Soak the shredded paper in a bucket of water. Remove the paper, and squeeze out water (Image 1).

2. Place the moist paper in the bin and loosen (Image 2). You want about 8" of fluffy, not compressed, bedding.

3. Add soil (Image 3). This will help the worms digest their food.

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