Having a worm farm can be an invaluable component of your home garden. Vermicomposting worms break down and recycle kitchen waste and organic matter, creating worm tea or juice that can in turn be used to fertilize and enrich your garden soil. It’s convenient for the home gardener and the wider environment since it also reduces the amount of landfill being produced.
And if you’ve never owned one, it will be a relief to know that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on a top-of-the-line worm farm. It’s very easy to build your own DIY worm bin at home! All you need are the right tools, materials, and knowledge to get it up and running. And before you know it, you’ll have your very own DIY worm bin in no time.
Before you get started, you’re going to need a few items. Thankfully, building your own DIY worm bin, otherwise known as a vermicomposting bin, is not a complicated process and only requires a few essential materials and tools to begin. These include:
- 1 or 2 containers for bin
- Hand drill
- Lid for the worm bin
- 2 or 3 bricks or pieces of wood for the bottom of the bin
- Shredded cardboard or newspaper
- Vermicomposting worms
- Organic matter for filling
One of the most important decisions you will have to make is what kind of worm bin you are going to build. A broad, shallow bin is going to be the best choice since worms tend to gravitate to the few inches of space near the top of the bin. While bigger is better, any bin that fits your space requirements should work.
There are a number of other things to consider too.
You can use bins with single or multiple trays for your worm bin. Single tray bins are easier and cheaper to establish but will prove more difficult when you want to harvest worm castings. You will need to spend more time separating the worms from the compost when you only have one tray.
On the other hand, multiple tray bins take longer to set up but are much easier to maintain. That’s because you can move the organic matter to different trays and the worms will migrate, allowing you to collect the castings with less time and fuss.
Plastic bins are the most common type of worm bin, just be sure to choose a dark-colored plastic instead of a white one as worms do not like direct sunlight. If you are using white plastic, use burlap to shield the inside from UV rays. You can also use wood, just make sure it is not pressure-treated so it won’t leach arsenic into the soil.
Metal should never be used for worm bins, as it will also leach minerals into the soil.
Now that you’ve figured out what kind of DIY worm bin you want to build, it’s time to get started!
Whether you’re using one or two bins, you’ll need to add holes in them. Use the power drill to create around 10 holes on the base of the bottom bin, and more on the sides and the lid, about 2 inches apart. The bottom holes allow the leachate to drain out, and the holes on the top and sides add ventilation.
Take your bricks or pieces of wood. If you are using multiple bins, place them at the bottom of your base bin. This is the tray that will collect your leachate. If you are using only one bin, simply place it on the tops of the bricks/wood so the leachate will fully drain from the worm bin. If you are using multiple trays, you can also use bricks and wood between each bin to allow space for worms to move freely between the layers.
If you are using two bins, stack the bin with holes on top of the base bin which collects the leachate. Some people will also add a spigot to the bottom tray to collect the leachate.
Layer the shredded newspaper or cupboard at the bottom of the main bin to create the worm bed, around 4 to 6 inches. You can also use dry leaves or lawn clippings. Add a light spray of water to dampen the bed.
Introduce your vermicomposting worms to the worm bed and add some kitchen scraps, around one cup. You will want to feed them around 1 cup of kitchen scraps every 2 days, monitoring them to see how much they eat.
And you’re done! Just remember to check your moisture levels every few days and spray with water to maintain them, as well as replace the worm bedding as it decomposes. Keep your food scraps covered to avoid contamination from fruit flies, and consider chopping them into small pieces to make it easier for the worms to break them down.
As they consume their food and bedding, you’ll be able to harvest the crumbly worm castings that they leave behind. Add the castings to a porous bag and steep it in water for 24 hours. This is your worm tea, and it can be mixed with water (usually in a ratio of 1 part tea to 3 parts water) and used to feed your garden.
Within the first week of creating your DIY worm bin, you’ll have an excellent liquid fertilizer that will help your plants to flourish and improve soil health. No garden set-up is complete without a simple worm bin setup.