I’m not sure why, but my little ones are fascinated with worms. Every time I go into the compost bin, they trail along behind me so they can catch some worms. I asked them one day why do they like to catch worms, their simple answer, because they don’t bite. If you are interested in sustainability, science, reducing waste in the landfill or if you like to garden, a worm farm is a great no hassle project for you.
About a year and a half ago, I did experiment with vermicomposting and had a worm bin made with a Rubbermaid container. I got into vermicomposting because I like to grow my plants from seed when possible, and plants love worm poop (worm casting). Not to mention, my leftover fruits and vegetable scraps can be eaten by the worms while it decomposes. I proceeded to order worms online to complete my bin and they were delivered to me dead due to the Florida heat. I got a replacement package and had to leave work early to receive it. I specifically ordered red wrigglers. My kids were younger then, and had no interest in the worms as they do now. Maintaining the worm bin was easy but I had several issues with it: The bin was too big and took up too much space, the red wriggler worms were too temperature sensitive to put in my porch (I didn’t want them indoors) and I was done with ordering worms online. After 7 months of moving the bin back and forth due to weather inclines and declines, life got a bit hectic, so I safely freed the worms into my raised bed garden.
Fast forward to June of this year, my oldest daughter asked if I can get her a worm bin so she can collect worms and feed them. I was like, sure, momma’s got this. I searched the web to find a stackable worm bin that was not too big, something I can tuck away in the corner. I was finding prices ranging from $70-$120. To add to that, I would have to buy worms for another $30-$40. I wanted the bin to have multiple levels and legs like this just not the price tag that comes with it.
I knew since I made a worm bin before, I could do it again. But this time, I would make it a fun project with the kiddos. Here’s how I made this simple worm bin.
I went to Target and looked in the storage section and found a stackable bin with a lid. Shortly after, I went over to the hardware store to get a 2×2 pressure treated wood. I had them cut the wood every 6 inches to give me about 6 pieces. All I needed was four pieces to make the legs.
I then drilled holes to attach the wooden legs. Keep in mind, legs don’t have to be added. I decided to add legs because I may add a drain valve if I produce enough compost tea (leached liquid). Also, I like the idea of adding legs to add a bit of height to the bin.
I screwed the legs in and added caulk around its perimeter just to make it more secure. This part is optional. You can see how I screwed up one of the legs, literally. I used clear caulk that I had in my garage. It goes on white but dries clear. There is no particular reason why I used it, it was what I had on hand.
I then spray painted the other containers, just on the outside. Worms like a dark setting. If you can find stackable containers that aren’t clear, then go for it. I already had spray paint from another project so no added cost.
I drilled holes on the bottom. The holes should be big enough to allow the worms to migrate from one container to the other. I believe I used a 3/16th drill bit.
We then added bedding from materials we had around the house. We used dryer lint and newspaper on the bottom of the container, then added a bit of compost and dirt before adding the worms.
My kids caught some worms from the garden, but it wasn’t many. So we went to Walmart and picked up some worms in the sporting goods section. I specifically picked worms that were meant for our climate. On the container, it states that no refrigeration is needed and it provides the temperature range the worms can survive in. I bought 2 small containers of 30 worms. I didn’t take a picture of the worms, but they are green and quite large compared to red wrigglers. When I search for chartreuse worms online, they seem to be dyed into a green color to help with catching bait and they are good composting worms.
After putting everything together, here is the finished product. Starting from the bottom of the bin and working your way up, the clear bin is to catch the worm tea, the second bin is where we will store the worms and compost, the third layer is for adding more worm bedding once the second layer is all composted, and the top layer is to add some food scraps.
Here is an update after about a month later. The bin currently holds about 80 worms. Some worms escaped, so we added more compost to keep them happy. I have not seen any cocoons (worm eggs), but I do see castings more concentrated on the bottom of the bin. I removed a layer from the bin because it was more stable to me.
This was a fun project with the kids and now I have an extra area to compost.
Here is the cost breakdown:
Sterilite container – $9.99 x 2
2×2 pressure treated wood – $0.89
Live worms from Walmart – $3.53 x 2 (in-store purchase only)
Spray paint – $0
Caulk- $ 0 (optional)
PS: If you are new to vermicomposting, I would just get one Sterilite container to see how it fits your lifestyle and your cost would be less than $20.
Total cost- $27.93 with tax $29.60
I am searching worm bin and really like worm factory 360, my friends have that. I think it’s too expensive and want to find a less expensive version, then I found your article on this web. Your project is the best one I had read by now, no matter the size and the material it will use, so simple and practical. I want to say thank you so much for sharing it , it’s very inspiring.
Thank you so much Jessie for your kind words! I love gardening and I was running into the same issues…cost of some materials. I’m glad this article helped you!
Cathy, this is a really fabulous sharing! I grew up in the country where I had unlimited resources for growing worms. Now I am an urban condo dweller learning how to do vertical gardening on a deck. I was crushed to see how crazy expensive the simplest kits were for growing worms. But your directions make this useful gardening hobby accessible to anyone. Thank you, thank you!
Aww thanks Valery. Because I have a pool, I don’t have much land so that’s why I made this. I’m so glad this helped you and happy gardening!