The Intro

A worm farm is a great way to make use of organic kitchen scraps.  Instead of going into the garbage, they can be eaten by your community of hard working red wiggler worms and turned into natural organic fertilizer for your garden and house plants.

One pound of worms can eat up to half a pound of food per day!

In this article, I'll show you how to create a slick looking worm farm which will fit under most kitchen sinks.

Vermicompost or Vermiculture Worm Bucket
Credit: www.starterpermaculture.com

Down to the nitty gritty

Things you will need

I'm going to give you an idea of how this worm farm works, and then you will have the knowledge to choose your own materials.  Your materials are going to cost anywhere from $0 - $20 depending on what you decide to go with.

  1. 2 Buckets - They can be small like the 2.5 gallon buckets I used for mine, or larger 5 gallon buckets.  It's up to you.  You can often find buckets at bakeries, restaurants or food production companies for free.
  2. 1 Reusable Shopping Bag - This must not be organic.  It needs to be polyester or the worms will eat right through it.
  3. An old newspaper and/or plain cardboard - A regular newspaper will do since they generally have organic ink.  Don't use anything with glossy paper because it's not good for our friends, the worms.
  4. Water
  5. Some way to drill or punch holes in the bucket - a drill, knife, hammer and nail, judo chop, etc.
  6. A small amount of leaves and grass clippings - A hand full will do.  Don't overdo it.
  7. Worms  - While any worms will do, the best results come from red wigglers as they're the most active.  Start with half a pound.  They will reproduce to fit your bucket.
Umbra Mini Waste Can, 1-1/2 Gallon with Swing Lid, Black
Amazon Price: $7.94 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 10, 2016)
This is very similar to the garbage can I used.

Step 1 - Drill Holes

Worms need air just like most other things that are alive, so drilling holes in both buckets will provide ventolation for them.

One bucket will go on the inside of the other bucket.  On the inside drill holes in the bottom of the bucket.  This allows the "worm juice" (please excuse the term) to drain down into the second bucket.  This juice is also good for plants and rich in healthy microbials.

Drilling Holes in the Buckets
Credit: www.starterpermaculture.com

Step 2 - Sacrifice a reusable grocery bag

Take a polyester (not cotton or anything organic) fabric grocery bag and put it in the bucket.  I used the handles of mine to wrap around the bottom of the bucket and secured it with parachord so the bag wouldn't move, and that's still working after 2 years.  Feel free to fasten it in whatever way you wish.

As you can see in the image above, the bag goes inside the inner bucket and inside that is where the worms will live.

Step 3 - Tear up some paper

Take your least favourite newspaper article, your latest report card or your new masters degree and start shredding it into small pieces.  Soak the paper in water for a minute and add the paper to the bottom of the bag.  This will serve as the "bedding" for the worms.  Again, don't use glossy paper or anything with toxic ink.  All of my research has told me that newspaper uses organic soy based ink, so that's what I used, and it wasn't a problem.

Shred some paper
Credit: www.starterpermaculture.com

Step 4 - Add your worms

I picked up my worms from a nice lady who sells them in my city.  If you google, you can probably find red wiggler worms near you.

You'll want to go easy on your worms at first.  Don't add too much food, or the food will start to mold before the worms eat it and your bucket could start to smell.  Once your worms adapt to the bucket, and you'll know because they'll eat more, you can start adding more food, but you'll understand the balance too because they'll either be eating the food or not.

Step 5 - Cover the top

Make sure the bucket is either covered, or in a dark place.  Worms have sensative skin and don't like light.  I keep my bucket under the sink.  No one would ever even know what it was if I didn't tell them.

Make sure you only add organic vegetable waste to the bucket.  Worms do not eat meat.  Or rather, they don't eat meat and live.  They also can't take a lot of very acidic foods like onions, or spicy foods like jalapeno, and they really don't like citrus.  Take care of your little friends and give them a good diet.

It might be confusing at first for what you can give them, so I'll give you a few foods that I feed mine.

  • Juice pulp from a juicer (as long as there's not much citrus in there)
  • leftover salad (rotten is fine, they love it)
  • carrots
  • lettuce
  • beats
  • hard-boiled egg shells (rinsed and crushed into fine pieces)
  • coffee grounds
  • tea bags
  • loose leaf tea
  • celery

In conclusion,

I hope you enjoyed this little DIY.  Please comment if you have any tips or questions!