DIY Worm Compost Bin
A DIY worm compost bin for your garden
Tired of giving away your kitchen scraps to the garbage trucks and want to move closer to zero waste? How about having an ever ready supply of rich humus for your garden?
If so earthworm composting is the way to go! Here I will show you a couple effective ways to build your own DIY worm Compost bin.
Benefits of worm composting
- Worms naturally convert kitchen food waste into simple rich plant nutrients faster than any other composting technique. Not only is faster but it is also highly concentrated so a little goes a very long way in your garden.
- Another factor is worm composting can take up minimal space and when done right it is odorless, so you can compost in the comfort of your own home throughout every season and keep up a steady supply of rich fertilizer.
- Your Garden – with just a little earthworm compost you will notice larger plants with deeper pigments and higher yields.
- The Earth – Not only are you saving your food waste from a landfill, but think of this: The average household contributes 156 lbs of food waste a year in the US, 156 lbs that must be bagged dragged out and delivered to the transfer station by a gas guzzling garbage truck, that contaminates our air and deplete our resources.
What worms are good for composting?
Many people assume that they can toss any worms into their compost bin and that is simply not the case. To have an effective compost bin you will need worms that have adapted to living in a warmer, crowded enviroment filled with rich organic waste.
There really are only two species that are effective at this: The Red wiggler (Eisenia fetida) and the European Nightcrawler (Eisenia hortensis).
Most gardeners prefer the red wiggler as they are more temperature tolerant, reproduce far more quickly and converts food waste faster. The European Nightcrawler can get the job done but is inferior to the versatile red wiggler.
The Worm Compost Diet
There are two reasons many worm compost fail: Overfeeding and adding the wrong foods to the compost bin.
Overfeeding can often cause an extreme fermentation killing off many of your earthworms and making the bed to acidic to support life. It is important to monitor how much they can convert and gradually add the food waste.
Foods They Like
- Leaves and grass clippings
- Fruit and vegetable wastes
- Animal manures
- Tea bags, coffee filters and grounds
- Crushed eggshells
- Garden waste
Foods they don’t like
- Large quantities of meat or fish
- Oily foods
- Dairy Products
- Manure of meat eaters such as dogs and cats
The Easy DIY Worm Compost Bin
- Use a plastic bin with handles and a matching lid about 1 1/2 feet x 2 feet and 8 inches tall. Using a 1/2 inch drill bit drill 12 holes in the bottom of the bin about 4 to 5 inches apart. Set the bin on a tray mounted on a couple of foot long pieces of scrap wood.
- Place a piece of 24 x 18in over the bottom of the bin and fill halfway with moist bedding. Newspaper strips and chopped leaves will do the trick.
- Release approximately 2 lbs of red wigglers on top of the bedding
- Place the bin in a dry place indoors or a protected place outdoors. Keep in mind worms are sensitive to vibrations so they should be placed in a fairly quiet place or they will look for a new home.
This is my favorite method because it allows me to compost year round and build a large supply of worm castings.
The Worm Bed
These are fairly easy to make, you can either build a raised bed or dig a trench for your worm compost. The one drawback is in northern climates you cannot maintain this year round but you can certainly do much more volume during the spring and summer months by having thousands of worms as opposed to the hundreds of the worm compost bin.
You can certainly build a basic raised bed out regular wood but I find that the red wigglers thrive in a trench. Here is my basic set up:
- First find a suitable shady location to protect the bed from drying out during the summer months and getting to hot
- Line the bottom of the trench with cardboard and the sides with wood or bricks
- Build the bedding with newspaper and chopped leaves and moisten it
- The size and amount of worms to add depends on what your needs are, but you will be ready to build an army of worms!
I use every bit of my 5 acres of land for gardening and raising livestock, so having a large trench allows me to have zero waste. My animal manure, garden clippings, leaves, vegetable/fruit and kitchen waste all gets recycled and placed back into the earth. I also use many of the Red Wigglers to feed my Catfish in a barrel which also gets recycled into a very rich fertilizer for my garden.
Worm castings also can be a profitable venture as well, they are always in high demand and can yield a nice profit, but knowing that I am doing my part for the environment is rewarding enough.
I hope you enjoyed my DIY Worm Compost Bin, please comment and add any tips or suggestions below!