How to make a worm farm, easy and cheap.

Posted by on June 18, 2011

How to make a worm farm, easy and cheap.

Supplies needed:

    2 plastic totes
    1/4″ hardware cloth (cut to the size of the bottom of your tote)
    drill
    razor knife
    wire cutter
    shredded newspaper, cardboard, junk mail
    water
    kitchen scraps (veggies, fruits, eggshells, coffee grounds, tea bags)

Cut out bottom of Tote 1 with razor knife that has a new blade. There should be a line that is indented. Cut on this line so you DO NOT cut out the entire bottom. This will allow an area for your hardware cloth to lay securely. With your drill and 1/4″ bit,drill holes around the top of the tote about 1-2″ down from the top of the tote. These are air holes.

With wire cutter, cut hardware cloth the size of the bottom of Tote 1. It should be a couple of inches bigger than the hole so it fits SNUGLY. This will be supporting all the weight of the kitchen scraps, moist paper and worms.

Take the lid of Tote 2 and with your razor knife cut a hole the same size as you cut the bottom of Tote 1. They should match almost perfectly. There might even be a line on the lid you could follow. If not, you could trace the piece of plastic that you cut out of Tote 1 bottom. Which ever you you choose, the bottom hole of Tote 1 should match the lid hole of Tote 2. All the liquid from you worm farm will be passing through the Tote 1 and collecting in Tote 2.

Stack Tote 1 on top of Tote 2. They should fit nicely and the holes in the bottom and top should match. Take the lid off of Tote 1, we are now going to start adding the worm bedding, which is shredded newspaper, cardboard or junk mail. Add enough of this material so it goes half way up the tote. SLIGHTLY dampen the paper with water. Sometimes I don’t even dampen the paper because I know that my kitchen scraps have alot of liquid in them, especially if I have coffee grounds and tea bags. You ABSOLUTELY do not want your worm farm too wet. If it gets too wet, you just add more shredded paper.

Now it is time to add you kitchen scraps. Fruits, veggies, egg shells, coffee grounds, tea bags. NO DAIRY or MEATS. Also, worms don’t seem to like citrus or onions. But if you forget, no big deal. I keep a gallon size ice cream bucket under my kitchen sink for all of scraps. To this bucket I add a little shredded newspaper so the stuff in the bucket doesn’t stink. My bucket gets filled in a day or two. Now spread this bucket of scraps over the top of the shredded paper.

For every gallon of kitchen scraps, I add one cup of RED WIGGLER WORMS. Spread the worms over the kitchen scraps.***I am using gummy worms just for demonstration only***
Add a couple inches of shredded paper to the top of th worms and kitchen scraps. This will keep away knats or fruit flys. Instead of the shredded paper on top, I use a piece of cardboard the size of the tote. This makes it easier to lift up and see how the worms are doing.

Now your RED WIGGLER WORM FARM is in the process of making you one of the BEST fertilizers you could want and it is almost free. You will not add more food until you see that they have eaten alot of it. If you do have another bucket of kitchen scraps in a week or two, you will need to add more RED WIGGLERS to help eat more food. If you have too much food and not enough worms, it will start stinking. IT SHOULD NOT STINK. If liquid collects in the bottom tote, drain it into a container & add just enough water that it LOOKS LIKE a weak tea color. Now use this to water your plants.

Keep your worm farm in a cool place. Have fun. Go on YouTube and watch other peoples videos, there are hundreds. I have taken bits and pieces from several people. I found what works for me. I have several worm farms going at one time, but they are all in different phases. You will also need to know how to harvest worm castings, I will be doing a video soon on how I harvest the POOP. I also spent the Winter learning how to make the BEST WORM TEA and I will share that also with all of you at a later time.

Smiles to all of you,
Lark

44 Responses to How to make a worm farm, easy and cheap.

  1. Lark

    Note: During the gardening season in Wisconsin, I have ALOT of kitchen waste…way too much for my worms to eat. So I share it with my compost pile. This time of the year we don’t have dried leaves for the ‘brown matter’ that a compost pile needs. Instead of leaves add: Shredded newspaper, paper egg cartons, toilet tissue & paper towel tubes, cardboard boxes and junk mail. Make sure you tear it into small pieces so it breaks down quicker.

  2. Katie

    Perfect timing on finding your worm farm article. I started looking online how to create a worm farm and found your lovely website. You have a lot of valuable information here. I booked marked your site and will be back. Time to build my worm farm. You made it so easy.

  3. Lark

    Thank you Katie. Please keep us updated on your venture into WORM FARMING. It is so rewarding for the backyard gardener.

  4. Lark

    I am glad you like it.

  5. Rohini

    I read about adding newspaper and wonder about the ink..is it toxic to either the worms or for the garden?

  6. Lark

    The black and white section of the newspaper makes a GREAT bedding for the worms. They no longer use harmful inks in the printing. I stay away from colored paper. Thank you for visiting my garden website. Have a great day and THINK SPRING! Smiles, Lark

  7. Candace

    Woah this website is fantastic i like studying your articles. You realize, a lot of people are searching around for this great info, you could aid them greatly. Hope my garden could look as good as yours someday

  8. Janice Watson

    I’m seriously thinking of making a wormery but I intend to dig my own worms ( ok I’m cheap) I get a kick out of scavenging. I’ll be following your advice :-) ( from Jan in the UK)

  9. Calical

    Some people are telling me that they feed there worms corn meal when they don’t have enough kitchen waste. Is that good for the worms? Have you any knowledge of this?

    Warmest Regards,
    Calvin

  10. Lark

    Good morning Calvin. No, I have never heard about feeding worms corn meal. I can’t imagine not having enough to feed the worms, especially this time of the year. Grass clippings, leaves, coffee grounds, bannana peels, salad fixings, newspaper, white junk mail…I have all this stuff daily. So much waste that I must share it with my compost pile and there is just myself and my husband.

  11. kristilynn

    Hello Lark,
    Thanks to your worm farm information, I was able to start mine today! My husband got me just what I wanted for Mother’s Day….WORMS to start my bin. Crazy, but true ;-) I can’t wait until I can supply his worms for fishing.
    How long will it take before the worms begin to multiply? How long before you moved the worms and castings to half of the bin and started feeding on the other side of the bin? How long after that did you start to separate the worms from the castings?
    Thanks again,
    Kristi Lynn

  12. Lark

    Hi Kristi, Only us avid gardeners would think it is wonderful to get WORMS for a present. I would say within a month you will see that your worms have multiplied. Within 3-4 months I had castings and enough worms to have two bins going. Now I try to have three worm farms going at one time, all at different stages. When I am harvesting castings from the first bin, I start a new bin. Happy gardening and please stay in touch. Smiles, Lark

  13. Tim

    I just stumbled on to your site and the idea of worm farming is totally new to me. I know worms are good for soil in the garden, but not exactly sure why. When and how do I introduce the worms to my South Carolina garden? Or, do I just add the castings to the garden soil?

  14. Lark

    The worm castings are fertilizer. Add them into the top inch or two of the soil. Also, when adding a new plant to the landscape sprinkle in some worm castings while planting. Check out my video on making WORM TEA. This is very beneficial to all plants.

  15. Dave

    Howdy, Lark!
    Curious about the bottom bin. Do you have many escapees that find their way down there? How often do you empty the bottom bin? Also, have you stacked any more bins or do you keep it to the one layer?
    Cheers,
    Dave

  16. Lark

    Good morning Dave. Yes, I have escapees. I just throw them back into the top bin. I have now started using only 1 bin, the top one. I place the worm bin on a COVER that I have from an old tote. Very little liquid, if any, comes out of my worm farm. I now have learned to regulate the moisture in the worm farm. A good worm farm should never have too much liquid. I have seen where some people who have the WORM TOWER ($100.00 UNIT) are told to pour water through the tower and let it seep down to the bottom bin that has the spicket. Then open the spicket and fill a container with the liquid. Thus, giving them worm tea. I believe it is better not to make the worm farm that wet. I just use my worm castings for WORM TEA. I have been worm farming for several years now and this method that I am currently doing works great and is cheap. Thanks for visiting my website. Smiles, Lark

  17. Lynn

    Hi Lark, Remember when I posted my problems with the white insect infestation in my worm farm? I finally got fed up with them when my DE didn’t work and dumped it all outside. I have since heard from a worm farmer who identified the insects as Springtails; very descriptive! He said they are always involved in worm beds inside and outside, not harmful. He recommended I could have washed off the worms and saved them, just like you said. I’m starting over with new worm babies now. Thanks for your help. Love your patient teaching style. Lynn

  18. J Harrison

    this is a great site. I started with a tiny worm farm just to understand what questions came up. This site answered some of them. How do I move around the page with videos?
    Do I start with tub #2 and as it filled up add # 1 tub? Do the worms not fall through the 1/4″ screen?

    Thanks,
    J. Harrison

  19. Lark

    Hi, thank you and welcome to my website. I don’t understand your first question about move around the page with videos? Tote 1 goes on top of tote 2. If there is liquid, it will fall down into tote 2. Some worms do get down into tote 2. I just pick them up and put them back into tote 1.

  20. J Harrison

    I enjoy your site so much and the opportunity to ask questions. I received my first pound of worms today with instructions. Am I in trouble? The instructions said to use a large container like you use. But I had followed another websites video on using 5 gallon buckets. My space is limited for storing the containers.
    Are the worms going to be adversly effected because of a smaller container?
    Thanks.

  21. Lark

    The worms should be fine in a five gallon bucket. I like a tote, because there is more room to move the food, worms, paper, cardboard etc. to one side and then add new bedding to the empty half. This way it is easier to correct an over moist worm farm or overfed worm farm. Just give the bucket a try and see how you like it.

  22. J Harrison

    I had to move the worms from the 5 gallon bucket into a hole in the ground. I lined it with aluminum window screening, put a layer of dry leaves and garden soil, dampened shredded newspaper, worms, and dampened newspaper. An old window screen fits at the top of the hole and it is almost covered with old pieces of plywood. there is an inch or so left open at each end. My questions are concerning about how much dampness is required. There are not many sites showing in ground “bins”. Two did not seem to have any air “holes”. Any thoughts positive or negative. Thank you so much.

  23. Lark

    Very interesting way of worm farming. How deep is it? It sounds very much like nature. I would think that since it is in the ground and you are layering it, it should stay moist. They always say “LIKE A RUNG OUT SPONGE”. Keep us informed on how this is working for you.

    Smiles, Lark

  24. kathy

    Okay… what happens to worms left out over the winter in cold or very cold states? Do you have to bring them in? Do they need to be wintered over? If so, what needs to be done to get them threw winter? Thanks!

  25. Lark

    Hi Kathy, I don’t leave my worms outside during our very cold and long Wisconsin Winter. I bring them into the house and keep them in my basement. In fact that is a perfect place for them…around 65 degrees. They do not smell at all. Just make sure you don’t over feed them or it will get too wet. When that happens to me I just add more cardboard or shredded newspaper.

  26. kathy

    Right… but what if u don’t have a basement?? I was thinking I wanted to put them in a shed & build a hay bail barricade around the 5 gallon tower??

  27. Lark

    Sure, give it a try. Let us know if it works for you. Here in Wisconsin we get below zero weather and I don’t think hay bales would keep them warm enough.

  28. kathy

    yeah… here in Maine we get very cold winters! Thanks! I will do a lil more research..

  29. J Harrison

    I am brewing my first batch of worm tea. Should it be deluded before appling it to garden plants?
    Thanks

  30. Lark

    Yes, I dilute my worm tea. Enough water to make it look like a WEAK TEA SOLUTION…very light in color.

  31. Laura

    Hello Lark, Love your “how to” video’s on youtube. I won some worms at a drawing at a garden show late in April. They came in a 10 gallon tote that was prepared with holes drilled a the top of the tote and newspaper. Have been feeding them but have noticed that the inside of the bin is really moist. Even the lid is full of moisture. I have not added any water for weeks but am worried that it might bee too wet for the worms. Would really like some advice. (I have pictures.)

  32. Lark

    Hi Laura, If it is that moist I would add some more shredded newspaper and mix it into the worm farm. It should wick up the extra moisture. Post your pictures on my forum, topic Compost, Mulch and Soil Amendments. There is a topic title is, Have you tried worm farming. Good luck and have fun.

  33. J Harrison

    I have just brewed my second batch of worm tea. This one does not have a “head” on either. What are the possible problems? There were no additives beside the castings and molasses.
    My trial of putting the worms in a screen wire enclosure in the ground did not work well. They are now in a tote in that same hole.
    I appreciate all you teach us.

  34. Lark

    I didn’t always get a foamy ‘head’ on my brew either. When I added the following things to my brew I got a foamy ‘head’. Compost, rock dust, sea-90 and I doubled the molasses. Also, when my Wisconsin temperature got hotter, I think the water got warmer and the bacteria grew better. Just a thought.

  35. Gramma G.

    Hello there, I too found your site while searching for gardening help . Then I couldn’t break away from your site and all your teaching videos. Thanks for this page of detailed directions, and with pictures too. Love it! I can’t wait to try my hand at worm farming. I know my plants will love it.

  36. Lark

    Welcome to my website. I am so happy you like it. Please jump right in and post. My members are really nice people.

  37. Joseph Budu

    Hello, I came here from you Youtube video about paper towel germination. However, I am wondering why I should do a worm farm, and worm tea? Any benefits especially for my body’s health?

  38. Lark

    Hi Joseph. To answer your question. A worm farm will help eliminate kitchen green waste from going to the landfills. The kitchen veggie scraps will be eaten by the worms. The worms castings, poop, will fertilize the garden soil and make a brewed tea from the castings to ‘foliage feed’ the plants. Making the plants healthier and more productive. So eating the produce that comes from a garden that has healthy soil, makes for healthy produce, which makes healthier people.

  39. Debbie Horton

    You did say how the mesh stays on the bottom or what size of mesh to use so the worms can come up!
    When you are done harvesting the worms what do you do with the little worms and the eggs. ?
    Thanks
    Deb

  40. Lark

    Debbie, I cut the mesh LARGER than the hole. You can trace the bottom of the tote and then cut the mesh 1/2″ smaller than you traced line. The little worms and eggs can stay in the castings if you don’t want to pick out every last bit. The little worms and eggs will have a new home where ever you decide to put the castings.

  41. J Harrison

    I would like to put some of my red wigglers in the garden soil when the bin seems too crowded. I don’t have room for another bin. Will they live in garden soil? Thanks a bunch.

  42. mdrf84

    Could a shorter bin be used for the bottom bin?

  43. Lark

    Yes, a shorter and smaller bin would be fine. It just would fill up faster. When I first starter worm farming mine was small.

  44. Lark

    Good morning John & Dee Dee. It sounds like you really have a nice set-up. It is going to be so beneficial to your plants. Yes, adhesives are a concern to me also. Since I live in Wisconsin, zone 5, heat is not a problem for me. Plus, I now keep my worm farms in my basement all year round which is a constant 60-65 degrees.
    To make the most of your castings, making tea is best. Put a cup of castings into a bucket or sprinkling can & stir. You want the water to be the color of a ‘weak’ tea (light brown). If it is darker, no problem. It won’t burn the plants. Add a little more water. I then run the tea through a strainer if I am going to put it in my tank sprayer. If I am BREWING the tea, I have the castings in a strainer bag hanging in the bucket. After brewing YES I take the casting out of the bag and put them on a plant, tree or just on the compost pile. NO WASTING THE CASTINGS. Give back to the earth. :0) Thank you for stopping by.

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