It’s no secret. I am a little fascinated by worms. Not really all worms though, composting worms.
Eisenia foetida (also known as red wiggler, brandling or manure worm) and Lumbricus rubellus (manure worm). Don’t get night crawlers, they eat differently and need deep soil to tunnel in.
The goal here is to have efficient eaters, working fast and diligently to create vermicompost for you to use.
I’ve been pretty lazy about my worm bin for the past year and finally got around to making a bin to be in the house or even the porch, but mine is in the laundry room and it works very well there. You can make smaller bins to fit under your sink, or where ever you want to house it. My big bin is out in the barn with fencing over it so the chickens can’t get the worms.
Here’s a picture of it. It’s nothing exciting, but I have a ton of worms!
I’m gonna show you how I made my newest worm bin from a couple buckets that I had on hand.
First, you will need a dog and 2 buckets! It’s super simple to add a faucet to a bucket and it is super handy later, as a lot of draining happens and you’ll want to use that liquid on a plant or two. You sure don’t have to have a faucet though.
Next, you need to drill some drain holes. It doesn’t exactly matter about the size cause you’ll be putting screen over the holes so the worms don’t end it in the liquid and drown or something tragic like that!
I found an old window screen in my barn and cut a circle out for the INSIDE BOTTOM of the bucket with the holes.
Now the fun stuff! Use some newspaper, paper shreddings, for putting in next, on top of the screen. I used a paper feed sack and tore it into pieces. It’s fun that you really can use things that you have on hand!
If your worms and the dirt they’re in isn’t very wet, add some water to the paper and get it a bit wet, not soggy. My worms and their dirt was pretty wet, so I added them on top of the dry paper. There is just really nothing horrible going to happen either way, but just remember that your worm habitat needs to be like a squeezed out sponge. A bit more then damp.
Next, I add some used hay, so it’s almost chopped looking, but only a handful. I don’t want to create a hot environment by adding too much green matter. But I want them to always have a way to be happy and never soaking wet.
If you have heard about compost getting hot and stuff like that, it’s very true. So we want the worms to break things down and if it gets hot in there, they’ll die. I have caught some outdoor compost piles on fire by accident of course, but it burnt an entire wall of a barn…but that’s a story for another day.
Next, you can add some food for them. They love coffee grounds and at my house, they get a lot of those! Also vegetable trimmings, fruit scraps. Molded, uncooked produce is one of their favs! No fats, meats, citrus. And egg shells don’t break down well, but it’s aerates things, so add those if you want, but crush first.
coffee filters, fermented cherry pits and skins, coffee…
As I add food for them, I add a bit more paper to the top. Kind of layering, but there really isn’t hard rules here. But just try to keep a balance going.
You will then sit the bucket with the holes, screen and all the worms inside the bucket with the faucet. That’s it! Super simple!
Do you have worm bins? I’m anxious to know who else raises worms!