Monday, August 15, 2011

Do It Yourself Worm Bin

Worm Fancy has now had a few years of growing worms in Rubbermaid bins (check out the 'About Us' tab for pictures) and we have come up with a design that has been working very well. We want you to be successful so here is our design. Granted if we were rich enough to grow our worms in a whole bunch of Worm Factory 360's we would! So I still strongly promote the stacking systems for their ease of use and low maintenance... but for those of you out there that are limited in funds or you would rather re-purpose some of the materials you already have here are the DIY Bin Construction Instructions.

Materials needed:
• Drill
• 1/4 Drill Bit (or similar)
• Gorilla Tape (Not Duct Tape)
• Rubbing Alcohol
• Weed Block Filter Barrier
• Two 14 Gallon Dark Plastic Storage Bins (We use the Rubbermaid Roughneck)

Step#1 - Prepare the Bottom Bin

• Choose one of the bins to be the bottom and drill two parallel sets of holes. Measure from the bottom of the bin 2” and drill the 1st row of holes.
• Then drill the next row ½ inch above the 1st row. Repeat on the other side. (No filter barrier is needed on this bin.)
• The bottom bin is done.

Step #2 - Ready the Top Bin
• Take the second bin and drill 2 rows of parallel holes at the top of the bin. Measure from the top of the bin 2 inches down; drill your 1st set of holes.
• Measure ½ in below that 1st row; drill the 2nd row of holes. Repeat on the other side of bin.
• On the base of the bin drill holes all over the bottom to ensure good drainage. Space evenly about 1 inch apart. You can also place holes down the center (not shown but it is a good idea.
• Take one of the lids drill 2 rows of holes around the lid. Space them evenly about ½ inch to ¾ inch apart.

Step #3 - Filter Paper on the Inside
• Measure and cut filter barrier to cover the holes on the sides; bottom of the top bin. The fabric will help keep the worms and vermicompost in and flies out.
• Wipe areas that you will be adhering tape and filter barrier to with rubbing alcohol.
• Secure the barrier with gorilla tape or water resistant tape to finish the bin.
• Repeat this same process for the lid.

Step #4 - Stack the Bins
• Take the bin marked bottom and place 2 bricks or blocks of wood in the bottom of the bin.
• Take the other bin that has the filter barrier placed over the hole & set it inside the bottom bin.
• You are now ready to prepare you bins for your worms.

Now it is time to prepare the bedding for your worms.

Step #1 - Worm Bin Lasagna
• When your bin is built you will make alternating layers of 1 to 2-inches moistened bedding (cut up card board, shredded newspaper, shredded bills, ripped up toilet paper rolls or paper egg cartons) then a thin layer of kitchen scraps.
• It is good to sprinkle one tablespoon of soil from your yard in one of the food layers to add some microbes and add a little grit for the worms.
• Make about three alternating layers so you have about 4 to 6 inches material in the bottom of the bin.
• Cover the top layer of food waste with about 4 inches of shredded moistened newspaper.

Step #2 - Wait, Wait, Wait
• Once this is all together put the lid on the bin and let it sit for 3 to 5 days. You could add worms right away but it goes a long way to improving the composting process if you can let it sit for a few days before adding worms. When the worms arrive there will be lots of food ready to eat. They will feel so at home it will be like putting mints on their pillows.

Step #4 - Tossing the Worm Bedding Salad
• When you open the bin after it has sit, it will stink and there may be some mold. This is exactly what you want to happen.
• Take off the top layer of newspaper and mix up the layers below and probably add more water so it will be moist like a wrung out sponge.

Step #5 - Ready set Worms!
• Now you are ready for worms. Go to the Worm Fancy products page and order your worms, send us an email ( or give us a call at 916-560-8023 to get a pound of worms.
• You will put the worms on the mixed up layer of bedding and food.
• They will probably be in a clump so gently pull them apart into smaller clumps.

Step #6 - Give 'em the Light Treatment
• The worms will move away from light so keep a light (NOT direct sunlight) on them till they disappear into the mix . Either do this step outside or under an overhead light.
• Leave them in the light for at least an hour to make sure there is no confusion where home is.
• Return all the moistened shredded newspaper on top of the worm bedding, replace the lid and you are done.

Please remember the worms will be adjusting to the new environment for a few days and you just provided them with lots of yummy food so you don't need to feed them right away. After they have adjusted for approximately 3 days you can start feeding them every other day or every 3 days. Watch the amount of food you add, it is way easier to overfeed than underfeed. If what you have added previously has not been mostly eaten, wait a day or so to feed again. Your worm population will grow to accommodate the food supply so be patient and eventually they will keep up with the kitchen scraps like champs.
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Brenda says...

Worm Fancy is the greatest place to get your worms in the Sacramento area. They have the best customer service!

Doug and Tammy, Yuba City

Tammy and I would just like to thank you for your professionalism and patience in answering all our questions about vermiculture. We are very interested in the difference it will make in our garden this year. Even our son will be using the new Worm Factory 360 in his science fair project that compares plants with and without worm castings. We're already noticing the better health with it. Our time with you was pleasant and we will be sure to return! Thank you again and we'll keep you posted. composted. :D

Scott R. from Sacramento

I picked my worms today and it sure looks like a lot more than 2 pounds worth. I ordered a pound from another vendor and you gave me 5 times more than they did.