Worm Farming has become more of a necessity than a hobby due to growing concern for environmental protection.
As we are producing more household waste than ever, landfill sites have already started running out of their capacity.
Most of the kitchen waste and food scraps we throw away are biodegradable that can be processed in the backyard with a simple yet effective DIY worm farm. And that’s why you’re here!
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to make your own worm farm at home.
A little bit of creativity goes a long way. You will always find some items lying around in the corner of your house that you can use to start a worm farm.
Once you have set up your worm farm, you can just sit back and relax.
Let those tiny red wigglers do their job of processing the food scraps into high-quality compost that you can use as organic fertilizer for your kitchen gardening.
But how can you make a DIY worm farm or worm bin? Let’s get started…
Start With A Plan for Your DIY Worm Bin
First, decide on the capacity of the worm farm that you want.
It depends on the amount of your family’s food waste that determines the number of composting worms and the size of the worm bin that you are going to build.
Indoor Worm Bins or Outdoor Worm Bins?
It’s worth considering the placement and space available for setting up the worm farm.
Will it be and outdoor worm bin or indoors?
This may be determined by a few factors:
- Whether you live in an apartment without a yard
- The size of your indoor or outdoor space
- The size of the worm bin or worm farm you want to build
- How many food scraps and household food waste you and your family get through
- Your personal feelings about having worms living in your house (even though they’ll be confined to their bin)
Single Tray Worm Bin or Multiple Stacked Worm Bins?
Both are a viable option.
The single tray worm bin is the easiest to set up but perhaps harder to maintain and harvest worm castings from.
You might have to spend some time separating worms from the final compost when harvesting the castings.
Multiple Tray Worm Bins
The multiple tray stacked design takes a little more work to set up (but still easy).
The advantage is worms will very helpfully separate themselves from their old castings as you can easily control their movements by placing food scraps like fruit and vegetable peels into the container you want them to migrate to.
It is space-efficient and allows you to nest the worm bins and your compost worms within.
Other Options: Commercial and Natural
On the other hand, you can create a continuous flow worm farm like the commercial worm farms do.
This is much more difficult to set up and build. If you wanted to buy one, they’d be expensive too.
But it is much easier to harvest the compost since the equipment automatically separates worm castings from the worms.
Or, you can go old-school style.
Just dig a hole in your backyard garden and fill it with worm bedding, worms, and food waste, and let nature take care of itself.
You won’t even need a container or any worm composting bins!
Now that you have figured out the type, size, placement, and harvest method for your worm farm, let’s gather the items required for this DIY project.
What Do You Need To Make A Worm Farm?
You can’t have a worm farm without worms.
There are various species of worms, but you can’t just use any random species of worms for composting.
The most popular type of worm used for composting is called the red wiggler (Eisenia fetida) that also goes by other names such as red worms, manure worms, and tiger worms.
Container (Worm Bin)
You can use any container for worm farming as long as it is opaque because worms like to stay in dark.
Make sure that the top bin has a lid on it. There are different types of worm bins available in the market.
Go with the one that meets your composting requirements. We recommend using at least three bins for the best results.
Other Tools And Materials
A drilling machine, old newspapers, and of course, organic kitchen waste and food scraps.
Step-By-Step Guide To Making Your Own DIY Worm Farm
Once you have gathered the required items, making a worm farm is quite fun, easy, and interesting. Here’s how we do it:
1. Preparing the Bins
- Drill the holes on the bottom and sides of the bin that you are going to use on the top. Make some holes on the lid as well.
- This is to create a simple ventilation system to allow optimum air exchange into the container.
- The holes on the bottom should be larger than those on the sides and lid. Ideally, they should be 3/16” and 3/32” respectively.
- The bottom sump bin is for collecting worm tea and excess fluid produced during the composting process. You can put this to good use as fertilizer for your plants too!
- There should be no hole in it. However, you can make one to provide an outlet for compost tea through a barrel tap. Make sure it is drip-free to avoid mess.
2. Assembling the Worm Farm
- Assuming that you have already decided on the location of the worm farm, it is time to stack them up.
- It is a good idea to raise the bottom sump on bricks so that you can access the tap to collect worm tea (or worm juice – whatever you want to call it!). Make sure that the farm is shady.
- Stack the drilled worm bins on the top of the sump bin. Leave a gap between each layer so that the red wigglers can move freely.
- You can use materials like brick, a piece of wood, a food jar, or anything that works as spacers.
- Seal any gap between the bin by using a cloth or net to prevent bugs from invading the farm.
3. Building The Worm Bedding
- The worm bed is the worms’ home and an important aspect of your DIY worm composter.
- Worms like it moist. Use shredded newspapers and soak them in water for about five minutes. Be sure to wring them out when you’re finished so they are damp. (bedding should have the dampness of a wrung out sponge)
- Fill the DIY worm bin (except the sump bin) with the soaked newspapers.
- You can also add other bedding materials like dried leaves, coconut coir, or sawdust. Avoid anything containing oil or grease.
- Worms can’t survive in a dry environment.
- Therefore, the bedding should always be moist like a sponge soaked in water.
- Gently spray water over the bedding every few days to keep it damp.
4. Adding Food Scraps
Here comes the worm food!
But be careful with what you feed to the worms. So, what do worms eat?
Worms eat and love organic food scraps like:
- Worms eat fruits, vegetables, bread, egg shells, paper tea bags, coffee grounds, and similar “green and brown” foods.
- We advise against adding things like meat, dairy products (yogurt and butter), and oil – minimize citrus too.
While worms eat these food scraps too, they may be either harmful to worms in large quantities or attract pests like fruit flies or worse (rats!)
5. Adding The Worms
It’s time to let the red wigglers or nightcrawlers (whichever compost worms you’ve decided on) into their new home aka your DIY worm bin.
They will bury themselves in the scraps and get started with their work of feeding, pooping, and reproducing.
They normally consume about half the weight of their body in a day.
Don’t overfeed them though, as this estimation is when they are in perfect conditions and as a beginner, things are likely not to be perfect.
Cover the top bin with its lid so that it is dark inside the colony.
Keep checking on the worms regularly to see if they are doing their work of breaking down the foods in your new worm composter.
You will notice the increase in their population and accumulation of worm castings.
Add fresh food to keep them happy and healthy.
6. Harvesting The Worm Compost
- Use the tap on the bottom sump bin to drain off the worm tea every few weeks.
- You can use it as a liquid fertilizer for your plants.
- However, it will take a while before the compost and worm castings are fully ready for the first harvesting.
- By this time, the worms would have already migrated to the top bin leaving behind the finished compost that looks dark brown.
- Congratulations! You have just produced a fresh lot of high-quality organic fertilizer in your own worm farm. Quite impressive!
- Just dig right into it and use it in your garden and see the phenomenal results in growth for your plants, fruits and vegetables.
Rotate the bins after each harvesting so that the worms can migrate to another container and you can easily harvest worm castings from your worm composting efforts.
Worms will almost always migrate to find something fresh to feed on.
This is the simplest way of building a worm farm all by yourself at a very low cost.