A worm habitat is a great way to recycle kitchen waste and food scraps.
Did you know that worms’ farms are a vermicomposting system that produces one of the best garden fertilizers? And that worms are one of the fastest composters in the world?
It takes a little bit of preparation to build a good worm habitat, but it is worth it!
A well-prepared worm habitat is easy to maintain, consumes very little time and effort, and your worms will live a healthy and long life.
You can choose one according to your needs – it can be small, so you can place it on your balcony or courtyard, or it can be larger if you generate lots of food scraps and have the space for it.
Check out our tips and hacks on how to build the best worm habitat!
Choose What Type of Worm Habitat You Want to Build
The first thing you need to do before you start building your worm habitat is to understand the space available and the volume of food waste you produce.
This is important so that it is sustainable because worm farms last a very long time, and it is the best investment you can make for your organic garden.
There are different types of worm farms, and here are some of them to help you understand which one will meet your needs accordingly.
Classic Small-Sized Worm Habitat
- You can build it with a set of stacked trays with legs, an aquarium, a large glass jar, or even a plastic bottle.
- It doesn’t take much room at all.
A Practical Medium/Large Moving-Type Worm Habitat
- You can use a wheelie-bin, which provides high capacity (it can be 140L, 240L, or 360L) and occupies very little space on the ground.
- It has the advantage of being moveable because it has wheels.
A Larger and Fixed Worm Habitat
- If you have a lot of space available and produce a lot of food waste daily, this could be a good option.
- You can use a bathtub or even an unused fridge with a capacity of 200l plus to build your worm habitat. At this point, you’ll probably refer to your worms habitat as a “worm farm”
How to Build A Classic Small-Sized Worm Habitat?
After you choose the best worm habitat for your needs, it’s time to choose the right location for it.
Worms like fresh environments, so you should find a shady spot, preferably outdoors, where they will be protected from direct sunlight.
Now that you have the first main decisions set, let’s go step-by-step on how to build your worm habitat:
Step 1 – Get The Stuff You Need
- Worms: You will need, of course, some worms to start your farm. Eisenia fetida is the most common type of worm used for vermicomposting. They reproduce rapidly and regulate their number based on the amount of food available.
- Two plastic bins: The bin needs to be at least 12” deep. Make sure they’re opaque because worms like to stay in the dark.
- A drill: If you are building it yourself, you will need the drill to make the holes in the bin.
- Some food scraps
Step 2 – Drill Out the Holes on One of the Bins
You need to create some space for the liquid to drain out of the top bin into the bottom one.
To do that, mark out one of the bins with a series of holes around all four sizes of the bin, and then drill out the holes.
TIP: Don’t use a cage or a container with openings on the sides, as it will be harder to keep the soil moist.
Step 3 – Prepare the Bedding
Alternate layers of sand and soil until you fill the container. Their habitat should be moist but fluffy. You can also use a few dried leaves.
The top layer should be soil, and there should be enough free space at the top so you have room to feed your worms.
TIP: You can also use shredded newspapers or torn-up corrugated cardboard for the bedding. This will balance the pH levels and moisture of your worm bin or habitat.
Step 4 – Put the Worms in and Feed Them
Your worm habitat is ready! You can put your worms in it, feed them with food scraps, and wait for them to get cozy and start working.
Step 5 – Collect and Use Worm Castings
The vermicompost, also called worm casting, is a rich and dark substance.
You will see that it’s ready to collect when the bedding material and the food in it has broken down well, becoming this beautiful and moisturized substance.
Just be careful when you collect and harvest it, so you don’t take all the worms with it.
This vermicompost can be used anywhere on garden beds and lawns.
As one of the best garden fertilizers, it will help increase your plant’s growth and will also make more nutrients available to them.
TIP: Don’t let your compost sit around for a very long time after you have collected it because it can dry out and lose its beneficial value.
Extra Tips & Hacks
- You can keep a small bucket or container with a lid in the kitchen to throw your food scraps into. Once this small bucket is full, you can put it into the worm farm. Just don’t add any oil or animal products like bone, meat, or fat, or any dairy like butter or yogurt.
Other great options to feed the worms include dry leaves, coffee grounds and tea bags.
- In case you need to travel for a week or two, you can cover the worm farm with old straw to provide food and shelter while you’re away.
- When you collect the vermicompost, it can be hard to separate the worms. A good tip is to make a separate space or bin to lay down fresh bedding material and food scraps so that the worms will slowly migrate over to that area, leaving the part with their castings available for you to pick up the vermicompost.
- Building a worm habitat is also a great activity to do with your kids so that they can learn about simple, at-home sustainability, environmental responsibility, food production, and animal care.