We have a pretty large back yard that is fenced in. Behind our fence is an embankment that drops about 20 feet down to a creek. Any time we have leaves, grass clippings, or dirt we dump them down the embankment. This helps with erosion of the bank. While we were working on The Crunchy Garden project we dug out a ton of dirty to put in gravel. The dirt has been piling up in the corner. Yesterday we began to dump the dirt over the embankment.
They began collecting the worms in a bucket and that gave me a great idea!
I thought it would be a great time to build a Worm Compost Bin. As I explained it to the kids, my oldest began calling it our “Worm Farm” and began naming his new pets! Many Urban Gardeners make Worm Compost Bins. This is actually an indoor style compost system that you are able to use.
Worms can eat up to 1 and 1/2 times their body weight a day. From all the research I did, it seems that worms also multiple quickly. Typically a worm compost bin will have about a pound of red worms, which is equal to about 500 worms. We made a smaller bin out of 5 gallon buckets and currently have about 20 worms. We will add additional “pets” as the kids call them as we find them!
How To Make A Worm Composter
- (2) 5 gallon buckets
- (2) bucket lids
- drill with 1/4 inch bit and 1/16 inch bit
- newspaper torn into one inch wide stripes
- card board cut to fit in side the bucket
- compost scrapes
- few hands full of dirt
- bricks or blocks ( 2 that are exactly the same!)
2. Next we drill air holes at the top of both buckets. These holes were drilled with a 1/16 inch drill bit and were drill all the way around the top spaced 1 1/2 inches apart.
3. Next we used the 1/16 inch drill bit to put 20 holes in the lid.
4. After all of the holes were drilled we put the first bucket inside the second bucket.
5. Next we soaked the newspaper strips in water. We wrung out the extra water with our hands before placing about 4-5 inches of newspaper in the bucket. You want your newspaper to be damp but not soaking wet.
6. After adding the newspaper I added the compost scrapes. I places an apple core and an orange peel underneath the newspaper. Because we only have about 20 worms of all sizes we will start off feeding them a little at a time until our worms multiple.
7. On top of the newspaper I added my handfuls of dirt ( to help the worms digest their food better!) and then topped with our worms. The worms will move towards the food and bury themselves under the newspaper.
8. Next I topped the bucket with a piece of card board that I had wet down. Every thing we have read online said that worms love card board.
9. Next I placed the lid on top of the buckets. And our Worm Composter ( Worm Farm!) was built.
10. We choice to place the buckets out by the shed in the shade. Worms either need to be in the shade or in an area that is cool. I placed the second lid on the ground and then put two wooden block on top of the bottom lid before setting my worm buckets on top.
The bottom lid will be used to catch any liquid that falls from the bucket. This is known as worm tea and makes a wonderful fertilizer!
Every time it rains we are laying card board out in the back yard, Worms love card board and will come to the surface under card board. After it rains we will go out and collect more worms to add to our bucket! This was a fun project to make as a family! The boys loved looking for worms and helping daddy use the drill.
Feeding your Worms:
Worms love foods that would go into a compost bin such as fruit and veggie scraps as well as tea bags. DO NOT feed your worms meat, fats, oils, or anything cooked.
Using your Compost:
In a few months ( typically weeks, but we only have a few worms right now!) when all of the food scrapes are composted and the top bucket is mostly dirt we will separate the first bucket from the second bucket and add damp newspaper strips, a few hands full of dirt, and food scrapes along with the card board topper to the new bucket. Place the bucket on top of the bucket with dirt and worms and place back in your “worm bin spot”. With in a few days all of the worms will have climbed through the holes into the top bucket.
Use your compost in your garden or flower beds or place in a new bucket just to store it until it is needed. Be sure to sift through the compost and throw any worms left into your top bucket.
Science Project Idea
The worm bins make a wonderful science project for any homeschooling families! They also make cheap “pets”
Where To Get Worms
If you are having problems finding worms in your own back yard here are several links to where worms can be purchased:
Or order a pre-made worm composter: