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Learn from @Captain.compost about how easy it is to get started!

To start a worm bin, all you need is:

  • a container
  • bedding
  • air
  • food
  • worms – not just any worms but worms that feed at the surface or in existing compost heaps. Normal earthworms would die. The most popular worms are Eisenia Fetida aka Red Wigglers or Tiger worms.

You can get a ready-made one or make your own using two buckets (one with a lid). Drill holes around the side at the top of one of the buckets and some drain holes at the bottom. Place something between the 2 buckets to allow pace for excess liquid to go (such as half a brick or a piece of wood). Fill the top bucket with 6 inches of bedding plus half a pound of worms, ideally purchased from a breeder.

This needs to be carbon heavy (‘brown material’) – shredded newspaper, cardboard, dry leaves all mixed or inoculated with some finished compost. Moisten the mixture to the dampness of a wrung-out sponge.
Worms have very small mouths and can’t munch their way through the food. They feed on the microbes and broken down food. So chop food as small as possible to help the process. Pulp from a juicer is ideal. Feed very gradually as over-feeding runs the risk of the food getting slimy and too acidic and could end up killing the worms. Wait until the previous feed has virtually all gone before adding more. To avoid pests, bury the food and cover with paper.

Anything that once grew from the ground, so no meat or dairy. Avoid too much acidic waste also – eg citrus peels or onions. Ideal food – banana skins, coffee grounds, ground-up egg shells, vegetable peels, teabags.

Keep the worms moist – they breath through their skin so need to be moist in order to do so. Usually there is enough moisture in the added food but if not, just spray with a little water.

If the worm bin is working as it should, it shouldn’t smell bad. If it does though, it could indicate that it’s gone anaerobic. The remedy is to add more carbon which will allow more air into the system and reduce the moisture level.

Good luck!