How to Set Up a Simple, Homemade Vermicomposting Bin

| 6/23/2012 11:08:59 AM

Tags: worm composting, vermicomposting, Eisenia fetida, homemade vermicomposting bin, fertilizer, food waste, Laverme's Worms, Ellen Sandbeck,


Vermicomposting is the scientific term for the homely art of harnessing the power of earthworms to increase the speed, ease, and efficiency of composting. In contrast to traditional composting methods, vermicomposting requires very little effort: after the compostable materials have been introduced into the bin, the worms do all the work. In fact, vermicomposting is so efficient and odorless that it makes a fine indoor hobby. 


The end product, vermicompost, AKA worm castings, has passed through earthworms' digestive systems. Vermicompost is extremely lively: it contains more than 100 times as many beneficial bacteria and fungi as can be found in the surrounding soil. It also contains plant growth factors and B vitamins, as well as high levels of soluble calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Vermicompost is Nature's most perfect fertilizer. 


Red Wriggler composting worms, Eisenia fetida, are quite easy to keep in captivity. They make no noise and possess neither teeth nor hair to inflict bites or cause wheezing. They are entirely innocent of eyes, limbs, or ears, and are susceptible to fatal dehydration when in the open air, so they are generally loathe to run away. Even the most timid and allergic among us should have no trouble in keeping their composting worms under control. 

april noyce
4/5/2013 3:30:13 AM

What about egg shells, coffee grounds and avocado skins? Can these be added?

10/30/2012 8:08:45 PM

I have to disagree on the comment regarding vermicompost "not a soil amendment". Actually, it IS a good soil amendment. The vermicompost mixed with your garden soil will hold water longer thus less watering of your lawn. Also, I've read from many people who have done worm composting that ANY kind of breads should be avoided in the worm bin. Other than that, I have to agree with you! Happy composting!

ellen sandbeck
10/25/2012 7:13:31 PM

The clay that is added to the newspaper in order to prevent the ink from spreading when the newspaper is printed, can build up in the bin and then the clayey compost can get infested with fruit flies. My bins never get emptied out completely and then started over, so a buildup of clay is a very bad thing.If your method is working for you, keep doing what you're doing, if it ain't broke, don't fix it! As for the access to leaves, I harvest leaves in the fall and then use them all year long.

rocky pedaline
7/5/2012 6:18:03 PM

I agree Stan...I been using shreaded newspaper for years...It's 1/4 of my bedding...I use equal parts newspaper, leaf mould, cardboard, and coco coir and my guys are happy...I have well over 40,000 healthy EF's...

stan slaughter
7/5/2012 3:19:21 PM

I've put non-slick newspapers in my bins for eighteen years. The're sterile, very absorbent of excess moisture and provide an easily liftable layer that I can use to cover my working surface. Why not newspapers? Most homeowners don't have access to dry leaves all year.

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