Making a worm composting bin is relativity simple to do and can be accomplished in very little time at all, with not much “technical” experience required! I even encourage you to get your children involved in this project, as most children love to help with projects like these and it will provide them with a great learning experience!

There are many, many ways to build a worm composting bin, or vermicomposting bin as some prefer to call it. I’ve found using a Rubber Maid tote to be not only cost effective, but also well suited for this. I prefer to use a  3 bin system. One for the base to collect drainage. The other two as active composting bins.

You will need some basic tools for this project.  ie. cordless drill and a 1/8″ drill bit.  I recommend using a new drill bit if possible, as this will make your life a lot easier when drilling the many small holes needed for you worm composting bin.  Ok, so enough chit chat, lets get building already!

[Rubbermade Bin]

What you’ll need:

 3 – Rubber Maid “Rough neck” Totes   ( We prefer the 18g totes, but you can use any size you like. Just remember that it will take more time for the worms to finish your compost when using a larger bin.)
A cordless,or corded drill
A 1/8″ drill bit
Some cardboard
Shredded news paper
Organic food scraps    (it is best to blend your scraps in a food processor, if possible.  If you do not have a food processor make sure to slice your food scraps up. Once your bin has been established you will be able to use larger scraps.)
Water    (Do NOT use city water, city water contains fluoride and chloride, both of which are bad for your red worms!) if you have to, buy distilled water from your grocery store.
Lets start building:

First we will need to drill holes through the bottom of  2 of our 18gl bins. We will NOT drill into the 3rd bin! It’s best to set the 3rd bin to the side for now.

We begin by drilling our 1/8″ holes into the bottom of our first bin. I try to space my holes about a 1/2″ apart over the entire bottom of the bin,making sure to drill holes into the lower (ring shaped) spots of the bin. This will allow for no standing water inside the bin,which could kill the worms.

Once I’ve finished the bottom I move up to the sides. The section we want to drill is about 1/2″ down underneath where the lid rests, when closed. I do not drill the lid!  The object here is to allow for air flow. We want to be sure that the holes will not be covered by either the lid or the second and third bin. Drill holes all the way around, again spacing about 1/2″ apart.

After you have finished drilling all the way around the upper section of your bin, move on to the second bin and begin the process over,repeating the steps above.

*Now, if you want to get fancy, some people will put a spigot on the bottom of the third bin. I do not do this as I find it unnecessary. But if you wish to do so, now would be the time.

Putting it all Together:
After we’ve completed all of our drilling and have cleaned out the bins the best we can, We’ll need to get our 3rd bin that we set aside earlier (bin without the holes) and set two bricks or something of similar size on the bottom of this bin. This is to keep the two drilled “composting” bins from sitting on the bottom of the 3rd bin. The bottom bin will gradually fill with liquid, we want to keep our other two “composting” bins out of that liquid, hence the bricks.  After we have set the bricks in the bin we will then set our first “composting” bin inside of the un-drilled bin. The other will be used in a couple of weeks as we fill the first bin with composting material.

Setting up the composting bed:
Next we’ll start filling the bin that we placed inside the bottom “liquid collection” bin, with our bedding. To do this we’ll need a piece of moist cardboard to cover the bottom of the bin. Some people like to place the cardboard in as one big piece, cut out to the shape of the base of the bin. Others like myself, prefer to shred the cardboard into smaller pieces and soak them in water. Either way, we cover the bottom of the bin with moist cardboard

Next we spread a layer of moist shredded news paper over the cardboard base.( When I say moist, I do not mean wet. The paper should be wrung out so that water is not dripping from it. ) Once we have a nice even layer of shredded paper we can add a layer of organic material into the bin. Then we cover that layer with more moist shredded paper.  If you have extra scraps you can do a second layer. again, cover with more moist shredded paper.

When you’ve finished layering. Cover the layers with a good thicker layer of un-shredded moistened newspaper, place the lid on it and your done!  Congratulations, You have successfully set up your first vermicomposting bin!

Now would be the time to order you Red Wigglers ORDER HERE . It is good practice to give your bin about 7-14 days for the organic material to begin breaking down. which works out perfectly,if you order your worms after you finish building your composting bin. This way the worms will have food readily available in the bin by the time they arrive to you.

Once you receive your Red Wigglers it’s best to place them directly into your composting bin. I like to dump them all into a pile in the middle of the bin, under the thicker layer of un-shredded newspaper. I’ll give them a light mist of water and leave the lid off for about 30 minutes. I feel this helps to force the worms down into bin, where they should acclimate just fine. After 30 minutes I replace he lid.