How to Make a Worm Bin From a 5-Gallon Bucket

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A worm bin is an excellent and inexpensive way to create compost for an urban garden or in an area with limited space. Creating a simple worm bin only takes a few minutes, and it will last as long as you need it. A simple plastic bucket or bin and a few supplies allow anyone to quickly and cheaply make a composting worm bin.

Things You'll Need

  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Drill
  • Newspapers
  • Dirt
  • Leaves or leaf litter
  • Cardboard
  • Concrete blocks or supports
  • Vegetable and fruit scraps
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Breads and grains
  • 1/2 lb. of worms
  • Drill 20 evenly spaced 1/4-inch holes in the bottom of the bucket for drainage. Drill holes 1 inch apart around the rim or edge of the bucket for ventilation. Drill 30 evenly spaced 1/4-inch holes in the lid for further ventilation for your worms.

  • Shred the newspaper into 1-inch strips and moisten them. Squeeze out the excess water; the newspaper should not be soggy, just damp. Fill the bottom of the bin with 3 to 4 inches of moist newspaper. Add some leaves or leaf litter and a handful of dirt, and mix it in with the newspaper.

  • Add the worms to your bin. Cut a piece of cardboard to fit over the worms inside the bin; it will break down, and the worms will eat it. Moisten the cardboard before you place it in the bin.

  • Place your worm bin in a well-ventilated room; elevate it on blocks or supports to allow it to drain. Cover it with the ventilated lid, and place a pan or another small bin beneath the worm bin to catch any liquid that drains out.

  • Feed the worms with vegetable scraps, tea bags, coffee grounds and filters, and breads and grains. Bury food beneath the cardboard in different areas of the bin until it is full. Feed the worms slowly. Once no recognizable food scraps remain, move the worms outside, or place them in another bin and remove the compost from the worm bin after about one month.

Tips & Warnings

  • Making indoor worm bins is often easier with two bins instead of one. The second bin can be placed beneath the first so the worms can move to it when the first one is full.
  • Keeping your worm bin in one small area will help you control the amount of compost that is created and allow you to quickly access it whenever you need it, whether to add more material to feed the worms within the compost bin or to take remove composted soil from it.

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