DIY: Earthworm Breeding Box

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Constructing your own earthworm breeding box is easy. Feeding the worms is an excellent way to rid your home of common food wastes. The earthworm box should be kept in area where the temperature remains between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit year round. The results are not only healthy worms for use as fish bait, but a healthful addition to garden beds by utilizing the rich worm castings.

The Box

Use only natural woods that aren't treated with any type of chemical. Pressure-treated lumber is toxic to worms. The best material is untreated plywood, preferably ¾ inch thick. The typical household earthworm box will be 1 foot high, 2 feet wide and 3 feet long. Use a circular saw and cut two pieces of plywood that are 1 foot wide and 2 feet long. Cut another two pieces that are 1 foot wide but 3 feet long. Wait to cut the bottom piece until you have attached the four-side pieces together using 1½ inch Phillips head screws. Use a powered screwdriver to place four of these screws to hold each corner. Use a tape measure to square the box. Place the tape from one corner to the other, diagonally across the open space. Move the box until both tape readings from the diagonal measurements are equal.

Set the box on the remainder of the plywood and trace the shape using a pencil. Cut the square from the plywood. Attach the bottom to the sides using the same 1½-inch screws and the powered screwdriver. Drill approximately 12 1-inch diameter holes evenly spaced through the bottom of the box for drainage.

The Bedding

Use approximately 10 pounds of newspaper to fill the bedding box. Rip only the uncolored newsprint into 1-inch-wide strips. Colored newsprint maybe toxic. Place the strips into the box and add 1 gallon of soil to the box. The grit is needed from the soil for the worms digestive system. Wet the bedding with 4 gallons of water two days before adding any worms. The bedding should be moist, but not soggy.

Add the Worms and Feed

Start with 2 pounds of worms for the growing bed (see Resources). Typically, the worms will consume about 1 pound of kitchen waste per day. This is generally the amount generated by a family of four. Lay the kitchen waste in different areas across the top of the bedding. The worms can be fed once a day, twice a week or once a week. You set the schedule for feeding the worms. Feed can be any vegetable wastes from the kitchen that would normally be placed in a compost pile. Worms should not be fed any meat wastes, as this may attract animals into the worm box. Understand that worms that are not fed properly will eventually leave the box and migrate to another location.

Properly fed and cared-for worms can be harvested every 60 days. At this time the bedding material will have to be changed and the worm castings can then be distributed over the garden beds.

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