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Garden Construction Coach on How to Make a Worm Bin

March 03, 2009

Bob Enjoying His Bubbling Pot in the Garden

Bob Enjoying His Bubbling Pot in the Garden

Please join us in welcoming Bob to the Garden Help group of guest garden bloggers. The post that follows is Bob’s first article on garden construction projects. Several years ago, Bob built our first wooden worm bin. The first one languished. The second one, which he modified to make more functional, has lasted about seven years. This second model is equal to the one Bob discusses in this article.

Bob has several other articles already underway including a cold frame construction project and some supercool bean trellises he recently built.

If you have a question for Bob about your garden construction project, please get in touch. Too, if you would like to order one of Bob’s fantastic worm bins, let us know!

This is a very simple and easy worm bin to build and is based on plans from Seattle Tilth. All you need is 1 sheet of 1/2 inch exterior plywood, two 2x4s, two 2x2s, wood screws, two 3×2 hings and about 4 feet of 1/4 inch rope. It to01_suppliesok me about 1/2 a day to get the supplies, cut all the pieces and then assemble it.

I start by cutting the plywood in half so you end up with two sections that are about 48″ x 48″. When you cut the sheet in half you want to center the saw blade down the middle of your line. This way you end up with two even pieces. They will each be a little shorter then 48″ by about 1/8″.

Then I take one of the halves and cut it into 3 equal pieces. These will form the front, back and two sides of the bin. From one of the three section, I then cut one in half to form the two sides.


Finally I cut the other half sheet not quite in the center to make the bottom of the bin and the lid.

Next, I cut the 2x2s in to sections for the base and front side supports. Then the 2x4s are cut for the lid and back side supports.

With that all the wood is cut, I start the assemble with the base of the bin. First I layout the 2x2s to from the base. To add a little support I nail the pieces together. Then I take the bottom plywood piece and lay it on top and secure it with wood screws. The last thing to do is to drill 3/8″ holes into the plywood bottom to allow water to drain. Now the bottom is complete.

Next I start to build the sides of the bin. It starts with attaching the 2×2 front side supports to the front plywood piece. I line up the top of the 2×2 with the top edge of the plywood front. I do the same thing with the back plywood piece, attaching the 2×4 side supports in the same way as the 2×2, lining up the top edge of the plywood with the 2×4 support.

With the front and back ready, I then attach the side pieces. The side pieces will overlap the front and back plywood. Also when placed on the bottom, you’ll notice that the bottom frame is visable and the sides do not touch the ground. This is correct as you don’t want the sides to be in concact with the ground. With the sides connected and on the bottom, I secure the sides to the bottom frame with wood screws.

The basic bin is now complete and I start on the lid by laying out the 2×4 lid frame pieces. The 2x4s are not attached together, so I use some long clamps to hold them together. The lid plywood piece will go on top and that will hold the frame together.

Now I lay the lid plywood piece over the lid frame and center the piece. It won’t go to the edges and there is about an inch overlap on the sides and 1/4″ on the back and front. With the lid piece centered, I attach it with wood screws.

All the parts of the bin are now done. To finish the bin, I attach the lid to the bin with 2 3″x2″ square hinges. First I center the hinges on the 2×4 support on the back side of the bin. Then put the lid on and center it on the bin. There is about an inch or so over lap on the sides and front. With the lid in place I attach the hinges to the 2×4 frame of the lid.

The last thing I do is attach a piece of rope to the bin side and lid. This will keep the lid from opening too far and breaking off the hinges and also lets you open the lid without having to hold it. I first drill a hole about 4″ from the front and 3″ from the top of the side piece. Then I mark the lid at the same location and drill a hole. The hole in the lid should go through the 2×4 and not the plywood top. Then I tie a knot on one end of the rope, thread it from the inside through the hold in the side and up through the hole in the lid. I open the lid, just past vertical and tipping back slightly and then tie another knot at the right length. Finally I cut off any excess length

The bin is now done. Just fill with some bedding material and add worms and worm food:
18_final-open 18_final-closed

If you are in the Seattle, WA area and would like your own bin but maybe don’t have the time or the tools to make one, I’d be happy to make one for you. I charge for time and materials and delivery is extra. Contact Garden Mentors and request one. I’ll be happy to build it for you and arrange delivery to your location. Need help setting it up, I can help with that too.

Once you have a bin, you just need some worms. You can get these from someone that already has a worm bin or get some online. Also check your local garden associations or even city utilities, they may be able to provide worms and help for free or low cost.

Other handy worm bin accessories:

1 Comment

  1. […] you’re maintaining a worm bin, don’t forget to check on their habitat. They’re probably fairly sluggish and in need […]

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