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Making this Indoor DIY worm bin is easy!
Not counting a trip to the store to buy the tubs, this DIY worm bin project takes a little under an hour to complete. And, it’s a fun project to make with kids.
What you’ll need to make your indoor worm composter.
- Two large, dark waterproof tubs
- Two matching tub lids
- Drill fitted with an 1/8″ or smaller bit
- Non-glossy paper such as junk mail, newspaper & packing paper
- small gravel or grit
- Yard waste leaves or other partially decomposed organic material
- Red wriggler composting worms
What are the steps to construct your indoor composter?
- Thoroughly wash and dry the tubs.
- Place one lid on the floor with the top of the lid touching the floor as insurance against overflow.
- Fit a drill with an 1/8″ bit (or smaller).
- Then drill several holes into the second lid for ventilation.
- Next drill holes into one of the two tubs.
- These holes should be positioned about 2″ down from the top and spaced about 1″-3″ apart.
- Now, flip over the tub, and drill holes into the bottom in about 4 rows with the holes spaced about 1″-3″ apart.
- Now, insert the drilled tub inside the undrilled tub.
- Set the stacked the tubs on top of the lid on the floor.
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Why did I have to drill all of those holes?
Holes are necessary in your composter for a couple of reasons. The reason you drill the lid and the top of the bin is to allow ventilation for the worms. That’s because they’re living creatures. But, be sure to use the smallest drill bit you can so that worms won’t wriggle out the holes.
The holes in the bottom of the bin allow accumulated liquid to drain into the second bin. So, notice that when you stack the bins, the bottom of the top bin doesn’t touch the bottom of the bottom bin. That means the worm bin liquid has room to filter and pool here. But, be sure to check it periodically. That liquid is great for watering your plants!
What do I add to my DIY worm bin to begin composting?
Now that your bin is built, it’s time to begin adding bedding material to it. This comes before adding any worms or food scraps.
- Moisten shredded or torn scrap paper.
- Then fill the bin about 1/4 of the way full with this material.
- Sprinkle in about 1/4 cup of gravel or grit.
- Then add enough partially decomposed damp leaves or other damp organic material to fill the bin to the 1/2 way point.
- Now dig into the newspaper, grit and organic material to form a little nest.
- And, add your red wrigglers into the nest.
- Cover the worms with the composter nesting material.
- And, you may want to dampen some sheets of paper to lay over the top of everything.
- These sheets of paper can help keep things tidy over time.
Can I use worms from my garden?
Don’t try adding earthworms to your worm bin. That’s because they’re the wrong kind of worm.
Wait! You didn’t say to add any food scraps.
That’s right. The newspaper and partially decomposed bedding material is sufficient food together the worms to get settled in. After a week or so, you can add a little bit of vegetable food waste to your bin. But, only add vegetables. And, don’t add a lot of material. Too much will just rot. That’s because this is a small worm bin. And, your worms can only process so much at a time.
Is there anything else I shouldn’t add to my DIY worm bin?
In the food department, only add vegetable matter. That does include fruit. But, don’t add citrus. It can kill your worms. As well, you might find your worms need more bedding material too. This keeps the space from getting too dense for them.
Troubleshooting your bin.
Sometimes things don’t go as planned. So, a few things you might run into include:
Worms coming out of the top:
- This often happens when you first put the worms in the bin. If that’s the case, put them back in and they should settle in a day or two.
- But, if this happens later, your bin may too wet for the worms. So, drain it.
- Or, it may be too hot in the bin. If it’s hot, move it to a cooler spot.
The bin stinks:
- Meat, bones or cheese may be the problem. Clean that out.
- Or, it may be too wet, so drain it.
- Or, the drain water in the bottom bin may be old. So drain that.
The is full:
If your bin is full, it’s time to harvest compost from it! In fact, you don’t have to wait until the bin is completely full to begin taking some vermicompost to put into your garden. But, when you do take finished compost from the composter, be sure to reserve some worms to return to the bin when you refurbish it!
Want a bigger outdoor worm bin?
We’ve got plans for making an outdoor worm bin too. So, when you’re ready to graduate to making even more worm compost at home, get our outdoor DIY worm bin information here.
My daughter is extremely allergic to mold. Would having a worm bin and organic waste, decomposing in my kitchen or basement, run the risk of getting moldy? If so, this may not work for me, though I have always wanted to try it.
If the worm bin is healthy and well maintained, it shouldn’t have mold problems sporing all over your house. And, it should be sealed to contain all of the decomposition, so you may be able to keep it safe for your daughter. However, you will have it drilled to vent and you will open it to feed it and check on it. So, all of that that being said, when you have decomposition going on, you always have the risk of mold.
Thinking of getting a kit for vermicomposting. I might just end up putting it on my list. Would you suggest going to the multi tray installations or just a simple box?
Roch, it really depends on what you want — how big, where you’ll put it, etc…The DIY rubbermaid kit is easy to make for indoors, but it won’t let you compost a lot of waste (at least in the beginning when its only one tub high). The outdoor wooden DIY bins are great for larger scale composting. I have yet to see a prefab stackable system that impresses me. Let me know if you have other questions.