Vermicomposting – How to make a cheap worm bin

Why would I want a worm bin? Well my initial reason was my daughter wanted a pet worm and I decided making a worm bin would be a much better option than having worms escaping in our house. After researching into the world of vermicomposting, harvesting worm poop or castings for the nicer which is basically the best thing you can add to your garden. It is also a great way to compost your garden/kitchen waste if you have limited outdoor space such as a condo or apartment. There are actually many books on the subject but the most well known is Worms Eat My Garbage most likely for the catchy title.

There are many options for creating a worm bin for Vermicomposting. You can take a 5 gallon bucket drill a few holes (1/2 inch) in the bottom and stack multiple or use a single one and put a lid on top also with some hole drilled (1/4 in) in it. If you are really serious and want to make harvesting your castings easier, you can purchase a worm factory or Worm Chalet online.

I obviously like to go the cheap route and I didn’t have any extra 5 gallon buckets I wanted to sacrifice, so I opted for another method of using a 14 gallon Rubbermaid container. Using the same premise as the bucket I drilled 3 holes (1/2 in) in the bottom for drainage and about 30-40 around the top 3 inches of the container to allow for sufficeint airflow. As any project my daughter insists she needs to “decorate” which included coloring and labeling our finished product with a permanent marker.

16 Responses to “Vermicomposting – How to make a cheap worm bin”

  1. Rachel Says:

    I have a commercial worm factory myself, but I really enjoy vermicomposting. I found your weblog on the blotanical.com entries list, but I’ll be returning – you have many of the same organic (cheap) gardening interests that I do.Best wishes!Rachel @ in bloom


  2. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    Glad you are enjoying the blog, I have thought about trying the worm factory myself, but the cheap side of me always overpowers 🙂


  3. Connie Says:

    Stick with your cheap system. I used a homemade wooden worm box for several years, then decided to get the fancy Can-O-Worms. I killed 2 batches of worms in that thing! I sold it on Ebay, then used a Rubbermaid container like yours until my worms multiplied and now I am back to the large wooden box again, which is my favorite method. Plans for the box are in Mary Applehof’s “Worms Eat my Garbage.”


  4. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    I have also considered the wooden option since I am sure it works better in insulating on both hot and cold days, where the thin plastic is definitely at a disadvantage.


  5. Bruce F Says:

    This is fascinating.I’ve got another use for those Rubbermaid tubs. I use them to grow vegetables on my garage roof.A few of us who live in the city of Chicago are trying to grow heirloom vegetables on our rooftops in cheap homemade earthboxes. In response to huge environmental problems, it’s a small but rewarding way to push back. Also, we think they’re a great way to build connections in a fragmented social/political landscape.Not selling anything, I’m giving “it” away. Here’s the , alongside the pics is a little how-to guide with plenty of links.


  6. Anonymous Says:

    Here is a good website that covers worm farming and vermicompost.http://compostingwormbins.com/


  7. Wicked Gardener Says:

    I’ve enjoyed the vermicomposting posts. It has given me hope that your bin looks quite a bit like mine. I guess now I’ll have to get some worms!


  8. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    wicked, I glad you enjoyed the posts though my worm bin has been doing well, I must say the combost bin definetaly has many more worms. The kids prefer to feed the worms in their bin though.


  9. Mandy B Says:

    I enjoyed reading this, I am ordering my worms tomorrow and using the cheap version. I see no reason to spend too much money on something I don’t really need. It’s been funny being called a hippie just because I am excited to try this out. So, thanks for the info.


  10. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    Mandy, I haven’t been called a hippie yet (at least to my face) but had a few neighbors mention, “You have what in your garage?” Though later have been asked to they can do the same thing in theirs. I have been tempted to try out of the commercial options since harvesting is a little labor intensive. Having multiple shallower bins could make this a little easier though. I guess there is nothing wrong with being cheap, especially with our current economy.


  11. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you for this wonderful article. I've been wanting to try indoor vermicomposting for a while but the cost of worms have kept me from trying. I finally found a local bait shop that has the red wigglers. It's a small quantity but perfect to start out for an apartment dweller like me. :)Has anyone tried to use one of the 'critter keepers' they sell at petstores? I have an extra one and thought with the holed lid it would be ideal. However it isn't dark – if I keep it in a dark cabinent would that work?


  12. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    Not sure how many you could keep in a critter keeper (though I may be thinking of small sizes in my head) Given they are clean on the sides you may want to paint or use duct tape to block the light coming in from the sides. A little light is ok, but the worms will avoid the areas that are lit so less room for worms to live. If you want to save the critter keeper for later putting them in a dark cabinet would work as well.Some other creative ideas I have heard, keep them under your sink next to your garbage can, much easier to remember to given them your kitchen scraps. Also heard creating a little shoot that goes to the worms in their crawlspace.


  13. We’ve Got Worms! « The Academy for Global Citizenship Blog Says:

    […] […]


  14. Scott Says:

    Great post as I had this question too.

    http://www.wiltedleaf.com/407/how-do-i-make-a-worm-box


  15. Vermicomposting - How get your worm bin ready - The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    […] you have created your own worm bin now you need to get it ready for your worms. The worms need some bedding, which you can buy some […]


  16. Stephan Says:

    Thank you for the great article!

    For all those who want the probably cheapest worm bin in the world! Have a look at my solution :-)! It really works!

    There are a lot of homemade wormeries around.

    Worms are not fussy! If you make sure their basic requirements are met they will live, breed and multiply just about anywhere.

    They even live in ordinary plastic bags hanging on a tree!!

    The bags are a compost worm experiment we started a while ago!

    We added safe worm bedding, different kinds of food and some compost worms to 3 worm bins.

    Actually more accurately we should call them worm bags!
    Ordinary plastic bags from a grocery store.

    A few holes in the bottom of the bags to ensure proper drainage, and some air holes at the top for enough air circulation and ready where our Budget worm farms!

    They have been hanging in the tree since the 15th of May 2012.

    I am checking out all three bags regularly and after more than a year the worms are still fine and seem to be enjoying themselves.

    They have survived several cold weather fronts with loads of rain and are safe from moles which are amongst their worst enemies.

    In addition the worms have a shady place in case the sun decides to burn down on us one of these days!

    I will continue the experiment and will tell you more

    about the worms well being and the speed of the recycling in the near future.

    Our worm bags are obviously not the prettiest worm farms around but certainly amongst the more unusual and cheapest worm farms and living prove that worms can grow on trees 🙂 !!

    kind regards and happy worming


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