Houzz TV: Make a Worm Bin for Rich Soil and Happy Plants

Houzz TV: Make a Worm Bin for Rich Soil and Happy Plants

Continue Watching
Watch Now
Share this Video:
Replay Video

Houzz TV: Make a Worm Bin for Rich Soil and Happy Plants

Gardening with worms, you say? Exactly. Vermicomposting, the process of composting with worms, not only creates a nutrient-rich amendment for your soil and plants, but also saves you from throwing out your fruit and vegetable scraps. And you don’t need a backyard to do it — under the kitchen sink can work.

Evan Marks, founder and executive director of The Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano, California, shows how to assemble and maintain your own worm-powered compost factory bin.

Comment33
Keep Watching:
Comments (33)
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
amardeep

thanks a lot for a nice informative video

8 Likes    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
penchant4paper

Great video. More please!

3 Likes    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
barbadosbybus
I was very interested in having a vermicomposter a while ago, but after doing some reading it seemed to me that this isn't the kind of thing you can leave for more than a couple of weeks at a time. The poor worms might starve! I also read something about "attracting other critters" which was a deal breaker... Am I wrong about this? It would be good to know. I have stuck to outdoor composting for now, but if I ever want to try indoor composting I think I might go with a bokashi composter instead.
6 Likes    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sabra900
We have been worm composting for years. The liquid or worm tea is amazing stuff although we never dilute out as far as this article says to. We have been very successful with a 50/50 mix with water. Our tomatoes love the stuff. These worms especially love watermelon and can go through a batch of rinds very quickly.
7 Likes    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
leslieatthelake

when you pull the soil out, don't you end up removing the worms and putting them into the garden / plant container instead? or do you have to sort through and put the worms back into the bin first?

6 Likes    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cdrkey

Can I add red wiggler worms directly to my compost pile outside in the garden? Is a bin necessary? Would they die off over the winter (zone 4)? My pile is quite large and I would like it to decompose faster.

6 Likes    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ecogirl1368

Yes, you have to sort the worms out. My worm "farm" started 26 years ago, have used three different types of containers over the years (Rubbermaid home version similar to this one, a stacking model, through to the 'hungry bin' I have today). All require hands on to separate the rich castings from the worms. As far as critters, if you leave outside, and unlocked....well let's just say I've had raccoons and bears come and knock the bins over, so even though there's not a noticeable smell to us, animals find it attractive. After the last bear clawed though my (bungy cord locked) stacker, I moved the worms into the garage. You do have to protect from extreme cold/heat, so this batch seems happy in their new domicile. My bin is so large that not feeding them for three weeks, is ok, but wouldn't leave it much longer.

8 Likes    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
blueyes1125

Does it have to be raw food after the first application or can you use cooked veggies?


1 Like    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ecogirl1368

I've used both with my established bin, but make sure your cooked ones don't contain salt, oils, butter or other sauce.

6 Likes    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Jon Godbeer

A good source for both worms and "bedding" for the worms is horse manure. We have horses on a farm we run and the manure pile is full of red wigglers, which are supposed to be awesome composters. The manure is favorable for them as bedding. Can't say that I understand why, but they are drawn to it.

5 Likes    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Jeanne Kays

IKEA TROFAST storage boxes with lids! Great idea...but can I convince my husband?

3 Likes    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Jeanne Kays

I assume that you wouldn't want to add anything that is already moldy or spoiled to the mix, but I don't know that for sure. Also, I've read that too much citrus isn't good for general (non-worm) composting. Is that also true for worm composting?

3 Likes    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Liese Sadler
If you're getting horse manure make sure non-treated hay was fed, many organic gardens have been poisoned because the herbicides used pass thru the horse. Unfortunately most horse farms don't know if hay was from treated fields. If you see weird deformed leaves, plants are stunted talk to your county extension agent for confirmation.
2 Likes    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ecogirl1368
I've added spoiled and moldy items to my worms. The food breaks down/oxidizes in the bin anyway, so it's not a problem. No citrus (or in very small amounts only) and no banana peels. Other items that just don't break down well include avocado peels/pits, pumpkin seeds and the paper onion/garlic outer layers. I'm careful about how much coffee grounds I add (your local barista should be able to provide free bags), they tend to really heat the bin, and once caused the worms to surface by the thousands!
6 Likes    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pafarmhouse

We tried vermicomposting at least 20 years ago. We ordered red wigglers and kept a bin in our basement. We made some really nice compost but just couldn't keep the fruit fly problem in check. We gave up after a couple of seasons.

3 Likes    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Lenisa Wayne Harris Cooper

Question, when adding the plant matter, can it be from the yard as well. Like leaves and grass or just from the garden type stuff???

4 Likes    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ecogirl1368

My experience with grass was similar to coffee grounds, a little is good, but too much causes significant heat in the bin.

3 Likes    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hawkb

Do not use meat/food scraps in your "organic" compost! Natural stuff only! Your compost should smell like great rich dirt. If your compost stinks/smells rotten, you've done something wrong!

4 Likes    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Julie Aleixandre, ERA Buyers & Sellers Real Estate

I kept a worm bin going in my garage through heat and cold for about 3 years. The trick was to learn the right moisture level. It was surprising to me that there were no odors involved.

3 Likes    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Jerry Bob

Might have to try this as we don't generate a ton of compost and this is a more manageable size. Currently we have an outdoor compost pile where we basically dump just about all of our kitchen waste except meats/fats/oils. (Vegetable oil I keep for fuel, but that's another story.) When it rains, we often have tons of worms all over our street and driveway and gutter - I just go out and rescue as many of them as I have time to capture and toss them on our compost pile. They seem to know what to do without a lot of input from us. Also, since the worms are free to maneuver under the fence around our compost pile, many of them find their way into our lawn, which is great for the lawn soil, too.

5 Likes    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
stlouisgaltoo
Sure, maybe the occasional indoor mouse will welcome a smorgasbord. Uh...no thank you.
2 Likes    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Kathi Steele

I keep mine outdoors, year round. Zone 5. I have 3 containers that I use.

I buy new red wigglers each spring. I have holes bored thru the Rubbermaid containers so they can overwinter in the dirt, but I add to the population just in case!

I add my compost thru the winter, add dirt as needed and more worms in the spring. I use the compost as I need in my gardens thru the growing seasons.

My bins are 10 feet from the back door, by the trash containers, but hidden by a Carolina Silverbell and yarrow and hostas and other plants. Those plants look amazing!!

I tried indoors, but the fruit flies were terrible and my husband boycotted!!

2 Likes    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gtb5

I used to do this in Scotland Uk with a v large bin and lots of waste material and worms. Works a treat! Great video.

2 Likes    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Jo
I have to rabbits and have read their feces are ideal for worm farms.. Any tips on using the rabbit feces?
2 Likes    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
The Ecology Center

Thank you all for the comments! Here are some answers to above questions:

Worm bins transform food scraps, even if it is moldy, very fast into amazing nutrient rich organic compost. 1 pound of worms can go through 1/2 pound of food to 1 pound of food in one day. The smaller the food pieces the better and faster. The bin does not attract flies or other critters if it has a good lid. The worm tea can be diluted as much as one wants, at least 50/50. Worms from the bin put in well established "hot-piles" will survive winter. The point of the bin is to save space and create compost fast.

Has anyone that did not have a worm bin before started one since seeing this video?


1 Like    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Kalbarri Picture Framers

much appreciated info d

1 Like    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pjcottle1

A wormery is the best way to compost kitchen waste in my experience. I will now try the under skin method - mine is outside.

2 Likes    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Chic Super Housewife
Thank you for sharing this method. Will try soon.
   
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Vanadis Ward
Thank you for this article, it's great. (I can sense the worms turning as I write!)
1 Like    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jamesanddeirdre

Will be trying again with my worm bin since watching this video. It became a soggy mess before. Adding the newspaper and layering the materials is something I didn't do last time. I have thousands of worms in my rat proof outdoor compost bin which I move to different areas of the vegetable garden each year. This is huge and set on the ground so I can't harvest any worm tea from it for my other plants. Thanks guys

1 Like    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Karpu Kamchi
wow! always heard of vermicomposting, never knew it could be done so easily. Am buying my kit today.
1 Like    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
azhrtalabtkar
पवदलरृ
2 Likes    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Sasha R

We have a hamster... could you put his used bedding materials (sawdust) into a vermicomposter?

   
Step into a Ferguson Showroom and you'll be surrounded by the latest styles in kitchen, bath and lighting design... Read More