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Revision as of 23:54, 3 May 2011

Instructions for Building Worm Bin Kids Alone

Materials needed

Two half-gallon waxed cardboard juice or milk cartons, duct tape, scissors, and several sharp pencils/pencil sharpeners.


  1. Obtain two half-gallon waxed cardboard cartons. Make sure they are rinsed out and dry before beginning to construct the worm bin.
  2. To make the migration hole for the worms between the two cartons, a 2” by 3” hole is cut into the side of each container but in the exact same location along one of the sides, so that when the two cartons are lined up the holes match exactly. To make the hole, poke four holes in the shape of a rectangle in the same location on both cartons with a sharp pencil. This makes it easier to then cut out the holes with scissors.
  3. Poke holes for ventilation and drainage along the sides and bottoms of both cartons. Three holes along the middle and five along the bottom is sufficient.
  4. Flaps are then cut into the topside of each carton, i.e. the side with the largest surface area and with the label saying “Humboldt Creamery”, etc. The same method is used as for cutting the migrations holes. Poke one hole in each corner of the top side of the carton, but cut along only three of the four connecting holes to make a flap instead of a rectangular hole.
  5. The two cartons can now be connected with duct tape. Tape the top and bottom of the cartons together lengthwise on both sides. If using cartons with flap dispensers instead of screw top spouts tape those shut as well.
  6. Finally, use more duct tape to make tabs for the worm bin’s flaps
Fig 1: The Migration hole is shown on the inside of the worm bin

Care and Matainance

The bin is now ready to be filled. It is necessary supply the worms the material to make their homes. These materials are referred to as bedding. Common bedding materials include damp shredded newspaper, grass clippings, leaves, and small amounts of dirt or manure. Bedding and organic material the worms will help decompose are placed in both of the connected cartons. Allow bedding to sit for about a week before placing the worms in their new home.

The last step is deciding what to place inside the bin. Worms love and fruit or vegetable matter, and most other organic material. Red worms enjoy breads and grains,cereal, coffee grounds and filters or tea bags,and any fruits or vegetables. Worms will avoid dairy products, fats, meat, oils, and any feces of a carnivore or herbivore.

Once the bin is working and the worms are installed, minimal upkeep is required--make sure to keep your bin damp and your worms fed, and turn over the bedding every week to keep harmful gases produced by decomposition from building up in the bin. Also remember to collect castings periodically--when the bedding is gone and the bin is full of a dark, loamy material,the bin is now filled with nothing but castings and needs to be emptied. Replace the bin with new bedding, replace the worms, and start again!

Commence composting!