Worm Composting: How to Make a Wormery

Worm Composting: How to Make a Wormery

[Music] Wonderful, wondrous wiggling worms –
they’re just magnificent and the starting point to
healthy soil and awesome compost. Traditional compost heaps like this one
here are full of them, but there is another way to turn kitchen scraps and
weeds into nutrient-dense goodness – by using a wormery. Intrigued? Then keep watching, because in this video
we’ll show you why worm composting rocks and show you how to make a budget-friendly
wormery of your own. Wormeries, or worm composters,
use special composting worms to turn kitchen waste into nutrient-dense
compost and liquid fertilizer. They don’t smell, take up very little space, and are a great way to introduce children
to the wonders of worms. Use one as a standalone composting solution
for courtyard or balcony gardens, or as a complement to a
traditional compost heap or bin. A wormery is typically made up of at least
two compartments. The bottom compartment is where the liquid collects, which can be drained off to use as a liquid feed for your plants. The top compartment is
where your worm is will live. It’s also where you’ll add your kitchen scraps to
feed them. This is also where your compost or worm castings will be made. The lid here keeps everything from drying out
or getting flooded during a rain shower. Our wormery uses three compartments, providing an additional tray that
makes it easier to collect the worm compost. Holes in the bottom of both the middle and top trays
ensure that the liquid produced by the worms can percolate down into the collection tray at the bottom. And once the tray is full, they enable
worms to migrate up into a new tray so that compost from the vacated tray
can then be harvested. The trays we’re using are about 16×20 inches
(40x50cm) and fairly shallow at just 8 inches (20cm) deep. You’ll also need a
plastic faucet or water barrel tap, a drill and drill bits, and a lid for the
top tray. You’ll also need some worms of course, but don’t be
tempted to use earthworms from the garden. They’re great at tunnelling and improving our soil, but
not so quick at composting. I ordered these ones online. They’re a
lively mix of European night crawlers and tiger worms which are capable of eating
twice their body weight a day! So let’s assemble the wormery. First, the bottom tray. Carefully cut out or drill a hole to snugly fit the
thread of the faucet. Fit it as low as possible in the tray so that liquid isn’t
left at the bottom when you drain it off. Screw it tightly into position, then secure
with the back nut. You can raise the wormery up on bricks to make it easier
to drain off the liquid. Now let’s get on and drill those holes in
the top two trays. Drill quarter-inch (1/2 cm) holes approximately every 2
inches (5cm) right across the bottom of both trays. We’ll also drill a single row of holes
near the top of the two trays at the same size and spacing. These holes will help to improve air flow, creating a
healthier environment for your worms. OK, now for the fun part –
time to add our worms! I’m starting with an 3 inch (8cm) layer of
coir, which I’ve dampened slightly to make it nice and comfortable for the
worms. You could also use any really good quality compost. Now it’s time to add the worms. In they go! Now, they’ll soon bury themselves into
that lovely bedding material and get settled in. Now it’s time for our kitchen scraps. To start with you just want to add about 2 inches (5cm) so as not to overwhelm them and so they can settle into their
new home in peace. And finally a layer of burlap or hessian,
just to keep them nice and snug while they settle in. Now I won’t add any more material for about a week
until they’ve properly settled in. Worms like moist, warm conditions
so keep your wormery somewhere shady, and as close to room temperature as you can. They don’t like to be frozen so move the wormery indoors for winter – into a garage, outbuilding or utility room is ideal. Add food a little at a time to the top of
the compost. Avoid adding too much food at any one time,
as this risks creating an odor that will attract flies. The worms will digest any kitchen scraps,
including coffee grounds, but avoid meat or animal products such as cheese
which can attract flies. Go easy on citrus peel and alliums
like onion and garlic too, as large amounts will make conditions
too acidic for your worms. You can also add small amounts of weeds and leaves, as well as shredded non-glossy newspaper
or torn up cardboard. Once the top tray’s full, swap it round
with the empty middle tray and start filling that instead. The worms will migrate up through the holes
to where the food is, leaving the full tray empty of worms
and ready for collection. Repeat this process each time the active
tray becomes full up . The worm compost, or ‘castings’,
make a great all-purpose soil conditioner, or add them to your own potting mixes
to give them a nutritional boost. Drain the liquid off from the
bottom tray whenever it collects. This nutritional liquid, often known as worm tea
or worm wee, is a super elixir for your plants. Stir 1 part of the liquid
into 10 parts water before using. And there you have it –
a genuinely superb homemade wormery that will keep you in wonderful
worm compost and lovely liquid. If you already have a wormery, tell us about it. What do you do with all that goodness, and how have
your worms benefited your gardening? Let us know down below. Don’t miss out on any of our
upcoming how-to videos – check you’re subscribed before you leave us today, and I very much look forward
to catching you next time. [Music]


39 thoughts on “Worm Composting: How to Make a Wormery”

  • You know, I inadvertently made myself a lovely bunch of wormeries simply by temporarily tossing all my kitchen scraps into pots and setting them out in the back garden to rot down. I went to disperse of them one day and as I did, I found thousands of little creepy crawlies having a field day in the sludge I'd left them. I just put my scraps now on top of the soil and the worms do the rest. No muss, no fuss. And no, it doesn't smell. ?

  • Alaskan Sourdough Worms, Gardens, Etc. says:

    You should never have a worm bin so wet that there is leachate. Telling people to put in drain taps is bad because you get people believing that they should have liquid. Worm tea is made from castings not leachate. Worm pee should never be used on edible plants as it can contain phyto toxins that can make you sick. If you want to use it put it on trees and ornamentals. All it is is veggie juices that run through the system.

  • Moira Goldsmith says:

    I bought my first lot of tiger worms from a fishing / tackle shop 30 years ago…their descendants are still doing me proud, although 12 years ago I transferred them into a plastic compost bin. The compost produced is magic. ?

  • Thank you I'm going to save this video. After we move in the coming spring I would love to get started on a worm compost system.

  • Earthly Fireflies says:

    You must finally understand that you have a divine essence, which is above the passions, cowardice and hustle that make yourself cringe like a puppet. Marcus Aurelius Tolstoy Thoughts of wise people for every day

  • Brilliant video…Ive been keeping worms for about 10 years in a wheely bin…but it is difficult to empty when full….i like your idea..where did you buy those containers please…Im in the UK(West Midlands)….cheers..

  • I've had worm bins for 7 years now. DO NOT do what or how he says! Way too much food and way too much liquid! His way WILL attract flies and kill your worms! As much fun as the worms are, they do take some attention and care and routine to keep and raise to get good results! There are other websites that do a better job explaining how to get started and how to raise worms! Search and explore them… PLEASE!!!

  • I;ve had a wormery for years, but my worms never climb up. They crawl into the bin below and some end up in the bottom tray, drowning in the liquid.

  • Pat & Alex Bogenn, Realtors says:

    I'm guessing they won't live through the winter and you have to start again in the spring in most zones?

  • thanks for this one…of all the vids I've watched, yours appears to be the simplest and most convenient way to harvest the castings!! Ive just put two more setups together using the black and yellow home depot small bins..one inside the other..for each wormery .so If I want to do the 3rd bin…, they will be able to migrate to the top bin?

  • I've had a worm bin for a bit over a year. It provides great castings, but as it is only 2 bins, it is difficult to collect them. I will be retuning mine to your design and I think the worms and I shall both be happier! I've also just created worm hotels in my raised beds to add compost directly into a PVC pipe that has holes drilled at the bottom for the worms to enter and exit as they please.

    As usual, thank you for taking the time to share your wonderful ideas and knowledge. Be Blissed!

  • I recommend for anyone moving the bin inside or trying this inside to drill much smaller aeration holes on the side than shown, or to add screening along the inside. You will inevitably end up with fruit flies. And you don’t want to surprise your significant other with a swarm invading your kitchen (yes I did this).

  • In SW of UK, I've had a Can o' Worms wormery for many years, yes, it gets fruit flies, yes it gets wet (due to high rainfall levels in this area), yes I get gallons of worm wee and yes I've used it to fertilise food crops with no ill effects. Not claiming I am am expert, and I share the experience of Caro below, whose worms never climb up a layer, I have to split the wormery and separate off sections of the jelly like castings to let them dry in the air and the worms move out to the remaining bit until I have a compact mass of worms to restart the layer with. Maybe if it was all a lot drier… but you live where you live ! I am fond of my worms and thoroughly believe in composting but this method is (for me) a lot of work. Your comments are making me think of putting a rain cover over the top of my wormery, maybe that will help.

  • David Livingston says:

    I wouldn't use the liquid that drains out directly on plants. It is usually anaerobic and can bring unhealthy bacteria into your root zone. All bacteria have their purpose in nature, but the bacteria in the drainage liquid is not as good as an aerobic compost tea which is made by aerating water, adding sugar, and adding worm castings. Look up actively aerated compost tea. Works way better!

  • I set up a worm bin in an apartment. It wasn't too difficult to start. Collecting kitchen scraps was easy also.
    After a month, on one sleepless night, out of interest, I checked out the worm bin with a flashlight to see how the worms were doing. I immediately spotted tiny insects crawling on the food scraps, and the container surface, and a few of them were on the FLOOR. I panicked and used Rubbing alcohol to kill the ones on the floor and wiped the surface of the container. I signed up for the worms and the compost, not the tiny insects. It turns out those were mites that appear and break down any organic matters, and they are supposedly beneficial for the soil. I don't doubt that but still the thought of living with the tiniest insects in my living space turned me right off.

    Took the worm bin to my office. : – ) I am not doing the worm bin until I get a single family house in a suburb somewhere.

  • Sgt. Salvador Monteverde, USMC, Retired says:

    Thank You very much for this informative , direct, and to the point video. Very easy to follow.
    WOULD ANYBODY KNOW; Approximately how long it would take to start producing 'Worm Tea'?? Sounds really delish!!
    Thank you all for your help!! Take care and GOD Bless!!!!
    Disabled Vet

  • Oh what a world we live in! Keep at room temp. Guess what mine is with no central heating at any given time? Don't mean to be mean but please give a specific temp and I'll work out if they can survive. I'm in south uk so hopeful …. Sloppy in that sense. Can do better.

  • Hurley Cape town says:

    Another cheap way to introduce your kids to worms is to not spend the money on Deworming tablets when they are young.

  • I haven't found nice containers like this to use . I really like the look of this – though I'm concerned that the the chewed up plastic left by the drill bit might be hard for the worms to slither by – I'd sand them down. Any link for such containers (economical) in Canada would be appreciated 🙂

  • Raymond Whittier says:

    The flat sided bin you show at 3:56 is exactly what I need for my table scraps. Can you please tell me where you got it, brand name, etc?

  • michael garneau says:

    I go to Florida for ~ 4&1/2 months each winter. I could bring my wormery indoors and have my neighbors "feed" the worms occasionally. I keep my home at ~ 50 F while i am gone. Is this an acceptable temperature? How often to feed under those conditions? Any other useful hints should i proceed? Mike -> [email protected]

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