To Make A Worm Bin Use Rubbermaid Container
The above picture is a small Rubbermaid Roughneck container only 12 inches by 10 inches and 7 inches deep. A portable worm bin for demonstration use. Not nearly large enough for all the scraps from a family. The bigger containers are recommended for that. Drilling small (less than a 1/4 inch) holes in the top and sides allows good airflow.
We shredded newspaper for the worm bedding making sure to fill the bin well then sprinkled water on the paper until it was thoroughly wet but not dripping puddles into the bottom. Let it sit and soak up the extra water or add more shredded paper if necessary.
If you do not have access to a shredder hand rip the paper into thin strips. Pulling down the page from top to bottom, not side to side, to get long thin strips easily. Separate and fluff up the strips. You can use dry crumbled leaves that have fallen from your trees,either alone or mixed with the paper. For now I am sticking with the newspaper but might try the leaves in another bin to see what happens.
We added a few handfulls of garden soil which the worms use like grit to aid in digesting the organic matter.
For a large container start with 1/2 to a full pound of worms. There are about 1000 redworms (Eisenia fetida) to a pound.This small container we are using has only about a quarter pound but worms reproduce fast. If you buy a pound to split between 3 or 4 people it will take only a couple of months for each bin to reach full garbage eating capacity.
Worms like moderate temperatures from about 50 to 70 degrees, a moist environment (worms die if they dry out or if bedding stays dripping wet ), and food scraps but no meat, dairy or greasy foods that can become rancid. We have more than enough vegetable scraps to keep this bunch fat and happy. A much larger bin is in the works already.
It will take three to six months for enough castings to harvest. When all the food and bedding has disappeared and all you see is rich dark castings it is time.
Where does one keep a worm bin? Well, ours is sitting in the laundry room for the moment. A basement would work or a heated garage. Any ideas?
UIUC Extension Chicago Home Composting
Slide show link
Worms eat my garbage by Mary Appelhof
Worms eat our garbage by Mary Appelhof (Classroom Activities )
Buying Worms This is where our worms came from.