DIY: How to make a wormery

Photo: Pixabay, Natfot, CC0
Photo: Pixabay, Natfot, CC0

Did you know that anything that has lived and died can be composted? And that includes kitchen waste such as vegetable peelings, cooked food, tea leaves, coffee grounds,wormerygarden waste, packaging waste such as cardboard, even dust from your vacuum. It’s a great way to dispose of your organic kitchen waste and generate great compost for your potted plants and all the plants in your yard.

Composting worms eat half their own weight in organic waste everyday. It is an easy & efficient system of converting ordinary kitchen waste into top quality compost through the natural action of worms. 30% of house hold waste is organic and can be recycled, so by using a wormery you reduce the waste dumped in landfill sites, reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and you get the benefit of all that liquid feed and compost absolutely free!

How to Make a Wormery

You will need:

* 1 large (10 gal.) tub with a lid,

* a drill,

* 2 pieces of rust-free screen cut to fit the tub

* a round piece of heavy duty plastic perforated with holes and cut to fit into the bottom of the tub,

* a tray that the tub can sit on, (The lid of another tub works.)

* some shredded newspaper (or leaf mold or straw manure)

* your organic kitchen waste,

* and most important of all, your worms.


Drill holes in the bottom and sides of the tub to allow any excess liquid to escape, as you don’t want to drown the worms. Place the tub on the tray. Line the bottom of the tub with rust-free screen. Then lay down a layer of shredded dampened newspaper  (or leaf mould or straw manure) as bedding and add the worms. Place your food scraps on top. Cover with rust-free screen and lid. You will need redworms will tolerate temperatures between 55 and 77 degrees. If the bedding gets higher than 84 degrees, the worms may die. If the bin starts to smell it could be too acidic, cut back on the orange peel.


You will need approximately 8 ozs. (500) of redworms  (not night crawlers) per tub. You can order worms online through all sorts of places. I got my original batch at It is important at the start not to be tempted to overfeed the worms. Too much food will putrefy; worms do not like this.

Lime – Add a handful every couple of weeks to your wormery. It’s a great tonic, stops acid build up and aids the worms’ digestion. It also has drying properties making it ideal for wet or underperforming wormeries. Egg shells serve the same purpose.

Locate your tub so that it receives the morning sun, and keep out of the direct sunlight as this will fry the worms! Remember, it may be necessary to move your tub into a shed during the winter so that the worms don’t freeze.