A worm composter, also known as a worm bin or vermicomposter, is a container wherein the living environment for compost worms such as red wigglers and European nightcrawlers is simulated in order for the process of vermicomposting or best worm for composting to be done successfully.
These bins or composters can be ordered and purchased online or from the nearest compost shop in your area. But if you like to DIY and you love saving up, building one for your worm composting project can be a breeze. Read on to know how to successfully build, store, and maintain a home for your compost worms.
Building A Worm Composter
As mentioned above, building a worm composter can be fairly easy. However, like any other equipment, there are things you have to put in consideration in order for your worms to thrive in the environment you are trying to recreate. The goal here is to simulate the ideal living environment of worms as much as possible. So without further ado, here are the things you will be needing as well as easy-to-follow instructions in building a proper worm composter.
Things You Need
- Two (2) containers
Make sure that one is taller and the other one is big enough to accommodate the taller container. In a way, this will serve as a container for sieved materials that the the other container may generate.
You will be needing to drill holes in your worm composter. Worms cannot thrive in a tightly sealed box. Like any other creature, they need oxygen. To ensure that your bin is properly aerated and ventilated, you will have to drill holes in some parts of your bin. You will need a drill with approximately with a 1/8-inch diameter.
- Screening Components
Because you will be drilling holes big enough for a worm to escape, it is a good idea to have a screening material prepared to prevent this from happening. The normal type of screen used in windows will do the trick. If you can find other suitable screening materials, feel free to use them. After all, you will need small scraps of the material anyway. Just remember not to use any metal screening material for there is a high chance that it will corrode due to the moist environment of the worm composter.
- Waterproof Glue
Needless to say, you will need some sort of adhesive to keep the screening materials in place even under wet conditions. Use waterproof glue to ensure that the glue will stay intact even if exposed to water and moisture.
Building the Worm Composter
Step 1: Drill holes around the taller bin.
Drill a 1-inch hole approximately two inches from the surface of the taller bin that you have prepared on both sides. Afterward, drill ⅛ inch holes near the bottom or the corners of the said bin. This will ensure that your worms will have a sufficient supply of oxygen, which they need in order to live.
Remember not to drill too many holes to keep sunlight away. After all, worms like to live in dark and dim places away from the sun. In relation to this, avoid storing your bin in a location where it is directly exposed to the sun.
Step 2: Cover the holes with screening material.
Cover every hole with the screening material that you have prepared. Use waterproof glue to set the materials in place. Leave the adhesive to dry for a couple of minutes before moving on to the next step.
Step 3: Place the taller bin inside the other bin.
As mentioned above, a wider and bigger second bin is needed to trap sieved materials from the taller bin. Your second bin does not necessarily need to be tall. However, it does not need to be wide enough to loosely fit your taller bin in. Remember, the taller bin should be loosely fitted in; avoid using a second bin where the taller bin snuggly fits.
Step 4: Set up your worm composter for vermicomposting.
Now that you have successfully built a worm composter for your worms, you can finally set up and prepare your bin for worm composting. Simply add moist bedding materials and compost worms in your bin. You can follow instructions from our quick beginner’s guide in setting up your worm composter to have it ready for vermicomposting.
Maintaining A Worm Composter
Maintaining your worm composter is a must to keep your worms healthy and thriving. For starters, place your worm bin in areas with a temperature range of 5° C to 30° C. During summer, make sure that the bin is located in a shady area, especially if it’s kept outdoors. However, store your worm composter in a basement of the heated garage during winter to prevent your worms from freezing.
Remember that worms work slower when the weather is colder, so reduce the number of food scraps that you feed your worms every week. However, if you find it impossible to decrease the food waste volume, it’s best to find your composter a warmer storage room.
Do chop or cut the food scraps into smaller pieces, especially if it’s a bit too large. This can help the breaking down the process a lot faster. Remember that compost worms do not have teeth, so you will need to cut your leftovers into smaller pieces for their convenience. Furthermore, make it a habit to blend food scraps with some dry bedding material to prevent them from clumping together. Ultimately, this is the best way to ensure that the scaps will be distributed properly, eliminating the risk of them rotting and emitting a foul odor.
If you put fruit diet in your worm composter, there is a high chance that fruit flies will linger around your bin. You can use a fly trap to eliminate them. Another way to keep fruit flies away is by adding extra bedding materials to keep the bin dry.
Overall, it’s best that you maintain your composter by routinely lifting up some of the materials in the bin. Add fresh food scraps and fresh bedding at the bottom. In this way, you can make sure that the environment stays well-ventilated.