Worm farming is an excellent way to recycle your food and garden waste, keeping pounds of garbage out of the municipal waste stream. More importantly, by keeping worms year-round, you will get a head start on the spring planting season by stockpiling nutrient-rich castings that will make your garden the envy of your friends and neighbors.
You can care for worms in every season and climate, provided you keep them in the right place. Proper placement is crucial to keep your worms happy, healthy, and safe while greedily munching your waste throughout the year.
There are two important factors to take into consideration when placing your worm bin. The first is environmental. Like most plants, animals, and humans, red wrigglers thrive under certain conditions and struggle to survive under others. We’ll take a look at these factors in detail so you can develop the ideal worm habitat.
Convenience, on the other hand, should not be overlooked. An out of sight worm bin will simply exist, while a bin that you actually see and maintain will thrive.
Ready to get started? Here’s some tips to help you select the perfect placement for your worm composting system.
- Temperature Considerations – The optimal temperature for your red wrigglers is between 55° and 75° Fahrenheit. Temperatures that fall outside of this range will encourage your worms to eat and reproduce more slowly, and extreme temperatures can kill your worms. You will know your worms are cold if they huddle together in a writhing mass. If they are too hot they will try to escape. Because of this, you should never place your worm bin in direct sunlight.
- Moisture Considerations – In order for worms to breathe, their skin must be kept moist. Ideally you’re looking for about 80% moisture, like a damp sponge. There should be no dripping or standing water and no spots that are entirely dry. Your bins should never be left in a place where they can become saturated.
- Ventilation Considerations – Your worm composting system should be placed in a spot that is well-ventilated to maintain optimal oxygen levels, but out of the way of strong winds that will cause it to dry out quickly. Positioning your bin on top of cement blocks or bricks will allow air to flow underneath.
While the right environment can have a huge impact on the growth and stability of your worm colony, in some ways locating your worms in a convenient spot is even more important. Your bins will not survive long if they are neglected, and if you rarely visit the detached garage or the musty corner of your basement, do not make the mistake of placing your worm bins there. Concerned about potential odors? If your bins are maintained properly there will be no detectable smell. As an added bonus, if your bins are positioned in an area that you frequent, you will quickly know if and when there is a problem simply by following your nose.
Where you choose to locate your worm bins will depend entirely upon your unique living situation, but here are some basic pros and cons for some of the most popular locations both inside and outside your home.
Pros: This probably the most convenient spot if you have room. Worms in your kitchen will be just steps away from an abundance of table scraps, known to your worms as tasty treats. You are in your kitchen every day and your worms will never be neglected.
Cons: Temperature fluctuations might be a problem, and you’ll have to educate (convince) your friends and family about all the benefits of worm composting.
Pros: If you have an abundance of closet space, this could be ideal. The worms are out of the way, but close enough to attend to.
Cons: It might be easy to forget your worms if they’re stuffed behind your shoes and under your workout bag. Air circulation could also be a problem, and you might have trouble caring for your worms and harvesting your castings if space is tight.
Garage / Shed
Pros: There’s a good chance your garage or shed is closer to your garden, and you won’t have to worry about making a mess.
Cons: If you live in a cold or hot climate, you will have to watch out for extreme temperatures. Pests could be problematic.
Patio / Balcony
Pros: Your worm bin is situated near your home where you can access it easily without actually taking up space inside your home.
Con: As with the garage and shed, temperature extremes could be problematic. Be sure it isn’t situated in direct sunlight.
Pros: You don’t have to worry so much about making a mess in the basement, and the temperature is usually quite stable. Basements are especially nice if you are down there anyway – doing laundry, shooting pool, or keeping house.
Cons: If you don’t visit your basement regularly, it’s easy to forget about your worms.
Pros: If you have room in your bathroom for worms, you’re lucky. Your worms will stay nice and moist, and you’ll keep all your poop in one place.
Cons: As with the kitchen, worms in your bathroom mean that you’ll have some explaining to do when visitors come calling.
So I chose a location. Now what?
The Squirm Firm wants to help you raise healthy, happy worms in order to produce your own nutrient-rich, organic worm castings in the comfort of your own home. Our blog is chock-full of guidelines, tips, and ideas for starting and maintaining your own thriving worm colony. For tips on raising the healthiest worms in your neighborhood, delivered to your inbox once a month, be sure to sign-up for our newsletter in the sign-up box below.
And speaking of neighborhoods, just think where we’d be if everyone was turning their kitchen and garden waste into rich, black worm castings. You can help make it happen by sharing this post with your friends. You may not be able to save the world with a worm farm, but every step toward sustainable living is a step in the right direction.
Article by Donny B
My bin did not include a worm ladder. Can I use it without this item? How do I get one?
Hi Armando. Sorry to hear your bin didn’t come with a ladder. Was it one of the Worm Factory products? They very often get “lost”, actually hidden, right inside the lid the way they are packaged. I do hope it shows up for you. But if not, getting a replacement I think is done through the manufacturer of the bin. Regardless- your worms are very able to climb walls. They do it all the time. It may not be as efficient- perhaps a little ball of paper or a smashed solo cup could even be enough to serve as a ladder for the time being. Happy worm composting!