Get Started Worm Farming: A Beginner’s Guide

Did you know that it’s possible to turn food waste into gold? No, we aren’t talking about alchemy, we’re talking about vermicomposting!

Vermicomposting, or worm farming, is a natural, sustainable, and incredibly effective way to create nutrient-dense compost for gardening. Worm composting takes advantage of the natural process of worm digestion. Happy, full, and pooping worms provide you with a virtually limitless supply of high-quality fertilizer for your garden!

What is a worm farm?

Before you get started worm farming, it is important to learn how it works. At its core, worm farming is a process designed to generate nutrient-dense compost. This compost is ideal for home gardens while being far easier to attain and less expensive than other composting methods.

Traditionally, gardeners who want to use compost must either let it slowly decompose – which can be smelly (and time-consuming!) – or spend money on fertilizer made somewhere else, which can quickly add up (especially for those who like to do a lot of gardening).

Why Start Raising Worms

You might be surprised to learn the numerous benefits that raising worms can offer. Whether your concerns are environmental, financial, or horticultural, worm farming can provide significant value to those who are willing to put in the effort. Although there are many benefits that come with worm farming, according to our readers, these are the four of the most significant:

1. Reduce Household Waste

Every day, we produce huge amounts of waste in our homes. Everything from banana peels to old newspapers would normally add up to a lot of waste thrown away. In fact, it is estimated that Americans generate about 67 million tons of organic waste every year, and less than a third of that waste ends up composted. Part of the reason for this is that many Americans think composting is too difficult or not worth their time and effort.

Whether you are interested in reducing the environmental impact of your household, or you just like the idea of reusing what would otherwise be garbage in a useful way, vermicomposting is by far one of the best ways to do so.

In addition, not just organic waste can be used. Even paper waste (such as newspapers and cardboard) play a role in the composting process.

2. Limitless Supply of “Black Gold”

Anyone who has been gardening for a while knows that fertilizer is one of the most significant expenses in home gardening. Nevertheless, the payoff (both in terms of enjoyment as well as the financial savings of growing your own fruits and vegetables) almost always outweighs the costs. But, what if you could create all the fertilizer you needed for free? Wouldn’t that make gardening that much more enjoyable?

The compost generated from vermicomposting is called “black gold” for a reason! The incredibly nutrient-dense material can turn even the most barren soil (the type of soil you’ll often find in your backyard) into great gardening soil. Over time, this “black gold” can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in fertilizer money! That saves time, money, and the environment!

3. Valuable Teaching Opportunities

Vermicomposting is a great activity to teach your child as well. It is simple enough that most children are able to pick it up quickly, but also requires a level of responsibility that proves invaluable down the road. Vermicomposting is most effective when it is maintained for a few minutes every day. It can be a great alternative (or addition) to teaching your child responsibility through the care of a pet.

Not only that, but vermicomposting teaches your child about the value of conservation. Raising worms introduces them to the fun and rewarding world of gardening in a way they understand. Think about it: many kids play in the dirt anyway, now you can make it a worthwhile endeavor!

4. Great Conversation Starter!

Worm farms are popular in many parts of the world. However, it’s still a relatively new concept across much of the United States. If gardening is something that you enjoy talking about with your friends, vermicomposting can be an interesting and fruitful addition to your conversation.

Benefits of Worm Castings

Worm castings generate the best compost in the world. Not only are they made through a completely organic process, but they also provide the perfect balance of nitrogen, phosphates, potash, and all the other plant nutrients that your garden needs to thrive. Of course, not all worms are the same, and the Red Wiggler worm is by far the best worm for vermicomposting.

The worm casings themselves are the result of the digestive process the worms go through. The material itself naturally mixes into the soil of the worm farm, producing the highly valued fertilizer.

If you are worried that you’re somehow disrupting the natural process by harvesting the worm castings, don’t be! Studies have shown that worms don’t actually thrive best in their own castings, so you’ll actually be doing them a favor every time you harvest new fertilizer for your garden!

Some other benefits of worm castings include:

Is Worm Farming Difficult?

In a word: NO! Worm farming is actually incredibly easy to learn. That’s why we encourage you to teach your children how to do it; it’s a great skill that is absolutely manageable by even relatively young children. In order to create a worm farm, all you have to do is follow a few simple steps:

  1. Build or find a container – The first step is to find a container (typically wood or plastic) to hold the farm itself. While it is possible to build a container yourself, commercially-produced containers are more reliable over time, and are certain to not interfere with the natural processes of the worm farm.
  2. Fill the container with appropriate bedding – Before adding the worms, you’ll want to line the container with wet newspaper (or another appropriate bedding), then add some simple soil, either that you purchased or some that you already have in your backyard. The container itself should be moist enough to keep the soil loosely packed, but not so wet that the worms are at risk of drowning. It is also helpful to add egg shells to the soil (if you have them).
  3. Populate the farm with Red Wigglers – This part is fairly simple: simply add the worms to your container. Don’t worry too much about putting too many (or not enough) into the farm, as the worms will self-regulate their population fairly quickly.
  4. Provide the compostable material – Compostable material can be everything from food waste to the remnants of lawn mowing. The simple rule here is: if it decomposes naturally, it can go in the farm. However, there are some specific types of compost that should not be put into your worm farm. These foods include: dairy, meats, citrus, spicy foods, fats, oils, and heavily-processed foods.
  5. Maintain and harvest the farm – While it is important not to overfeed your worms, keep in mind that your worms like to eat a lot. In fact, Red Wigglers eat about half their weight every 24 hours, which means you can add new food for your worms every day (this is a great job for kids!). Remember to cut the food into the smallest pieces you can. Also, avoid putting dairy and meat into the farm. These are harder for the worms to digest and can create a significantly worse smell.

What Do I need to Start Worm Farming?

Vermicomposting is great because it doesn’t require much of an investment, and provides significant dividends very quickly.

Worm composting bin

While you can technically use just about any container as a worm composting bin, some are far better than others. Commercially-made containers make it far easier to maintain new layers of your farm, and will be far more reliable than something you make yourself. We have a few worm bins available in our online shop that are optimized for the environmental concerns involved with worm farming.

Live red wiggler composting worms

As we mentioned, not all worms are ideal for vermicomposting. Red Wigglers are by far the best option because they generate the ideal blend of nutrients for gardening. While it is unlikely that you can find Red Wigglers in your backyard on their own, they are incredibly affordable and available on our website. For the cost of a bag of fertilizer, you can have the creatures you need to create your own fertilizer in perpetuity.

Worm composting accessories (optional)

As far as required components, you will be able to make do with just a bin, worms, and the raw materials your worms will eat. However, there are a number of accessories that make worm farming easier, and help increase your yield (effectively paying for themselves over time). Having the tools you need to ensure your farm has the right temperature, moisture, and pH prevents mistakes and saves you money down the road.

Get Started Worm Farming Today!

Not sure what’s next? It can seem confusing for those who have never tried it before. We’re here to help. The Squirm Firm supplies everything you need to learn about the wonders of vermicomposting. Want to learn more? Visit our library of resources or sign up for our free monthly newsletter.

Are you ready to take your garden to the next level?  Do you want to create your own premium fertilizer? It couldn’t be easier. Here’s how to get started.  Add one pound of red wiggler worms to a Worm Factory 360, or something similar.  Add food scraps and shredded paper.  Boom. Vermicompost in action.

Let’s get started!

Article by Donny B

Readers Comments (86)

    • Welcome, Bert!
      We at The Squirm Firm are dedicated to educating, inspiring, and encouraging people like you to discover all the benefits of worm composting.
      Stay connected!
      Let us know if you have any questions and sign up now for our free monthly newsletter. Once a month we will deliver a useful set of tips, tricks, and tools for keeping your worm composting project going strong.

    • The best worm farm container would be a old freezer, flip it over on its side, fill it with cotton Burr compost and add a bag of red wrigglers

  1. I am a first timer in this worm busy any help will be good.

    • Great to have you Derrell! Has anything come as a surprise as you’ve been learning about your worms? Keep coming back to find out all you can to keep your worms safe through the seasons and building their population.

  2. glad i found your sight

    • We are so glad to have you! We at The Squirm Firm are dedicated to educating, inspiring, and encouraging people like you to discover all there is to benefit from worm composting. We have everything you need to start out and keep your worms going strong. Have fun! Let us know if you have any questions. We are here for you!

  3. Just started. Feel that I’m doing something wrong. First bin almost full and don’t see a lot of worms. Should I not fill a second bin until I see more activity?

    • Tyler-
      Good question, but it’s tough to say if you are doing anything wrong without a little more information. How big is your bin? How many worms did you start out with? How long have they been in there? What have you filled your bin with?
      It generally takes months to accumulate enough finished product that the worms are ready to relocate. The number of worms isn’t as telling as the rate at which they are processing what you feed them.
      Your worms may just need to work through what they have.

      Let us know how it goes!


      • Im about to start. 250 tiny baby earthworms are on their way to me via mail. It’s just about the end of the cool months, so I guess they’ll be in our laundry where it’ll be coolest. I only have a small garden, but hopefully, in time, there’ll be an increase to the larger. I’m using a plastic tub and have sort of drilled a little hole in the bottom for excess water etc to come out. I was advised to use something like a potato sack (which I do not have, so I cut and tore apart a green ‘shopping’ bag and have lined the tu with that. My Support Worker put a sot of soil in it – it might be too much.The bin is about 50cm by 40cm. How much soil would be best to start them with, please? (the 250 worms)

  4. When I bought my worms (400) I also bought 5 pounds of castings that had a ton of cacoons and baby worms. Every night I spend a half hour combing through the castings pulling out cacoons and babies and I was putting them back into my worm farm but last night I started putting them into the yogurt containers that my worms came in. What materials should I add to the container?

    • Kristin,
      It sounds like you have the makings for a well-populated worm bin! I suggest adding bedding materials of shredded paper, cardboard, or coconut coir along with enough water to just moisten all of that. The worms will also need some easily consumable food. I’ve always put my cocoons back in with the rest of the colony, just like you did. Check out our library of blog posts on setting up your worm bin for all of the very best information, tips, and tricks for keeping your worms on the right track.

  5. Daniel Bridson May 13, 2017 @ 6:51 am

    I have a worm factory with six or eight bins, it’s been running successfully for over six months. It is also swarmed with mites. No idea what type, but they layer themselves on all of the worms’ food and eat it. There’s still plenty for the worms, I think. I’d like to get rid of them without having to completely start over. Does anyone have any ideas?

    • Hi Daniel,
      Mites can be a symptom of high acidity and moisture in your bin. I recommend using a meter to check those levels. Then, amend your bedding to dry it out a bit and lower the pH. Are you certain that you have mites and not springtails? Check this article out to make sure: Best of luck! Let us know how it goes!

  6. glad i found your site. our worm bin has recently had an infestation of maggots and i have spent today going through the scraps rescuing my wrigglers and ditching the maggots. my worm bin is now back to basics, washed and i have set a calendar reminder every 2 days to check on my little ones. are there good suggestions for deterring flies from laying maggots?

    • Great question! Fruit flies are a common nuisance in and around the worm bin, but other flies that find the worm bin irresistible may also lay eggs that grow into maggots and eventually develop into flies as well. One solution to this problem is to be certain that the food scraps you feed the worms have been frozen and thawed in an effort to destroy any eggs already on the food. A second method uses layers of moist newspaper or even cheesecloth over the bedding to prevent flies access to the bedding at all. Best of luck. Let us know if you come up with another surefire way to keep the flies from laying in your bin!

  7. Karin Capodanno July 20, 2017 @ 3:37 pm

    Hi I am a newbie and just got my worm bin. How soon should I set up my farm before the worms arrive? I just ordered them today. Thanks

    • Hi, Karin,
      Congratulations! I’m excited about your new worm composting adventure! You should try to get your worm farm set up ASAP so that the microbes in the soil have a good head start at populating the bedding. It’s those microbes that will be the powerhouses who will break down the foods you feed your worms. Your red wigglers will then consume the well-fed microbes along with the decomposing food.
      A full week would be a great head start, but even if you had no time at all, your worms and microbes could become established together with no harm. Have fun!

  8. What is the best way to store/keep food for my wigglers?

    • Kevin, that’s a great question!
      The “best” way to store food for your red wigglers will depend on your resources, access to storage, and tolerance for rotting food!
      The easiest way to keep food long term may be to just throw it in the freezer until you need it. However, that takes up a lot of space and may be difficult to portion out. Instead, you may consider blending food and freezing it into “serving sizes”. I’ve used ice cube trays for this purpose in the past, but old food jars work just as well for more sizable portions.
      A good old compost container or zip lock bag can hold up to a gallon worth of kitchen scraps at a time. In a bag, the food will begin to ferment and fill up with gas. This does help the food break down a bit but can be a mess if the bag is punctured.
      I’ve tried a bunch of ways and currently use a storage tote half full of coffee grounds. I add in loads of food and mix it around. The grounds and food scraps “cure” together without causing too much smell. When I need a little food I just scoop it out of the bin.
      What about all you vermicomposting aficionados? How do you best like to keep food for your worms?

  9. Just got my worm farm accessory kit, vermihut arrives tomorrow as do red wigglers due to the heat I had them sent to post office so they don’t get over heated in the event I miss delivery. Excited to have this site to help me along! First time trying vermicomposting 😀

    • Elia, I bet you’ll love it! We’re here as a resource, to answer questions, and to worm compost right along side you. Sign up for our free monthly newsletter to stay right in the loop. Each month we’ll send you expert tips and advice to help you right along. Happy worm composting!

  10. I found your website because 2 of your meters came with my worm farm that i received for mothers day. I found the information concerning the best PH and how to use the meter. I cant seem to find the information concerning the best moisture level. I’m sure its on your website- which by the way is great.
    Can you point me in the right direction please

  11. Hi! I have had my worm factory that I got from you for about 3 months. I started my second tray about 3 weeks ago. They keep going back down to the first tray. Are they going back and forth? Is that normal? I’m afraid they don’t like the food tray, but maybe they are eating there and going back down to hang out? Any suggestions?

    • Hi Mary! I’m happy to hear that you’ve got 3 months under your belt! Now that you’ve moved onto the second tray it is very likely that your red wigglers are snacking and then going back to the bottom tray where the accumulated bedding is likely more moist and full of others to mate with. If you prepare some more moist bedding and add that along with the food in the second tray, you should find more worms start to stick around. A full stack of trays in active mode will accommodate thousands upon thousands of composting worms moving up and down between trays wherever there is food to process. You are doing great!

  12. Just received my worm factory today. I’m so excited!!! Looking for the video on setting it up

    • First, I want to thank you for coming to The Squirm Firm to meet all of your worm composting needs!

      Hi, Tenia. Though we have no video to describe set-up, digital copies of the instructions available for your ease of use. Please follow the link to the instructions below:

      We truly appreciate your business, so if you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!
      Best of luck with your worm composting project,

  13. Donna Danenhower May 6, 2018 @ 6:27 am

    ok here is a crazy question.. How can you tell a worm cocoon (worm from a small rock or pebble I am so afraid of tossing them away either in my garden!!

    • Hi, Donna. I love that you are being so careful with your worm population in not wanting to discard their cocoons. The good news is that red wiggler cocoons are so tiny that IF they were stones, you’d probably not mind much that they were part of your mix. They’d be more like big sand grains. Anyway, cocoons are unique in that they have tapered ends, much like a lemon. When they are first laid they are fairly yellow too. As they mature they darken in color and become almost dark maroon. I find that they are often shiny as well. They are only about 3 mm long and nearly as wide. Hope that helps! Happy hunting for cocoons!

      • I smiled when I saw Donna’s post about cocoons, but only because it reminded me of a time some years ago. I had set up a worm bin for a friend, and after a while she thought she would add some compost from an old pot plant as extra bedding. I had shown her the cocoons and explained everything about worm reproduction to her and she was fascinated and hooked on wormkeeping. Several months went by and I hadn’t heard anything from her, so I called on her to see how things were going. She told me she had collected dozens of cocoons but not had any success at seeing them hatch into baby worms……Imagine how we both laughed when she showed me a neat little pot of “cocoons” that were actually small slow release fertilizer beads from the old compost she had added as bedding! I became hooked and enthralled with worms when my dad let me play in his compost heaps with a tiny handfork, getting his compost turned and aerated one small forkfull at a time. That was over 60 years ago!

  14. how do you change the Ph? I have a mite problem and as mentioned in the comments earlier my bin may be too acidic.

  15. linda kornmeier July 23, 2018 @ 6:54 pm

    Can I feed my worms dry oatmeal and/or corn meal? Do I mix it in the soil or leave it on the top? What about egg shells and coffee grounds?

    • Hello, Linda! When it comes to cereal type grains as worm food, you are in luck, BUT need to be careful of a couple things. First of all, keep in mind that what dry material you add will affect the overall moisture balance within the bin. Oats and cornmeal will soon absorb bin moisture making a softer food, which is good. BUT- these grains also tend to clump together and become a moldy science experiment. For that reason, I suggest that if you would like to incorporate either, you use a moderate amount and mix it into other food scraps. It is okay to place these feedings into a corner with a bit of bedding over the top, or scattered over the top. Just keep in mind that compost worms are surface dwellers who prefer to remain within the top few inches of bedding.
      To find out more about eggshells and coffee grounds, check out these useful resources -, Stay up to date with all the latest in worm composting 411, sign up for our free monthly newsletter!

  16. I used to raise red wigglers where I used to live but I had to move a few months ago to another city. I also sell worms to fishermen in my area. My question is this: Do you sell full-size worms? Not bed-run. If you do how would I order them from you?

    • Hi, Emory. We sell red wiggler worms by the pound. In each pound there is likely to be a majority of mature worms with a lesser amount of juveniles. In total, each pound averages 1000 worms. Thankfully, red wigglers are mature within 12 weeks of birth, so your population will quickly multiply.

  17. When the weather warms up would you be able to send 5 LBS of worm to Southern Ontario?

    • Thank you for coming to The Squirm Firm to meet your worm composting needs! At this time however, we are not able to send worms over the border. Best of luck!


    • Hi Jaime, this is a tricky one. I won’t pretend to know much about the toxic compounds in ficus, but I do know they exist. I do not know however how worms react to them. It would also depend on which variety of ficus you have. What I suggest, is to add only a bit at a time, well mixed into plenty of other neutral material. Pay close attention to how your worms react and work your way up from there. That’s the general rule for any new material you may like to try. Good luck!

  19. I have a family of 5 and we eat a lot of veggies… I find that I run out of space in my bin. I’d prefer not to have two bins as they take up space. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Dana. Do you feel like you have too much waste for the amount of space? Hm. The way I took care of that was to use a tower system. Also, I blend my food scraps when I’m really wanting my worms to eat more quickly. Using blended food in a tower allows excess moisture to easily flow down and away. Plus, with more feeding area available, more worms are at work breaking down your food scraps. Hope this works for you as well as it’s worked for me!

    • add more worms. the more worms you have the faster they break down everything. i had a few trays that were taking forever to break down…i bought 2000 new worms, and all three were ready within a month.

  20. I only have about a pound of waste. Can I buy less than a pound of worms? Also can they eat onion and garlic skins?

    • Hello Diane. Thank you for your very logical question. What do you do if you don’t create that much food waste? There are a couple of fairly easy solutions. Either you supplement food waste with paper waste, or you share your first pound of worms! At this time we sell single pounds as the smallest quantity.
      Paper or brown matter, like leaves and cardboard, is a great food choice for red wigglers. When well moistened it too is easily broken down into nutrient-rich compost. Onion and garlic skins are acceptable in a large and well-established worm bin, but not in a new or very small set-up. The very dry skins offer little in the way of nutrition and break down somewhat slowly compared to the more ideal fruits and vegetable matter. in addition, garlic and onion give off a sulfur gas as they breakdown- stinky!

  21. Thank you for the article! I recently started composting with a worm bin, and didn’t realize they couldn’t eat dairy, so I put yoghurt in. They ate the cheese I gave them a few weeks ago, but they seem to be trying to escape now. I have since found that you aren’t supposed to feed them yoghurt in the first place, but since I did, how do you suggest I try to fix it? Will this be solved if I give them more time or do I have to do something?

    • Hey Erin, Thanks for asking this question. I bet it happens not too infrequently that dairy ends up in the worm bin. How to handle it depends on how far along your worm bin is- I mean how much finished compost and pounds of active worms you’ve got in there. Other bacteria in the bin also work on that food. But, if it’s enough to pick up or scoop right out, it’s worth doing. Generally speaking, animal products funk up the bin. If you had a huge setup and thousands and thousands of worms with some really well-established compost in there- you’d be surprised how well that little ecosystem can balance itself out. But why risk it? So, scoop if you can, add new moist shredded newspaper or cardboard, and maybe feed in a corner far from where you added yogurt for a little while.

  22. Been trying to raise European night crawlers for fishing. Started out with 159-129-85. I find capsules & few young ones but not breeding enough to supply my needs. Have 18gal. tote, bedding shredded newspaper, some peat moss, some topsoil. food consists of puree vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, corn meal, crushed egg shells. Feed about every two days. Bedding is mostly moist shredded newspaper. What am I not doing

    • Hello Robert! Hm. Thanks for your question. European night crawlers are pretty different than the red wigglers we like to use as compost worms. However, there are some things about them that are similar enough. I’m wondering if at this time of year they might be too cold to be keeping busy. If that’s a possiblitly, try to give them a few more degrees of warmth and see if they respond. Otherwise, there’s a chance that your bedding could be somewhat acidic. Do you have a pH meter to find out? That’s easy to pick up here if you don’t have one: The peat moss, coffee grounds, and certain foods may create a less than ideal situation for your nightcrawlers. Sometimes dividing the colony will jump start a baby boom. You’ll find more practical ideas here, . If all else fails, patience will reward you with the birth of what worms are in those capsules at least! Good luck!

    • Hello Robert! Hm. Thanks for your question. European nightcrawlers are pretty different than the red wigglers we like to use as compost worms. However, there are some things about them that are similar enough. I’m wondering if at this time of year they might be too cold to be keeping busy. If that’s a possibility, try to give them a few more degrees of warmth and see if they respond. Otherwise, there’s a chance that your bedding could be somewhat acidic. Do you have a pH meter to find out? The peat moss, coffee grounds, and certain foods may create a less than ideal situation for your nightcrawlers. Sometimes dividing the colony will jump-start a baby boom. You’ll find more practical ideas here, . If all else fails, patience will reward you with the birth of what worms are in those capsules at least! Good luck!

  23. A year ago. I started my own red wiggler Farm then. Recently I have noticed red wigglers are now in my turning compost bin. My question… Is it good for my above ground Garden to just scoop out? The compost from the Turning bin. And use it in my garden? Worms and compost go in the soil. . Also Is it okay once plants are established like tomatoes, green peppers, cabbage and so on to put a little bit of the soil around the plants with worms in the soil? At this point I do not know how to separate worm castings from the compost bin. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • Hello Robert! Hm. Thanks for your question. European nightcrawlers are somewhat different than the red wigglers we like to use as compost worms. However, there are some things about them that are similar enough. I’m wondering if at this time of year they might be too cold to be keeping busy. If that’s a possibility, try to give them a few more degrees of warmth and see if they respond. Otherwise, there’s a chance that your bedding could be somewhat acidic. Do you have a pH meter to find out? If not, you can pick a good one up here, Hello Robert! Hm. Thanks for your question. European night crawlers are pretty different than the red wigglers we like to use as compost worms. However, there are some things about them that are similar enough. I’m wondering if at this time of year they might be too cold to be keeping busy. If that’s a possibility, try to give them a few more degrees of warmth and see if they respond. Otherwise, there’s a chance that your bedding could be somewhat acidic. Do you have a pH meter to find out? The peat moss, coffee grounds, and certain foods may create a less than ideal situation for your nightcrawlers. Sometimes dividing the colony will jump-start a baby boom. You’ll find more practical ideas here, . If all else fails, patience will reward you with the birth of what worms are in those capsules at least! Good luckThe peat moss, coffee grounds, and certain foods may create a less than ideal situation for your nightcrawlers. Sometimes dividing the colony will jump start a baby boom. You’ll find more practical ideas here, . If all else fails, patience will reward you with the birth of what worms are in those capsules at least! Good luck!

  24. Hi, I have been using my two worm composting towers for a few years and I get lots of black gold from them but I have a couple of questions: 1) I add a lot of coffee grounds to my worms, and a lot of egg shells. How can I be sure I am making a ‘balanced’ product for my garden between acidic and basic? 2) I haven’t been buying the pumice stone or mineral powder to add to the compost bin because it ended up costing a lot for the amount I would need to use. Is there an alternative? What does it do? Is it essential? Do you sell it in bulk? 3) My lower trays seem to stay too moist and the worms stay there. How can I avoid losing them to the garden when I empty the trays? Thanks so much!

    • Hi Julie. Ooh, two towers! Yeah! And your questions are so right on target! Egg shells and coffee grounds. One’s a buffer and one’s an acid. So balance, how can you know? There’s a hard way and an easy way. One way is to read how your worms and plants are reacting. That’s kinda technical and easy to miss signals we don’t know to look for. The WAY easier way is by use of a pH meter- the simplest chemistry tool every gardener and worm composting hobbyist should own. Here, this is where I got mine- . It’s so satisfying to get a good reading and know which way to adjust for certain plants that have preferences! Have fun!

  25. Hello,

    I just started my wormtower, and I am studying the food I can supply to the worms.
    But I also make water-kefir. And perhaps you know that these kefir grains multiply by time. And I can’t give them away anymore. What I wonder: are the water-kefir grains good worm food?

    • Hi Luk, Hm. I’m not super familiar with water-kefir. I looked them up and see that they are a dairy-free product. My assumption is that they should be safe. As with anything new in worm composting, start small and observe before going all the way. As long as you are keeping your bedding within a safe pH range it’s likely okay. However, you say you’ve just started with a worm tower- this leads me to believe you don’t yet have what we’d call a well-established herd. When trying new foods it’s good to make sure your worms have enough living area that they can get away from the opposing food if it should be a turn off. It’s good that way too because you can tell pretty easily if worms are congregating near or avoiding the food source. Please come back and tell us what you find out in your research about using water-kefir grains to feed compost worms! New food resources are a great sharing nugget!

  26. Hello. We started our worms in June in a large plastic bin. There’s about 6-8″ of bedding and the worms are still alive – yay! I have the moisture and temp meters, and with it being so hot lately, even in the garage, I’ve been putting blue ice packs on top of a paper grocery bag, and the worms love it right under the bag, where it’s cool (registers about 78 degrees) and there’s condensation that wets the bag. Now I’m wondering if I’ve been keeping my worm farm too dry. It goes all the way beyond “wet” on the meter at the bottom of the bin, but closer to the to middle and top, it registers as “moist.” Is that okay, or should I add more water? Thank you!

    • I just started my worm bed with redworms a month ago. I put peatmoss and black Kow paper egg cartons, cardboard I feed corn meal but they will not lay any cocoons all they do is eat. Every now and then I get a dead one out.the ph meter says it is a 7. Does anyone have any suggestions what I can do to make them start reproducing.

      • If you feel that your red worms’ reproduction rate needs a boost, you may add some some high-sugar-content items that will really draw their attention in the worm bin.

        Worms swarm to these foods like neighborhood kids to the ice cream truck. And when worms gather in close quarters, you will see a quick rise in your red worm reproduction rate.

        Check out our blog post here to know more about boosting your worms reproduction rate:

  27. Tracy Cunningham October 25, 2020 @ 12:25 am

    I have been stressing for a month or so on how to go about the worm farming. I have a pond and several gardens so it will benefit my big time. So today was the day. I built the farm bin and filled it. I am anxiously awaiting for the arrival of my new friends. lol I hope they enjoy and flourish in their new home. Thank you for all of your help on the website in my new adventure.

    • So happy to hear of your new adventures! We’ll be happy to serve you as you learn all the exciting ways that worm composting can bring joy to your life!

      • Tracy Cunningham November 1, 2020 @ 8:34 am

        Update. The worms have arrived and are adjusting well to their new home. I did have several escaping at first. Lol. But I kept a close eye on them and rescued them. The ph, moisture and temperature were spot on. I guess they were teenagers and just didn’t want to stay put. Most have learned and are now staying in. The food is the party place where the cool kids hang out.

  28. I have placed in my worm bin about 1200 worms . I have had the bin for approximately 3 months.
    I have no casting and it appears the worms are decreasing. They are not crawling out. I have no worm tea at bottom I have use coconut coir as bedding with some shredded egg cartons. I have fed them consistently but it appears the food is not being eaten consistently. I have seen some of the worms have passed away they appear to be broken into pieces. Wondering if the bin is too dry or ph wrong. Not sure If anyone has some advice I would appreciate. I would like to develop a organic home garden. I am new at this but eager to learn.

    thank you so much

  29. Virginia Trevino January 8, 2021 @ 11:53 pm

    Do I keep adding pumice, coir and minerals in each new bed? Where do I get it? I can’t find it on your website.

  30. I am enjoying the worm farm and am on my first tray and ready to add a second. How full should the tray be before placing the new tray on top? The trays have these “tabs” on the side which would allow each tray to be filled only several inches and that doesn’t seem correct. Most of the pictures on the web site show the trays being almost full. However if you place the new tray right on top of the compost won’t it eventually compress as you add more trays? I am curious to hear what others do.

  31. how can I start one in the pasture with existing earthworms in the pile of leaves?

  32. I Really apricate this article. and will follow this in future.

  33. Does the container need to have a bottom on it? We have a great wooden bin but it has no bottom on it,, has two chambers though, wooden slats with space for them to crawl from one side to the other,, just no bottom, sits on ground? Thoughts please

    • The worm bin doesn’t need to have legs. However, it helps in keeping the worms away from any other critters from the ground. The legs also helps in protecting the worms from the ground temperature during summer (too hot) or winter (too cold).

  34. I am looking at maybe starting a worm farm, but 2 questions come to mind.

    1. the area u am looking to put the farm would be at my tinyhiuse on. the lake which I go to maybe 2 or 3 weekends out of the months; would the farm survive that long by itself?

    2. The lake area can get really cold during winter months,how would this temperature affect the farm

    • Hi Tim!

      Worms should be able to fend for themselves for a couple of weeks. After that, you will need to check if they are getting enough food, or if there is something that needs to be fixed in their home.

      The ideal temperature range for red wiggler worms is between 55 degrees and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. As the temperature gets colder than this ideal range, the worms will become sluggish and their ability to process food will decrease substantially. Worms will start to die when the temperature hits freezing. Insulating your worm bin may allow it to hold enough warmth to keep your worms happy through the cold weather.

      We have a couple of blog posts where you can find more information for your questions. Just click on the link below:

  35. Does the compartment have to have a base on it? We have an incredible wooden container yet it has no base on it,, has two loads however, wooden braces with space for them to slither from one side to the next,, simply no base, sits on ground? Musings please

  36. I have just bought a worm farm and added my first batch of worms – how do I keep them from making the great escape.. I think I have lost about half on the first night … i put a light in the top of the farm last night (after checking on them and seeing them in mid flight) so this morning there were all still in bed when I check, but adding a light will this do them any harm… or should I let them go if not wanting to stay – nothing in there above cardboard, newspaper a half an apple and a scope of coffee grinds… i didn’t want to overload them on their first weekend in their new hotel.

    • Red wigglers can feel the instinct to run when they are first added to a worm composting bin or when they do not like the conditions in the bin.

      If you’ve just added worms recently, a good way to persuade the worms to stay in their new home is to leave a light on near the worm bin for a day or two. The worms will stay inside of the dark bin and become accustomed to their new home.

      Check out our blog post here to know more about how you can stop your worms from escaping:

  37. Just getting started. Ordered 500 red wigglys, and have three bins standing by. First one is filled with organic soils, dried weeds, small branches, wood shavings, cardboard, shredded paper, and a variety of food scraps they will like- no meats, potatoes, grease, and only small amounts of bread scraps. I hope they like their new home.

  38. Hi. I bought a heating mat for seed germnation but will use it to keep my worm bin warm the rest of the winter, and keep them inside when it gets too hot. One question I haven’t seen yet is what is the ideal PH level for my worm farm?

  39. Hi! Great site and blog! I’m considering starting a worm bin because I think it’s a brilliant way to add nutrients to our garden beds.

    I’ve seen a lot of posts about protecting worm bins from the extreme cold, which is super helpful. Any recommendations for heat waves? While previously mild, our summers have increasingly been spiking into the 100s-115s.

    Fortunately we have a basement which is naturally more cool, but I was hoping not to have to move them down there if the soil naturally provides insulation or if any sort of external insulation would prevent cooking them, so to speak. Happy to plan on the move, but just curious.

    Thanks for your tips!

    • Keeping the worm bin in the shade is a great start, but temperatures may still soar in the shade during summer.

      Laying a layer of frozen water bottles across the top tray is another great idea that will provide a little respite for a while. But ice melts and soon that chill dissipates. The condensation that is produced will trickle down through the bedding and shouldn’t cause too much excess dampness. In fact, at this time of year, it’s particularly important to make sure bedding is moist.

      The very best and simplest solution is really just to bring your worm bin inside to the safe and temperature-controlled confines of your own home. Our worms are happiest at the same temperatures we are comfortable at.

      For more on this topic, check out our blog post here about maintaining the temperature in the worm bin:


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