Vermicomposting: How to Compost With Worms

Our gardening enthusiast readers often ask questions how to compost with worms. Vermicomposting is an indoor, year-round method of composting that can be easily set up in a plastic or wooden container.

Food waste such as fruits and vegetables are placed into the bin along with worms and shredded paper. As the worms eat and digest the food and paper in the bin, they will begin to produce vermicompost that can then be spread in your garden.

Boy with worms over his hand. Composting with worms and how to do vermicomposting

Red Wigglers are a great species of worm to use for vermicompost bins because they not only live in the upper portion of top soil, they also consume a lot of organic material and reproduce many worms in a short amount of time, creating worm castings (worm excrement) along the way!


Building your own vermicomposting bin is a fun, easy activity for the entire family, especially when you follow these step-by-step directions.

Using a 3/16 drill bit, drill a row of holes along the top edge and along the bottom of a 10-gallon storage bin.

Drill 5-10 holes in one of the lids.

Take the second bin and put several rocks, a few bricks, or empty aluminum cans inside.

Take the bin with holes in it and place on top of the rocks in the second bin. The rocks will prop the inside bin up and allow any extra moisture to drain and collect at the bottom.

Place soil, shredded paper, and a few food scraps in the bin and arrange in a pile in the center (see below for appropriate vermicomposting food scraps).

With a glass spray bottle of water, spray the shredded paper well with water to soften it and to provide moisture for the worms.

Cover any food with shredded paper. This is very important to prevent fruit flies or a pervasive smell of food.

Place the worms (do not use Night Crawlers!) in the bin. Soon after the worms are added to the bin they will start disappearing into the paper and center pile. Leave the lid off until all the worms disappear into the center pile.

Spray with water until all the paper is moist, not wet.

Check the bin every few days and add paper and water slowly as needed and add food sparingly. Food scraps can be added every few weeks.

Related: How to Make an Outdoor Compost Pile


banana peels
apple cores
vegetable scraps
egg shells
plain pasta
coffee grounds (paper filter too)
teabags (no teabags made with plastic)


citrus and citrus peels (oranges and lemons)
baked items
junk food

Your worms are off to a great start, but please remember the following to make sure they stay healthy and happy. A worm will eat its own body weight in food each day, so it’s important to make sure you are not adding food too rapidly. You should also keep in mind that worms’ skin is very sensitive, so it’s best not to use hand sanitizer before handling the worms.

Happy vermicomposting!

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One Comment

  1. Why cant I use earth worms? What kind of worm is in my yard? What worms can I use?