Traditional Worm Bin
Plastic Worm Bins
Perhaps the easiest, and cheapest, way to start worm farming is with a traditional worm bin. Long before
vermicomposting became popular gardeners and anglers raised worms in buckets, feed bins, and pails. Sometimes the
"worm bin" was as close as the nearest manure pile. No matter why people kept worms they soon figured out that a
closed bin could be easily moved indoors and provide worms year round.
Just about any container that holds 3 gallons and has a tight cover can serve as a "traditional worm bin." That's
why the traditional bin is so popular. You probably have a suitable worm bin sitting around somewhere in your
house. Popular worm bin containers include Rubbermaid style containers, plastic buckets, restaurant bus boy bins,
and kitty litter containers. There are commercially produced one piece worm bins available for those so
A few Suitable Containers for Worm Bins
Plastic worm bins are often modified to make them easier to use and more efficient. Common modifications include
installing air vents for circulation, adding drainage spigots to collect water at the bottom of the bin, or simply
drilling holes in the bin for air and drainage.
Plastic worm bins can be used indoors or outside. However they are not often used outdoors in extreme temperatures.
Most vermicomposters move their plastic bins inside once temperatures get too hot or too cold for the breed of worm
they raise. For more information on suitable temperatures for each worm breed see our composting worm pages. As a practical consideration
remember that plastic worm bins can easily crack or shatter in subzero weather.
There is one exception to the outside rule for plastic worm bins. Some worm farmers experiment with burying their
plastic worm bins in the ground and providing insulating cover over the top. If you plan on doing this we strongly
recommend the bin temperature is closely monitored.
Plastic worm bins are not very high tech; however they are very effective. Some Commercial worm farming systems
make extensive use of plastic worm bins. When utilized properly within a controlled farming system plastic worm
bins are capable of breeding and housing massive amounts of worms.
Wooden Worm Bins
Some worm farmers build their own wooden worm bins. Constructing your own wooden worm bin makes sense if you have
some spare lumber, want a bin that is a bit more aesthetically appealing, or you want to use more natural
We are not referring to flow through systems when we say a wooden worm bin. Traditional wooden worm bins are really
no more than a wooden box with a lid and some drainage in the bottom. The main advantage of constructing a wooden
worm box is the flexibility one has when building and designing it. Any manner of covers, doors, vents, and
drainage accommodations can be installed in a way that suits you best.
There are plenty of examples of wooden worm bins that you can find on the internet. There are also plans available
from many different sources.
If you do construct your own wooden worm bin keep in mind that if you finish or waterproof the wood use the most
environmentally friendly products. Toxic materials could leech into your worm bedding and harm your worms.
Plastic, metal, or wooden worm bins are not complicated to set up or use; but they are effective. They work so well
that some commercial worm growers use them by the hundreds in large scale worm breeding and vermicomposting
Metal Worm Bins
Another option for a worm bin is a metal bin or bucket. This type of worm bin most likely is borne out of
necessity. In other words; farmers, ranchers, and gardeners may often have an unutilized metal container lying
about. So they put it to good use as a worm bin. Before you use a metal bin there are a few important things you
need to know.
Metal containers are good conductors of heat and cold, so if you use a metal worm bin it is important to closely
monitor and maintain bin temperature. Metal is also prone to rust, especially given the moist conditions of worm
bedding. A galvanized or stainless steel or metal bin is a better choice than tin or other sheet metal. Lastly,
most metal bins and containers do not have covers. So something like a board or piece of plastic should be placed
on top of the bin.
Some of the metal containers worm farmers use for worm bins includes galvanized trash cans; livestock feed
containers, livestock watering containers, old refrigerators, and large stainless steel boxes.
Examples of Metal Bins
We suggest moving metal bins indoors when it gets very hot or very cold. There is
one exception to this rule. Some people have recycled old refrigerators, ice boxes, and freezers as worm bins. They
already have a tight fitting lid, so tight in fact that air vents usually are installed. Most are double
walled; with an air gap or physical insulation between the walls. As with any outdoor bin it is important
to closely monitor temperatures inside the bin.
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