Worm Farm Facts


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 inclined.

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 components. 

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 operations.  


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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