Purchasing A Worm Bin – Options

“My question would be on purchasing a worm bin. I don’t know where to begin… I have looked around but there seems to be nothing along the lines of a worm bin around my area. Could I construct one myself and if so do you have any ideas? Best Regards,” ~ Gareth.

Hi Gareth,

The type of vermicomposting system you should use depends on a number of factors. It is important to decide…

1) What exactly you are trying to accomplish

2) How much money you are willing to spend, and/or

3) Whether or not you are going to attempt constructing it yourself.

Despite what some would have you believe, you really don’t need some sort of specialized (typically expensive) worm bin in order to get started – so perhaps it was actually a blessing in disguise that you were not able to find anything in your area. 🙂

Really when it comes down to it, you simply need to select a container / structure / location (i.e. you don’t really need to keep worms contained at all) that will help you provide your worms with their five basic requirements –

  1. Moisture,
  2. Oxygen,
  3. Darkness,
  4. Warmth, and
  5. Nutrition.

You obviously need to be involved in the process – I have yet to hear of a vermicomposting system that feeds the worms completely independent of any human assistance. 🙂

At the most basic level, likely the best place to start for the average beginner is the ‘Rubbermaid’ type of tub. In other words, some sort of plastic box with a lid.

These containers are generally excellent for moisture retention (a little TOO effective, some might say), and there are certainly plenty of models that won’t let much light in.

Generally speaking, you will however need to modify the bin in order to provide enough air flow. This simply involves drilling some holes in the lid and on the sides. Excess moisture build-up can quickly reduce the amount of oxygen present in the lower zones, so you may even consider adding drainage holes in the bottom.

Plastic bins are great for entry level vermicomposters because they are readily available in many stores, they are very inexpensive, and they are quite easy to maintain.

constructing your own worm bin can also be a lot of fun – even if you have zero building skills.

Trust me on that one (haha). I am the furthest thing from a handy man, yet I somehow managed to construct a really nice (if I do say so myself) wooden worm bed for myself a couple years ago. It obviously cost a fair bit more than buying a plastic tub (although surprisingly affordable), but the system is also much larger and more effective as a vermicomposting system.

Wooden systems in general can offer some advantages over plastic containers.

They tend to “breathe”, thus preventing build up of excess moisture and improving air flow. This will allow you to produce high quality vermicompost faster, and more easily. This also makes wooden systems much better suited for hot summer temperatures.

This may seem counter-intuitive since there will be a lot more evaporation from the system (and thus drying out), but this evaporation will also help to cool the contents of the bin, whereas an enclosed plastic bin sitting out in the (summer) sun will generally overheat pretty quickly.

Anyway, Gareth – hopefully I’m at least able to get you pointed in the right direction here!

Thanks for the question.

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