top of page


outdoor compost bin
compost bin


Starting a worm farm is a great way to use your everyday kitchen scraps or plant life from your garden. Worm farms are a great addition to almost every home, no matter where you live or what type of place you call home. Anyone can have a worm farm in a big backyard, a small area on a porch, or an indoor space (I use my basement). 

Why should I bother with a worm farm and processing my household food waste?

If you throw your food scraps in the garbage, they will create methane in your local landfill as they break down – a greenhouse gas contributing to climate change.

By saving your vegetable table scraps and feeding the scraps to a worm farm bin, you are making free fertilizer for your garden, avoiding landfill, reducing household waste, and reducing methane emissions.

You're converting your kitchen scraps into nutrient-dense, bioavailable plant food of the highest quality – with zero waste and zero emissions.

So – let's learn how to do it.

worm farm
red wiggler worms

What type of worm farm works best?

Worm farms don't need to be fancy to be efficient. You only need a little money to create a functional, happy, healthy worm farm.

The most common type of worm farm you can find (or make) is a series of midsize plastic bins stacked on top of one another with numerous holes bored in the bottom so the worms can pass between. The wet compost moisture can pass to the bottom bin. This worm wastewater can also be used to fertilize your plants. Many call it "worm tea"'.

However, there are many smaller kitchen compost options and even large garbage size worm farm bins. In fact, worm farming is now becoming commercial in size .

for example:

What type of worms do I need?

Red wiggler worms are the compost workers here.

The compost worm differs slightly from the average earthworm in your garden soil. These worms love to eat organic material and the microorganisms that live in that material. And they eat and process the matter into compost in a very short time

Once your worm farm works well, you can expect your worms to eat their body weight in scraps daily. That means if you start your worm farm with one pound of worms, they will soon be able to eat up to one pound of plant scraps daily. 

You can source red wiggler compost worms from the worm farm and online, at the hardware store, community garden, or a generous worm-giving friend.

What shouldn't I feed my worms?

There are some things that red worms do not like to eat, so avoid putting these in your worm farm:

  • Citrus 

  •  Garlic or onion ends.

  • Meat scraps, the worms don't much like them, but flies do (and a maggoty worm farm is no fun for anyone)

  • Fats and oils

  • Dairy products

  • Spicy food. 

Don't worry if a small amount of this non-ideal stuff ends up in your worm farm. But to prevent unwanted pests, like flies, it's best to provide scraps that will quickly be turned into rich, beautiful castings. 

Too much rotten food in a worm farm WILL damage the worm colony's health. So – for vegetables and fruit, using coffee grounds leaf matter is best.

How do I keep my worm farm healthy and avoid smells?

1. A worm farm needs good drainage. As the worms eat through your scraps, they produce castings – their poop – and also liquid, which needs to be able to drain off effectively so that the worms don't drown or become stinky and anaerobic.

2. Your worm farm will need a regular supply of carbon – like leaves or shredded newspaper, corrugated cardboard – and high-nitrogen kitchen scraps. This is to ensure the worms have a balanced diet and, again, so your worm farm doesn't go sludgy and compacted.

A good balance is 50 percent carbon and 50 percent food scraps.

3. Remember that worms have small mouths! Although they can eventually break down big chunks of scraps, like whole cabbage leaves, they prefer smaller bits. If you put significant bits of stuff in your worm farm, chop them up first, freeze the scraps or leave them in zip lock bags, and use them as needed. This kills, and your worms will be super happy.

Where should I put my worm farm?

Placement and temperature are the last big things to consider for your worm farm. Keep your worm farm somewhere that you visit every day that will stay cool and cool. 

Worms in the same temperature range as humans will be most productive at around 59-86 degrees Fahrenheit. Below that range, your worms will slow right down and eat much less food.

And above that range, they will abandon the top of your worm farm, where the food scraps are, for a cooler spot down the bottom, leaving your food scraps to rot.

Somewhere close to the house that's out of direct sunlight is often ideal, on your back porch or inside your laundry.

Keeping your worm farm cozy and nearby ensures regular feeding and an even temperature – two things that will help your worm farm thrive.

How do I start a new worm farm?

So now you have all the knowledge, let's look at starting a worm farm. You can also use this method if you have an existing worm farm that's not doing well – take it apart and renovate it a bit.

The idea with worm farms is that the worms slowly travel upward in search of food, leaving behind trays and trays of rich worm castings, with the worm juice dripping out the bottom.

Once you have a few trays of castings below your food scraps, you can start harvesting from the bottom of your worm farm and add worm castings to your garden and potted plants; you may even wish to share them with gardener neighbors, let them reap the benefits of the castings and see if they want to become worm farmers too! 

How do I use worm castings and worm wee?

Worm compostings or vermicompost for your plants are powerful, so don't use too much in any one place. We sprinkle the castings lightly around the base of plants throughout the growing season right before watering. 

We add worm castings and seed-growing potting mix to our raised outdoor gardens. The castings provide a rich fertilizer for growing seeds and planting vegetables from the farm stands. 

Worm tea is an excellent liquid fertilizer for your plants. You can collect the worm tea from the bottom tray of your worm farm and dilute it with water to use it as a liquid fertilizer.

So now you are ready to become a worm farmer…

Good luck, and let us know about your worm farm!


bottom of page