How to Make a Wormery

A wormery is great for recycling waste food into wonderful fertilizer for your crops. They’re small, they don’t smell, and they make compost much more quickly than conventional composters. You can buy them online, but it’s easier and cheaper to make your own simple variety using readily available bits and pieces from around your home and garden. Here’s how.

What you’ll need

  • Large plastic box with lid
  • Drill
  • 2 bricks
  • Newspaper or cardboard
  • Worms and worm bedding

How to make it

1. Choose a large plastic box preferably with a lid (you can improvise if the box doesn’t have one). The larger the surface area of the box, the more food waste you’ll be able to use.

2. Worms need air to breathe, so drill enough holes in the base of the box to create a good air flow; a ½ inch drill bit is ideal.

3. Set the box up onto bricks or plant pot feet to make sure that air can flow up into the box through the holes.

4. Take a sheet of newspaper and cover the bottom of the box. This makes sure that the worms don’t escape or fall out.

5. Next drill some small air holes in the box lid and around the sides of the box at the top. If you are planning on keeping your wormery in a sheltered place, you can drill more holes but if it’s exposed to the elements, don’t drill too many or it could become waterlogged during spells of wet weather.

6. Add sufficient worm bedding to cover about an inch of the bottom of the box. You can use worm compost, coir fibres or shop-bought compost as bedding. This is important as it helps the worms to settle in to their new home. Worm compost is the best choice as it already contains all the microbes the worms will need. Ensure that the bedding is damp before you introduce the worms.

7. Now add your worms. You can obtain the right type of worms online, from a fishing tackle shop or from a compost heap. You’ll need around 300 worms to start with; the more you have, the faster the wormery will become productive. Worms will double their numbers about every three months, so it won’t take long for your wormery population to grow. N.B. Earth worms from your garden are no good for wormeries.

8. Next add a small supply of food; banana skins, tea bags, vegetable peelings and the like are ideal. If you chop the food up, the worms will be able to process it more quickly. Don’t add onion peelings, citrus, oil or spicy foods as these are not good for the worms. In addition to food waste you need to add about 30 per cent carbon-rich matter; cardboard, wood chip and newspaper will do fine for this.

9. Cover the surface of the worms with a sheet of newspaper, old cardboard or an old towel to keep light out and moisture in.

10. Finally, put on the lid and place the box in a shady, sheltered place away from direct sunlight. Feed the worms little and often to begin with.

In conclusion

Wormeries are a great way of recycling and creating your own compost. Don’t forget to use the leftover veg you’ve grown using the worm compost to feed the wormery!

Image: Flickr

Alison Page

About Alison Page

Alison is a small business owner, freelance writer, author and dressage judge. She has degrees in Equine Science and Business Studies. Read her full story at

Alison Page

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