How to set up a wormery

How to set up a wormery

Find out how to set up your own wormery for a source of nutritious compost and plant feed.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
To do
To do

Do To do in January

Do To do in February

Do To do in March

Do To do in April

Do To do in May

Do To do in June

Do To do in July

Do To do in August

Do To do in September

Do To do in October

Do To do in November

Do To do in December

One of the most efficient ways of recycling kitchen waste is to use a wormery, or worm bin. These purpose-built containers house a colony of brandling worms, which consume fruit and vegetable waste, producing a nutritious worm compost.

As well as producing a rich compost, wormeries also generate a nutritious liquid fertiliser. Vegetable waste is largely made up of water, and this will drain down through the bin to collect in the bottom. The resulting liquid can be retrieved through a tap in the base of the bin. It’s a good idea to keep the tap permanently open and collect drips in a bottle or bucket below.

A wide variety of wormery kits are available to buy. Most of them consist of three or four modular trays placed on top of each other. As the worms consume the waste in the bottom tray, they move up to the next one. Simply remove the bottom tray to access the worm compost, rinse it and place it on the top, and continue to add fresh veg peelings.

Wormeries are easy to set up, but if yours is delivered by post, make sure you set up the bin within two days, as the worms may not survive if they are not quickly transferred into their bedding.

More on garden composting:

Advertisement

You Will Need

  • Wormery kit
  • Brandling worms
  • Kitchen waste

Total time:

Step 1

Putting the wormery kit together
Putting the wormery kit together

Attach the legs and tap, add a single tray to the base unit, then lay a sheet of paper in the tray.

Step 2

Soaking the coir worm bedding
Soaking the coir worm bedding

Soak the worm bedding block (made of coir compost) in warm water, before breaking it up into a friable mass.

Step 3

Adding in the wetted worm bedding
Adding in the wetted worm bedding

Cover the paper with the compost bedding mixture, spreading it out in an even layer.

Step 4

Spreading the worms out over the bedding
Spreading the worms out over the bedding

Spread the worms out over the bedding and they’ll quickly start burrowing down into the material.

Step 5

Allowing the worms to burrow down
Allowing the worms to burrow down

Cover the worms and bedding material with a thin layer of well-chopped vegetable peelings. As these begin to rot, the worms will be able to start feeding on them. Most kits also come with a mat that should be used to cover the material to maintain moisture in the bin.

Step 6

Covering the worms with vegetable waste and moisture mat
Covering the worms with vegetable waste and moisture mat

Finish by putting the lid on the bin, then move it to a warm and sheltered spot, out of direct sunshine. Regularly drain liquid from the bin, and dilute it with 10 parts water, to use as a fertiliser.

Advertisement

Move the wormery to a frost-free place during winter, as worms may die if left outside.

Gardening gloves. Photo: Getty Images.