How to Make a Worm Composter

Bin for Vermicomposting

Wonderful, wondrous wiggling worms – they’re just magnificent and the starting point to healthy soil and awesome compost.

Traditional compost heaps like this one here are full of them, but there is another way to turn kitchen scraps and weeds into nutrient-dense goodness – by using a wormery.

Why worm composting rocks and show you how to make a budget-friendly wormery of your own.

Wormeries, or worm composters, use special composting worms to turn kitchen waste into nutrient-dense compost and liquid fertilizer.

They don’t smell, take up very little space, and are a great way to introduce children to the wonders of worms.

Use one as a standalone vermicompost solution for courtyard or balcony gardens, or as a complement to a traditional compost heap or bin.

A worm composter is typically made up of at least two compartments.

The bottom compartment is where the liquid collects, which can be drained off to use as a liquid feed for your plants.

The top compartment is where your worm is will live.

It’s also where you’ll add your kitchen scraps to feed them.

This is also where your compost or worm castings will be made.

The lid here keeps everything from drying out or getting flooded during a rain shower.

Our worm composter uses three compartments, providing an additional tray that makes it easier to collect the worm compost.

Holes in the bottom of both the middle and top trays ensure that the liquid produced by the worms can percolate down into the collection tray at the bottom.

And once the tray is full, they enable worms to migrate up into a new tray so that compost from the vacated tray can then be harvested.

The trays we’re using are about 16×20 inches (40x50cm) and fairly shallow at just 8 inches (20cm) deep.

You’ll also need a plastic faucet or water barrel tap, a drill and drill bits, and a lid for the top tray.

Of course, you may wonder how many worms needed for composting but don’t be tempted to use earthworms from the garden.

They’re great at tunnelling and improving our soil, but not so quick at composting.

I ordered these ones online. They’re a lively mix of European night crawlers and tiger worms which are capable of eating twice their body weight a day!

So let’s assemble the wormery.

First, the bottom tray.

Carefully cut out or drill a hole to snugly fit the thread of the faucet.

Fit it as low as possible in the tray so that liquid isn’t left at the bottom when you drain it off.

Screw it tightly into position, then secure with the back nut.

You can raise the wormery up on bricks to make it easier to drain off the liquid.

Now let’s get on and drill those holes in the top two trays.

Drill quarter-inch (1/2 cm) holes approximately every 2 inches (5cm) right across the bottom of both trays.

We’ll also drill a single row of holes near the top of the two trays at the same size and spacing.

These holes will help to improve air flow, creating a healthier environment for your worms.

OK, now for the fun part – time to add our worms!

I’m starting with an 3 inch (8cm) layer of coir, which I’ve dampened slightly to make it nice and comfortable for the worms.

You could also use any really good quality compost.

Now it’s time to add the worms.

In they go!

Now, they’ll soon bury themselves into that lovely bedding material and get settled in.

Now it’s time for our kitchen scraps.

To start with you just want to add about 2 inches (5cm) so as not to overwhelm them and so they can settle into their new home in peace.

And finally a layer of burlap or hessian, just to keep them nice and snug while they settle in.

Now I won’t add any more material for about a week until they’ve properly settled in.

Worms like moist, warm conditions so keep your wormery somewhere shady, and as close to room temperature as you can.

They don’t like to be frozen so move the wormery indoors for winter – into a garage, outbuilding or utility room is ideal.

Add food a little at a time to the top of the compost.

Avoid adding too much food at any one time, as this risks creating an odor that will attract flies.

The worms will digest any kitchen scraps, including coffee grounds, but avoid meat or animal products such as cheese which can attract flies.

Go easy on citrus peel and alliums like onion and garlic too, as large amounts will make conditions too acidic for your worms.

You can also add small amounts of weeds and leaves, as well as shredded non-glossy newspaper or torn up cardboard.

Once the top tray’s full, swap it round with the empty middle tray and start filling that instead.

The worms will migrate up through the holes to where the food is, leaving the full tray empty of worms and ready for collection.

Repeat this process each time the active tray becomes full up .

The worm compost, or ‘castings’, make a great all-purpose soil conditioner, or add them to your own potting mixes to give them a nutritional boost.

Drain the liquid off from the bottom tray whenever it collects.

This nutritional liquid, often known as worm tea or worm wee, is a super elixir for your plants.

Stir 1 part of the liquid into 10 parts water before using.

And there you have it – a genuinely superb homemade wormery that will keep you in wonderful worm compost and lovely liquid.

If you already have a wormery, tell us about it.

What do you do with all that goodness, and how have your worms benefited your gardening?

Let us know down below.

Don’t miss out on any of our upcoming how-to videos – check you’re subscribed before you leave us today, and I very much look forward to catching you next time.




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Guide to Bokashi Composting

Bokashi Composting

I hear there’s been a surge in people starting Gardens which is awesome.

In fact I’ve had tons of friends reaching out to me for advice as well.

The most important thing when starting a garden is to compost because composting helps you build the nutrients in your soil so that you can grow all your fruits and vegetables.

Composting all of your household food is actually kind of a two-for-one. It’ll reduce tons of waste that goes into the trash can and it’ll build your soil so let me show you how

we compost that’s the easiest way that generally just about anybody can do.

So we actually do four types of composting we have our chickens which are the cutest composters around. We also have worms and we have a garden compost but

by far the easiest is a Bokashi system.

The reason this is the easiest is because you can put anything in it.

You can even put citrus even meat bones and it will all compost down. So I’m going to walk you through each step as to how the Bokashi compost system works.

So this is a Bokashi composting system it really consists of a bucket with a nozzle at the bottom to let the liquid out and I’m going to show you how it works.

First thing I like to do is actually put some water in here to make sure that I don’t have any leaks because if you do have a leak it can really smell up your garage or wherever you’re keeping this.

So this bucket looks good and the first thing you do is you put

the bottom holder on and then you put a layer of bran. Let me show you what this

bran this is the magic of Bokashi composting this will help create the

pickling or the micro organisms to break down the food so you basically put a

small layer of this at the bottom.

You don’t need to have a lot just to kind of cover it and now we are going to add our food scraps into the compost. So all you’d really do is take whatever food scraps you’ve got from the last day or two and you take your handy dandy tool because you want to press these layers

down so they’re as tight as possible.

Bokashi composting is different than other composting because you we want to remove all the oxygen. So I’m gonna add the Bokashi bran on top and you really just need a thin layer so that all the food is covered and then you’re gonna press this down. Then each time you add a new layer of food you’ll add a new layer of bran on top.

Layer after layer until this whole bucket is full. In the meantime all

you need to do is go ahead and close this and I’ll show you what’s next.

Alright we’re on our way.

The only thing you need to do is you fill your bucket up is every few days but at least once a week drain the liquid out. But first it can be a lot of liquid. I will often discard that but after that it tends to come out as a trickle and might be really dark. I take that and mix that with water it’s pretty powerful stuff so you actually need to mix it at about a hundred to one ratio. Generally for me if I fill up my whole watering pail that’s enough dilution. This is great nutrients for the plants and even fights bugs. So I put that directly onto the plants and into the soil. Once you’ve filled it to the tippy-top just close it up and wait two weeks.

The only thing you have to do in the meantime is drain it every few days to get the liquid out. All right let’s fast-forward two weeks the next step is to find an empty place in your garden or yard that you can dig a hole because the Bokashi system happens in two phases.

The first phase has been happening over the last couple of weeks in the bucket.  The food is actually being fermented now we’re gonna move on to the next phase, where in the soil it’s going to finish composting.

I like to dig a hole that’s about twice as big as the food you just really want to make sure that there’s plenty of soil on top of the food. All right let’s get this food into the hole. The first time I did this I was surprised that all the food kind of still looked like food. I recognized a lot of the stuff. But this is exactly what it should look like again what’s happened here is the pre composting process next it’s actually going to compost into the soil.

All right I bet you’re curious what’s going on into the soil. So let’s fast forward two more weeks and dig up to see what things look like. I have to admit the first time I did this I was pretty

skeptical as to what this was gonna look like.

Most composting systems take many months before everything’s ready to add to the soil. So you’re starting to see that yep there’s definitely still some food that you can tell in there but wow this looks completely different than two weeks ago when we put this into the soil.

So I’ll smooth this out again and show you what this looks like in three weeks.

So let’s dig this up and see what it looks like.


Different already for sure see a little bit of food there but this has really

composted beautifully into the soil.

Take a look at how that soil looks. At three weeks I turn this thoroughly and then smooth it out and then this is really ready for planting. This soil is full of healthy microbes and bacteria that will really nurture your plants as they grow.

Oh yeah and the question I get a lot people ask me does this make your soil too acidic. So let’s take a look.

Ideal soil should have a pH reading between six and seven so where are we at on this soil?

6.5 perfect!

Ready for planting for planting.

So how’s this look after we’re all done? I dug up some soil just from next to the bed this is what the native soil looks like it’s very clay-ie grainy even a little bit rocky once you’ve composted the soil you can smell and see the nutrients in the soil.

You can actually smell a little bit of the nitrogen when you when you ball… when you create a fist it creates like a little bit of a ball and this is just full of nutrients that the plants eat.

Sure you can go buy already pre composted soil from Home Depot or Lowe’s but this is the best soil you can do. It’s free for you to bring all these nutrients into the soil by doing your own composting and this is why homegrown vegetables taste so much better if you really have great soil.

So I hope this has inspired you to get your food scraps out of the landfill and into your soil and if you want to start Bokashi composting check out the link in the description below to

get a system for yourself. Thanks for watching and happy composting.

Hi we’re the zero waste family. We are sharing our story in how we are raising our three children zero waste, plant-based, and mindfully minimal on an urban homestead. We live

just ten minutes from downtown San Diego.

We grow most of our own food with the goals of being sustainable and self-reliant.

In our ebook “Zero Waste for Families” we are sharing inspiring tips and recipes for how to reduce waste with kids. Thank you for watching and enjoy

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How to Compost Pine Needles

Pine Needles

The pine needle is a dry material hard to breakdown on the off chance that it isn’t blended in with other wet materials inside the composter.

The organization of leaves of various pine types doesn’t shift, so the fertilizing the soil of the leaves is the equivalent for every one of them.

The most ideal approach to compost is to treat the pine needles in little amounts and consistently blended in with kitchen waste or grass. The blend with follows containing 70% water will make the way toward fertilizing the soil of this material truly basic.

In the nurseries where there is grass under the pines, the cutter itself is capable of making the granulating and blending of the two materials.

If there should arise an occurrence of solid breeze, when the nursery is excessively brimming with pine needles, don’t drop it at the same time into the composter, in light of the fact that then the treating the soil cycle will stop. What should be possible is to store it for lighting the chimney or grill, and afterward put the cinders into the composter.

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Why Your Compost is Not Composted

Compost is Not Composted

Today we have another exciting episode for you.

Today what we’re going to talk about is why your compost is not composting.

And, you know, I have seen this time and time again.

I’ve visited a lot of gardeners, a lot of people that are composting, home owners that think they’re doing good because they’re composting.

But yet their compost is never done and they got bugs in it and ain’t working and all this kind of stuff.

And I’m going to share with you guys my one top tip to get your compost working instead of not working.

And this is the thing I’ve seen the most, right.

So what the home owners have here is they got a compost tumbler.

Just a tumbling compost system.

And I like the compost tumbler systems for me.

And for many people they work, for some people they don’t work.

I like the tumblers because, number one, they keep out, you know, vermin like rats and all this kind of stuff and mice that could get in there and create havoc and all this kind of stuff.

Number two, depending on where you live, it might be a good thing because it retains moisture.

So in the arid climate that I live in, you know, a pile on the ground would just dry really fast and I’d have to use excess water to keep it at the right moisture level, right.

But most compost piles are at a pretty decent moisture level but, you know, they don’t have this issue.

So what the home owner’s been doing here is they actually just take the composted kitchen scraps, which is what most people compost.

You could also compost lawn clippings and tree leaves and you know, parts of vegetables out of your garden when you’re pulling them up, and you put them in your bin.

And then you could open your bin.

And what I want to show you guys next actually, what this bin looks like on the inside.

Alright so this is what the bin looks like on the inside.

If you look at it, it’s like, I don’t know, it’s like really really wet, right.

Number one, compost shouldn’t be too dry and it shouldn’t be too wet.

And basically they added like leaves to this once and then they just kept dumping food scraps.

And that’s what I see often.

People think if they just keep dumping food scraps it’s going to compost down.

And yes, while compost does happen, you can compost with food scraps, it’s more likely rotting than composting.

So another indication of this is actually if you look closely, and now I’m not going to pick up any of these guys.

Maybe I will for the camera today.

They got these little things in there.

And if you’re a girl, you guys are going to freak out so hide the camera.

These guys.

Aaaahhhh it’s moving, it’s alive, aahhh!

And those guys are called black soldier flies.

And basically the are nature’s degraders,

you know, they eat rotten stuff.

And they’re in there because your compost is not happening properly.

If there’s creatures in your compost, your compost is not happening properly, because you need to have a proper carbon to nitrogen ratio in your compost.

And if you’re adding things like the food scraps, right, you’re adding a lot of nitrogen, you know, also known as greens, so grass clippings and the food scraps are the greens.

But you also need to add the browns, right.

Remember, brown power!

Alright, so we need the browns.

So what are browns?

So browns are leaves.

But John they added leaves once.

Well you need to add like four times as much leaves as the food scraps.

So you need to remember to do this often.

In addition, the leaves don’t break down as fast.

So I’d recommend like, you know, grinding them up into smaller pieces so they break down faster.

Because some leaves just simply don’t break down.

I mean, we could see whole leaves in here.

Like these are some oak leaves that just haven’t broken down over time.

So what I recommended yesterday the home owner do is actually go out and get my number one favorite carbon source that may be available near you for super cheap.

So let’s go ahead and take a look at that next.

So my number one favorite carbon source that you guys are missing if your compost pileis rotting, stinking, got bugs, is this stuff right here.

Super simple, super easy.

It’s actually just known as the, this is from tractor suppliers like 6 bucks a bag of 40 pounds.

Super good deal.

Normally maybe it, depending on where you live, it could be like 8 bucks 40 pounds.

These are just natural pine pellets.

This is equine bedding pellets, are very important, you want to get the horse bedding pellets at a feed store, you know.

They don’t have any additives or preservatives or chemicals in there because, you know, they’re meant for horses.

Because they don’t want to get their expensive horses sick.

But guess what these guys are?

These guys are compressed carbon nodules.

And this is what they look like, right here, basically just compressed saw dust, nothing added.

And you’re going to want to put these into your compost pile.

So what I do is I take a five gallon bucket.

Into the bottom about that much to the bucket I’ll fill up with the pine pellets, right, and then I’ll put all my food on top of the bucket.

And, you know, say you’re going to put it in a bag inside your, you know, garbage disposal cruncher thing.

You could just line these in the bottom of the bag and then when you dump your compost in there, it’s already in the bottom of the bag and it’s going to be pre-mixed.

So you just need to find the right ratio to use in the bottom, right.

And that way you’re going to add carbon every single time you add them.

In addition, because these pine pellets they absorb their weight in water, I mean, horses pee on these things and they pop up and they fluff up.

And the other thing if you got cats, they sell this stuff for cat litter.

If you buy it at like Pet Smart or whatever, you know, they’re going to charge you ten times as much as if you get the horse stuff.

And it’s the same stuff, right.

That could save you a lot of money right there.

But yeah, these guys, you know, absorb the water, so they keep your bucket cleaner.

In my case it could keep things cleaner.

And, so you don’t get all that funny runny stuff that drips all over your, you know, floors when you’re taking it outside of the compost pile.

But in addition you’re adding the carbon that’s required for composting.

So because they added this in yesterday, you know, this pile is already a little bit warmer than it was yesterday.

Meaning that now the microbes are able to act appropriately because they have the better ratio of carbon to nitrogen.

Now this pile is still a bit wet for me.

So I think I’m going to go ahead and add some more of the pine pellets.

And I mean, a question you guys might have is how much pine pellets do I add?

Well, you know what?

Basically they had pretty much this composter pretty full.

And out of this 40 pound bag they probably added about maybe one third of it so far.

And I’m going to add about another one third of it, to kind of get it up to speed and, you know, let it get composting.

The other thing I would highly encourage you guys to get is a compost thermometer, right.

Compost thermometers are cheap on Amazon, maybe 13 -15 bucks.

I have a video on it already, I’ll put a link down below for the compost thermometer I bought.

And you could check your compost.

And if your compost is not in the right range, because it will give you like little things.

Like in this temperature range it’s red, too hot; in this temperature range it’s green; in this temperature range it’s yellow, maybe not hot enough.

You need to like dial it in and normally the biggest reason why compost piles don’t work- not enough carbon.

So go out and get yourselves some of these pellets , you know, pine pellets used for horse bedding, to get your compost pile on fire.

Well, not really on fire but working at least.

So within about, I don’t know, maybe 6 to 8 weeks you could have a finished, you know, compost pile, finished compost to put into your garden instead of just rotting smelling stuff that is sitting there for a year and doing nothing.

Alright, so hope you guys enjoyed this episode.

Be sure to check my other episodes.

I’ve put the links down below for other episodes I have on composting and how I compost myself. If you liked this video please give me a thumbs up.

Also be sure to subscribe if you’re not already.

I have new videos coming out all the time.

And be sure to share my past episodes.

I have over a thousand fifty episodes now all aspects of growing food at home, including you know, composting and visiting farms and everything else related.

And I’m sure you will love them.

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