How to Wrangle Your Own Red Wigglers!

Starting out vermicomposting can be very exciting, but also daunting if you’re new to it. Here are the most important things to know to get started composting with earthworms.

Why Vermicomposting?

– Finished compost is awesome for garden and house plants.

– Reduce household waste.

– Red wigglers reproduce easily and are awesome pets.

– Bins are easy to maintain (about 10 min/week).

– They are a great way to compost in small spaces (apartments)

– Worms will add a lot to outdoor composters and gardens.

– Composting is a great way to involve kids in caring for our earth.

– It’s fun!

What is NOT normal for worm composting:

– Pooling liquid

– Smells

– Mold

– Worms crawling up the side trying to get out of the bin

The solution to most of these problems is more bedding and/or less food added until your worms catch up.

What You Need

Worm Bin

– Composters for vermicompost are commercially available (and great) but can be easily made of commonly available or re-purposed materials.

– Worms need a dark space with airflow.

– Rubbermaid style bins with air holes are often used.

– Drainage is helpful.

Ask me for help choosing or setting up your worm bin.


– Add newsprint or corrugated cardboard as a carbon source and to control moisture.

– Avoid glossy printing and bleached paper and carboard.

– Remove tape and labels.

– Shredding bedding helps your worms to break down bedding fastest.

I’m able to get your set up with shredded cardboard.

How To

Start your worm bin

– Add a generous amount of bedding.

– Moisten bedding with water in a spray bottle or by soaking it then squeezing or draining excess liquid

– Add some food waste to be composted

Add some worms (note this is last… have a plan for what your initial setup will be before buying worms)

I have Red Wiggler compost worms for sale.

Feed your worms

– Be cautious about adding too much waste.

– Worms need to be kept in a moist bin (they die if they dry out, too).

– Add equal parts bedding and waste.

– Add small amounts of food at a time and only feed more when you see that your worms have made it through what you’ve added.

Ideally, when you grab a handful of your bedding and squeeze it, you should get a few drops of liquid run out. If you get more or less, make some changes.

What To Feed

Feed your worms:

– Fruit and vegetable peels and waste

– Coffee ground and tea bags (with the staple removed)

– Eggshells with no egg on them crushed or ground (helps with worm digestion and balances pH)

– Bedding as described above

Avoid feeding your worms:

– Meat and bones

– Dairy products

– Pasta, bread

– salt

– Add minimal citrus fruit and peels at a time

– Things with cooking oil in/on them

– Pet waste and litter

– Avoid seeds from fruit and vegetables if you’re worried about sprouting.

Other Resources

How-to for a few basic DIY worm bins:

Make A Worm Bin

A great overview of worm farming basics:

How I Can Help!

Thank you for your interest in vermicomposting.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Amanda ~ Worm Wrangler

154 Victoria St. S. Kitchener, ON, CAN


phone: 519-577-8205

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