How To Get Started With Worm Composting

Posted On Thursday, 25 May 2023 19:56

Worm composting or vermicomposting is a process where worms convert organic materials and food wastes into a nutrient-rich fertilizer known as worm castings or vermicompost. 

Do you have a garden and need rich manure to grow your plants and flowers? Are you looking for ways to enhance sustainability and protect the environment? Worm composting should be your solution to both needs. 

Here’s how to get started with worm composting:

Get Worms

Worms are the main agents in worm composting. Their castings are highly nutritious and contain Calcium, Nitrogen, and Phosphorus, which promote healthy plant growth. It’s important to source the right type of worms for composting - red worms. Earthworms from your garden are not suitable for this purpose.

There are various places to source redworms, both online and offline. You can find farmers that grow and breed these worms or buy from fish or bait shops. While fishermen often use red worms as bait, availability may vary depending on your location and other factors, so it's always a good idea to check with local suppliers.

Ensure you source your worms from quality Maze worm farms; it’s crucial to check the reputation of your chosen supplier before placing an order. Once you’ve sourced your worms, the next step is to prepare their new home: the compost bin.

Acquire A Compost Bin

A compost bin is where you’ll hold your food waste and the worms for composting. Many compost bins exist, differing in size, material, make, etc.

You can opt to buy a ready-made compost bin or build one yourself. The best compost bin should accommodate the amount of compost you plan to prepare and allow comfortable stirring of the contents. The ideal recommended size is 3ft by 3ft.

Wood is a preferred material for your compost bin over plastic, as plastic can break down and potentially introduce toxins into your compost.

Ensure you create holes below and along the walls of your bins. Be sure to space them, and they shouldn’t be too thick so that the worms can wiggle out of the compost. The holes will give your compost enough oxygen.

Layer Your Compost

Layering your compost is important in ensuring you get equal amounts of everything. You need green and brown materials for this process. 

Green materials comprise food waste and include vegetable and fruit scraps, crushed eggshells, coffee grounds, and seaweed, among others. Ensure not to include citrus fruits, diseased plants, seeded weeds, twigs, treated timber, etc. 

Brown materials include cardboard, paper, sawdust, dead leaves, and newspapers. These are beneficial since they’re rich in Carbon, which controls moisture. 

Ideally, the first layer should be brown materials, between five and eight inches thick. Having brown materials as the first layer aids in aeration. Follow this by emptying your bag of red worms into the bin, spreading them out, and adding green materials.

As the worms get familiar with the surroundings, probably after a few days, proceed to layer your compost bin. Alternate between green and brown materials until it’s full.

Alternatively, layer your materials and introduce the worms at the top. They’ll find their way into your compost’s bottom layers. Once you've layered your compost and introduced the worms, the next crucial step is to maintain your compost bin properly.

Practice Regular Maintenance

Before starting with worm composting, you want to know how to maintain the compost properly to yield the best results. 

The main thing with maintenance surrounds ensuring the food waste doesn’t rot. You need to change your waste every so often. Look out for signs of rotting, like smells and flies, near your compost. If it’s the case, replace the said food items. The red worms should eat fresh (waste) green material. 

As part of maintenance, you shouldn’t overfeed your worms. It’s said that red worms eat food equivalent to half their body weight. Therefore, it’s best to do your calculations or have an approximation of the amount of food to add, depending on the number of worms in your compost. Also, avoid refiling the bin with food waste daily; space out the feeding days. 

This approach ensures that the worms have enough time to process the existing waste before new waste is added. While maintaining your compost bin, it's also important to be aware of certain precautions to ensure the success of your worm composting.

Know The Precautions

The success of your worm composting heavily depends on what you do. It’s important to know what not to do with the compost to avoid doing it incorrectly. 

These precautions include:

  • Ensuring the compost is moist but not wet. Too much moisture reduces your compost's oxygen levels and will make it smelly. Reverse the situation by adding brown materials; they’ll absorb the excess moisture. It’s important to note that the bin shouldn’t be too dry as well.
  • Keeping foreign materials and animals from your compost bin. An open compost bin will attract flies and animals that interfere with the ecosystem you’ve built. Ensure this by always keeping your bin closed. As a plus, the cover will prevent water entry into your compost bin that’d have made it wet.
  • Storing the worm compost bin away from direct sunlight, worms are photophobic. Also, the sun is associated with high temperatures, which can negatively affect the worm’s production rate. In extreme cases, the worms might die. Hence, place your bin in a cool, dark place. It’d help to use a dark-colored compost bin to control the lighting. 


Adhering to these will provide the ideal surroundings for your worms to turn your food waste into compost. You also get a chance to enrich your garden soil, promoting the growth of healthy plants.


With the right tips, getting started with worm composting doesn’t require much and isn’t strenuous. The discussion above has guided how to start and maintain a worm compost. If you plan on practicing worm composting, implement the tips given herein for an easy time.

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