Worm Composting Videos
I’ve really enjoyed putting together some fun vermicomposting-related videos and posting them on YouTube. The response thus far has been incredible! I only have a handful so far, but you can certainly expect to see more added over time. I will always post the most recent one nearest to the top. In order to watch them you may need to download the Adobe Flash Player – you can get it (free) >>HERE<<. Many computers have Flash already installed, so you may not need to worry about it. Some of the early videos also have a high-definition version, but from here on out I'll likely just post the YouTube versions (for the sake of convenience) - I'm not even sure people have been watching the originals anyway.
Vermicomposting – An Overview – This video is basically intended as a means of introducing newcomers to some of the fundamentals of vermicomposting. It is also intended as a bit of a promo piece for RedWormComposting.com.
“Garbage Bag Harvesting Method” – Not sure why it took me so long to post this one. Better late than never, I guess! Anyway, this one outlines my passive method for moving worms to a new system, while harvesting vermicompost in the process. If the new system is set up ahead of time and allowed to age, the worms should move down quite quickly. If you really don’t want to lose the babies or those not yet hatched from the cocoons in the material, you will need to let the stuff sit for awhile (before using it) and find some way of luring them out (a thin layer of rotting fruit/veggies on the surface would likely help).
Squash Vermicomposting – In fall of 2007 I started up a fun (photographic) experiment to see how long it would take for a butternut squash to decompose in a worm bin. I was hoping to take a picture every day, but that ended up proving to be more of a challenge than anticipated, so there are some gaps. Nevertheless, I compiled all the shots and made them into a powerpoint-style video. It’s kinda fun watching the squash get converted into rich worm castings!
Winterizing My Outdoor Worm Bin – I’ve been talking a lot about my winter composting efforts and have been promising to put together a video about it. Well, I am finally finished! Now I can get back to providing you updates on the blog!
NOTE: The video contains potentially annoying music (haha), but I’m happy to report that sound is not required!
Also, don’t mind the typos (eg ‘morale of the story’ lol)
Setting Up a ‘Deluxe’ Rubbermaid Worm Bin – The YouTube version of this video has been viewed over 1200 times since I put it up (as of the time of writing this) and a lot of people seem to have found it helpful – always a good thing!
NOTE: After re-recording it a zillion times, I gave up and used the last version, so there are a few weird spots (like “that’s eeeeeet”). I don’t actually sound that funny in real life…honest!
Setting Up a ‘Basic’ Rubbermaid Worm Bin – This video shows how to set up a simple worm bin using a single Rubbermaid tub. This is actually pretty close to my typical method for setting up an indoor bin (although my new ‘deluxe’ version is growing on me). Unfortunately I only have the YouTube version of this video (had a computer meltdown a little while ago), but much of the info is similar to the ‘deluxe’ video (although no narration).
– The Vermicomposting Trench
– Building your own ‘Mini’ Worm Bin
– The Ugly Truth about Vermicomposting
Great site, very informative! Love the deluxe Rubbermaid Bin video. I live in Florida and was wanting to use vermicomposting in my garden. I have African Nightcrawlers on order but I’m afraid the ants, raccoons and opossums will make a meal out of them. Any suggestions on preventing them from becoming dinner for the other critters?
Thanks in advance,
Hi Bill – Florida is a tough place to vermicompost (hehe) – there are so many potential hazards (heat, flatworms, ants, armadillos etc), but the good news is that there are plenty of people successfully growing worms in Fla already. If you can build some sort of raised (ie space between the bottom and the ground), and enclosed bed this might be your best bet. Heat will be your major concern, but you can probably get away with locating the system in the shade and using various cooling techniques such as frozen water bottles to maintain reasonable temps. The fact that you are using Africans definitely helps since they are VERY heat tolerant – you might not even need to provide additional cooling.
Hope this helps!
Thanks Bentley – I think I’m going to go with your Rubbermaid unit. It looks good and is easy to build. I might put water in the extra lid the unit sets on to keep the ants out. You have a great site and some wonderful ideas. There is a lot of horse farms in the area and it would be nice to turn the waste into black gold. Are peanut shells any good for vermicomposting? We have a processor not far from the house and the shells are cheap. Good luck and have a great weekend!
I was initially skeptical of peanut shells, assuming they would have a C:N ratio that was too high to make them a good food, but I’ve since read that they are actually within the ideal C:N range. You would definitely need to soak them well, ahead of time. Not sure that I would pay for them, but I guess it would all depend on the asking price.
Im new to this whole worm thing and i was wondering if its even possible to do a bin of canadian nightcrawlers.thanks
I noticed that you said that worm compost systems that are in drawer systems don’t need to be stirred but if you do stir them up is that ok or not? And if I do is that better for the compost process and will it speed it up ? I understand that it may stink for a time while the stuff on top breaks down. I tend to like to paw through the compost just to look at my worms and check on them just to make sure that they are ok. I have bought quite a few and it has cost me a lot of money. Is this ok for the process? Checking on the worms from time to time…?
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You answered all of my questions.
CHAD – Canadian Nightcrawlers (aka `Dew Worms` – Lumbricus terrestris) are deep burrowing soil worms and are not well suited for life in a worm bin/bed
STEVE – Generally, the worms do most of the mixing for you so it`s not really necessary. Too much stirring can stress out the worms as well. Checking on your worms fairly often is totally fine – I`m referring here to total mixing around of contents of bin
JUDI – you are very welcome. Glad to have helped!
I tried a 1/4 inch square hardware cloth ( smallest they had at menards) to seperate the vermicompost via the tumbling method. The results are that it works to remove all med to large material beautifully, but fails to retain the younger worms and eggs… what I hope to do is seperate all the rougher material and worms, (with eggs) back to the worm bin. does anyone know of a source that is fairly inexpensive for a finer grade of hardware cloth?
My other option would be a stainless steel sheet that is perforated 1/8 inch holes on 1/4 inch centers. but then you get into serious dollars for a small operation.
Hi Scott I just googled 1/8 hardware cloth and one outfit has galvanized 24″ X 100′ rolls for $140 http://www.twpinc.com/twpinc/control/product/~category_id=TWPCAT_4/~product_id=008X008G0170W24T I’m sure you will be able to find it somewhere. They also have it in black poly coated 48″ X 10′ for $75 http://www.twpinc.com/twpinc/control/product/~category_id=TWPCAT_4/~product_id=008X008G0170W48X10BL Just found 36″ X 10′ for $20.09 http://www.hardwareandtools.com/invt/6100804
I thank you for the awesome information. A really good video.
Our Boy Scout Troop did your rubbermaid video and method as part of the Boy Scout Gardening Badge! Thank you!
But, I have questions.
1) Is it normal that after a few weeks, the food seems to disappear but, we can’t see the worms?
2) How often should we add bedding material?
3) And, should we wet the bedding material every time we add it?
Thank you very much for the great video and for peaking lots of interest in this concept. Many, many aunts, uncles, grandmas,etc. have been saving the “preferred foods, coffee grounds & tea bags”!
Hi Bentley –
Thanks for all the info at your site, and especially for answering so many questions!
I have started a Rubbermaid bin and so far my worms seem pretty happy. However, I do have a couple of questions:
1) I’ve been unable to put a lid on the bin, b/c worms always migrate to the top overnight, with a few escaping through the air holes. One morning I found 5 shriveled up and dead on the floor – poor things. Leaving the lid off seems to work just fine, as they promptly dive back into the bedding to avoid the light. However, then the bedding on top dries out. So I tried covering it with a piece of cardboard. That slows the drying, but I still need to go in and spray down the top bedding a bit. It’s hard to tell how wet to get it that way. Any suggestions? I guess I need to address why the worms aren’t content to stay in the bedding when the lid’s on? Or just leave it be that it works with a cardboard “lid?”
2) I initially cut up cardboard to use as bedding, but didn’t cut it into strips, just smallish squares (2-4″). Later I also cut more cardboard into long strips. Now I see why that’s probably a preferred method, as the squares are kind of matting down in the bottom, while the strips that are on top, over the food, are nice and fluffy. Should I go in and stir things up to aerate the square pieces that seem to be squashing down? Or just leave well enough alone?
Thanks again for all your help and advice!
Leaving the lid of is actually a great technique in general since it helps to prevent excessively wet conditions from developing. I wouldn’t worry about the bedding drying out on top. Just keep a nice thick layer, and bury your wastes part way down – this should keep the lower bedding moist and ensure that your system remains somewhat balanced. You can always spray down occasionally with water as well (not recommended with enclosed plastic bin though – only if lid being left of for extended periods).
It is very normal for worms to want to roam, so don’t worry TOO much about this. They should eventually settle down, but they may always be the odd dummy that feels the need to see the world. haha
Stirring your bin occasionally (and gently) is ok, but don’t go overboard with it. Use a small hand rake and simply break up the composting mass a bit – you certainly don’t need to completely flip everything or get it all mixed up. As long as some air can get down below, that’s great.
I was thinking of setting some of my red worms, which I have in bins, out in spring, onto a manure pile that has accumulated from goats and their bedding. My question is …will the garden variety earthworm mate with the red worm?.. and if so, what will the offspring result in?
Petra – different species of earthworms cannot reproduce with one another, not even closely related composting species. Some have claimed to have produced “hybrid” worms, but it’s just not the case at all (unless of course you are an expert in genetic modification and happen to have a high-tech lab on hand – haha)
I am in Beijing, and I have dug a million holes looking for worms, but there ain’t any.
Ya know of anyplace that sells them out here?
Hi Brent – the sort of worms you’d be looking for wouldn’t likely be in the ground (assuming you want to do some vermicomposting). In your neck of the woods, your best bet is to look for someone who has Blue Worms (Perionyx excavatus) – these are likely the most commonly used composting worm in east Asia.
Unfortunately, I have no idea who you might contact to get some though!
Hi Bentley and thank you for sharing all of your hard work and helping the rest of us at the same time. It is very much appreciated! 🙂
I have a few questions though and sorry if they’ve already been answered.
1. I read here that someone was using ‘three stacked bins’. In the video I saw, there were only two bins. What does the third do and is the three stack built the same exact way as the one shown in the video? Is it more “efficient”?
2. What is the best way, or your way, of separating the compost (that’s ready to be used), from the bin without killing or damaging the worms?
3. In regards to the lowest bin that captures the ‘water drainage’ is this what is referred to as “tea” that can be used to water your food or flower gardens? Acting as a fertilizer? Or do you throw it out?
4. Do you keep lids on the bins that are stored outside and if not, how do you prevent them from escaping at night?
Thank you again and please keep up the great work!
1) There are many types of stacking tray systems on the market. Just do a search (in Google etc) for “can-o-worms” or “worm chalet” and you’ll see what I mean. The idea with THOSE types of bins (unlike the one in the video) is to continue adding new trays and to get the worms to continue moving up (hopefully leaving pure worm compost behind)
2) Flow-through systems in genera work very well for separating worms from castings. I use a “Worm Inn” system and it works very well. I recommend you check out the harvesting section on the HOT TOPICS page (link in upper navigation) – you should find a number of different ideas there.
3) The liquid that flows into the reservoir is called leachate – real worm compost tea is made by soaking high quality (finished) worm compost in water. Leachate CAN be used in your garden for sure, but I’d recommend diluting it with rain water if possible and perhaps even aerating it if it happens to smell bad.
4) I usually don’t have lids on my systems these days – the key is to create a habitat that worms just don’t want to leave. I certainly don’t worry too much about worms leaving all my various outdoor windrow beds since I know I’m providing them with a pretty top notch habitat. Plastic bins can be a bit trickier, and generally I don’t even recommend keeping them outside. They can overheat really easily, and when humidity is high (especially during rain), temps are warm and light is low, they will definitely want to roam.
Wondering if you managed to find any vermicompost loving worms in Beijing? And if yes, where?… (Yep, I live in Beijing too!…)
Dan, great site, a million thanks for sharing all this info with the rest of us worm wanna be lovers!
I’ll keep reading and come back (GRIN!) with some questions…
Oops! Sorry, Bentley, changed your name to Dan… :*… sorry ‘boUt that!
Bentley,thank you for all the hints. Our 2010-2011 homeschool project is to start composting. All your videos and instructions are so helpful. I think we are off to a great start.
You are very welcome, Michele. Glad to help!
Started a worm bin (Delux mode) tonight in El Cerrito, CA with 200 worms from a local bait shop. Spent about $20 on them. I have a mix of some new and old vegetable stuff in there. Seems they are actively skating around the perimeter. Thanks for all the tips. Bryan
Hi Bentley, can I use comercial brand cow manure like Black Kow that is said to be organic. I have no way of getting manure any other way?
I used your video to make my compost bin and RWC to buy my worms they arrived when you said they would and were healthy. Your caution on not overfeeding them was a big help.
No Yellow Bucket experience for me LOL (My Life With Worms)
The Bin is working just fine. The bedding in side looks nothing like it did when I started. It smells like earth.
You should do a blog on how long it took 1st time vermicomposters to decide hey this is easy Im going to start another system. It took me about 3 weeks.
How do I get rid of all the trilloin of nats????
How do I get the worms to move down to the next bin so I can use the top bin dirt???
I’m on the verge of starting up either VermiPonics or AquaPonics. I’ve already got 3 lbs of red wigglers in a compost bin and another 5 lbs ordered. I’d like to know the sqr or cubic footage ratio between vermicomposting worms and water and grow bed ( running worms / plants seperately ).
I just wondered if i could add waste from fish pond filters in to this system or will it cause me problems with different microbes and nitrates. Thanks for a brilliant site you should write a book,Thanks Bill
Unfortunately I’m really not able to keep up with comments on these older pages.
I highly recommend referring to the “HOT TOPICS” page for links to helpful posts – you find information relating to quite a few topics, including harvesting, vermicomposting trenches, vermiponics, gnats and fruit flies.
Here is the link:
Hi Bentley. I have really enjoyed your videos and website. I like the garbage bag method of separating worms. That works well for me. I leave my bin open for a couple of days to let the worms make their way down to the fresh bedding. I had started my bins using shredded paper, cardboard and later vegetable/fruit scraps. I am now adding composted horse manure to my plastic bins. One thing that I have noticed is, I do not have the problem with the worms pooling at the bottom of the bin, once I started adding the manure to it.
I recently started my own indoor vericompost bin. I purchased 2 bags of vericulture from Mr. Christie. I have no clue as how many worms I got in those bags ( Mr. Christie had told me it was not near half a pound) but I have noticed in less then a month my population has increased. Mr. Christie always answers my question that I come up with.
If anyone is thinking of starting a bin i’d suggest purchasing the worm from Mr. Christie
Unfortunately, I’m not longer able to respond properly to all the comments posted on this page (in case you hadn’t noticed). E-mail, while certainly not foolproof (unless of course you happen to be a customer), is definitely a better way to reach me – as is commenting on newer blog posts.
I DID want to jump here and firstly say thanks to John for his kind words – and secondly point out that he is a customer of my Canadian website (Worm Composting Canada) not Red Worm Composting (all worms sold here ARE sold by the pound – and are taken care of by a U.S. drop-shipper), just so people are clear on that.
Sorry about posting on the wrong site, I thought I was on the Canadian site.opps!! Hope this clears up any cofusion.
So about the garbage bag harvesting does it really work?
I have been trying to find a way to harvest that doesn’t consist of building anything. 🙂
I was planning on building something this week but if this really works then that would be awesome
Im curious as to why you don’t try to a plexiglass or similar clear top rather than a wooden )opaque) top. Seems to me that would create a mini -greenhouse effect to keep the temperature up . This could be combined with a few black water jugs towards the top which absorb the heat and dissipate it. Just some thoughts, maybe worth a try. Works for greenhouses to get them through the winter from what I read.
Hello Mr/Mrs dear
I have a question about vermicompost.
We going to get start a farm of vermicompost, but We don`t know any knowladge about it.
We have (Place: 20 m2)
So, please help us about beggining…
I saw your butternut squash experiment. I was unsuccessful feeding butternut squash cut up in cubes to my worms. They were escaping from the bin daily. Finally after 2 1/2 weeks I removed each piece out of my bin and feed them watermelon. Was your butternut squash cooked? Mine was raw.