My Successful Worm Farming System

by Leslie
(Kimball, MN)

My Worm Farming System

My Worm Farming System

Greetings from Kimball, MN~

I’ve only been vermicomposting for two years. After thoroughly researching and finding some good mentors this is the system I came up with on practically a zero dollar budget. Our goal was simplicity.

We started with an old 150 gallon Rubbermaid stock tank that someone disposed of at the end of their driveway because the heater had melted a 4”x 1” slot in the upper level, so it no longer served it’s purpose for them.

We took this tank and set it up on some old cinder blocks we found buried on our farm and leveled it slightly tilted forward to encourage flow to the 1.5” drainage hole that is located on the bottom front.

Next we used an old sock or rope to work as a filter and also to absorb the juice, which would then slowly guide into our collection bucket/jug.

Next we placed 4” of slightly dampened peat moss on the bottom and then a fine layer of sand to help aid in digestion of the worm’s gizzards because they have no teeth.

Third ingredient, was about a pound of Red Wrigglers, then a 2” layer of dried deciduous leaves. Black plastic would be ideal for a cover, but our other critters loved our bin too, and were always laying on top of it trying to get to the scraps. So we used an old sheet of plywood that we salvaged from a remodel.

We cut this in half and painted it with scrap paint that retailers sell that was mixed incorrectly. A gallon of paint typically runs $3-$5. My husband had some on hand for his apiaries, so I considered this a freebie!

To position the wood cover, we decided to splurge on some hardware which consisted of bolts, nuts and washers on the back piece of plywood and then four hinges to connect the two sheets in the middle and then a stray handle to lift the lid.

I’m not a fan of newspaper for worms. It attracts fruit flies and tends to make a bin too wet and soggy. The black compost is much more desirable than the soggy light gray color you get from using newspaper due to the clay in it.
So I try to stick with peat moss, or unprinted cardboard.
I didn’t add more vent holes because too much air will breed fruit flies.

I feed fruit, vegetables, leaves and plant trimmings. No animal poop!

The fruit and veggies usually get blended with some water to form a smoothie. Working side to side in the bin, I picture four sections and stay in one section for at least a week, so by the time I return to that section it will be at least a month’s time. I do this by simply digging a hole with my hands (metal implements kill worms!) and set that compost aside, then I fill the hole with my scraps and cover with the compost I set aside, making sure to cover the scraps by at least 2 inches. Top off with some leaves and close the lid.

Living in MN, where it can reach –40*F, I hate to have my worms freeze out. I have a 5 gallon bucket system I keep in our basement during the Winter, which I transfer a few worms to until Spring comes again, but my goal is to build a small room in our barn, because 150 gallon bin of worms can easily handle approx. 200 lbs of waster per month if it’s cool enough. That much compost creates a lot of heat! So, I'm hoping to see the 150 gallon bin someday heat it’s own building.

Typical Cost:
Rubbermaid Stock Tank: $212
Cinder Blocks $4
Wood $25
Hardware $8
lb of Red Wigglers $35
Paint $20
Peat Moss $15
Sand $3
Total = $318

My Cost:
Tank- free
Cinder Blocks- free
wood – free
Hardware $8
Wigglers – free (neighborhood gift)
Paint – free
Peat Moss – on the farm
Sand – stole from kids sandbox. :)
Total = $8

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Jul 24, 2014
Worm Farming Shoestring-Budget Style
by: Pauly

Wow Leslie,

You really have proved that you can start a worm farm on a shoestring budget. Even if you DO have the money...why make an unecessary investment when there's plenty of things lying around that can be re-purposed.

One person's junk is another woman's "Worm Farm" :)

And all for just 8 bucks and a little ingenuity. One of the best things about it is that it's HUGE! It looks about the same size as the worm wigwam but so much more inexpensive.

I'm so proud of you for what you're doing and your research. I hope that this worm farming system last you a very, very long time and may it produce you 1,000's of pounds of castings and worms for your plants and you. You're even better set up for next year :)

Great job and Happy worm farming,

Aug 17, 2014
I love how big this is - and a question on harvesting
by: Karen (ReddingGal)

Leslie, what a great idea to use a stock tank. I love how big it is and that it has a drain, just in case it gets too wet inside. And the hinged top is great.

How do you harvest your castings? Just scoop out a bunch of bedding and worms, and then sift them?

I wonder if you could turn this into a horizontal migration system and feed one side at a time, to make harvesting castings easier.

I just love seeing all the different ways to raise worms.

Aug 20, 2014
Horizontal Migration
by: Anonymous

Yes, you could easily section it off it you'd like to. I simply do invisible dividers by working left to right with scraps, making sure it's a week to each section, so it takes me at least a month to get back to my original spot. For harvesting I simply fill a steel letter basket I got from Office Max, give it a gently shake and the worms drop out, leaving me "black gold".

Aug 01, 2016
way to go
by: henry

your solution to fix the cold weather in winter
was a relief...that has always been a cause for concern. the stock tank seems a perfect material,
I have found only metal tanks. good luck

Feb 08, 2018
by: Mike

Hello Leslie, I live over in Glenwood would like to get in contact with you how could me make that happen

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