Make Your Own Wormery

Vermicompost is 10 times more nutritious than commercially bought compost. Earthworm tea is a combination of earthworm urine and the liquid leached from the decomposing material. Dilute with water (1:50) and use as a foliar feed, as a rooting agent or as a pre-soak for seeds. Generate your own vermicompost and tea with this do-it-yourself wormery.

For Your Wormery You need:

  • A large black bucket, tub or bin, with a lid. Earthworms need a dark environment
  • Soldering iron or drill
  • A basin to catch the worm tea (ice-cream containers are ideal)
  • Two bricks
  • Shredded newspaper, dried leaves and garden waste
  • Food: kitchen scraps and soft garden growth
  • Red wriggler (Eisenia fetida) compost worms


  1. Make two rows of holes (with a soldering iron or drill) around the rim of the bucket for ventilation. The holes should be 5cm apart. Make holes in the bottom of the container so that the liquid (earthworm tea) can drain out.
  2. Fill the bottom third of the container with a mixture of dried leaves, shredded paper and other garden waste. Soak this material first and allow it to drain so that it is moist but not saturated.
  3. Place a layer of kitchen waste, 10 – 15mm in depth, over this as food for the earthworms.
  4. Add the worms with their bedding (which is supplied when you buy the worms). Eisenia Fetida are small red earthworms that are much smaller than the normal garden earthworm. About 250 grams of mature worms (about 500 worms) is all you need. Place some moist paper over them and a thin layer of grass or leaves (about 5cm thick) and top that with some soaked newspaper. This will keep them cool and in the dark. Put on the lid.

Wormery Tips

Raise the wormery container off the ground by placing it on two bricks, turned sideways. Place an ice-cream container (or similar container) underneath to catch the liquid as it drains out.

Keep the contents moist but not sodden by putting soaked newspaper on top. If your earthworms start trying to escape, there is too much moisture.

What to feed your earthworms:

You can feed your earthworms vegetables, fruit (especially banana skins,) eggshells (crushed), egg boxes, shredded newspapers, computer paper, cardboard, loose tea, tea bags, coffee grinds, cereal and oatmeal (no milk).

What not to feed:

Do not feed your earthworms meat, bones, dairy products (cheese, butter, etc.), salad dressing, citrus peels, glossy paper, onion and greasy food.

How much to feed:

The Eisenia fetida earthworm eats its own body weight per day. The microorganisms present in the decomposing material provide them with the nutrition they need. It is not necessary to feed them every day, but if you are unsure then check the bin and don’t add any more if the waste is still fresh. Take it out if it is starting to turn sour (you’ll smell it).

The Gardener