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Cheap worm bins

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If you’re a gardener you probably know how expensive it to buy fertilizer/compost/ anything for your garden nowadays. We all need to be more frugal in these inflationary times. Having a worm bin is a great way to use up food leftovers to create your own compost and worm tea. You can buy premade bins or make them with things you might have around your home. I’ve added some links with some good ideas.

Iowa worm composting

Cheap and easy worm bin

Worm bins


Or you can make them out of things you have at home. I was gifted these bins someone was going to throw out (see photos below). The gray ones have solid bottoms and the pink ones have holes. I dropped a pink bin into a grey one...the fit works so that worm tea can drain into the bottom bin. Add something porous to keep the worms from dropping through bit will allow the ‘tea’ to go through. I had weed block so I used that...some people use screening. I then add some food scraps...torn up paper....the worms...and some cardboard. Don’t forget to wet it down. And keep them in a fairly cool space. It will probably take a couple of months to get some good compost.

if you look at the pictures and see that the worms are actually nightcrawlers. Where did I get them? A couple of months ago my boss at the preschool I used to work at dropped containers of worms on each teacher’s desk and suggested that we do something with them as a science project. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that these were actually fishing worms. :grinning-smiley-044:  She was super excited to see compost happening... Mine were the only survivors... I set them up in a fish tank because that’s all I had to work with...we gave them shredded paper, t.p. rolls and some food scraps. If you look in the pictures you can see the very dark soil they created from that. Good science project....and I brought them home because the other teachers didn’t have a clue how to keep them alive. We’ll see how fast and how much more they will create in a bigger space.











Edited by dogmom4
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I’m pondering that question too.  I’m ready to introduce them to my beds but the reviews on Amazon aren’t too promising for the price. Still, red worms used for fishing, which do work, are over $4 a dozen individually..  How well do worms ship in 90° weather? 

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2 hours ago, Pioneer Woman said:

Thanks for all this info, Dogmom4. Do you know of a cheaper place to order worms from? The places I've seen seem awfully expensive to me.

Check out the cost of redworms in the fishing/bait dept of your local Walmart. :thumbs:

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Ok...wow...I just was checking prices for worms online. Prices are crazy. I found one place that has a good rep where  you can get 100 worms for 24.99...that’s still a lot. But, they do reproduce and eventually you’ll have more. To be honest, if I was you I would dig worms out of my own yard…and if you don’t have access to a yard ask a friend. Put the word out there that you’re looking for compost worms… Someone might be willing to give you a handful. Goodness gracious… For these prices I should come up with a side hustle and sell worms...:grinning-smiley-044: 


Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm

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There is a difference between red composting worms and earth worms.  The earth worms you dig from your yard will go deeper into the soil and not compost nor reproduce nearly as well as red composting worms which stay closer to the surface.  It depends on what your goal is with the worms.  If your goal is the compost and worm ‘tea’ then red worms are best.  Earth worms will do that but are better for fishing or deep aeration.  

I’ve checked on live red worms at our local Walmarts and none of them carry them and even online I found not available or sold out notices. Now why would they be sold out?  More people fishing than usual? Too hot to ship perhaps?  Strange. 

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Posted (edited)

They’ve been sold out in my area for a couple of months. I think more people than usual are gardening/trying their hand at composting. I know it’s like that in my area. Live ladybugs were also impossible to find in the spring. 

I know there is a difference between red wrigglers and earthworms...but in a situation where you’re not able to find the red worms...it could be a think outside of the box situation to use earthworms. I had a fellow gardener tell me the night crawlers I have wouldn’t work to show my students how composting works..he said they were only good for bait and were notorious for escaping. A lot of articles said the same thing. But I found a couple that said they had used them. So I put a lid on the aquarium I had and we ended up with some very dense compost (see the picture). Now I have them in a much larger container so we’ll see how they do. 


Edited by dogmom4
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That looks wonderful.  If I can’t find red ones I’m going to dig some earth worms.  We have tons of them here.  :sSig_thankyou:

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