We've got WORMS!

Have you thought of composting at home, but didn't know where to start?
Well, here's an easy in-home composting solution that may be what you're looking for.

The following is a guest post written by my other half, Cody, who has
done all the research and came up with a method that works for us.

He is the handiest man I know and can build just about anything,
although this can also work for the handyman challenged, too.

Pet Worm

For a while Jessica and I have expressed an interest in composting but have not actually got around to starting one. After looking through several different designs and actually considering a big forced-air, self-stirring composting beast, I came across this awesome and easy vermicomposter.


It uses worms to digest food scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, and shredded paper into nutrient and microbial rich dirt. You’d think that something like this would smell, but this doesn’t seem to be a problem unless it gets unbalanced. The simple antidote is more shredded paper. Towards the end of this Instructable, others have posted pictures of their own variations. Check out the one built into the pantry that is regularly tended by the four-year-old. That’s my favorite.

I built the frame for our vermicomposter out of poplar. These were some leftover pickets from a previous job. I like to hold on to things for later, when I figure out what to do with them. The fabric I used is the same as instructed (Ecospun felt, made from recycled bottles.) I found it at wally world for just under 4 bucks. Be sure to check the widths of the felt. I assumed it would be 72 inches wide and it turned out to be 58 inches. I had to go back to get a little more. I picked up some bola style cinches and already had some parachute cord on hand for the drawstrings. I recommend using a sewing machine unless you’re just really fast at sewing. It took me all day.

I started out thinking that I’d just dig up the worms. I went out in the backyard with a trowel and found some soft areas. Nothing. I thought, Oh, it’s just cold, let me dig a little deeper. Not a single worm. I looked online again and realized I needed to walk over to the barn and check the stalls for manure. I don’t know when animals last used that barn, but I know they left their mark. However, the next day it snowed, and about the same time I realized that I was going to need about 1000 worms. I figured I’d be pretty lucky to come up with even a hundred worms on a nice day much less a thousand in the freezing cold. So I ordered worms. I searched and compared different worm growers and went with triplegwormfarm.com. They sell a pound of worms for $22.50 with free shipping and are only a state away from us, which helps lower the real costs of shipping. I liked that they kept in touch with me by e-mail until my order had shipped.

The worms came packaged with bedding enclosed in cheesecloth and insulated with shredded newspaper. I first put a handful of shredded newspaper in the composter. Then I dumped in the worms with their bedding. I cut up an old apple and squash, putting the pieces on top along with some coffee grounds and a teabag. I covered everything with more shredded newspaper and sprayed with water.

Here is a slideshow, click on the photo itself to go to the next one.
Wanna go back? Clicking on the thumbnails will take you there.

A big thank you to Cody for taking the time to share your experience with everyone.
Who knows, maybe he'll be back sometime to do another guest post!?!?

If you remember, it was only a few weeks ago that composting was on our
"5 things we could do to be more green" list, and now it has been put in place!
Now, we will reduce the amount of food waste that goes to the landfill where it turns
into methane, a greenhouse gas that is harmful to the environment. According to others
who use this form of in-home composting, worm composting does not create a stench.......
I suppose we'll soon find out for ourselves!

If you have any questions for Cody,
you can leave them in the comment section or

send me an email, and I will forward it to him.


  1. Are you going to use the worm castings to grow your own vegies?

    I have hear the casting they produce are the best thing for the garden.

  2. Sounded facinating!
    sigh... unfortunatelly I have no garden and no space to do this :-(

  3. cool, we did vermicomposting when we lived in our rental house and had no outdoor space for a backyard composter. I loved those worms, really, I did.

  4. I'm there!!! Thanks Cody, this is what I've been looking for.
    Worm poop is the best for any type of plant. Now I won't have to pay mucho $$ for it anymore...
    Thank you for the very informative post.

  5. One more thing I forgot to mention, Cody... your cabinetry skills are top notch!
    Nice work.

  6. Aren't composters wonderful? We've got one of the huge round one's that you hand crank every now and again . . . and it's AMAZING how much stuff gets taken out to be composted. You never realize how much waste you have . . . until you get a composter.

    We do raised bed organic gardening and this is the best way to go, by far!

  7. We've got a worm box too! I tell ya our garden LOVES the compost.

  8. great~ we tried it years ago but it was a failure for us...I think I was to busy or something...please let me know if you keep at it...is it overboard to say those worm photos are beautiful? i think so.....

  9. How fascinating! Thanks for sharing your experience with worms ;--)
    Hugs and blessings,

  10. Cody, you are truly a talented builder! The frame for the vermicomposter looks more elegant than some of the furniture in my living room. I also love that you were able to construct it with wood you scavenged from other projects. The photos are beautiful and I hope you keep us posted on the smell. I'd love to move our compost inside so that we wouldn't have to tromp out to the rain all winter long. Thanks so much for being a part of Thrifty Green Thursday this week!

  11. I love this idea--especially the four year old tending it!

    Our "compost" is actually chicken food, but more ppl have compost than chickens :-)

  12. Wow, he even routered it.

    We love composting... the girls think it's their little bug zoo. It's amazing how everything breaks down & then goes back into the garden. Our trash is so radically minimized. Fun.. fun

  13. you are a better woman than I - NO WAY COULD I DO THAT - or handle that!!

  14. all I can think is .. I'd order worms, they'd show up, Atlas would chew on the box because he loves to chew on cardboard, and I'd come home to find a house overrun with worms. I don't love worms. LOL

  15. We got a composting bin this summer. I don't have the worms though.

  16. ack no way. my only phobia is the "W". I must go now and come back when this post is no longer up!!


  17. I keep hearing about indoor vermicomposters but never really knew how it was done. Thanks for the tips and the slideshow! I am fortunate to live in a place where I can have outdoor composting year-round. I'm glad because I am not sure I would like the thought of the worms creeping around, as industrious and useful they may be.

    Thanks for joining us for Thrifty Green Thursday with this very informative post!

  18. Good for you guys! I love our composter so much. It was furnished for little money by our County extension office to encourage composting. Ours is made of plastic and has vents that we adjust, a pull-out tray at the bottom to get the good rich earth out that is made, and a top that also can be vented. We didn't buy any worms; I guess they just found us. Them, plus other bugs that you can actually HEAR munching in the summer when the lid is removed! They love watermelon. Don't worry, WW, about the smell. It actually is a very sweet, rich earthy smell. I've never been even in the slightest offended when I open the lid to toss stuff in (like the layer of leaves we just raked from the yard).
    OK I'll curb my enthusiasm and just thank Cody for the interesting post.

  19. i have dreams about red worms in avalon and all their goodness. great tutorial cody!

  20. yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck

    *runs away flailing arms*

  21. I pictured an outside composter...but this sounds great. Is it really not stinky? Does stuff drip out of the bag?