Get Your Bin Started
Things you’ll need to get started:
A nice, shady place to put your bin
Scraps to feed the worms
1. Once you decide on the type of bin you want to build or buy, you should set it up a few days in advance of receiving your worms. While this isn’t vital, it allows time for microbes to grow (which the worms actually eat) on your bedding and food scraps. It’s a friendlier environment for the hungry worms and makes for an easier transition. Make sure that you have air holes in the lid of your bin to allow for sufficient air flow. Finally make sure that the bin is completely out of the sun!
2. Fill the bin 1/4 full with moistened shredded newspaper, coconut coir or your choice of bedding (FAQ has more on bedding selection.) The moisture level of the bedding should resemble that of a wrung-out sponge: not sopping, not dry.
3. Put a layer of food scraps on top of the layer of moistened bedding. Exactly where to put the food depends on the size and type of your bin. See How To Feed Your Worms for the different feeding methods.
4. Throw in a few handfuls of soil to inoculate the bin with beneficial microbes. (This step isn’t necessary, it will just help get your bin going faster.)
5. Put another layer of moistened bedding on top of the food layer. It is important to note that this is probably the only time you will need to add moist bedding. Once the bin gets going, the liquid from the food that breaks down will moisten the later of dry bedding below it.
6. Put a layer of dry bedding on top of the existing layers. You always want your top layer to be dry bedding so it can absorb the moisture released from the next food layer.
7. When your worms arrive, pull back some of the dry bedding in your bin and gently dump out the worms. There is no need to spread them out, they are probably somewhat traumatized from the journey and will venture out to find food as soon as they’re ready. Because the worms do not like the light or dryness of the top layer, they will burrow down into the moist food/bedding layers relatively quickly.
8. Leave the lid off for at least a day to make sure the worms stay down low. (If you start noticing the worms crawling along the lid after it’s been put on, you don’t have enough air flow. Drill more holes.)
9. Give your worms a few days to settle in before bothering them again.
10. When it looks like some of your food scraps are being eaten, you can start to add more food. See How To Feed Your Worms for detailed feeding instructions.