Beginner Apartment Worm Composting Kits

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Here is your introduction to beginner apartment worm composting kits. I’ve put together a do-it-yourself option for all of you crafty people. I have also included vermicomposting equipment you can easily purchase.

After reading this article, you will have a good sense of what path is best for you and your skill level. You will learn how to get your worms and find bedding to make a comfy new home for your new worms.

Let’s jump into the two different methods so you can start your vermicomposting journey today!

About Bedding and Worms

Regardless of which method you choose, you will have to decide what to use for bedding and how many worms you’ll need to get started. First, let’s dive into some bedding options you can find or purchase. Then, I’ll discuss the number of worms necessary to create your bin.

Bedding

When it comes to bedding, you can choose many different options. Overall, you’re looking to recreate the compost worms’ natural environment. Composting worms prefer to live in the top 6 inches of soil and more often in the top layer of leaf litter.

Your goal is to create a moist environment that has plenty of air. Red worms breathe through their skin, and a dense, overly wet bin can lead to disaster.

You want to use items like shredded and moistened natural cardboard or newspaper in your beginner apartment worm composting kit. If you have access to dry leaves, away from pesticides and car exhaust, you can add them as well.

However, you only want to add 30% leaves to the paper. This is because your bin can go anaerobic, heat up, and kill your worms.

cardboard for vermicompost starter kit bedding
Shredded cardboard is great bedding and removes paper from the waste stream.

Other items you could use besides cardboard include coconut coir, newspaper, cardboard egg cartons, unbleached or unglossy circulars, all act as great bedding.

Plus, you are eliminating more waste from going to the landfill. A win-win!

How to prepare your bedding

If you have access to rainwater, you will want to use that to dampen your bedding. Otherwise, use purified water or tap water that has sat out for 24 hours to let the chlorine dissipate.

To prepare your bedding, soak it in the rainwater and then wring it out. The final consistency should be close to that of a damp, well-wrung sponge. Another analogy would be the wetness of well spun-out laundry before transferring it to the dryer.

After you wring out the bedding, add it to your bin and fluff it up, so it isn’t a dense pile of bedding.

Your goal as you maintain the bin is to keep it from getting too dry or too wet. Keep a spray bottle of water on hand if it’s too dry. If it starts to look too wet, leave the lid open to allow excess moisture to evaporate.

Worms

When it comes to worms, you can either dig or buy. If you want to go the accessible route, you can check the leaf litter in your backyard or local park.

red wigglers composting worms
Redworms are small 3 to 4-inch worms.

Dig within the first six soil layers for worms that are small and reddish in hue.

Worm Reproduction Tips!

It doesn’t matter how many worms you start with; their numbers will eventually grow.

Worms reproduce by making cacoons.

On average, it takes roughly 90 days for a cacoon to hatch. When they do, three to six worms can emerge.

These tiny thread-like worms can reach maturity within 90 days and produce their cocoons.

Within a year, you can see your worm population triple at least two times over.

If you want to purchase your worms, you can call your local bait and tackle shop, farm, and garden store for compost worms. If you are unsuccessful at finding worms at a local brick-and-mortar store, you can always check online.


Buy worms In your state.


Another online resource you can check online resources such as social media marketplaces, craigslist, and Reddit message boards for small sellers in your community. Otherwise, you can always purchase from sellers like Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm or other national and international sellers.

How Many Worms to Purchase

Since many of you are reading this are beginners, I advocate for buying about 250 to 500 worms to start. More experienced vermicomposters may start their bin with 1000 or 2000+ worms.

The reason I advocate for less In your early days, you may make some mistakes that could kill all the worms in your bin. Once you get the hang of maintenance, you can purchase more worms. You can also wait for your worms to reproduce to increase the bin’s population naturally.

Apartment Worm Composting Kits

Below you’ll find both a free/ DIY method and standard worm bins for purchase. I’ll outline some of the benefits of each technique and who each method may work best. Once you get your worms, add a small amount of food along with the bedding for them to make their home.

Free Beginner Apartment Worm Composting Kit

If you don’t have a lot of money or love a good craft project, it is easy to get started in worm composting. Many people have unused storage containers, or plastic kitty litter pales lying around the house.

These new bins can turn into an apartment composting machine.

I’ve included a video below covering the basics of creating your bin from everyday household items. In the video, the creator uses a large storage tub. You could also use smaller-sized tubs and follow the exact instructions included in the video below.

A do-it-yourself beginner apartment composting kit

If you do not have a big blue tub like theirs, you can use a host of different items as your bin. I’ve seen people use old restaurant bus bins, old plastic gallon ice cream containers, restaurant size condiment containers, and more.

You’re only limited to your imagination and ingenuity!

Benefits of this method

This method is excellent for people who are price challenged, environmentally conscious, or those who love to craft. Making your worm composting bin is relatively easy. It just takes time to clean up an old container, drill holes for both aerations and excess liquid.

You will need a drill or awl to make the holes. If you want to go with this method, have a few tools on hand to make the process easy.

Worm bin construction and worm composting are great kid-friendly activities. Creating and maintaining a bin can teach children about food waste, composting, and gardening.

Making your bin adds that extra layer of involvement in the process.

Issues you may encounter

Many people run into this method’s two issues: imperfect design and difficulty at harvest time. The poor design can cause excess moisture in one side of the bin and not the other. You may need to make adjustments in the future to increase the efficiency of the container.

Next, when harvest time comes around, you may have more incredible difficulty than a flow-through bin. You can feed for several weeks on one side of the container to encourage worms to one side. However, you will still spend extra time picking out worms and cocoons while sifting your compost.


Overall, if you love a DIY project and don’t mind a little extra effort, this is a great way to get started today for free.

$150 Worm Composting Kits

You can always purchase one if you don’t have the time, energy, or interest in making your apartment worm composting bin. One of the most popular styles of compost bins for purchase is what is called a flow-through bin. These types of bins tend to have a smaller footprint on your floor but are often taller.

Like the Hot Frog model, some bins provide models that are both cute and functional. Other containers like the Worm Factory 360 focus on functionality and efficiency, over the look and feel.

hot frog beginner apartment composting kit

In the beginning, you will place your worms, bedding, and food all on the first tray. Over time you will need to add a tray and continue feeding on the new tray. Each tray has plenty of holes to allow the worms to climb to the food and moisture to find their way to the bottom.

Both are available from Uncle Jim’s worm farm. You can find our affiliate link here, and any sales will support the website!

Benefits of this method

These premade worm composting kits are great for those who want to start without all the work. These are great options if you have the money and enjoy a distinct look, feel, or functionality. Many premade bins have spouts to drain excess liquid quickly and other features to help maintain your container.

With these manufactured bins, you can read reviews and even find a community of people using the same model.

Issues you may encounter

Although there are many benefits to using these premade worm composting kits, one of the downsides is the cost and difficulty of modifying them.

If you want to increase the capacity of your bin, you will need to purchase extra trays. Both Hotfrog and the Worm Factory 360 have additional layers you can buy. Before buying, I encourage you to check if there are ways to buy extra parts and trays. This will save you a big headache down the road if you need to perform maintenance to the bin.

Premade bins are also more difficult to modify if you need to make a change. People commonly want to add more airflow to reduce moisture from food decomposing. While the spigot can be helpful, some want to keep it at the correct moisture level without draining excess liquid.

Overall, these issues are minor, and with a bit of research, you can avoid many problems.

Beginner Apartment Worm Composting Kit Summary

There you have it, how to get your bedding, worms, and worm composting kit. Once your worms arrive, you need to provide a little food and let them get established in their new home.

Within a month or so, you will be able to increase feedings. Slowly you’ll see more paper products and food scraps getting turned into nutrient-rich compost for house plants and more.

If you have questions about today’s article or vermicomposting – Leave your questions in the comments below!

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