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Build a worm bed


Click here for a PDF version of these instructions.

Have you ever wished you could dig money out of the ground? In a way you can. Raising worms in a small worm farm can make you extra money during the summer. Bait stores and fishermen are always in need of worms. Gardeners and farmers use them to help their plants, because worms burrow into the soil allowing air and moisture into it. This helps the roots grow deeper and stronger.

Building a Business

Getting started is easy. Everything you need can be found in your local home-improvement store. You can estimate spending about $50 on the supplies needed to build your worm bed.

YOU’LL NEED:

  • 2 25-lb. bags of cement mix
  • 6 7-inch by 1⁄4-inch by 6-foot boards
  • 6 7-inch by 1⁄4-inch by 3-foot boards
  • 6 2-inch by 1⁄4-inch by 2-foot boards
  • a 3-by-6-foot screen mesh
  • adult permission and/or help

The boards can be bought new or you can use old boards you have lying around. The boards may be different sizes as long as they are equal to the size of the bed.

STEP 1: Pick a spot that is shady most of the day.

STEP 2: Measure an area 6 feet long by 3 feet wide.

STEP 3: Dig a hole the size of that area to 36 inches deep. (Ask your parents permission first.) Keep some of the dirt for use later.

STEP 4: With your boards, make a box frame to fit inside the bed you’ve dug. The box will be set into the ground about a foot below the surface.

STEP 5: Place the frame inside the bed. There should be a 1/4-inch gap around the outside of the frame.

STEP 6: Mix the cement according to the directions on the bag.

STEP 7: Pour the concrete into the 1/4-inch gap around the box. Don’t overfill into the bed.

STEP 8: Let the concrete harden. Remove the frame one wall at a time.

STEP 9: Fill the bed with a mixture of peat moss, shredded newspaper and part of the dirt you removed.

STEP 10: Make the top from two of the 6-footlong boards and two of the 3-foot boards. Nail the screen mesh to the boards to make a rectangular door-like frame.

STEP 11: Place the top on the worm bed. This will keep animals out of the bed.

Ordering Your Worms

Now order your worms. The best way is from a worm supplier. You can find a list of these in any outdoor magazine, or you can go to the Internet. One example: http://www.wormman.com. Suppliers will have several different types of worms. Ken Chiarella of Monroe Township, N.J., the Worm Man behind the http://www.wormman.com Web site, recommends red worms for the beginning worm farmer because they’re cheap and easy to raise. You can get about 1,000 worms for $18. Mr. Chiarella warns that you should let your bed sit for several days before you add the worms. Otherwise decomposition will make the soil too hot and the worms will crawl away.

Easy to Please

Taking care of your worms is easy. They will eat anything from leaves to small stones. Table scraps such as banana peels, lettuce and even paper towels can also be added. Feed and water your worms every other day. Use a garden hose to lightly spray the bed until it becomes moist. Let your worms settle into their new home for two months before you start selling them. It is best to use a pitchfork when removing the worms from the bed. Worms are night creatures, so the best time to dig is early morning and late evening. Mr. Chiarella said that 1,000 red worms could turn into tens of thousands more in a year, depending on how much space they have in which to breed. The going rate for selling worms as bait is about $2 for 25 worms, he said. Mr. Chiarella, a wholesaler, said he did $150,000 in business in 1999.

Comments about “Build a worm bed”

  1. simon says:

    can u use a shoe box?

  2. bubba says:

    how do you get containers for them and what about the winter time how do you keep them

  3. Anonymous says:

    it dont have to be foggy or after raining just as long as the ground is moist, i live in ohio and can pretty much find them any spring/summer night…

  4. Aj says:

    I made my worm farm about the size of a shoebox.I started by catching 10 small wild worms.I threw some potato peels in and let it sit for a bout a month in the refrigerator and i had 100 worms.I intended on using them for fishing bait but i will start selling them too.

  5. Flyscouter43 says:

    What do you do for the Bottom of the Worm bed? Does it geta layer of concretes also?

  6. got worms says:

    my worms are not laying cocoons they seem to be happy i have 2 lbs of worms and almost 3 sq ft of surface space what could i be doing wrong i have had them 2 weeks

    • Aj says:

      they might take a while to hatch,but in the meantime,put lettuce leaves,and compost in it. I refrigerate mine and after 6 days they laid eggs.

  7. Just fishing says:

    I just went fishing and had to pay $3.85 for 12 Canadian worm’s and the fish don’t know the difference in them and the ones I dug up last year…

  8. werm pro says:

    my parents rais werms so i can ancer a few questions

  9. bank fisher says:

    how do you keep ants out

  10. CATSMILEY says:

    I’m already doing this. I want worm bedding for selling in tubs… any ideas?

    • Aj says:

      Half decayed leaves work good and its cheap and easy to let a pile of leaves decay for a month.. do not use wood chips.And any dirt you use you have to make sure it will stay wet.

  11. farmgirl says:

    I want to get started building a worm bed and raising them, but the most economical / simple way for a “beginner” to start. All suggestions are appreciated.

  12. catfisher says:

    cheap and easy and get the fat ones for the big cats

  13. Eagle Scout 44 says:

    I live in the desert. How will i be able to make money with this?

    • Blazeiken says:

      Sorry Eagle44, a lot of stuff like this is only for special parts of the U.S. I’m a lone scout and no one fishes with worms as bait here, I think. I want to raise money but this is no help.

  14. jc says:

    i’m so going to do that

  15. kj says:

    where do you get the cement

  16. Eagle555 says:

    Cool! Definetly will try this summer and spring.

  17. Crazycomposter says:

    Sounds neat! Might try it.

  18. hunter says:

    nice idea i like to fish now i dont have to pay for worms

  19. joking says:

    Sounds good will try it

  20. thinker says:

    Heres the scoop for worm bedding

  21. goose hunter says:

    how do you sell them i know nobody who wants worms

    • Anonymous says:

      there are all kinds of convenient stores, local gas stations, and bait stores that would gladly buy your worms for the right price. U have to remember that most stores buy worms from a wholesaler who must make a profit in order to continue business. But if your are just looking for a little extra income then u can easily make a more profitable offer to the stores.

  22. Alexker1 says:

    I’m no worm expert, but buying worms from a store is a waste of money. Unless you’re intent on growing worms rare in your area, you should go outside when it’s sort of foggy or dark after raining. Get all the worms you can find, and keep the biggest ones to breed. Concrete also probably isn’t a good material to make a worm cage out of. Just turn up the dirt in a area regularly and sprinkle decomposing kitchen leftovers into it, then when it rains worms will go crawling in.

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