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Build a worm bed

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.

wormfarm

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.

Click here for a PDF version of these instructions.

What 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.

What You’ll Do

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: www.wormman.com. Suppliers will have several different types of worms. Ken Chiarella of Monroe Township, N.J., the Worm Man behind the Wormman.com Web site, recommends red worms for the beginning worm farmer because they’re cheap and easy to raise. 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.

92 Comments on Build a worm bed

  1. I think I will do this tomorrow!

  2. Invisible Dragon // May 5, 2007 at 11:48 am // Reply

    I’ll defienently try

  3. Sounds cooll, I might try it!

  4. Scoutmaster 34 // April 6, 2007 at 4:06 pm // Reply

    Good idea! (For bug lover; such as myself :))

  5. THIS SOOO COOOOOL AND WEIRD

    • has anyone every “called” worms?….take a stick (3 foot or so ) and carve notches about every 8″…place pointed end of “grunt stick” into ground, then begin furiously rubbing/clicking the notches with another stick,,,after 5-10 minutes go out 5-10 yds from where you are “grunting” and they should be up trying to wiggle away…they think it’s an armadillo or such from the vibrations, you may have to practice “grunting” for a while 1st, but this does work and if you’re outta bait at the lake etc. this beats running to the bait house

  6. kongfu master // April 3, 2007 at 6:15 am // Reply

    weird project?

  7. As I always say, “Worms are the key to life!” (Ha-ha! :))

  8. Worms are disgusting!

  9. your little thing about worm beds SUCK what keeps them from digging through the bottom of the hole

  10. cubmaster503 // March 11, 2007 at 12:30 pm // Reply

    An easier and cheaper version can be made by purchasing a rubber tote box about 1.5 x 3 feet. They run 3-7 dollars at any Target, Walmart, etc. With adult supervision use a sharp utility knife to cut 4 holes in both the bottom and lid about 1.5-2 inches in diameter glue with hot glue gun a square of screen mesh over the holes. The bottom holes allow for moisture to drain as green waist breaks down. The holes in the lid will allow for air flow and ventelation. You may need more vent holes and may even cut some in the sides of the bucket above the bedding line. Fill the tote half full of bedding and add worms. Add scraps to just on side and as the worms break them down level out the bedding. As the tote feels with casings (worm poop) and fills to about 3/4 full you will need to emptly worms and casings. Count out enough worms to restart a new bed. You can add new peat moss, some of the casings from the previous batch and a small amount of soil. Refill the tote to half of just under half full and start over. You can sell the extra worms to bait shops, and farmers will be happy to purchase the extra casings for the flower beds and gardens. One tip for helping drainage a few old bricks on the corners and in the middle to raise the bottom off the floor is best, the worms need to be a cool place so if you live in a hot area (we live in Arizona) moving the totes into the garage or under a covered cool porch is great. Also if you live in a cold climate, they will bury down in freezing weather but production slows greatly, so moving it to a warmer area such as the garage in the winter is good for these areas as well. In cold areas have extra totes ready so that you can thin out the worms in the first and build a stock pile of worms and casings to meet demand of spring when fisherman and gardners start their summer activity.

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