Do you want to start your home compost fertilizer but do not know where to start? A worm composter or worm farm or worm bin uses worms to turn kitchen waste, grass clippings, and leaves into fine compost material for your yard.
But what is the best worm composter? There are hundreds of worm bins reviews online but knowing what features to watch out for and find the ideal worm composter for your garden or home can be a daunting task.
We have done our research and put together a buying guide and reviewed some of the best worm farms to help you get the best.
Table of Contents
- 1 Understanding Vermicomposting?
- 2 Things to Consider When Buying a Worm Composter
- 3 Process of Buying the Best Worm Composter
- 4 Top Five Worm Composters for 2018
- 5 Our Top Pick
- 6 Tips on Maintaining Your Worm Composter
- 7 FAQs About Worm Composter
- 8 Conclusion
This is the process of using worms to turn compostable materials into compost fertilizer instead of throwing them away and hoping that Mother Nature will do the job. The worms feed on your food leftovers and other remains and as it passes via their bodies, they produce “casting” which is full of nutrient and make fertile soil.
Things to Consider When Buying a Worm Composter
There are a few things that you should consider when purchasing your worm composter:
- Price – This will depend on your wallet and budget. In general, for a larger size or higher quality worm bin, you should expect to pay more.
- Design – Some worm units are not only easier to use but also set up. The majority of these worm bins come in trays enabling you to easily expand them by adding additional trays. There are also some flow-through warm farms which have started to gain ground.
- Appearance – Nobody wants to own an ugly thing. Getting an attractive worm composter is important.
- Setup – You shouldn’t waste a lot of time setting up your worm bin.
- Air ventilation – Worms require oxygen to survive and perform at their peak. Air is also a critical factor in the decomposition
- Drainage – A good warm farm should have a drainage system. Insufficient removal of excess juice can result in different forms of anaerobic activities. The worms breathe clean air via their skin and they will die if their bedding is excessively moist.
- Shape and size – The shape of your worm bin is also an important thing that you should consider. This will affect where you want to store it. Again, you don’t require a huge worm composter is you only leave a small amount of food remains.
Process of Buying the Best Worm Composter
In addition to the factors we have looked above, you need to figure out three more factors that will ensure you get a worm farm that is best suited for your specific needs. They are:
Choosing Your Warm Species
Different worm species do well in different environments. Some will do well in a warm place while others will do well in a cold place. Although it is common to use different species of worms to enhance the resiliency and overall strength of your worm bin, ensure that you get a worm farm that is suited for your specific warm species and climate.
Red Wiggler worms are the most used species of worms in worm farms because:
- They are prolific breeders.
- They are highly tolerant to different environmental
- They don’t mind handling and disruption.
- They live in the top part of the material.
African Nightcrawers and Blue worms are perfect for warmer climates while European Nightcrawers are ideal for cooler areas. Nightcrawers tend to stay in the soil and they only surface during the night.
Quantity of Worms
The perfect starting amount is a thousand worms. You might require more for bigger worm composters when starting out. Under the right conditions, the worms will reproduce rapidly. As an example, Red worms can double their population in every 2 to 3 months.
Worms consume about ½ of their body weight daily. One thousand worms would weigh around 500 grams or 1 pound. So if you intend to throw away about 250 grams of food remains daily, then you require about one thousand worms.
Preparing the Bedding
Shredded old newspapers make the ideal bedding material. Compost worms stay on top or near the soil surface. Worm farm bedding creates a home for the worms to live in. Beddings also help to capture moisture and enhance airflow in your worm farm. Beddings also make a long-term source of food for the worms.
Worm composter beddings often consist of a mixture of carbon material like cut up pieces of cardboard, old newspapers, and egg cartons. These materials should be at least 80% moisture.
Therefore, you need to get a worm farm that can facilitate smooth flow of air in order to get the required moisture. There are some worm units that come packed with coconut coir beddings to get you started straight away.
Top Five Worm Composters for 2018
1. Worm Factory 360 WF360B Worm Composter, Black
This Nature’s Footprint worm factory is very easy to setup and use, needing just fifteen minutes of your precious time every week to make rich compost. It features lots of freebies that accompany it when you buy it, making sure that you receive the materials and instructions you require to prepare high-quality compost at home.
One great feature of this unit is that you can expand it due to its multi-tray design. It comes with four stacking trays and it was made to hold up to eight trays. Although perfect for small households due to its small capacity, you can easily adjust its capacity by adding more trays to hold compost for a bigger household. The best thing, you don’t need a professional to assemble it or add the trays.
Another feature of this worm composter is that it comes with a 10 years warranty. This means that you can prepare composts 365 days without freaking about your unit getting worn out.
We mentioned freebies; while every unit comes with quick tips lid (you can also use them as stand or guide of managing worms), mineral rock dust for nutrients, worm ladders, an accessory kit, instruction-manual with DVD guides, worm bedding, and spigots for worm-tea.
- Can make eight trays of compost at a go.
- Offers a pest-less and odorless compositing experience.
- Very easy to set up.
- Spigots sometimes clog.
2. VermiHut 5 Trays Worm Compost Bin, Dark Green
One of the best features of this product is that it is odorless. What that means is that it has a quite small footprint, and you can use it in your house without worrying about anything. It is also very easy to assemble and use and requires little maintenance. You will also be glad to hear that it is highly durable and comes with a 3 years warranty.
Although this unit is more expensive than creating a worm compost bin by yourself, it is more affordable when you compare it with other brands on the market today. One major feature you will love about this unit is that VermiHut is dedicated to sustainability themselves as the bin is made of 100 percent recycled plastic. Another great feature of this product is that it comes with a small footprint and a compact base.
The other notable inclusions that you will love of this product are five stacking trays, a pedestal base, a liquid collection tray, and a lid. You will also be excited when you learn that it’s very easy to collect the warm tea due to the spigot that accompanies the unit.
- Very compact composter.
- Fully expandable to seven trays.
- Very easy to use.
- Takes time to assemble for first time users.
3. Worm Factory 360 Worm Composting Bin + Bonus
This bin uses worms to recycle your kitchen remains, cardboard, and paper waters into nutrient-full compost, and is better than a customary backyard compost site, when it comes to efficiency. This product provides 10 times the nutrients of your traditional compost to ensure that nothing is lost from your food scraps.
This product is very easy to set and use, it will only take you about fifteen minutes per week to get everything in order. To get rolling, simply add worms and your waste to the last tray (the bottom one). The warms will do the magic. Once the last tray is filled, add another and continue with this process until all trays have been added.
The best thing, you can use this unit year-round outside or inside, and get rich compost at least once per month for use in your garden.
One thing that you will like about this product is the bonus that it comes with it including “What Can Red Wigglers Eat?” an infographic magnet that sticks to the refrigerator for easier reference. It is a superb way to remember that your worms require veggies but eggs shouldn’t go inside your worm compost.
- Very easy to set up.
- Comes with a bonus.
- All-year harvesting of nutrients.
- Customer service is wanting.
4. Hungry Bin Flow-Through Worm Farm
Most worm composts are heavy and wider than their height, so they often take up lots of space. This unit features a unique design that forms a small footprint. Its bottom is narrower than the top. This creates a constant flow that is different from units that use trays.
This tapered design casts the worm down toward the harvest area but keeps your worm at the top, where they break down your remains. The pressure formed in this design leads to a natural plug that leaves the scraps and soil in the top part. The best thing, the casting area holds about ¾-gallon of castings and doesn’t contain any worm.
You will be excited to learn that as your worms create the liquid, that watery produce drains into a collecting tray at the bottom of the composter. The best feature, the tray has an easy-to-pour spout that enables you to disperse the compost when you need it.
If the weather gets too hot or too cold outside, you can easily relocate your bin to another location. The top of the bin has a secure handle that makes it easier to move around. Another thing that you will love about this bin is that its legs are zinc-plated and weather resistant.
- Easy to harvest the fertilizer.
- Natural composting process.
- Smaller than other worm bins.
- Not recommended for extreme weather.
5. Worm Factory DS3GT 3-Tray Worm Composter, Green
Although worm factory can be time-consuming it’s a project that often produces fruitful labors. It is the best way to turn kitchen remains into compost. What is better than using the DS3GT worm factory from Nature’s footprint due to its “green color” and the fact that it’s made of recycled plastic.
This worm factory uses stackable trays where the worms work their magic from the lowest to the uppermost tray, making your food waste turn into fertilizer. This unit also produces leachate, a form of liquid fertilizer that you can drain via the spigot.
The best part, this compost unit comes with an instruction DVD as well as a manual to guide you through in order to get the best out of your unit. For new users, initial setup and initial compost cycle might take time to get used to, but it’s worth your time and effort. This product saves room and creates a garden that produces regular high-quality crops.
- Made from recycled plastic.
- Produces 2 types of compost.
- Expandable to seven trays.
- Requires a worm ladder.
Our Top Pick
The Worm Factory 360 WF360B Worm Composter is a great bin that you should try out, especially if you are a beginner. It offers some great features such as easy setup, expandability, durability, and other freebies that accompany it.
Tips on Maintaining Your Worm Composter
Worms are highly tolerant to different environment settings. But there is a little bit of effort and science required in order to maintain your worm composter properly. This includes checking the moisture level and regulating the unit temperature.
To maintain a successful worm farm, ensure that you do the following things:
- Ensure that you feed your worms the right type of food. Also, ensure that you don’t overfeed them because you might end up experiencing some serious worm composter problems. Keep in mind that worms only feed ½ of their body weight per day.
- Add non-citrus fruit, tea, vegetables, coffee, cooked starches, cardboard, and
- Avoid garlic, onion, dairy, meat, citrus peel, craps, and raw potato skins.
- Always add carbon whenever possible such as cardboard and newspaper cuttings. The carbon to nitrogen ratio in your worm farm should be 1:1 or even higher. Always add more paper when in doubt.
- Sometimes the pH level in your worm composter might get low. Adding a handful of agriculture line or crushed eggshells every 7 days will work wonders to keep the pH level in the right level.
- Although some worms can survive in temperatures of between 59-86 degrees F or 15-30 degrees Celsius, you should still regulate the temperature inside your worm bin. The worms might suffer or die in extremely cold or hot temperatures.
- Every 2-3 days, check the moisture in your worm farm. The damp sponge test is highly recommended. It involves squeezing the beddings in your hand to see if water will drip out.
- Worms are highly sensitive to light, so keep your worm composter in a dark area.
- Watch out for any harmful pest that might harm the worms. The majority of pests such as fruit flies and potworms are harmless but keep an eye on them.
- Remember to drain the excess liquid every 2-3 days (worm farm leachate or worm tea).
- And every month or after few months, change over trays to harvest the castings – the richest fertilizer.
FAQs About Worm Composter
Q: How should I get rid of fruit flies around and inside my worm composter?
A: You can use a fruit fly trap to capture these pests. They don’t contain any chemical that might hurt your worms.
Alternatively, avoid this problem by burying any excess waste instead of overloading your worm bin.
Q: My worm farm produces strong, unpleasant smell. What should I do?
A: The odor might be coming from the rotting food remains because you are overfeeding your worms and the remains are just sitting in your worm bin. Stop adding food remains until the worms have consumed what they already have. Also, avoid some type of foods such as meat and onion.
Q: There are worms crawling out of the worm bin and onto the lid and sides of the bin. What is the solution?
A: The beddings might be highly acidic forcing the worms to leave. They often become acidic when you add excess acidic food remains like orange peels. Reduce the amount of acidic food you are adding into your worm farm.
Worm bins vary in design, size, shape, color, and price. Choosing the best worm composter depends on your home needs. Additionally, ensure that your worms have all the things they require to produce high-quality fertilizer for your yard.