How to Build a Wormery

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Worms are extremely helpful to plants, farmers, and the ecosystem in general. Their active tunneling not only aerates the soil, adding necessary oxygen, but also breaks down and spreads nutrients throughout the soil, making the ground fertile. To see these worm skills in action, make a wormery. (An adult should help with the cutting.)

What You Need:

  • Clear plastic 2-liter soda bottle (remove the label as best as you can)
  • Scissors
  • Sand, soft soil, garden soil, compost (as many different types of soil as you can find)
  • Water
  • Worms (about 5)
  • Leaves
  • Piece of construction paper or cardboard

What You Do:

  1. To obtain worms, there are several places you can go. Probably the easiest way to get them is to purchase them from a local bait shop or pet supply store. If you have a bare patch of earth, you may be able to find worms by watering the area and then placing a piece of cardboard, carpet, or wood over it. Wait a day and then lift the cardboard off the dirt to find the worms hidden underneath. Another way to obtain worms is to dig for them. While planting a garden or a tree, collect the worms you find as you go.
  2. After you have collected your worms, build your wormery. Clean the soda bottle if you haven’t already. Using the scissors, cut off the top of the bottle where it starts to taper to form the neck of the bottle.
  3. Fill the bottle with alternating layers of soil and sand. Use at least two different types of soil, but the more you have the better.
  4. Add water to the soil to get it damp, but not wet.
  5. Place the leaves on top of the soil and then place the worms on the leaves. Cover the top of your wormery with construction paper or cardboard to make it dark for your worms.
  6. Over the next few days and weeks, watch your worms tunnel through the bottle and see how long it takes for the layers to mix so that they are no longer distinguishable. You may even see them tunnel along the side of the bottle. If needed, add more water to keep the soil damp.
  7. When you are done with your wormery, simply dump the entire contents (worms, too!) back in your garden or a soil area in your yard.

What Happened:

Worms move an amazing amount of soil for their small size. An earthworm can eat its own weight in soil every day! As you saw in this project, worms help till the soil as they tunnel through it. Any compost (decomposed plant material) you place on your garden you can be sure some friendly earthworms will help get it down to the roots of your plants.

Making a Worm Jar at Home (and a Free Science Printable)

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What kid wouldn’t like the opportunity to bring a bunch of worms into the house? Especially when there is a little bit of science fun tied into it!

The purpose? To see how (and if) worms compost, dig tunnels and mix soils.

While I may not be as thrilled as the kids at the prospect of worms possibly being on the loose in the house, this is really a simple but fun science activity to do with the kids. (And don’t tell the kids, but I think it’s fascinating too!)

How to Make a Worm Jar

If you’d like to try making your own worm jar at home, you’ll need to gather the following:

  • a quart size canning jar
  • a lid with holes in it
  • dirt/soil/hay/grass
  • worms
  • dark colored felt or paper

1. First, layer a few different types of dirt in the canning jar – rich soil from a garden (or potting soil), lighter sand, mulch and repeat the layers (soil, sand, mulch, soil, sand, etc…).

2. Once the jar is filled, have fun digging for worms outside! Add them to the top of the jar.

3. Add some food for the worms to compost: teeny tiny chopped carrots, celery greens, chopped apples, etc.

4. Make sure the soil is slightly damp. Put the lid on the jar and and wrap it in a piece of dark felt or construction paper so the worms have darkness to work in. You may want to consider putting it inside a cabinet to give it a cool, dark place (just don’t forget about it!).

5. Every few days, for the next several weeks, continue to check on the worm jar and see how your underground friends are doing – and if they are actually working!

6. Use this simple worm jar science notebooking sheet to make predictions and observations on the worms’ activities.

Books for Learning About Worms

Fun Worm Facts

Here are a few things that we’ve had fun learning about worms:

  • The only place where earthworms don’t live are in the desert or where the ground is frozen.
  • Earthworm poop is called ‘castings’.
  • Worms have two layers of muscles ~ one that runs lengthwise and one that runs around, helping its body stretch and contract.
  • Worms have a coat of slimy mucus that helps them glide through the dirt.
  • Sunlight can kill a worm because they are sensitive to the UV radiation.
  • Worms are sensitive to temperature and touch.
  • Worms do not have ears, rather they ‘hear’ by sensing vibrations.

Here is a peek at our jar after 3 days. Can you see one of our worm friends near the top of the jar? See how our soil is already mixing? We had to add a little water/moisture to the jar to help the worms out a bit.

After two weeks there were no obvious layers anymore. Our worms had been hard at work mixing and composting our soil. After we observed them, we took them back to our garden and let them do their work around our vegetables. 🙂

Additional Worm Learning Fun

  • Check out this fun Worm Science post from Spell Outloud (has a cute booklet to go along with it!)
  • Learn more about worm composting from Granola Mom 4 God
  • Here’s a kindergarten worm unit from Stem Mom (lots of links)
  • Download a Worm Jar observation sheet
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How to Make a Worm Farm for Kids

Image by Gainesvegas

Have you and your kids ever gone worm-charming, or headed outside to look for worms after it’s rained? Has your little one ever dangled a worm in front of your face or run after you with one at the park?

Even if you’re not the most enthusiastic worm-lover, you’ll find this easy eco-friendly activity great for teaching your kids all about recycling and taking care of the environment.

All About Worms for Kids – What’s the big idea?

They wriggle, they squirm, they look a little bit slimy – so why should you encourage your children to get hands on with worms? Well, the humble earthworm is a good example of how something small and seemingly insignificant can actually have a big role to play when it comes to protecting our natural environment and helping it thrive.

When worms tunnel through the earth they help plant roots get greater access to water and air and the nutrient-rich waste that they leave behind also helps the plants to grow. Worms are fantastic natural recyclers that can convert food scraps from the kitchen – otherwise destined for the landfill site – into compost for the garden or vegetable patch.

How to Make Your Own Worm Farm

What better way to learn about earthworms than by observing them at work in your very own worm farm? You can find everything you’ll need to make worm farms for kids at home in your cupboards or in your garden. Worm farms can be any size you want as long as the wrigglers have a healthy amount of space to move around.

To make your own worm farm, you will need the following:

A container

This should be transparent if you want to observe the worms moving around. Glass jars, plastic drinks bottles, or small aquariums work well, but these must always have air holes in the top, drainage holes in the bottom, and a cover to prevent escapees, excess rain damage, and the attention of hungry birds!


Garden soil layered with sand makes for a great visual combination that will intrigue curious minds. Your kids will love watching the worms mix everything up as they burrow; but shredded newspaper works just as well. Fill the container about two thirds of the way full and make sure the bedding is moist – neither wet nor too dry.


The most fun part of this activity will probably be the worms, for kids. Enticing them out of the earth is a task in itself, but if it’s taking too long for you, or you’re having no luck, you can actually order composting worms on the Internet to arrive at your home by post or simply buy some from your local garden centre.

Composting worms aren’t your usual garden variety – they’re shorter and red and they tend to stay close to the surface of the earth. Regular earthworms burrow deeper to avoid conditions they don’t like.

Food scraps

If you want your worms to survive and keep pests like maggots from breeding in your worm farm, make sure you avoid meat scraps or dairy foods. Worms can also react badly to salty, spiced, and citrus foods. Cut the food up into small pieces and only add more once the previous batch has been eaten. This can take more than one day.


Worms are generally not fans of sunlight as it tends to dry out the skin through which they breathe. To be kind to your worms make sure small containers are kept in cupboards, or covered with black paper to keep the light out.

Stain removal tips

Making a worm farm from scratch can be a messy process and that might mean muddy clothes. Be sure to protect surfaces and clothes before you start this activity and keep Persil small & mighty Bio to hand in case any stains happen in the process – our article on how to remove mud and grass stains from clothes may be particularly useful!

Interesting Worm Facts for Kids

While you’re making your worm farm, why not share these facts with your kids:

  • There are around 34,000 different types of worm in the world.
  • Worms do not have lungs – they breathe through their skin.
  • Worms eat at least one third of their own body weight in a day.
  • Worm poos are actually called ‘casts’ and are often found bagged up in gardening stores for use as fertilizer.
  • Another word for worm farming is vermiculture.

For even more fun facts, check out this article from the National Geographic or this guide from the BBC.

Our Best Selling English made Wormcity Wormery ……

We are really pleased to introduce you to our very own custom-made wormery.

This fabulous wormery has been designed, created and manufactured to our specifications here in our home county of Hampshire, England.

We think there are lots of reasons why you should buy this wormery over other similar models. Here are just a few of them, so you can decide for yourself.

Country Of Manufacture

The first reason is that it is made locally, we believe that its important for a product that has been created to help the environment – should be just that – environmentally friendly. We didn’t want to import from China or Australia like our competitors, so we made our own. We are proud that this is the only plastic stacking wormery specifically designed for worm composting, manufactured here in England.

Size (Volume)

If you are going to buy a wormery, you want one that will fit your needs – and be able to cope with normal family wastage.

Unfortunately, many similar looking worm composters that are on the market that are sold as ‘ family size ‘ aren’t unless you buy extra trays.

We have independently measured some of our competitors’ wormeries and know that the common 2, 3 or 4 tray wormery that are sold measure just 32, 48 litres and 64 litres respectively.

This equates to just under 16 litres volume per tray.

The Wormcity wormery, however, is 25.2 litres per tray, so a 3 tray wormery is 75 litres, and the 4 tray is 100 litres. Substantially bigger

Doing the maths you would need a competitors 5 tray wormery to equal the size of our 3 tray model.

This does not mean that it takes up more room, it just means that the trays are deeper
Cheaper does NOT equal better

A Stable Base.

The Wormcity Wormery is sat on a square base, this is very strong and secure. No legs to fall off or overturn.

Worm steps in the sump.

Although composting worms live on the surface, some naughty ones seem to want to live in the sump.

Therefore our sump has steps upwards so that the worms can keep out of the liquid and can get back up into the trays.

The steps also allow the worms from sliding back into the sump.

Made From Recycled Plastic

Not only has this wormery been made from recycled English plastic but it also has a UV (ultraviolet) protection.

This means that the plastic won’t go brittle in the sun.

We are so sure of its quality that we give a 5-year warranty.

These are the most important part of a wormery as the more you start off with, the more they will eat and the better your success rate.

We don’t just send plenty of worms – we send 500g of them. Don’t start a wormery up with less

Each Wormcity wormery contains the following

  • 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 Composting Trays
  • Sump (for Liquid Collection)
  • Easy Turn Tap and Back Nut
  • Lid
  • 2 x Screws and Wingnuts
  • Instructions
  • Colour = Dark Green / Black
  • Coir Block (Makes 9 Litres of Initial Bedding)
  • 500g Mixed Composting Worms (or More) Or A FREE Voucher
  • 250g Worm Food

Width / Length / Depth Per Tray: 43cm x 43cm x 17cm (25.2 Litres)

How does The Wormcity Wormery work?

Composting worms differ from normal garden worms as they live near the surface and eat the decaying vegetation from gardens and forests.

You will find them in manure heaps, compost bins and sometimes under bricks, stones and logs.

The Wormcity Wormery has been specially designed to take advantage of their lifestyle.

Basically, our wormery contains a series of composting trays, each one has small holes in the base.

You start off with one tray that contains the worms and your kitchen waste. When this is full, you simply add the next tray on top and start filling it up and continue with the other trays.

The worms will eat the kitchen waste in the bottom level, and because they are surface dwellers, they will move upwards through the holes into the tray above and start to consume the kitchen waste in this level – then move upwards again, leaving behind vermicompost (worm poo) which you can use on your garden.

When they eventually reach the top tray, the food in the lowest tray should be completely composted and can be used in the garden, and the empty tray replaced back on the top.

It sounds complicated, but its really very easy and only takes a few minutes each week.

Wormeries make fabulous unusual presents.

Kids love them as they are great fun and educational, Fishermen use them to breed worms,

Gardeners love them for the amazing black gold compost they produce – or get one just for yourself to try and reduce some of the waste going to landfill.

The list below shows what worms can and cannot eat. The foods in italics mean that they should only be fed in very small amounts (off dinner plate etc)

Creating a Wormery with Kids

Worms! Wiggly, squiggly, creepy, crawly, long, dirty, slimy and slick; it’s no wonder that kids are fascinated with worms. From the time my son was 2 years old, digging for worms in our backyard has been one of his favorite things to do outdoors. He’s constantly amazed that worms live everywhere, right under our feet and are basically free for the taking! He now digs up worms from around the neighborhood and we add the worms to our garden, use them for composting and even collect them for fishing bait.

This past year we set up our own “wormery” in a box so we could observe and grow worms year-round. Not only does this allow us to keep a stockpile of worms for fishing, but we are able to compost some food scraps and add nutrient-rich composted soil to our garden for growing vegetables. We’re constantly adding worms to our wormery to replace any we use for bait and the kids love playing with the worms, watching how quickly they grow and caring for them.

I realize that not everyone is probably as crazy about worms as we are! If you’re already having a hard time reading this or looking at the photos, don’t worry, you’re not alone! But there are a ton of benefits to teaching children about worms and letting them touch them and observe them. Kids are naturally curious about nature and all animals, no matter how squirmy they are. I encourage you to try to put any squeamishness aside (believe me, kids will pick up on it) and allow your kids to get their hands dirty to learn more about these amazing creatures!

Fun facts about worms

Charles Darwin called earthworms “the intestines of the soil,” since worms can eat up to 75% of their own body weight every day, turning waste into rich and fertile soil. Worms play a crucial role in the environment by breaking down organic matter like leaves and grass into things that plants can use. When they eat, they leave behind castings that are a very valuable type of fertilizer. Here are a few other fun facts about worms that your kids might get a kick out of:

  • There are over 6,000 different types of earthworms
  • Worms have no bones or skeletons
  • Worms do not have ears, a nose or eyes, but do have cells that can detect light
  • The mouth of a worm is covered by a flap of skin so the worm doesn’t swallow everything
  • Worms have a mouth, but do not breathe through it – it is just for eating
  • The worm has 5 simple hearts, a stomach, and a gizzard
  • The gizzard contains tiny rocks and sand that mash up the worm’s food, because worms don’t have teeth to chew it up
  • An earthworm can have over 100 segments between its two ends
  • Each segment has tiny little bristles that help the worm move and hold on to things
  • All worms have a complete set of both male and female organs on the inside so there are no boy or girl worms

What’s a wormery?

A wormery is a place where worms can grow, compost and make more worms. A wormery will recycle food waste into superb fertilizer for your garden or yard. Wormeries are also great for growing and storing worms to use for bait when fishing. Wormeries can also be used at home or in classrooms for observing the life cycle and work of worms. After a few days/weeks, the worms and soil can be returned to your yard or garden.

Wormeries are perfect for small spaces: they’re compact, don’t smell and make compost faster than conventional composters.

Wormeries come in a variety of types and sizes. Even Amazon offers a number of different types of wormeries, from fancy multi-level worm composting factories, to simple Styrofoam worm boxes (this is the one we have), to kid-friendly worm-observation kits. Although, it’s also just as easy, fun and rewarding to make your own from supplies you probably already have at home.

Wormery supply list

Building a wormery is pretty simple because worms only have a few very basic needs: (1) worms need food (they eat microbes found in dirt and rotting material); (2) they need a moist (but not wet) dark environment; and (3) they need air (they breathe through their skin).

To build your own wormery, you’ll need the following items:

  • a container with a lid
  • shredded newspaper or bedding
  • soil, sand, rocks/gravel
  • worms

Choose the proper container

There are a ton of different containers you could use to make your wormery – anything from a bucket to a rubbermaid container to an old styrofoam cooler. Worms are active on the top layer of soil, so your container doesn’t need to be very deep. A lid will keep the wormery dark and prevent any worms from escaping. Just make sure to poke or drill some small holes in the container and lid to ensure they get plenty of air.

Worms like the dark, so if you’re going to be keeping your wormery for a while, make sure you use a container that will keep the soil dark. However, if you’re building a wormery specifically for kids to observe the worms, use a transparent glass container or plastic jar/bottle (an empty 2 liter soda bottle works great) and cover it with dark construction paper during the time while the kids aren’t watching them.

Prep the wormery

Put a small layer of rocks or gravel at the bottom of your container. This helps with drainage and gives the wormery a solid base to prevent it from tipping over. Next, shred up some black and white newspaper to place in the bottom of the container as bedding (or you can buy worm bedding). Spray the bedding with enough water to dampen it, but make sure it’s not too wet. It should feel like a damp sponge or wrung flannel. Once the bedding is made, add some gardening soil or worm compost and give it a good mix.

Finish by putting some dead leaves or vegetable scraps on top of the soil. If your dirt mixture is really dry, add some water to your container as well – just enough to make the soil damp, but not soggy.

Find your worms

This is the part that kids love the most! Let your kids search and dig for worms to add to your wormery. Search damp and dark spots in your yard or local park. Lift up rocks, look under bushes, dig beneath piles of leaves. Worms will be easier to find and closer to the surface after a light rain. You might even find them trying to cross the sidewalk. If you can’t find any, you could always snag some at a local bait shop or even order them online. Red worms work the best for wormeries, but if you’re building this mainly for observation or fun, use any worms you can find.

This is an excellent time to talk to kids about how to handle the worms and the anatomy of worms. Let the kids touch them, hold them and observe them. Talk about how important it is to be gentle and respectful of your worms. Don’t let small kids injure the worms or cause any undue stress or damage to them.

Add your worms

Add the worms to the top of the bin and allow them to dig down. Do not try to assist them with burrowing because it will scare them. It can take up to a day for all of the worms to burrow down. Any worms that do not go down after being there for a day or two are dead or weak and should be removed. If you think you’ve found a dead worm sprinkle it with a little bit of warm water. If that doesn’t revive them, the worm is dead or dying and should be left out of the wormery.

Feed your worms

Once you’ve found worms and added them to the wormery, you’ll need to feed them occasionally. Worms can eat up to two times their body size every day so always feed them according to the amount they’ll eat. However worms can last their entire lives feeding only off of nutrients in the soil so food is always extra.

Have your kids save their fruit and veggie peels and scraps to feed the worms. This is a fun way for them to care for the worms while also finding a use for the scraps. Let kids add scraps such as apple cores, banana peels, or pears to the wormery daily. Do not use meat, poultry, fish, dairy, potato chips, candy, oils, oranges, lemons, and limes because these are not good for the worms. Food will grow mold if left uneaten for a while if you find a piece of food that is moldy remove it. If you don’t want to use actual food scraps, you can also buy worm food.

Keep them damp, dark and cool

Worms prefer cool temperatures, so keep them indoors in a cool dark place. A basement or a refrigerator is perfect. In addition to adding food periodically, make sure you add some moisture so the soil/bedding doesn’t dry out. Compost will be ready in 2-3 weeks.

If you have a transparent wormery for the kids, observe it indoors for a few days and then carefully dump it outside in a shady spot in the early morning.

Whether you’d like to keep worms for composing, for your garden, for fishing bait or just as a science project to observe, creating a wormery with kids is a fun project that will teach them so much about nature and life right in their own backyard.

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Understanding what happens beneath the soil is fascinating for kids – just like outer space and the deep sea it’s something that they can’t see easily but unlike either of those they can touch it and they get a glimpse at what is happening as they dig, garden and harvest vegetables from the garden. A great way to see what is going on is to make your own Wormery and look at what the worms do under the soil.

What You’ll Find on This Page

Featured Book Underground

We have included links to the books and resources we recommend for making this wormery. If you buy via the links we may earn a small commission.

We’ve been reading Underground by Denise Fleming for this month’s Virtual Book Club for Kids and have decided to make a wormery to explore what worms actually do underground and learn a little more about why they need to do it.

Underground by Denise Fleming is a fantastic book for early readers and preschoolers – J who started to read this year was able to segment and blend all of the words within the book that he didn’t recognise and T who is pre-reading had a great time telling me about the pictures.

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Featuring fantastic illustrations of animals and some plant growth under the surface of the soil the kids loved seeing what was going on in a world that isn’t easily seen. If your child is interested in exploring the topic of what happens with plants under the soil then why not grow beans in a jar so that they can see what happens when the seed starts to grow.

A wormery is a traditional way to view what worms do underground – you can make a complex permanent structure or like us create a simple wormery from our Junk Materials box that we can view for a week and then return the worms to the ground to continue carrying out their hard work in our garden.

Materials needed to make a Simple Wormery with kids

1l or bigger Plastic drinks bottle throughly cleaned

Soil, Compost and Sand (you don’t need large quantities of any of these)

Worms from the garden

Scissors and a dark coloured bag

How to make a Plastic Bottle Wormery

First off it’s time to dig for some worms – we’re lucky that it’s the time of year to turn over our vegetable beds to prepare them for planting so as we’re turning over the beds we collected worms for the wormery – a 1 litre plastic bottle like we used will be good for around 5 or 6 worms to inhabit but if you have a bigger bottle then you could collect more worms.

If you aren’t digging over soil then a great way to find worms is to wait till after some rain and then dig up the soil – if you want to do this quicker than the next rain storm then put a hose on some soil for around 10 minutes – wait a couple of hours if it’s not too hot (in the shade is a great place to do this) and then have a dig the worms should have risen to the surface as the soil will be easier for them to move through and have more nutrients for them to get out.

To make our wormery we cut the top off the plastic bottle using the top as a handle funnel to pour in the soil – this I had to do with a bread knife as the bottle was very sturdy.

To see the role of the worms in the soil you need to have a different collection of soils – we used soil dug up from the garden (grey in colour) compost (black) and sand (white) and filled the bottle with layers of the soil.

Once the bottle was filled with layers of soil you need to add the worms – place them on the top and as the soil is lose you will see them slowly disappear into the soil.

We’ve added it to our nature table and placed a black plastic bag loosely over the top so that it’s dark and have watered it mid-week using a spray bottle.

Checking on the wormery throughout the weeks the kids have observed what the worms have done – gradually the obvious layers of soil have combined and all soil is the same mix after a week. At times throughout the week they have seen worm tubes and worm casts on the surface of the soil.

See how we recorded what happened with the worms in our simple Wormery Journal a great way for children to get used to making observations.

After a week we returned the worms to the garden and have repeated the wormery time and time again.

What does the wormery show

Worms are essential for the soil, they are like mini machinery turning over the soil and breaking it up. Forming tunnels as they move they break up big sections of the soil.

Worms also “feed” on soil they ingest it and then absorb the nutrients that they need and excrete it – these form the worm casts that you can see on top of the soil, by doing this they move through the layers of the soil.

If you have soil which has a lot of worms in then it’s common to find the topsoil free of stones as the constant movement of the worms gradually moves the stones down to below the oxygen rich surface soil and makes for great growing soil. With our gardening worm at the moment we are constantly digging and I am encouraging the kids to move the worms that we find to the vegetable patch although a few of the smaller ones make their way into the pond for the frogs and newts that we have there.

More Nature Activities for Kids in the Garden

Grow Salad with the Kids to learn about the parts of the plant

Raise Tadpoles

Build a Log Pile House Inspired by the Book The Gruffalo

Pin this DIY Wormery to Make for Home or the Classroom

Share this Simple DIY Habitat Science Investigation with Others on Facebook

Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and mum. Realising that life doesn’t have to be put on hold and you don’t just have to survive whilst the kids are young she shares ideas to inspire you to LIVE with the kids, with activities to do together, recipes to cook and enjoy and family travel to make memories to last a lifetime.

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How to set up a wormery

One of the most efficient ways of recycling kitchen waste is to use a wormery, or worm bin. These purpose-built containers house a colony of brandling worms, which consume fruit and vegetable waste, producing a nutritious worm compost.

As well as producing a rich compost, wormeries also generate a nutritious liquid fertiliser. Vegetable waste is largely made up of water, and this will drain down through the bin to collect in the bottom. The resulting liquid can be retrieved through a tap in the base of the bin. It’s a good idea to keep the tap permanently open and collect drips in a bottle or bucket below.

A wide variety of wormery kits are available to buy. Most of them consist of three or four modular trays placed on top of each other. As the worms consume the waste in the bottom tray, they move up to the next one. Simply remove the bottom tray to access the worm compost, rinse it and place it on the top, and continue to add fresh veg peelings.

Wormeries are easy to set up, but if yours is delivered by post, make sure you set up the bin within two days, as the worms may not survive if they are not quickly transferred into their bedding.

More on garden composting:

  • Types of composter (video)
  • Attract wildlife with a compost heap
  • How to turn your compost (video)

Did you know you can easily make a homemade wormery? It’s probably not as tricky as you might think either!

A wormery is a great way to make observations over time and learn about earthworms, which are actually very useful animals.

Make a Wormery

Table of Contents

What you need to make a wormery

  • An old jar, plastic would be the best.
  • Sand
  • Soil
  • Gravel
  • Old leaves
  • Water
  • Grass clippings
  • Leaves
  • Worms

How to make a homemade wormery

  • Add a layer of gravel or small stone to the bottom of the jar, this should help with drainage.
  • Add the soil and sand in layers
  • Drop a small amount of water onto the surface – not too much
  • Find some worms and gently put them on top of the soil
  • Add the leaves and grass clippings to the top
  • Make some holes in the lids ( get an adult to help, and screw it on the jar )

Tops tips for a homemade wormery

Keep the wormery out of direct sunlight, we are keeping ours in a cupboard.

You should see the sand and the soil get mixed up as the worms burrow down. The leaves and grass should be pulled down into the soil so it all gets mixed together.

This is what worms do in the garden, they help carry decaying material into the soil, where it is broken down by microorganisms, into nutrients that can be used by plants to grow.

Questions about worms

Why are earthworms segmented?

If you look at an earthworm you can see the body is made up of lots of segments, underneath the segments are muscles which contract and relax allowing the worm to move.

Can earthworms breathe?

Earthworms absorb oxygen through pores in their skin which is why they come up to the surface when it rains. They can’t breathe in waterlogged soil.

Why are worms so important?

Worm tunnels allow water to reach plant roots and the process of worms eating soil and expelling it releases nutrients which plants then take up through their roots and use for growth.

Worms are also a source of food for other animals.

Key stage 2 – Animals and Ecosystems

Worm Composting: How to Make a Wormery

Cut or drill a hole in the bottom tray to closely fit the faucet. Fit it as low as possible in the tray so that all the liquid can be drained off easily. You can raise the wormery up on bricks to make it easier to drain off the liquid if you need to.

Drill quarter-inch holes, spaced two inches apart, across the bottom of the two top trays. Drill a single row of holes near the top of the two trays at the same size and spacing to improve ventilation.

Adding the Worms

Place a three-inch layer of bedding material such as dampened coir fiber or compost in the top compartment. Add your worms, then add a layer of kitchen waste no more than two inches thick. You can also add a layer of burlap on top to keep them snug. Leave the wormery for a week before adding any more food so that the worms can settle into their new home.

Keep your wormery somewhere shady and as close to room temperature as you can. Move the wormery into a garage, outbuilding or utility room for winter to prevent it freezing.
Feeding Your Worms

Add food a little at a time. The worms will digest vegetable peelings and other kitchen scraps, including coffee grounds, but avoid meat or other animal products that may attract flies. Too much citrus peel and alliums like onion and garlic will make conditions too acidic for your worms, so only add small amounts of these. You can use small amounts of weeds and leaves, shredded, non-glossy newspaper, or torn up cardboard.
Once the top tray is full, swap it with the empty middle tray and start filling that instead. The worms will find their way up through the holes to the food, leaving the full tray ready for harvesting. Repeat any time the active tray is full.
Using Worm Compost and Feed


Worm compost makes a great soil conditioner, or include it in your potting mix for a nutritional boost.
Drain any liquid from the bottom tray whenever it collects and mix one part of the liquid into ten parts water to water onto your plants as a nutritious liquid fertilizer.

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