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How to build a worm bed to start a small worm farm

SAFETY FIRST: Ask an adult to help with tools you haven't used before.

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.


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: Suppliers will have several different types of worms. Ken Chiarella of Monroe Township, N.J., the Worm Man behind the 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.

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52 Comments on How to build a worm bed to start a small worm farm

  1. does soil work as bedding

  2. shellie..yankee gone south // November 14, 2009 at 10:05 am // Reply

    ..I am sooo psyched!! I love to fish and camp; and always need worms. So this is such a cool idea, as well as profitable. Now all I need is someone to get my fish off the hook!!Ha! Ha!

  3. need to try this, i’ll post the out come

  4. I had three worm beds, open ground with frames, all flooded. I have to try to think this over and decide what will be better. Perhaps the concrete around the frame with no breaks will stop the water rush from Texas storms.


  5. built mine using a large black container that was used for cow protien. I drilled a hole in the bottom and covered it with screeen. It is hot here in Texas so I pour a pitcher of cold water on them every other day. They seem to be doing ok!

  6. First for poor ol Sparky..Most worms hang at @ 18″ deepths well within the authors 36″. like the gardners I’m in it for da poop. What I grow loves it and needs the natural “pest controll” Best organic I can raise for my self. Any overage of worms don’t have too escape I give them their freedom willingly, in my yard and flower beds. Go green baby!

  7. nickishness // July 30, 2009 at 7:49 pm // Reply

    My family has a worm bed we use the worms for fishing and composting. 🙂

  8. sounds cool i’ll try it

  9. Natureboy // July 5, 2009 at 4:15 pm // Reply

    I dug a worm bed & used tin sheets for the side, do you think that it would be ok to use the tin for the bottom to or not nessasery The hole is about 6 foot wideby 6 foot long by about 2 & a half foot deep,& also does it matter what type of dirt you use

  10. trout masta // July 2, 2009 at 10:52 am // Reply

    definatly going to try,i live near lakes and people need worms as bait

  11. mr. bigworm // June 1, 2009 at 11:35 pm // Reply

    try feeding your worms a mixture of protein powder that you get at any health food store and whole grain wheat bread. it makes your worms BIG AND STRONG!!!

  12. catfish catcher // May 29, 2009 at 2:05 pm // Reply

    There are many boxes, this one really works. It has provided enough worms for the season and has been profitable. Thanks for the cool idea. The best thing is the profit makes it’s self. Word of mouth and just being at your local lakes at the right time of the day. Most people run out of worms around noon or 2pm. All I do is have plenty of worms to go around.

  13. We have a much smaller version, I caulked a screen onto the bottom of a larger planter with pre-drilled holes. Filled it with a mixture of soil and peat moss to a little more than half full, then added both nite crawlers and red worms that I found while gardening. I place the planter inside a window well on the northeast side of the house which is very shady. I occasionally water & feed them small amounts of egg shells, coffee grounds, shredded paper, dried plants/leaves, whatever natural scraps I have. No cover on it. They multiply quickly and we always have our fishing bait. We release them (if there are any left) late fall as they would freeze in our Wisconsin winters.

  14. HillBilly_30329 // May 22, 2009 at 7:26 am // Reply

    Built 2 last year, Did wonderful, now I have 8 more making 10. Worms are 3.50 a box at the store, I get 2.00 a box and can’t keep up. Thanks a million……
    I have found that as long as the worms are happy they stay, even without a bottom. Even so, I added a wire and screen bottom to mine.
    Once again, Thank you……… :-))

  15. this sounds like a great idea but i think waater will collect at the bottom!!!!

  16. how many worms do i need to start?

  17. Great i’ll go fishing towmorrow

  18. worm master // April 6, 2009 at 3:19 pm // Reply

    i think that you r right and that the worms will bring lots of money!!!

  19. This works great, thanks!!!

  20. Is this the best type of worm bed?

  21. Billy Bob Aswsome // December 30, 2008 at 3:22 pm // Reply

    You can feed them coffee grounds.

  22. You could drill a hole in the bottom of it to let the water drain so they don’t drowned.

  23. iwonder how much $ you can make

  24. I’m a Master Gardender and working with 2 other MG’s helping some elementary students become gardeners in their own school yard. To create more interest, I’m going to feed this information to them so they can also build themselves a worm bed. They’ll love this! Thank you!

  25. I think this is a wonderful idea, because sometimes I can’t aford bait AND gas money…lol

  26. best angler in the world // June 22, 2008 at 4:06 pm // Reply

    i am so gonna do this im gonna do this weekend cause one time i went to go buy worms from the dixie dairy bar there is sopposed to be 30 worms in there and there was only 5 worms in there i bought them with 50$—{} i got ripped off? didnt i.

  27. Do you put a bottom of the box?

  28. The worm bed works well under a grape arbor or wisteria bush. They like the coolness and the air flows freely. Watch for snakes when you feed the worms and dig worms to sell. They like to lie beside the worm bed.

  29. I know I spelled that wrong 🙁

    I have a few questions…

    How can the worms crawl out? The sides are straight up and down arn’t they?

    When it rains… won’t the water just collect in there and drown the worms?

    If you know the answers to either of these PLEASE let me know.


  30. This is great! I live near a lake and EVERYONE has a boat and goes fishing! Yes! This is JUST the kind of thing I need! Thank you!

  31. best player52 // December 15, 2007 at 10:25 pm // Reply

    next spring i will start collecting red worms the in the summer I will sell them

  32. love gonna be rich!

  33. I’m fishing now and I’m tired of buying worms and then they die. I’m going to do this right now!

  34. but why won’t the worms just dig and get out?

  35. I think that i might want to do this over the summer using some stuff that my parents aren’t using. I might be able to sell at least ten worms to my dad.

  36. girlgetter12 // June 30, 2007 at 12:23 pm // Reply

    awsome i love worms

  37. COOL!

  38. I think I will do this tomorrow!

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

    I’ll defienently try

  40. Sounds cooll, I might try it!

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

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


    • 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

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

    weird project?

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

  45. Worms are disgusting!

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

  47. 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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