The most important part of worm composting is to get STARTED. Cheap worm bins are very helpful in this regard. Your cheap worm bins can even be FREE. There is absolutely no need to spend a lot of money to get started raising composting worms. In fact, I recommend that you not spend more than fifteen dollars for your first worm bin. I am going to toss around a few ideas for cheap worm bins and show you a few pictures. We will look at some FREE options from things you might have just lying around your house. We will also look at some inexpensive purchases of cheap worm bins that require little or no work. This is going to be fun.
REALLY Cheap Worm Bins
We can all agree that FREE is very cheap. Does this mean that you are going to be a slumlord? Probably, but who cares? The worms certainly don't care. They are usually homeless (in nature) so a house (that offers fine dining) is a big improvement for them. The requirements are pretty simple. Your cheap worm bins need to be large enough to house your worms and be able to contain the bedding that your red wigglers need. Waterproof is not a necessity. We need one square foot of surface area for every pound of red worms as a rule-of-thumb. Let's look at a few ideas that are FREE:
This is a prime example of a FREE worm bin. This heavy-duty cardboard box measures 12x18x10 deep. This will hold 1.5 pounds of composting worms. Lay dry newspaper in the bottom. Add your bedding and worms. In a couple of months you will want to split into two bins. Tear up the box and newspaper and feed it to your worms. That is efficiency!
This is another great example of a FREE worm bin. A styrofoam box lying around my house. This measures 11x13x7 deep. This will hold one pound of red wigglers. Leave the lid off and cover with wet newspaper so the worms can get air. You can use an old plastic cooler, an old styrofoam cooler, plastic bucket, and the list goes on. You are only limited by your imagination.
This is an old plastic dresser drawer that was going to the landfill. This will make a decent worm bin, I might spray with black paint to make it opaque. This measures 7x14x7 deep. That will hold half a pound of red worms BUT I have three of them. One and a half pounds of composting worms and habitat. Old wooden dresser drawers also work great. In fact any old wooden box (or the scrap materials to throw one together) will work great for you. The skies the limit.
Low - Priced Options
If you happen to be one of those folks that just doesn't have anything like the above hanging around your house.... We are going to have to spend SOME money. Here are some pretty good examples of cheap worm bins for around six bucks:
This is the infamous ten gallon tote. This is probably the most popular starter worm bin around. This is for a good reason. They are cheap (under 6 bucks), light, opaque, easy to store, and everybody sells them. This bin measures 19x13x13 deep. This will easily hold one and a half pounds of your favorite composting worms.
We have pictured above a two for one. We have an old beat up five gallon plastic bucket. That will hold a half pound of compost makers. This is not my favorite but will work in a pinch. They cost about $2.50 if you actually have to buy one. The tote is an eighteen gallon. This measures 16x21x16 deep. This will hold about two and a half pounds of red wrigglers. They do get a little heavy when loaded up so some caution is warranted.
This is one of my favorite worm bins. This is a small plastic mortar tray that I purchase at my local Home Depot. This tray costs less than 6 bucks. The mortar tray measures 25x17x6 deep. This tray will support three pounds of composting worms. The pictured tray has thousands of Eisenia Hortensis cocoons hatching out. These are very versatile, lightweight, and easily stackable with some wooden stickers between the trays. I just cover with wet newspaper ( removed for the photo-op) and the worms stay very happy.
This bin is a 6.6 gallon Ziploc storage box. $10.73 at my local Walmart. This has a cover with a foam seal and the center is cut out with a jigsaw. These are compact and stack great. The dimensions are 14x18x6 deep. They will hold about two pounds of worms. We have many of these in use and this is one of my favorite worm bins. Recently I did a post on building this worm bin. You may want to scope it out if you are interested.
I promised at the very beginning that we wouldn't spend much of your hard-earned money. We have looked at a variety of cheap worm bins that range in price from FREE to under 11 bucks. They will all house your composting worms in style. The biggest hurdle to worm composting is getting started. Almost everyone enjoys the experience of raising worms. Kids absolutely love it. Worm bins are a great teaching tool for children that helps them realize that recycling is a civic duty. Gardeners will enjoy having the FREE worm castings to use and will be amazed at the look and taste of their produce. Look around your house for some cheap worm bins. I will bet you have some.