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Super Simple Worm Farm Bin – Easy and Fun

Super Simple Worm Farm Bin

Super Simple Worm Farm Bin

Do you want to grow lots of worms at home? The Super Simple Worm Farm Bin is the answer.  My advice is K.I.S.S. (Keep It Super Simple). It’s a lot easier to get started than many people think!

The basic plastic bin set-up described here is especially well suited for European Nightcrawlers – since they love moist condition – but it’s a great starter bin for Red Worms as well.

Here is all you need to build your Super Simple Worm Farm Bin:

  1. A Plastic Bin – my personal favorite is a Rubbermaid “Roughneck” tote, approx 21″x15″ and a depth of 9″. I wouldn’t recommend going much deeper than 18″ with a bin like this since it will impede air flow to the lower reaches of the bin.
  2. Bedding – these are absorbent materials like shredded cardboard, shredded newsprint etc. They help to soak up and hold moisture and to provide the worms with a nice habitat to live in. Contrary to popular (newbie) belief – soil is NOT a good bedding material for a worm bin.  Here is a great article on Worm Bin Bedding.
  3. Compostable Kitchen Scraps – fruit and veggie wastes are ideal. When starting out you are probably best to steer clear of citrus wastes, spicy/salty materials, and even starchy wastes.
  4. Composting Worms (not needed right away) – again, Euros and/or Red Worms are very well suited for this type of system.  For a beginner Red Worms (Red Wigglers) are the easiest and most tolerant.


Setting up the bin is as easy as pie – really, it’s just a matter of starting and ending with thick bedding layers and putting some food waste in between. I recommend freezing/thawing the food materials and then chopping up before adding to the bin, if possible (i.e. MORE optimized than shown in images below, in case you are wondering), since this speeds up the breakdown process.

If the bedding is not already moistened, you can spray it down as you go. This is especially important if you plan to add the worms fairly soon afterward – but, if possible, I actually recommend leaving the bin to sit for a little while before the worms are added.

The Value of Moisture

The key with moisture is to get the habitat as moist as you can without excess pooling of liquid in the bottom. If you DO end up with pooling, simply add in some dry bedding to soak it up.

The bin itself should have some air holes in it. I used to drill lots of smaller holes in my bins, but have since switched over to cutting out fewer (but considerably larger) holes – as you can see in the image at the beginning of this article.

Ideally, your bin should sit someplace indoors. It is possible to keep plastic bin systems outside at certain times of the year, in certain locations – but once the weather gets really warm or cold, things can get a lot more challenging (impossible in many cases). We’ll talk more about effective outdoor systems in upcoming articles.

Adding worms to the super simple worm farm bin (a pound, or  1 gal. of our “Composting Worm Mix” for a bin of the size mentioned earlier) is easy too. Simply create a small depression in your bedding, empty out the worm bag(s), and leave in a well-lit location for several hours. If at all possible, I would actually recommend leaving the bin in a location that has some light all the time – at least until the worms are well settled in. Euros, in particular, can be prone to wander early on.

Things to Remember

  1. Use LOTS of bedding – again, shredded corrugated cardboard and/or shredded newsprint are prime examples of readily-available, highly-effective bedding materials (bleached office paper should be avoided if possible – or at least soaked and rinsed well before use). It’s always amazing to me how many people don’t add enough bedding when starting a new worm bin. Do not be afraid to fill the entire bin – the level will settle down quite quickly
  2. Start the bin a week or two before you add the worms – this provides time for the microbial community to develop (and waste materials to start breaking down as a result), helps moisture to become evenly distributed throughout system, and just generally leaves you with a habitat that will seem more like “home” for the worms. Many make the mistake of adding worms to a bin that’s basically sterile since set up right before the worms are added.
  3. DON’T add soil to a worm bin – people naturally associate worms with soil, but it’s important to remember that these are NOT soil worms. While a small amount of good quality organic soil certainly won’t hurt (and may even help to inoculate the bin with beneficial microbes), a lot of bagged potting soil can actually be very hazardous for the worms since it often contains fertilizer salts.
  4. Go easy on the feeding early on – people often get it in their heads that they need to “feed” their worms on a regular basis. It is important to remember, though, that the food and bedding added when the bin was set up can actually sustain the worms for quite some time. What is FAR more common than people starving their worms (next to impossible when loads of bedding materials are used) is overfeeding, which can create a lot of problems – and potentially even lead to the death of your worms!
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Farmer’s Markets in South-Central Missouri

Farmer's Markets

Farmer's Markets

Farmer’s Markets in South Central Missouri

It’s farmer’s markets season in Missouri, and the good news is that there are plenty of them to choose from. We recently found something called the Missouri Farmer’s Market Directory.  This is a great resource for anyone wanting to find farm-fresh produce in the ‘Show-Me’ state.

Here in Laclede County we have the “Lebanon Farmers’ Market” from April through October. It is open on Wednesdays from 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm, and on Saturday’s from 7:30 am to 1:00 pm. We also have the “Farmers’ Market of Laclede County”.  It runs on Saturdays, 8:00 am – noon, from May through October as well. Close by (to us in Eldridge) in Camdenton (Camden County) is “Farmers Alliance of Rural Missouri (FARM)”.  And it runs on Saturdays 7 am – noon, May to September. They even have a nice Facebook page to can visit: Farmers Market in Camdenton

Jere Gettle – of Missouri’s own “Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co” – was quoted (in this NPR article) as saying that the number of farmers markets has tripled in United States in the last 10 to 12 years. This is great news for all those of us involved in supporting the local food movement!

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Bennett Spring State Park Trout Season Opening Day 2014

Bennett Spring State Park Trout Season

Bennett Spring State Park Trout Season

I recently came across this video about Bennett Spring State Park Trout Season and thought it was interesting. Bennett Spring (often called “Bennett Springs”) State Park – a popular Missouri trout fishing spot – isn’t too far from us here in Eldridge.

I’ll be honest – this isn’t really MY kind of trout fishing. I have no idea how they avoid getting their lines tangled together constantly! But I still enjoyed watching the video.

The trout fishing in Bennett Spring park is pretty tightly regulated. There are 3 different fishing zones – with their own specific rules (eg. Zone 3 is the only one where you’d be able to use worms, in case you’re curous) – and specific hours during the day you are allowed to fish for trout. You can learn all the details on the Bennett Spring State Park trout fishing page.

If you love fishing, try our European Nightcrawlers, probably the best fishing worm in the World.

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Kayak Fishing on Lake of the Ozarks

Kayak Fishing on Lake of the Ozarks

Kayak Fishing on Lake of the Ozarks

We recently came across an interesting video showing someone kayak fishing on Lake of the Ozarks! That’s definitely a different way to wet a line!

My first thought, if someone told me about this before seeing the video, would have been wondering about stability. When I think of kayaks I think of people rolling under water – not exactly what I would think of as a stable water craft.

If you watch the video, though, you will see that he has some nice stabilizer pontoons.

I guess my next question would be – what if he lunked into a huge catfish, or paddlefish (Lake of the Ozarks produced the state record for this fish – a whopping 111 lb fish)? I guess you might end up getting a scenic tour of the lake if that happened!

I actually found another video showing someone catching a 65 lb blue catfish from a kayak!


The May 7th fishing report from Missouri Department of Conservation for Bagnell Tailwater shows “fair” for catfish (“on worms, cut shad and chicken liver”). Everything else looks pretty “slow” for that area. Looking better for Niangua though (“good” fishing for catfish and crappie – “fair” for black bass and white bass).

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Keeping Fishing Worms Alive Longer

Keeping Fishing Worms Alive

Keeping Fishing Worms Alive

We recently found an interesting video on YouTube about keeping fishing worms alive until your next fishing trip. This is definitely a smart young man, and we were very impressed with this advice! If you are using regular soil bait worms, such as Canadian Nightcrawlers (“Dew Worms”) – what he suggests is a great idea.

But here’s another great option…use European Nightcrawlers instead!

Euros are not only the “perfect” bait worm because of their size and durability on the hook (even in really cold, and brackish water) – but also because they are incredibly easy to raise in captivity! Unlike Canadian Nightcrawlers, they will happily breed in a small indoor “worm bin” (see below for basic instructions on making one). No need to keep them in the fridge.

Or Grow Your Own

All you need to get started is a basic Rubbermaid tub. The size doesn’t really matter, but we DO recommend keeping the depth of the bin under 16″ if possible (deeper is OK when using a large bed, though).  Check out our article on building a Super Simple Worm Farm Bin.

1) Drill a lot of holes in the upper sides and lid
2) Moisten strips of newsprint or shredded corrugated (or egg carton) cardboard, and add enough to basically fill the bin. If you have some really well-aged horse manure (should be earthy smelling) you can mix in a little of that as well.
3) Add some fruit and vegetable scraps – avoid anything with a lot of oil or salt on it. Also best to avoid citrus when first starting out. Make sure the food is well covered with bedding.
4) Leave the bin to sit for a week or so. Part way through the aging period, mix in even more moistened bedding materials.
5) Add your European Nightcrawlers.

If you set up a few of these bins and you don’t harvest too many of the “breeder” worms (larger adults) at a time, you can easily end up with a continuous supply of healthy, vigorous bait worms!

As an added bonus, you’ll also end up with some of the finest all-natural fertilizer in the world. Your plants will love you for it!

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Midwest Worms – How We Started

Midwest Worms

Lonnie Sibley and wife Lola

Midwest Worms – How We Started

Hello, everyone!
Kyle & Jen here, this is the original post from the founder of Midwest Worms. Lonnie has passed away and as a tribute to him and his passion for worm composting and for Midwest Worms we have decided to leave this first original post of his up.  He wrote this post back in the Spring of 2014.

Hello, everyone!
This is our first “official” blog post. Lola and I (you can learn more about us on the “About Us” page) are very excited to be launching our new worm farming business here in Eldridge MO, and look forward to connecting with many other passionate worm composters, gardeners, fishing fanatics in the months and years ahead!

Please don’t mind the “wet paint” as you look around the website. Our good friend is helping us get it up and running, and it is definitely a work-in-progress (but we are very grateful for the help). We hope to be writing a lot more about the worm farm, gardening – and a variety of other topics – do stay tuned!