Indoor Composting 101

Author:  Spring

Mr. Spring and I have casually discussed starting a compost pile once the weather turns nicer outside.  It has been so snowy and cold here that we assumed that we wouldn’t be able to start this project for a few more weeks.

However, we went to a garden show to do some research for an upcoming backyard landscaping project.  And while there, we learned  about indoor composting with red wiggler worms.    So, we left the garden show with some information on landscaping and something we hadn’t planned:  one pound of red wiggler worms.

I know it sounds a little gross to have a compost pile in the house, but if you do it right, it doesn’t smell or take up much room. Plus, it’s easy because now we do not have to throw leftover veggies, coffee, tea bags, egg shells, etc. into the trash or in the disposal.


Once we had the worms, we needed to get the rest of the supplies to build the composter.  We stopped by the store and bought a bin and some screen covering, which turned out to be all of the items we needed to purchase.

The first thing I did was to drill six holes into the bottom of the bin.

Compost drilling holes

After drilling the holes, I cut out some screen fabric and placed it in the bottom just  to keep the worms from  getting out.  I also put the bin on a lid to collect any water that might seep out from the moist mixture.

Compost screen

It is hard to see, but the screen is in the bottom of the bin.

Lid of compost pile

The worms need to get air ,so, I drilled holes in the lid.

Compost shredded paper

Once I the drilled the holes in the bin, the composter was ready for the worms to have a new home.  The first step was to put some bedding into the bin.  I used shredded paper.  We were told that shredded paper, and cardboard, work best.

Compost leaves and dirt

The next layer was some dirt and leaves that we gathered from our yard.  After that layer, I put the worms in the bin,  put some food in the corner, and covered it with dirt.  We then placed the bin under a light to get the worms adjusted to their new environment.  We thought this was pretty funny, but it was recommend to us by the “worm vendor”.  The directions indicated we needed to do this for a couple days.  After they had one day of light, we thought it was fine to put the lid on the bin and then move it to our quiet and dark basement.

We had some guests  that evening who wanted to see our latest project.  We took them downstairs, and when we opened the lid, the worms were everywhere.   So, we put the bin back under a lamp to get them to go back down into the dirt.

Compost worms

Here are the worms before they went to the bottom of their bin.

Compost finished

Here is the “worm condo” sitting in our basement where they are happily working away to make compost for our summer garden.

By the way, if you cannot buy these worms where you live, they are available online.





  1. says

    Wow, you must be thrilled! So perfect for your bicycling family and it will be such a conversation piece. I adore the painting your mother did as well…quite an art collection you have got going.


  2. says

    We do this, too! I love that we don’t put all the food scraps to waste. My only tip is that if you can, it helps to put the scraps in a little bin in the freezer. Helps to kill any fruit flies. That’s the only thing that we’ve found can go bad. Good luck!

  3. Jenny says

    You can also do this with old kitty litter pails or 5 gallon pails. I stack two together, rather than having a collection pan at the bottom to gather any excess liquid. I have worms at home and in my 1st-3rd grade classroom. (But those worms are all now home with me for summer vacation.) The worms can be split, too, as they quickly multiply. So share some with your friends!