Category Archives for Tutorial

Grow Tent Ventilation Setup

​Grow Tent Ventilation Setup

​Last updated: 7/27/20

In my first year of indoor gardening, I observed my plants weren't doing so well, even though I had (or thought I had) put virtually everything they needed in place.

I later discovered my grow room had no proper ventilation system.

After an unsuccessful growing period!

I don't want you to experience what I did, which is why, in this article, I'd be providing you with all the information needed for a proper grow tent ventilation setup.

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Vermicompost vs Compost

​Vermicompost vs Compost | Natures Way To Recycle

​Last updated: 7/27/2020

Gardening can be a very exciting venture if you have the patience and stamina to endure preparing your plant beds, nurturing your seedlings and most important of all, choose the best composting method. Why? 

For me, no compost for my soil is like having no water for the soil. No compost, no plants and no veggies. 

Fortunately we have many options.  We will examine two of these vermicompost vs.compost.

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How To Grow Portobello Mushrooms The Easy Way

How To Grow Portobello Mushrooms The Right Way

Food enthusiasts, like me, who have a soft spot for mushrooms and have tasted virtually all the popular and edible types, should be able to testify to the fact that portobello mushrooms are delicious. 

They have a rich, meaty, and earthy flavor that you'd love to always have in your sandwiches, soups, and salads.

For me, I love growing my mushrooms indoors. They are an all-important addition to my meals, which is why I need to be able to easily access them without having to go to a store, 1 or 2 miles away from my home.

If you'd like to know how to grow portobello mushrooms, then this article is all you need to get started.

Green thumb Gardener occasionally links to product and/or services offered by vendors to assist you with all your gardening needs. Some of these may be affiliate links, meaning we earn a small commission if items are purchased.

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How to Grow Portobello Mushrooms

To grow portobello mushrooms indoors and outdoors, you can follow these tips.  We have a more detailed step by step guide below:

  • Prepare a growing space, i.e., where you'd like to grow your delicious mushrooms. If you're growing outdoors, make sure they're safe and protected from farm pests and rodents.

  • Prepare your growing materials. You'll need a container filled with manure composts that the mushrooms will depend on for food and energy as they grow.

growing portobello mushrooms at home
  • If you're growing outdoors, you might want to sterilize all your materials; the container and compost would need to be sterilized.

  • Cover the manure compost in your growing tray with the spores which you'd have purchased, and prepared for this purpose. 

  • Mix the spores properly with the compost.

  • Spray the surface of the compost with water to keep moist.

  • Cover your growing tray with newspapers or with a cloth to retain the moisture.

  • Spray the newspaper or cloth regularly for about 2 weeks, until the white buttons of the mushrooms begin to appear.

  • Once the mushrooms are all out and there are no visible white web-like streaks in the soil, you can then uncover and continue to spray until the mushrooms mature.

  • Leave for 2 more weeks for the caps to unfurl.

  • Harvest by picking with your bare hands.

  • Cook in your meals and serve!

​How can you grow your own mushrooms at home? The following steps will help you from start.. ​#growyourown #gardeningtips #gardening

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How Do You Grow Portobello Mushrooms at Home?

Portobello, sometimes referred to as portobello, mushrooms were not so popular in the past. However, over the past few years, they have continued to grow in popularity.

This increase might largely be due to the way these delicious adult criminis can successfully retain their heavy nutrients and intense flavor for long, even after they've been cooked or stored for a long time.

Portobello mushrooms are also known for their health benefits. They're said to contain nutritious properties like minerals, vitamins, sterols, and so on, that help boost our immune system, fight inflammation, as well as the development of cancer, in the body.

So, how can you grow your own mushrooms at home? The following steps will help you from start through to the time they're ready for harvest.

STEP 1: Choose Your Grow Area

The first step, if you want to be able to grow your mushrooms without the stress of worrying over temperature, humidity, and other environmental conditions, is to find your babies a perfect growing area.

Make sure your grow space is spacious enough to accommodate the quantity you'd want to grow. 

Be sure to also confirm that your mushrooms will not be exposed to intense heat or sunlight, as they do not really need the sun for their growth.

Step 2: Prepare Your Planting medium (tray, box or bag)

The next step is to prepare the planting medium(s) you'd like to use.

One quite important thing to note, when growing larger types of mushrooms like the port​obell​o, is that you'll need a lot of space. Your planting medium shouldn't be less than 8 inches deep and 6 inches long.

Whether you decide to build a portable planting medium or purchase one for yourself online, you have to ensure it is going to be comfortable for you and your mushrooms as they grow.

Step 3: Prepare your other planting materials

Mushrooms are unlike plants in their biology, they do not process their food on their own like the plants typically do through photosynthesis.

Mushrooms are fungi. They need to directly depend on another source for the nutrients they need to survive, which is why you need mixed, dried manure-based composites, fertilizers, and other growing materials.

These materials will help in starting and growing your mushrooms in the best way possible, right from the beginning until the time they're completely ready for harvest.

Mushrooms can only grow from spores. So, you'll also need their spores too. You can easily purchase these online or from gardening stores close to you.

Step 4: Fill your planting medium with the composite

This may sound quite simple. However, it is one simple step you wouldn't want to miss out on.

After successfully building or purchasing a growing medium, the next step would be to fill with the manure compost. Make sure to fill them in properly.

If you want to ensure your mushrooms grow big and without any health problems, you may also want to sterilize your planting materials.

You can do this by tightly covering the compost for about 2 weeks or more before going ahead to plant the spores.

However, this is not entirely necessary if you're growing indoors. What sterilization does is to just reduce the risk of contamination in your mushrooms.

Step 5: Sprinkle your mushroom spores

After filling the compost in, you'd also want to sprinkle your portobello mushroom spores on the compost material.

Mix the spores, properly, with sufficient compost in the bed you've prepared. Instead of mixing, you can also cover lightly with peat moss or some more compost material.

Step 6:  Cover with a newspaper/cloth

The next thing to do would be to cover the compost with a newspaper or with a cloth to keep your bed moist always.

You'd also have to regularly spray the newspaper or cloth for adequate moisture.

Mushrooms need adequate moisture to grow. So, you might want to keep the humidity in and around your growing bed up by spraying once or twice per day.

Step 7: Remove newspaper/cloth

After two weeks, the mushrooms should start shooting out.

You can lift the covering to check for the tiny, white sprouts. If they're there, then it's time to remove the covering.

However, if you still notice some white streaks in the compost, leave the newspaper or cloth in place. These white, web-like streaks are an indication that your mushrooms are yet to fully take root in the compost.

Step 8: Keep spraying until they're fully mature

When you're entirely sure the mushrooms are rooted properly, you can then remove the covering you used.

Continue to spray the compost until your mushrooms are grown. This shouldn't take long—between 10 to 20 days, all things being equal.

You might still want to wait a bit longer for the mushroom caps to fully unfurl if you want the portobellos. They are usually about 1.6–2.4 inches long.

When your portobellos are out, then they should be ready for harvest. And, ultimately, for your consumption!

You can harvest your portobellos early if you want to. However, you'd only be harvesting criminis and not the portobellos you want exactly.

Here is a good video that shows you how to grow in a 5 gallon bucket:

​How Long Does It Take to Grow Portobello Mushrooms?

Portobello mushrooms should not take long, at all, to grow. They should be ready for harvest after about 10–12 days of spawning them.

However, if you harvest them at this stage, you'd only be picking criminis, which are equally delicious, but not as chewy as mature portobellos.

If you want mature portabella mushrooms, you might have to wait a few more weeks (a minimum of two) for them to increase in size. Mushrooms are said to increase to almost double their size in about 24 hours.

growing portobello mushrooms

So, in all, the cultivation of portobello mushrooms shouldn't take you more than 6 months. With a mushroom grow kit, it should take you less than that, say 4 weeks.

The duration of cultivation should depend entirely on how big you want them to grow. Once you're satisfied with the size, and it's not up to 6 weeks yet, you can go ahead to pick and devour your mushrooms however you want. 

​Portobellos have been described as the easiest species of mushrooms you can grow #growyourown #gardeningtips #gardening

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Is It Difficult to Grow Portobellos?

Portobellos have been described as the easiest species of mushrooms you can grow, whether indoors or outdoors, using any preferred growing medium and method.

Portobellos are easiest to grow indoors because you wouldn't have to worry about extreme changes in weather, pests and other issues mushroom farmers are likely to encounter.

To make growing even a lot easier for you, you can use mushroom growing kits that you can easily purchase online. Mushrooms growing kits are handy, and shouldn't cost you too much. 

Is Growing Portobellos Expensive?

The straight answer is an emphatic, NO. Portobellos are really not expensive to grow.

All you need is a growing medium (which you can easily build by yourself), adequate water supply, manure compost, mushroom spawns, and a few sheets of newspapers or a piece of cloth. 

And, of course, you need a comfortable growing space in your home too.

The growing materials that might cost you are the spores and the growing kits (which come at a price for no stress at all). Other than these, every other thing you'd need should not be beyond your reach.

Green thumb Gardener
Expert Mushroom Growing 
mushroom growing for you

Click here for info

  • Growing Organic, Healthy Gourmet Mushrooms at Home
  • Learn to SELL Mushrooms for Profits
  • Step-by-step PDF guides and videos
  • 60 Day, 100% Money Back Guarantee

Final Thoughts

Now that you already know how to grow portobello mushrooms, you can then go ahead to start making your preparations already. 

Growing port​obell​os is quite easy and not at all expensive. You'll definitely have fun growing these mushrooms, whether you grow indoors or outdoors. 

So, enjoy farming your mushrooms!

Meanwhile, why haven't you even started already?

Related Questions

  • Where do portobello mushrooms grow? - Portobellos are native to Italy. However, they can grow anywhere, indoors or outdoors, as long as they're grown under the most comfortable growing conditions.
  • Can you grow portobello mushrooms in coffee grounds? - Mushrooms generally depend on other materials like coffee grounds that contain the nutrients they need to survive. So you can.
Green Thumb Gardener
growing portobello mushrooms

Using LED Grow Lights For Indoor Plants

Using LED Grow Lights for Indoor Plants

Indoor growing can offer you a lot of interesting benefits, from pests control to weather/climate control.

Nevertheless, you'd still have to fully replicate the different conditions of growing outdoors for your plants to be able to grow as they should.

By using LED grow lights for indoor plants, you can provide your plants with the adequate lighting they'd need to effectively photosynthesize.

But how do you use the right type of grow lights with the spectrum your plants need to grow?

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Growing Radishes In Containers | Master Growing Guides

Growing Radishes in Containers | Master Guide

Want to grow radish plants and harvest radishes that you can eat within a month.  Yes! 

Radishes are one of the crops that are easy to plant and just take a couple of weeks to be ready for consumption. 

The radish plant (raphanus sativus) belongs to the Brassicaceae family together with broccoli, mustard, cauliflower, cabbage, and turnip. Growing radishes in containers come with a lot of benefits.

I will take you through all you need to know about growing radishes in the container. Its on the early vegetables every gardener should get in their pot. You will be enjoying a fresh radish crop for your spring and summer salads.

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How To Make Worm Tea | Grow Big Plants Now

How To Make Worm Tea | Grow Big Plants Now

Using a liquid fertilizer for growing vegetables at home is good, but you have to be careful with some of them. Enter worms and the magical ways of compost tea.

Its funny how I came into being a worm guy.  I heard about how to brew worm tea and the next thing you know I had a bag of red wriggler worms show up to my house. I built my own worm bin and my tomatoes have never been the same. 

Ok, that probably wasn't funny, but having worms mailed to you was cool in itself.  In a nutshell, worm tea is simply taking worm castings and dipping it into water like a tea bag.

You will learn my highly effective worm tea recipe and why you need to start brewing a batch of compost tea.

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Growing Gourmet Mushrooms at Home | Edible Guide

Growing Gourmet Mushrooms at Home | Edible Guide

I used to hate fresh mushrooms until I tasted something better than the sour canned oyster mushrooms that line the shelves of grocery stores.

I ate fresh shiitake gourmet mushrooms, the edible ones at a friend's and these was surprisingly fresh and delicious.

My friend was growing gourmet mushrooms.  The fancy gourmet ones you get in the high-end grocery stores. You know the oyster mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, & everything else in between.  I decided to grow edible mushrooms too.

And since I started growing gourmet mushrooms at home, I've also become a really big fan of these nutritiously delicious fungi crop that I now have them anytime I want them.  

Maybe you want to start a small mushroom farm for growing.  Start small first by growing many different ones the easy way.

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Growing Spinach | Monumental Greens Guide

Growing Spinach | Monumental Greens Guide

Did you grow up watching Popeye squeeze a can of spinach into his mouth to gain some strength?  Maybe learning how to grow spinach will help you with your muscles. Probably not, but learning about how easy to grow spinach will flex your Green thumb.

Growing spinach is a vegetable that is extremely versatile to grow.  You can grow spinach in a traditional vegetable garden or plant in a container or pot.

Spinach is a superfood that you can add to your salads or tuck it in phyllo dough for a delicious treat.  It is no wonder why adding spinach to grow in your garden will help you to accumulate all these benefits.Continue reading

Growing Sweet Peas Indoors | Super Guide to Get you Growing

Growing Sweet Peas Indoors | Super Guide to Get You Growing

Have you ever wanted to grow sweet peas indoors to help you get a jump start on your crop?   Its the late winter and you are just itching to get your sweet pea plants out there since they are one of the earliest crops you can plant.

You might also just want to grow them indoors year-round and need to know if it is possible.Continue reading

Growing Cauliflower | Faux Mashed Potatoes

Growing Cauliflower | Faux Mashed Potatoes

Cauliflower is one of those unique vegetables that you must get in your garden.  Have you ever wanted to grow cauliflower in your garden?  Are you a cauliflower lover and wanted to know more?

Look no further as you have found an epic guide on how to grow cauliflower.Continue reading

Growing Beets | Gatorade Sports Performance Fuel

Growing Beets | Gatorade Sports Performance Fuel

Did you grow up eating pickled beets and want to relive your childhood memories?  Have you always wanted to grow beets in your garden?  Is your favorite salad mixed with arugula, beets, and goat cheese?

Growing beets is the perfect way to culminate your desire to satisfy these needs.  Beets are a perfect root vegetable that is so easy to grow and taste like no other vegetable.  It has an earthy component to it that makes it a unique flavor for on your plate.

Some cultures even believe that a beet that a man and woman shares will create an endless love between them.  Eating beets are even shown to help you stay together with some increased sexual drive.

You either love beets or you don’t.  It is funny because I am the only one in my house that cares for them.  In fact, I just juiced one with some carrots and celery and had a beet salad for lunch because I had an insatiable craving for beets as I have been researching and writing about beets for a few days.

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Growing Celery | Travel back in Time with a Sprig

Growing Celery | Travel back in Time with a Sprig

Have you ever wanted to learn how to grow celery for that fresh taste and crisp bite?  Do you seem to have a hard time getting celery to grow properly?

Wouldn’t it be cool to add your own homegrown celery stalk to your Bloody Mary drinks?  Are you looking to boost your health and need a good vegetable to grow in your garden for the fall period? Continue reading

Growing Broccoli From Seed to Stir Fry

Growing Broccoli From Seed to Stir Fry

Broccoli is one of those vegetables that always seems to stick out in stir-frys.  You can’t miss those big chunks of dark green florets that are steaming hot on your plate of some Asian dish.

Have you ever tasted your own freshly picked broccoli from your garden?  There is a huge difference between supermarket broccoli and homegrown broccoli.   The fresh flavors of homegrown broccoli explode in your mouth.Continue reading

How to Make Habanero Pepper Jelly Recipe

You will learn about how to make habanero pepper jelly recipe. We even have a cool video that shows you step by step instruction on how to make this jelly. is so simple and easy to make pepper jelly.

Check out the kit that we used for this here

This habanero jelly recipe is super simple to make and does not require many ingredients.  This habanero pepper jelly recipe is super easy to make.

This jelly recipe is super hot and sweet and is perfect for crackers, bagels, and wings. Give this habanero pepper jelly recipe a try.

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Growing Cabbage From Seed to Sauerkraut

Growing Cabbage From Seed to Sauerkraut

Have you ever wondered why they named a doll after a cabbage patch?  Did you know that Sauerkraut & Kimichi is actually from cabbage?  Are you uncertain of how to grow cabbage?

Read ahead and you will discover all you need to know about growing cabbage.  You will learn everything to get you growing cabbage from seed.  You will learn how to care for cabbage and even some inspiration on how to eat it.

Growing up I remember seeing those old-time crocks that adorned many European-American homes.  The crocks were used for fermenting vegetables that grow in every garden.

You better believe that they were filled with cabbage and stored away under the countertops until they were bubbling away.  Fermented foods are deeply rooted in the necessity to store food for longer periods of times without refrigeration.  The cabbage was natures answer to the perfect food to take on this challenge.Continue reading

Growing Peas Garden Insider Secret Guide

Growing Peas Garden Insider Secret Guide

Peas are one of those vegetables that are woven into our everyday lives and culture.  Remember the movie Forest Gump and the famous line, “Me and Jenny goes together like peas and carrots.”  Yes, peas do seem to mix well with carrots.

Have you ever wanted to grow peas in your garden?  Want to save some money at the supermarket because man those sugar snap peas are expensive.Continue reading

Vermiculture | Composting with Worms Guide

Vermiculture | Composting with Worms Guide

Do love to garden on your apartment balcony, but want a way to compost?  Are you challenged for space in your garden area?

You will want to read on as we will explore the army of crawlers that can help compost and transform your food and vegetable scraps into black gold for your garden.

Vermiculture is the answer to many gardeners who seek a way to get beneficial microbes and worm castings into your garden soil.

It is so easy to employ earthworms to help produce vermicast for your garden beds or containers.  You will learn all about the vermicompost benefits as well as the methods about how to build a worm bin.

Vermiculture is a method of cultivation of earthworms that are typically used to create vermicompost or as fishing bait.  Vermicompost is the by-product from the various types of earthworms that consume and breakdown organic materials such as decomposing plants, vegetable and/or food waste. 

The organic matter is turned into vermicompost that is rich with nutrients and health microbes that are beneficial for soil.  The vermiculture methods are extremely easy to adopt for the individual home gardener as well as on large scale worm farming operations. 

This method of composting is passive to help create a nutrient-rich organic fertilizer and soil conditioner.

Vermiculture is the answer to many gardeners who seek a way to get beneficial microbes and worm castings into your garden soil.Click To Tweet

You simply must suspend your beliefs about utilizing worms to decompose your food waste.  We will explore the ways to leverage vermiculture to make it a desirable method to add for your garden projects.

Green thumb Gardener occasionally links to product and/or services offered by vendors to assist you with all your gardening needs. Some of these may be affiliate links, meaning we earn a small commission if items are purchased. You can review our affiliate policies here.

You Can Even Order Worms Online

uncle jims worms
  • Great Composting Worm
  • Includes instructions on how to add to composter
  • Guaranteed Alive

You can easily build a worm bin or purchase a worm farm kit to get the worms working for you in no time.  You will come to realize how beneficial the worm castings will help you when your tomatoes are the talk of the neighborhood.

Everyone will then know about your tricks to composting with worms.

Take a look of a small scale vermiculture operation below:

Benefits of Vermicomposting

worm composting guide

You will unlock some awesome benefits when you have access to your own worm farm or bin.  These little worm crawlers sure know how to pack a punch in a with little room to produce.

Let's check out the plethora of benefits of when you start your own vermiculture operation to make worm castings.

  • Worm Composting is less work - You have enough to do with your own gardening efforts.  Why add on another more active gardening task to your growing task list?  Composting with worms is really not much work.
    • You simply add your vegetable and/or food waste to the bin and cover with shredded newspaper.  That's it, there is nothing else left to do to produce the black gold.
    • They do all the work in exchange for some leftover scraps of food.  What's the catch?
  • Worm Poop is Black Gold - You want to know the secrets to getting big tomatoes.  It is not necessarily what you do after you plant them.  The real secret is what you do before you plant your tomatoes.
    • Healthy soil is the key to any successful harvest.  Worm castings are chock full of microbial activity.
    • Soil that has castings added to it will benefit from the microorganisms and enzymes.
  • Worm Castings improve water retention in your soil - Vermicompost improves the water holding capacity.  The castings are an organic matter that contains spongy matter that promotes aeration and drainage.
    • This is great if you are you also garden with containers.
  • Vermicompost enhances germination & plant growth - seedlings that are grown in soil that has some worm castings always takes offs and flourishes.
    • The root growth of these plants fares much better than without.  This is a cool gardening project to experiment if you want to see the results yourself.
    • Plant 2 of the same tomatoes and try worm compost versus regular compost.  Let us know the results in the comments below.
  • Composting with worms requires less space - You can simply make a worm compost tube in your garden out of a cylinder PVC pipe.
    • You only need a box that is about 3 square foot box that is 1 foot deep to accommodate most average homes waste.  This equates to about 1 square foot area for each pound of waste.
  • Vermicomposting reduces greenhouse gas emissions - You are keeping food waste out of our landfills.  While you may think this a small thing, it really adds up if every gardener practiced the art of vermiculture.
  • Worm Compost produces compost tea - If the worm compost is the black gold then the liquid drippings form it is the magic elixir of the plant gods.

what is vermiculture

Worm Casting Vs Compost

The most obvious difference between worm compost and normal composting is, of course, those slimy cute little worms.  Really, though are worm castings much better than your good old compost pile.

Unfortunately, there is not a clearly defined study of this.  Generally, it will also vary because there are so many different materials that can be feed to worms or added to a compost pile.

This might be subject to a Green Thumb Gardener experiment where we compare equal portions of food scraps that are left to decompose on their own and munched up by a select group of wrigglers.

It is worth noting that composting with worms will be a much faster process if they are left in the same environment.  Those little guys are some of the most loyal workers and devour the food waste and scraps with utmost diligence & steadfast.

They definitely win employee of the month when it is planting season.  (don't worry -the bees win it during flowering periods).

Composting in general also requires some active work such as turning the pile and keeping it moist unless you just have a pile you don't care to monitor.  Worm Composting is pretty much set it and forget it.

All things equal, worm castings probably have some edge because you are not only building healthy soil, but you are also feeding life.

How do I start Vermicomposting?

How to Start a Worm Bin

By now you might be psyched to hear about how easy it is to compost with worms.  You now know the vast benefits of providing your vegetable garden with an abundance of nutrients that are found in worm castings.

However, what is the best way to start vermiculture?  You stumbled upon the best resource for getting started.  The best way is to just get started with a simple bin.

Take a peek at the video above if you want to see a live look in of our worm bin.

You can also check out an excellent book called "How to Start a Worm Bin" by Henry Owens that is also a good reference about worm composting.  It really has an excellent FAQ and troubleshooting guide that helps once you get started.

Sometimes you need to be able to reference a good book while you are at the bin to see what to do in case you are unsure.

Note: Most problems are usually due to not enough bedding and/or brown materials or it is just too wet.

Here are a few questions you need to ask before getting started with vermicomposting.  We'll try to help you answer some of these further below.

  • Where do you want to place your worm bin?  Inside or outside?
  • What size worm farm do you need for your home?
  • Should I build a worm bin or purchase one for vermiculture?
  • What food will you feed the worms?
  • How will I know when the worm castings are ready to use?

Where do I find the Worms

vermiculture uncle jimIt might be time to introduce you to your new team.  They are the star of the compost show.  Let's get to know the earthworms to help you build your garden soil.

First, you need to know that there are certain earthworms that are readily used in a closed composting system.  Your garden variety earthworms are not the types of worms that you want to employ for this.

You want to look for composting worms that are detritivorous (eaters of trash), such as the red wiggler or Eisenia fetida.

Red wiggler worms are native to Europe but have been used in most vermicomposting practices.  These worms are also used as fishing bait and found in tackle shops.

These little guys will eat all the food in your compost bin without much fuss.  They don't like the bright light, so make sure to keep them out of the sunlight if at all possible.  You might be able to ask a friend of yours that has a bin to give you a bunch of them to get started.

Probably the easiest way is to order them online.  Make sure that you have your bin ordered or built before you order them so you can place them in there when they arrive.

They arrive in the mail usually in coconut coir or peat moss.

Uncle Jim's Worm Farm is where we purchased our worms years ago.

  • Check out their store here.
  • You can get about 500 worms for about $20

To build or not to build a Worm Bin

It is time to get yourself mini farm to house your worms.  You really can't throw these guys directly in your garden.  While it won't hurt your garden, it is better to keep them in a tight-knit community to help you concentrate your efforts of building good compost.

The most important thing is to prevent the worms from getting wet when you have rain if you keep them outside.  You also want to ensure that rodents and other critters don't have access to it.  It also has to be somewhat contained if you plan on keeping it indoors so you don't smell any of it.

Our experience relies on only keeping it outdoors.  We do take in our smaller bins in the winter and place in our garage.  We have also left the bins out during the winter, but our area does not have long periods of freezing weather.

The worms do huddle together and can sustain some freezing, but we definitely recommend covering the small bins since there are not enough worms in there to sustain long periods of freezing.

You only have one of 3 choices when it comes to housing these roommates:

  1. Purchase a worm farm bin - We recommend the penthouse of worm bins, Nature's Footprint Worm Factory DS3BT 3-Tray Worm Composter.
    • This thing is pretty sweet and is one of the best worm composters, but check out the reviews on Amazon for what others have to say about this worm farm.
    • It has 3 trays but can be expanded to 7.
    • It measures about 16 x 16 x 13 inches and has a reservoir to collect worm compost tea.
    • This is perfect for indoors tucked away in your basement or closet since it is said to be odor free.
  2. Build your own Worm Bin - This is the most economical option to construct your own bin.  You literally could head down to Walmart now and buy a few materials and be up and running in an hour.
    • You could also build an elaborate wooden bin that is permanent near your garden beds.
    • Use your imagination to see what you want for your needs.
    • Check out the easy guide below for the steps on how to build a simple and easy Rubbermaid worm bin.
  3. Build a worm compost tube in your garden - This option is really not a true worm bin but thought it is still a helpful idea.  This method is useful to use for the deep burrowing earthworms that you normally may find in your garden.  It helps to attract them to newly established beds.
    • Essentially, you will bury a cylinder PVC tube in your garden and add a cap on it.
    • You will place some vegetable food scraps in this tube so that the earthworms can find this and make some compost for you.
    • It is a cool project, but probably not that effective or practical.  You really don't want to place your red wigglers in this as this is more useful for attracting earthworms.
    • Your time may be better spent on building your soil.
    • Here are some helpful videos if you want to see what this is about.  Click here
Think of worms like your finicky teenage that will eat most things that you put in front of them. Click To Tweet

DIY Worm Bin Build

Materials & tools needed:

  • 3 of the 10-gallon Rubbermaid bins - The link here is close to what we used for one of our bins.  You could find these in any store.
    • Ideally, 10 gallons is the best size, but you could make them smaller or large depending on your needs.
    • The larger ones will mean you can store more, but will also weigh more. You may need to move them around
    • You can use 2 bins where the bottom bin is for collecting the compost tea.
  • 1/2 " Drill bit
  • 1/4 drill bit
  • Electric Drill
  • Shredded newspaper
  • 4-5 sheets of Newspaper

Steps to build the worm bin:

  1. You will drill several holes along the bottom of 2 of the Rubbermaid bin with the 1/2" drill bit.  This is so the compost tea can filter out and the worms can climb up when you add the 3rd bin.  You will drill holes about an inch apart just on the bottom part of the bin.  It will look like swiss cheese.
  2. You will then drill 1/4" holes all along the upper edge of the Rubbermaid bin below the cover.  This is so the worms have some air when the cover is closed.  You don't want them suffocating.
  3. The bottom bin will not need any holes as it will be used to collect the worm compost tea.
  4. Next place one of the bins with the holes on top of the bin without the holes.
  5. Add the 4-5 sheets of news on the bottom of the worm bin to cover the existing holes.
  6. Add shredded newspaper to cover about 1/4-1/2 of the bin.  This is what you will use to cover the food waste materials that you feed the worms.
  7. Add bags of worms along with the materials that the worms came into the bin.  It is best to start in one corner of the bin.  Be mindful that the worms will eventually multiple, so the colony will reproduce as they settle in.
  8. Add scraps of food waste to the same corner and cover with the shredded newspaper.  It is best to slowly add food for the next week or two to allow the worms to adapt to their new environment.

Here is a video that shows you exactly how to build a worm compost bin:

How & What to Feed Your Worms

Your worms have moved into their new condo to start producing compost like a boss.  Think of worms like your finicky teenage that will eat most things that you put in front of them.

There are some DOs and DON'Ts on the types of foods that you give them.  Let's take a look at some of them for your worm bins.

Things to Feed your Worms:

  • Coffee Grounds
  • fruit scraps (try to minimize citrus fruits)
  • Vegetable scraps (minimize onions)- banana scraps, apple peels, grapes etc.
  • Egg Shells- great to help reproduction of earthworms
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Untreated Grass Clippings
  • Tea bags
  • Pasta
  • Bread
  • Paper

Things NOT to Feed your Worms:

  • Citrus- some rinds are ok, just don't overdo it
  • Salty Foods
  • Oils
  • Meat
  • Dairy
  • Spicy Foods
  • Pickled Foods
  • Seeds -we try to scrap out vegetable seeds to minimize sprouting
  • Bones

Tips for DIY Rubbermaid Worm Bin

You want to rotate where you place the food in your Rubbermaid DIY worm bins if you use that container.  You place the food in one corner and then add more food in another corner the next time.  You would do this over and over.

You would place a new bin on top of the full bin and start placing food in that new bin once your bin is close to being full.  The worms will eventually migrate to the top bins after they have consumed most of the food in the lower bin.  This will help when you want to harvest your compost.

The bottom bin will collect the worm compost liquid that you can use as compost tea.  It is recommended to dilute the compost tea since it can be higher in acid pH.  Maybe start with 1 part of compost tea to 3 parts of water.

You can experiment with this to see what works best for you.  We don't recommend using this directly on plants at full strength though since your compost tea may be a different strength depending on what you use in your compost feedings.

How do I know when our Vermicompost is ready

worm castings

Your worms are settled in their worm farm and have been feeding regularly. When do you get to actually use the worm castings?

Sure, this is the crux of what we have been building.  Your container that you use will usually have some recommendations because they have different designs.

We will focus on the DIY Rubbermaid type of bin, but many of these tips below will still be applicable to other bins.

Ultimately, the actual compost will definitely not look like food.  The actual compost will look like dirt and have an earthy smell.

You may also notice that most of the worms have migrated away from this particular pile.  The vermicompost will look very dark and pretty much like soil.

It should not be too damp, but maybe a little spongy with liquid.  You can begin to harvest some of it when it reaches this point.  a good practice that we utilize is to harvest parts of the bin a scoop at a time.  you can also harvest all of it at once.

A good way to harvest all of it at once is to dump the bin onto a big tarp and pick out any of the worms.  You want to put those worms back into your bin.

It is ok if a few of the worms find their way into your compost and into your garden.  We sometimes let this dry out a little bit in the sun and bag it up.

Ideally, it is better served when you add it your garden right away as most of the microbial life is at its peak.

Check out Uncle Jim's Worm Farm FAQ for some other tips & for some common vermicompost problems you may have.

How to use Vermicompost in Garden

Worm castings are a great addition to any plant or garden bed.  You will want to use black gold everywhere once you start building up a good supply of vermicompost.

Here are a few ways that you can start to incorporate them into your garden.

  • Seed starting- Worm castings are great to use in seed starting tray.  Mix 1 part of compost to 3 parts of peat moss or coconut coir and boom your seedlings will be off to a great start.
  • Planting holes- This is by far what we always do.  Just put a scoop of it directly into your planting holes if you transplant your seedlings into the garden
  • Top Dressing - Sprinkle the worm castings all around your plants during their growing cycles.  It will help with all the plant nutrients right when it is needed.
  • Throw it into your existing compost - Compost feeding more compost..huh bro?  This is a great way to help start a new compost pile.  It is teaming with helpful microbes and they are looking to spread their love everywhere.  Why not spread the love?
  • Houseplants -  sprinkle some of the worm casting goodness for your indoor plants.  They also need the worm poop

Vermiculture and composting with worms could not be much easier.  Please take action of just getting started.  Don't sit on the sideline of your garden thinking that this is such a difficult project to undertake.

You will want to use the black gold everywhere once you start building up a good supply of vermicompost. Click To Tweet

Just get in there and get your hands dirty and let the worms do the work for you.

Lets us know in the comments below what your worm bin setup is like.

Green Thumb Gardener